: Ron Lindeboom's Blog
: Creative COW Magazine succeeds because it's an oddball
Well, the new issue of Creative COW Magazine is at the printer and should be run shortly. Hopefully, all the work that Tim Wilson and I put into it will open up some interesting discussions and get people to open their minds to the incredible opportunity that lies in front of them. It is not often that a market shift opens up as many opportunities as that which the rapidly accelerating world of mini-media is doing. We have tried to explore this new media opportunity from many differing vantage points. This, so that readers can examine how the principles may play into their respective worlds -- or not.
One of the things that Kathlyn and I hoped to achieve when we began building media professionals sites online back in 1995, was to give professionals a way to get out of the myopic worlds we often find ourselves in as we stare at the screen in our edit and compositing suites all day. It's easy to think that the world is shaped in the form of that which we find ourselves in. It looks that way and so, there it is. Well, not always. Getting out of the rut is often hard. It takes both vision and education and that requires a time investment -- something that many of us do not have the luxury of.
So, that brings us to our hope for the Creative COW Magazine. It's an oddball. After all, we have elected to not follow any of the traditions that trade magazines have accepted as gospel in this marketplace. Instead, we have eschewed many of the core traditions that have (in our opinions) made the magazines in this marketplace largely irrelevant and bereft of the reputations that they once had. Page counts and reputations are dropping and, in our opinions at least, these factors can be laid at the feet of a lack of real relevance.
The internet at its best is a place where users now get much of the information from friends and peers online that they once got only from reading magazines and going to trade shows like NAB and SIGGRAPH. In our opinion (and it's one that is shared by many of the retailers and manufacturers that we have spoken to), few things are truly introduced at trade shows and fewer buying decisions are fomented by what is seen at them. Today, most of these decisions are already largely made, and the choices culled down to the few remaining contenders, long before they ever set foot on the show floor. Added to this, few readers trust the opinion of a single reviewer against the collective input of their peers who voraciously rip into a product and give their objective feedback online -- feedback that is often won from the crucible of a true production food-chain.
So, what then is the real purpose of a magazine in this day and in this industry, if these things are true?
The greatest strength but also the weakness of forums-based communities is that most questions and answers deal with immediacy and issues of peer-to-peer support. In among these day-to-day postings happens the great "big picture" speculations but they are hard to find. They also tend, like forums, to be quite nonlinear in their construction and so fewer people can put the pieces together in a coherent manner.
Magazines done well are the quintessential "linear learning tools." Smaller than books and because of this, bite-size but effective. They can quickly lay out a picture that the editors want to promulgate for their audience and thereby begin the process of advancing an educational process that will benefit them in the future.
Disjointed product reviews, a few tutorials and the occasional editorial won't do it.
So, we jokingly refer to Creative COW Magazine as a paean to our love of the great "concept albums" of rock music history. Give me Sargeant Pepper, Dark Side of the Moon, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and other great albums of their ilk. Like them, we have tried to string the story together through a series of articles that will tell the tale of the rapidly exploding world of "media anywhere."
How well have we done our jobs? We hope that it accomplishes the goal that we have but it will be, as always, that the audience will be the judge.