Information Snacking, Content and the Digital Daze

Record labels survived Kazaa, Napster and the ‘for myself’ digitization of media content (i.e., ‘ripping’). No, they’re not happy about it: piracy is still at an all-time high, they’re suffering severe online competition and CD sales have not improved of late. The ‘old’ model is at severe risk.

RadioHead adds a new wrinkle to the equation: download the album from their site and pay what you want for the download. Not only have they bypassed the recording industry by offering the CD (and a $80, you can get a cool boxed set) they’re also turning the pricing model of entertainment on an ear.

Note that these guys likely don’t have the need for day jobs anymore, so they can certainly afford to do this.

To make matters more interesting, the ‘for me’ generation is not so much delineated by age, but rather by the enabling technologies that drive the mentality. We (myself included) want our entertainment (okay, and our data) when and where we want it:

  • We don’t want it limited to specific devices.
  • We don’t want in hamstrung by DRM.
  • We don’t want to be limited to particular types of our data.

I’m a big proponent of “Information Snacking“, the term I’ve assigned to the paradigm of universal access to my data:

  • I want my stock quotes.
  • I want my sports scores.
  • I want my media. I’ll accept it in a less-than-optimal format (small screen / headphones) if my current environment (plane / train / unicycle) dictate.

I don’t always have an Internet connection and accept there are environments where certain data simply cannot be available in real time. As I accept this, I won’t blame my device of choice for gaps, but will seek out the best device to feed my digital habits. Note: this is my problem and I accept it; I will optimize digital capacity to my lifestyle.

Guess what? I’m not alone. Many of us ‘make do’, and yet, achieve an absolutely-unheard of level of digital consumption:

  • Do I have video content on my phone? Yes, I do. On a storage card I can plug into an higher-quality environment. In a pinch, the phone screen and speaker suffices just handily, thank you.
  • Do I have music content on my phone? Yes, I do. In an effort to re-take my belt, I found a cool little headphone adapter for my mobile device that lets me leave my old music player at home when I go to the gym (I still take it on flights).
  • Naturally, I use my headphones with my music player on flights, and in the hotel room, the media cable comes in very handy with most televisions.
  • In the car, you say? Yes. I carry a goofy little, foot-long, RCA-male-to-RCA-male cable that lets me plug my music player into the AUX plug of my car.

My music is my music: I want it when and where I want it. My player can carry my entire album connection and I can truly enjoy it anywhere, anytime.

I am looking ahead now, noting that my mobile lifestyle has me wanting all of the above and the ability to produce content, as well as consume it. I do this on my laptop very easily, and my phone is almost there. I can email posts to a blog (unhappily, not this one; though not the fault of my phone). I can shoot pictures and videos on my cell phone and share them in the cloud as well.

Is it 100%? Not yet. I see incremental progress though. Until we get there, I’ll keep banging out these thoughts and keep trying new things.

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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