Mathew Lowry

An interview with Jim Bankoff, who just raised another raised $46.5 million in funding for Vox Media (“the fastest growing Web brand of 2014”), caught my eye:

“Vox.com’s main draw [is] making sense of complicated issues in ways that are easily digestible for online readers…

Our content platform is less about the 1s and 0s and more about workflow — working with developers and designers in how you tell a better story online. It’s different from TV or print.” – Re/code

It certainly is.

I’ve been following the rise of ‘digital native’ media since they emerged (TumblrHub: 122 posts tagged media), as their search for viable journalism business models created huge innovations in content strategy and design for other online publishers to learn from.

Legacy industry failure

But the fact remains that these new outfits only emerged because legacy media – with their huge brands, resources, skillsets, advertisers and content inventories – seemed to find such innovation impossible, hamstrung as they are by traditional models and mindsets.

Digital native media were free to rethink everything from the ground up. Result? Vox’s recent funding values it as worth more than what Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post, but is still half of what others think Buzzfeed is worth. Meanwhile Politico – the digital native startup which tackled the Washington Post – is now setting up shop in Europe (more: Venture-backed US media: over-funded & over here?).

This is just one sector, of course – new companies, built ground-up on digital processes, have been running rings around legacy players for years. Or have you not been shopping on Amazon for presents this year?

But what about governments?

A lot of effort has gone into ‘digitising government’. I am a personal, longstanding fan of the UK’s Government Digital Service (see their design principles).

However, consider this: most commercial legacy outfits die before they adapt to digital, and governments face much less pressure than companies. So is a truly ‘digital native’ government ever going to be possible? It’s not as if someone can pop out of their garage with a better government than the one currently in place.

… or could they …?

I’m thinking of giving this blog a more speculative edge in 2015, with some posts ‘thinking out loud’ on subjects which, on the surface, look completely unrelated. Starting with the Good Country party (Simon Anholt’s initiative to transcend national politics), blockchain technologies and Ethereum (8 TumblrHub posts and counting), particularly now that a friend of mine has launched his startup after predicting bitcoin five years before almost everyone else.

There’ll also be more on, inevitably, semantic technology (10 posts here, 22 on the TumblrHub) and its application to the EU online public sphere in general and the BloggingPortal reboot in particular. I may even find time to visit artificial intelligence and the singularity.

If there’s anything I’ve missed, let me know 😉

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