John Battele, Search and the Future of Media

by Teresa Valdez Klein on October 27, 2006

The following are my notes from John Battelle’s keynote speech.

  • The Internet economy is the third wave of tech and culture. 1970′s, the back office was being digitized. People used a command line interface to interact with the information. Then the front office was digitized in the 1980′s with the advent of the PC. Now the customers are digitized, and that’s Web 2.0.
  • Command line is how we navigated the 1970′s. The Find command is how we navigated the 1980′s. Now search is the way that we navigate Web 2.0. The command line is natural language. “We are starting to use computers the way we talk to other people.”
  • If search is an interface, then it’s our navigational device. It’s our steering wheel.
  • Customers make the business better and build the business for them. “If you can figure out how to get your customers to help you build your business, you’re in.”
  • Search is the driver of Web 2.0 businesses. It’s our cultures entire point of inquiry.
  • Search has an average of $8.5 per customer acquisition. Audience declares intent, then content finds an audience. “Every business is a content creator now, if you’re not, you don’t exist.” Intent drives your content, what do your customers want? If you want to create content, you must understand the intent of the end user.
  • Conversations are links. Link love drives search. The audience’s attention matters. You have to get into bed with the search engines.
  • How can you employ your customers in the conversation around your products? How do you take advantage of those moments when your product is criticized. Invite users’ input. Your end user tells you what your brand is.
  • Target your advertising to the readers of the sites you’re advertising on. Microsoft advertising on Glenn Fleishman’s blog about the WiFi features in Windows. Dice advertising on sites for IT professionals: “Does your Tech Job suck?”
  • He’s excited about Vox from Six Apart because of its approach to integrating social networks, blogging and more. He’s also thinking there should be an application that allows developers to mashup RSS with structured search.
  • What I see in great blogs is a great publications with a great audience and a passionate editor.

By the way, I’d like to thank John for putting our logo at the top of all his slides. That was very thoughtful of him :-) .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Randy Stewart 10.30.06 at 9:28 am

I’m a big fan of John Battelle and a lot of the work that he’s done, but I still have the lingering question. If he truly believes intent will triumph over content, why did he start a “content” based publishing business, rather than one based on intent?

I know that Adsense and Adwords are baby steps toward an “intent” based advertising future and that in the near term there are tons of advertising opportunities for content, but that future seems somewhat limited to me. This limitation and distinction is currently being well demonstrated when comparing Yahoo’s quarterly earnings versus Google’s.

I dunno, maybe John’s early work at Wired inspired me to look too far forward into the future :-) .

2 Teresa Valdez Klein 10.30.06 at 9:44 am

Randy: From what I got out of John’s speech, content and intent are more like two sides of the same coin. I’d really like to understand how you perceive the difference.

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