This is how it happened, or at least how I remember it. And who would dare to say I’m wrong? I was at a red light, on my way to the place I (mostly affectionately) call the Evil Empire. Day to Day was covering the goings on at CES 2006, and someone — whose name will surely not be relegated to history — said (and I paraphrase), “There’s no way ordinary people can create their own online programming. You need a mighty media machine to do anything worthwhile in the entertainment world.”
My first two thoughts were, “Buddy, you are so going to be fired within the next year” followed by “There’s the next big idea we’ve been looking for.” The idea came on a Thursday — I know this because I told Kirk about my brainstorm over a fine dinner at Mijares, the place where many great ideas have been hatched. This always happens on Thursday, except when it doesn’t. Kirk, being Kirk, immediately grasped my idea and took it to the next logical level.
On Saturday, Roxanne had a brainstorm of her own: have some friends over for a really nice dinner. Good dishes, cloth napkins. But I was teeming with ideas and Kirk was teeming with plans, and, well, you know. Roxanne and Jim immediately grasped what Kirk and I had discussed and took it to the next logical level. It probably wasn’t the first dinner party that ended with everyone gathered around the whiteboard, and, knowing us, it probably won’t be the last. I mean, the fact that Jim could locate both the whiteboard and erasable markers within minutes should be clue enough.
Because this is the modern world, it isn’t enough to have a good idea. You need a domain name that fits a whole range of criteria (starting with “easy-to-spell”). And, eventually, you need a plan. I’m not big on plans, but I’ve been assured that they’re very important. Thus we spent a week planning and desperately seeking domain names. Is that right? No, it’s not. Our first post was done on 1/11/2006. The best I can tell, that fateful dinner party was January 7. Sometimes things come together so fast, it’s scary.
And sometimes things come together so fast, you’re making it up as you go along. As fast as the current world of entertainment media is changing, so did our original vision of what Medialoper would be. Just like the entertainment companies we cover, we’ve been doing a lot of making stuff up as we go along. It’s sort of crazy to look back at the relatively slow pace of the entertainment media of our youth, even crazier to compare it what’s happening now.
We never intended that Medialoper would be just a blog — and it won’t be. Or maybe it will be a blog, but unlike any other blog out there. We’re still having dinner parties with whiteboards. Turns out that Jim can fit one in his car. One thing that hasn’t changed is our focus on the convergence of the Internet and entertainment media. Right now, it’s a bit like the Wild West, or, as another friend noted, there’s a lot of throwing stuff at walls and seeing what sticks out there.
We like that. We like the fact that there’s something new every day (and, in all fairness, we really like it when we can point out Stupid Big Media Tricks). One thing I think we all realize is that we need to get back to covering more cool, independent action. Back when we started, YouTube was beginning its ascendency, MySpace hadn’t jumped the shark, and places like Digg weren’t household words. And, certainly, CBS, NBC, ABC, Sony, Warner Brothers, HarperCollins, and a host of other traditional media companies weren’t duking it out for online supremacy…at least not in the same way they’re doing it today. Watching old media implode has been as entertaining as its been instructive.
We thought we had more time to get to it all. But, then so did all the other media outlets.
But we’re committed to expanding our coverage of new media. Once our pending legislation that will create a 27-hour day passes, we’re also going to be seeking out more smart, interesting voices. Tim, Tyson, and Sherilyn have all added their perspectives to ours, and we’re hoping to find others who see the world the way we do (or, well, disagree vehemently, eloquently, and intelligently) Based on our calculations, we pay less than minimum wage with even fewer benefits.
This week, it’s CES-time, and we’re reading and listening and if we were cruel people, we’d totally be making fun of the desperation of big media. Right now, they’re doing the Friday casual thing in Vegas, all seemingly pinning their hopes on finding the next Chad Hurley or hoping that strange little devices that plug into television will catch on with consumers. Basically, they’re seeking something but don’t really know what or why. Luckily, they have us to guide them.
Year One of Medialoper has been a ride. We’ve made a lot of good friends and a few enemies. But you know the old saying, it’s a good year when you only get threatened with one lawsuit.
By the way, we’re totally done with looking backward. It’s into the future, baby!