My latest Publishers Weekly column is “New York, Meet Silicon Valley,” about the things that Silicon Valley can teach NYC publishing (cheap experimentation and celebrating failure as the fastest way to learn) and what it can’t deliver (working DRM):
This marks a key difference between New York publishing and Silicon Valley. Unlike New York publishing, Silicon Valley’s products remain experimental long after they reach the marketplace. Google can change its search layout in seconds flat, try it out on a million searchers, crunch the data, revise the experiment and do it again, a hundred times a day if they wish. And bad ideas can be just as interesting as good ideas, because when it doesn’t cost anything to find out how bad an idea is, you can afford to be pleasantly and enormously surprised when it turns out that, say, people really do want to play Pac-Man on their search-results page.