Friday, November 13, 2009

DevLearn ‘09 Friday Keynote: Leo Laporte #dl09

Live blogged notes from the Friday morning keynote at DevLearn in San Jose.

Leo Laporte: “The Tech Guy!” a US-based journalist specializing in technology coverage on radio, TV, and the Internet.

What I have learned in mass media – where it’s failed us and why we’ve reinvented it (new media).

His story.  But first, this one…

Mass media: a 2oth century invention that is starting to fall apart.

Started early 1900s with radio.  Before that, media was local (cave paintings). Radio changed everything. Initially radio was a one-to-one tool (ship to shore radio). Then decided to broadcast radio – one to many.  RCA made music boxes for the living room.

We’re now in a similar mode. Starting to realize how can use computers and internet in different way.

Mass media was fostered by advertisers – a new way to reach customers!  An unholy alliance. Made a lot of people rich, which was good because media required a lot of money (radio towers, newspapers).

It was a monopoly and fundamentally undemocratic.

Leo Laporte: started in radio in the 70s.  You had to pay your dues.

Mass media didn’t really serve us all that well.

Do you even know who anchors the CBS news anymore?  It doesn’t have the power it used to. 

Two things that have changed everything:

  1. The microprocessor (Moore’s law = chips get twice as powerful every year and a half.  A geometric progression.)  This has powered an amazing revolution which changed both the media and the eLearning business. We can now turn analog content (audio, video) into bits.  Perfect copies that can be moved at the speed of light.

TV was going to change education. 

In some part of the world, people don’t have electricity – don’t have tvs – but they do have cell phones.  Community charging stations.  This is the digital transformation – puts us in touch with each other.  Gives us the power to become media moguls on our own.

TV as a powerful medium to educate and transform the world.  But we were mired in the mass media mindset.  Cable channels cost a LOT of money to run.  $100 million a year (and that’s not spent on the programming).

Leo Laporte Tech TV in the 90s.  Got into 41 million homes.  The 200,000 people who really watched were really interested in this.  But it was SO expensive to do a cable channel that this wasn’t sustainable.

This is what the cable guy said about why TechTV wasn’t going to make it:  “Brand is the refuge of the ignorant.” – smart people don’t care about brand and aren’t swayed by advertising.  So the TechTV guys couldn’t make it, because they’d have to dumb it down so that the advertisers would be interested.   (Laporte is not saying he agrees with this notion….)

Laporte thought he’d be fine with those 200,000 people watching his stuff. 

Now the media monopoly is crumbling because we CAN create our own content.  Free, local distribution (the internet). Newspapers are struggling. TV channels – no one’s watching them.  (And yet people are watching more tv?  6+ hours?) – People are going to the internet now for  their content. 

Every minute on YouTube – 20 hours of video are uploaded.  (mostly by young people!)

Undemocratic media is being replaced by personal, public video.

“But there’s too much stuff and most of it is crap.”  But maybe 1% is not crap!  That’s still a lot of great video being uploaded all the time.

Anyone can now create a podcast.  Using your iPhone.  No fancier tools than that (there’s an app for that).

April 2005 starting doing weekly podcast “This week in Tech”.  Got to the point he was doing 12 podcasts.  LOTS of people were downloading.

But it was still limited…not a mass media tool (too many steps to get to your podcasts).  He still wanted to reach more people. 

Started doing livestream video and thousands started watching that.  Now it’s grown hugely – he’s basically built a tv studio now at a fraction of the cost.  (used to take 22 people and a million dollars of equipment to do a tv show).  Now he’s working with a $50,000 studio.  Doesn’t have any camera operators – he does the whole thing himself.  Broadcasts it on internet for free. 

15 computers around him – some of these are just little cheapies ($400).

Laporte lives in Petaluma.  With Skype he can talk to people are around the world.  Over 1000 people in the chat rooms.

How much of a conversation is going on with you and your community?

Traditional mass media gets worked up – “these people are radicals”.  The monopolies are not giving up easily.

The more voices we hear – for good or for bad – the more likely that we’ll do the right thing.

The big businesses are trying to change the internet to reflect their interests and not ours. 

We need to be aware of what the big companies are trying to do…they want to shut down the free internet.

an open free internet transforms our lives.  We need to pay attention.  We are the ones who need to do that.  Geeks need to be the ones to stand up and be counted.

The Call to Action:  save the internet and get out there and tell your stories!

It’s not just a new media, it’s a new paradigm.


Brent Schlenker said...

You crack me up! This is awesome as usual! I'll send the link to Leo. I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it.
It was fabulous seeing you at DevLearn. Will we see you and Kineo at Learning Solutions? I hope so.

Cammy Bean said...

Hey Brent! You're the one who's awesome. Thanks for putting on a great show. DevLearn was exhausting but oh so fabulous.

We'll definitely see you in March at Learning Solutions in Orlando. I'll be sure to do more live keynote blogging for the good of the community -- because we are the new media!