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Digital Publishing Innovation Summit, Part 2

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Following Kretchmer of LiveFyre (see the first part of this post series), Marty Schecter of Wiley presented a business plan in which the publisher is transformed into a sort of life guide. That is a life guide that attempts to influence or to maintain a presence in the consumer’s career arc – from higher education to career launch to skill maintenance and development to professional communication and outreach.

Wiley sees itself as a “knowledge service” not merely a technical education publisher. It’s mission is to innovate with the customer and it does so by working with customers through the development of their products from wireframe to demo to beta to stable distribution and then product sales.

Schecter discussed the following options as the routes to market: build a channel, partner with companies that provide a channel or acquire channels. He then provided a breakdown of product development:

  1. Proof of Concept that includes smoke tests, lead users and the setting up of a test site to gauge interest.
  2. Live Demo that includes working with critical partners and early adaptors.
  3. MVP (minimum viable product) with the lead generation through free trials.
  4. Release of a mature product, distribute updates, generate conversation and engagement.
  5. Product Expansion by developing new services, up sell and cross sell.

For Wiley, the target consumer is the individual who wishes to become a product manager. The product manager who has a technical background, a business degree and has startup experience. This is the individual who understands all the components that it takes for a product to succeed and can communicate between the various specializations from concept, design and tech to marketing to consumer.

He wrapped up by making the point that in the digital world everything starts small and must be nurtured to grow and succeed.

Following lunch, Rick Ferrie of Pearson discussed “Accessibility and Digital Publishing” and clearly pointed out that accessibility provides a competitive advantage due to an underserved global market, as illustrated in the numbers below.

Need for digital accessibility

Data reflecting the need for accessibility in applications and the web.

Ferrie explained that as books moved from print to digital, accessibility advocates expected things to get better. However, they did not (Flash has played a large role in lack of accessibility). Over the last three years aggressive advocacy has ramped up. As a response, content repositories such as NIMAC have grown and efforts such as Marrakesh Treaty have helped. However, Ferrie does not want to see repositories become permanent middlemen for the access of content. Hence content providers should provide the accessibility themselves. They may easily do so by planning accessibility as part of the product, and following standards and good coding. Accessibility is easy if it is built in during production, not as an after thought.

Following the need for digital accessibility, was a millennial speaker, Kenton Jacobson of The Blaze which he announced as the single largest WordPress site. Jacobson focused his talk on the need for comments – how The Blaze used comments to build its audience and the evolution of its comment system through audience feedback. He pointed out that votes are much more common than comments, with merely a click of a button there tends to be 10 votes to every single comment. The Blaze of course employed AJAX to implement immediate commenting tools. Votes are used to sort the content. Jacobson’s underlying point was that users understand the system differently than you do and therefore must be consulted and listened to in order to build a successful publishing tool and a happy audience.

The Blaze

The Blaze has focused on user comments to build its audience.

Site commenting slide

Comments are powerful