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quot;if you love your content, set it freequot; ?
I am Mike Ellis

I have spent 10+ years working on the [content] web

I am a user experience zealot, strategist, social(web)-ist

I work for a not for profit IT company called Eduserv
first of all, a couple of things
these slides will be online
(and available under CC)
this session
is based around a question:
“ if you love your content, set it free ”
quot;
                                            ?quot;
..I’m not going to try and answer that question.
instead, I'm going to consider
the content and user landscape
try and find some connections...
...and avoid getting into too much detail
(yes, I’m a chicken)
let's start right at the beginning




         ..and ask: “where does value come from?”
even this isn’t straightforward
for the most part, value is about scarcity
rarer + more sought-after = higher value
which means: if you have it, hide it
...and only provide when people pay
this has been the value model for generations
then the web came along.
now the entire value landscape has
   literally been blown away
the effectiveness of the network has
devalued the distribution chain




      “It makes increasingly less sense even to talk
      about a publishing industry, because the core
      problem publishing solves - the incredible
      difficulty, complexity, and expense of making
      something available to the public – has stopped
      being a problem.”

      Clay Shirky / “Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable”
      http://bit.ly/YoqJi
networks are getting faster / more ubiquitous,

  DRM is dead,

         hidden content is unpopular
not to mention radical
changes in users, too
1. search and find is everything


2. fickle, shallow, agile users


  3. quot;digital nativesquot; (ug!)


  4. quot;free is 'normal', right?..quot;
models of ownership and
consumption are changing

“..for my generation you partly constructed your
identity around what you owned - your bookshelf,
record collection and DVD archive were important
aspects of who you..but for the digital generation
this strong link with ownership has been broken.

It took time and money to build up any of those
collections. Therefore they demonstrated a
commitment which was worth exhibiting. In a
digital world this effort is greatly reduced, and as
a result so is the emotional attachment one feels
towards them.”
Martin Weller / “Ownership ain’t what it used to be”
http://bit.ly/2vU1oB
the music industry...
less CDs, more digital music being sold




      “17 million fewer CD buyers
      in 2008 compared to the prior
      year”

      ZDNet UK: “CD sales drop, digital downloads on the rise”
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=14758
new (business) models are rampant
..illegal? yes. available (via Google)? yes.
quot;Even ferocious litigation
would be inadequate to
constrain massive, sustained
law-breakingquot; 
newspapers..?
according to Clay Shirky

                           “When someone demands to
                           know how we are going to
                           replace newspapers...they are
                           demanding to be told that old
                           systems won’t break before
                           new systems are in place. They
                           are demanding to be told that
                           ancient social bargains aren’t
                           in peril, that core institutions
                           will be spared, that new
                           methods of spreading
                           information will improve
                           previous practice rather than
                           upending it. They are
                           demanding to be lied to.

                           There are fewer and fewer
                           people who can convincingly
                           tell such a lie.”
which demands a radical(ish) response
books?
Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist




   “     In 2001, I sold 10,000 hard copies. And
         everyone was puzzled. We came from
         zero, from 1000, to 10,000. And then the
         next year we were over 100,000. [...]

            I thought that this is fantastic. You give
         to the reader the possibility of reading
         your books and choosing whether to buy
         it or not. [...]

           So, I went to BitTorrent and I got all my
         pirate editions… And I created a site

                                                         ”
         called The Pirate Coelho.




http://torrentfreak.com/alchemist-author-pirates-own-books-080124
cultural heritage?
similar issues around ownership,
authority and tone of voice
but really starting to understand
the huge benefits of “we is better
than me”
..and adding value for users
the point?
this isn't just a brief blip, after
which we'll carry on as before
this is serious, serious change
revolution-style change
what does living through
a revolution mean?
chaos, factionism, failure
and emergence are prominent
the prevailing direction of travel is
becoming more clear:
the evidence is starting to show that
 scale is more important than scarcity


 “There is more opportunity in leveraging the scale of the
 Web than trying to create scarcity.

 We’ve all been engaged in many attempts at creating
 scarcity [in digital music] and none of them have worked.

 Meanwhile, others have been leveraging the scale of the
 Web with great success.

 We should learn from this pattern and apply our energy
 appropriately.”


 Ian Rogers, ex-VP Yahoo! Music
 http://www.fistfulayen.com/blog/?p=147
this means that letting go of the hold
you have on your content becomes
increasingly important
the rise of the API as an example
the world of linked data




http://bit.ly/QOi6T
this is hard. after all, control and
authority are what makes us...us, right?
well, maybe authority comes from
the real, from authenticity
and not (always) from a designed,
 understood, moderated pathway
once we've realised that the important thing
is our content and not where it is consumed,
we should find it easier to let go..
systems that are user-focused
are the ones that will survive
systems that are institution or industry
focused are the ones that will fail
access (not necessarily free,
          but it helps) is a Good Thing


quot;Where some people have trouble is that
those new opportunities may be in
different places than the existing...

...the total amount that any content
creator can capture is still much larger
than it was before. It's one of those cases
where getting 20% of a huge pie is much
better than getting 90% of a tiny pie.quot;
TechDirt: quot;The Grand Unified Theory On The Economics Of Freequot;
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml
let's be very clear:
good things are happening
Open API's




Open Access


                   Open Search
but they're often being resisted




                      “    sources suggest that
                                                        ”
                           compliance [with open
                           access policy] remains low
and are often weighed down by
hugely complicated politics
..if there's one thing that doesn't work,
it's complicated business models
maybe we need to forget the original models
...or at least, radically simplify
and focus on loosely joined
if..
..giving away PDF's of books increases book sales

            if..
..streaming music for free increases other revenues

            if..
..having an open API increases content reach
where might we go?
"If you love your content, set it free" ?
thanks for the free stuff:
big finger       me
don't panic      http://flickr.com/photos/brighton/2153602543
question         http://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/327122302
castle                             mine
trees and moon   mine
landscape        http://www.flickr.com/photos/24471966@N04/2851251413/
connection       http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/2855271953/
tag cloud        wordle
chicken          http://www.flickr.com/photos/slopjop/2476844826/
vertigo          http://www.flickr.com/photos/anapinta/1324230318/
diamond          http://www.flickr.com/photos/clagnut/233522021/
valuable         http://www.flickr.com/photos/10ch/3347658610/
hidden           http://www.flickr.com/photos/21173961@N07/2189341054/
cash             http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/211399263/
crowd blur       http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriapeckham/164175205/
bifurcation      http://flickr.com/photos/ethanhein/2292232215
suberbia
robots
fog
baby             http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntr23/730371240/
lazy             http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkumber/2645078671/
cds              http://www.flickr.com/photos/joemad/2170846681/
web2
newspaper        http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/172495285/
book             http://www.flickr.com/photos/andross/3137926953/
sea              http://www.flickr.com/photos/10589224@N05/3386776372/
bored dogs       http://flickr.com/photos/bobilina/361415711
revolution       http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickerbulb/53116195/
light            http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3199296759/
direction        http://www.flickr.com/photos/b-tal/116220689/
easy
silos
opportunity      http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasabicube/2270556458/
good things      http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaplanbr/526326334/
openness         http://www.flickr.com/photos/gauri_lama/3039881498/
resisted         http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandj98/2931196061/
lights           http://www.flickr.com/photos/mostafa/19172096/
telegraph        http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericsetiawan/23293820/
forget           http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfajardo/396104047/
zen              http://www.flickr.com/photos/robnwatkins/113258509/
golden           http://www.flickr.com/photos/da100fotos/490531799/
unknown          http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahmedrabea/246570462/
and thank you for listening
mike.ellis@eduserv.org.uk     http://slideshare.net/dmje

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"If you love your content, set it free" ?

  • 1. quot;if you love your content, set it freequot; ?
  • 2. I am Mike Ellis I have spent 10+ years working on the [content] web I am a user experience zealot, strategist, social(web)-ist I work for a not for profit IT company called Eduserv
  • 3. first of all, a couple of things
  • 4. these slides will be online (and available under CC)
  • 5. this session is based around a question:
  • 6. “ if you love your content, set it free ” quot; ?quot;
  • 7. ..I’m not going to try and answer that question.
  • 8. instead, I'm going to consider the content and user landscape
  • 9. try and find some connections...
  • 10. ...and avoid getting into too much detail
  • 11. (yes, I’m a chicken)
  • 12. let's start right at the beginning ..and ask: “where does value come from?”
  • 13. even this isn’t straightforward
  • 14. for the most part, value is about scarcity
  • 15. rarer + more sought-after = higher value
  • 16. which means: if you have it, hide it
  • 17. ...and only provide when people pay
  • 18. this has been the value model for generations
  • 19. then the web came along.
  • 20. now the entire value landscape has literally been blown away
  • 21. the effectiveness of the network has devalued the distribution chain “It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves - the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public – has stopped being a problem.” Clay Shirky / “Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable” http://bit.ly/YoqJi
  • 22. networks are getting faster / more ubiquitous, DRM is dead, hidden content is unpopular
  • 23. not to mention radical changes in users, too
  • 24. 1. search and find is everything 2. fickle, shallow, agile users 3. quot;digital nativesquot; (ug!) 4. quot;free is 'normal', right?..quot;
  • 25. models of ownership and consumption are changing “..for my generation you partly constructed your identity around what you owned - your bookshelf, record collection and DVD archive were important aspects of who you..but for the digital generation this strong link with ownership has been broken. It took time and money to build up any of those collections. Therefore they demonstrated a commitment which was worth exhibiting. In a digital world this effort is greatly reduced, and as a result so is the emotional attachment one feels towards them.” Martin Weller / “Ownership ain’t what it used to be” http://bit.ly/2vU1oB
  • 27. less CDs, more digital music being sold “17 million fewer CD buyers in 2008 compared to the prior year” ZDNet UK: “CD sales drop, digital downloads on the rise” http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=14758
  • 28. new (business) models are rampant
  • 29. ..illegal? yes. available (via Google)? yes.
  • 30. quot;Even ferocious litigation would be inadequate to constrain massive, sustained law-breakingquot; 
  • 32. according to Clay Shirky “When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers...they are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.”
  • 33. which demands a radical(ish) response
  • 35. Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist “ In 2001, I sold 10,000 hard copies. And everyone was puzzled. We came from zero, from 1000, to 10,000. And then the next year we were over 100,000. [...] I thought that this is fantastic. You give to the reader the possibility of reading your books and choosing whether to buy it or not. [...] So, I went to BitTorrent and I got all my pirate editions… And I created a site ” called The Pirate Coelho. http://torrentfreak.com/alchemist-author-pirates-own-books-080124
  • 37. similar issues around ownership, authority and tone of voice
  • 38. but really starting to understand the huge benefits of “we is better than me”
  • 39. ..and adding value for users
  • 41. this isn't just a brief blip, after which we'll carry on as before
  • 42. this is serious, serious change
  • 44. what does living through a revolution mean?
  • 45. chaos, factionism, failure and emergence are prominent
  • 46. the prevailing direction of travel is becoming more clear:
  • 47. the evidence is starting to show that scale is more important than scarcity “There is more opportunity in leveraging the scale of the Web than trying to create scarcity. We’ve all been engaged in many attempts at creating scarcity [in digital music] and none of them have worked. Meanwhile, others have been leveraging the scale of the Web with great success. We should learn from this pattern and apply our energy appropriately.” Ian Rogers, ex-VP Yahoo! Music http://www.fistfulayen.com/blog/?p=147
  • 48. this means that letting go of the hold you have on your content becomes increasingly important
  • 49. the rise of the API as an example
  • 50. the world of linked data http://bit.ly/QOi6T
  • 51. this is hard. after all, control and authority are what makes us...us, right?
  • 52. well, maybe authority comes from the real, from authenticity
  • 53. and not (always) from a designed, understood, moderated pathway
  • 54. once we've realised that the important thing is our content and not where it is consumed, we should find it easier to let go..
  • 55. systems that are user-focused are the ones that will survive
  • 56. systems that are institution or industry focused are the ones that will fail
  • 57. access (not necessarily free, but it helps) is a Good Thing quot;Where some people have trouble is that those new opportunities may be in different places than the existing... ...the total amount that any content creator can capture is still much larger than it was before. It's one of those cases where getting 20% of a huge pie is much better than getting 90% of a tiny pie.quot; TechDirt: quot;The Grand Unified Theory On The Economics Of Freequot; http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml
  • 58. let's be very clear: good things are happening
  • 59. Open API's Open Access Open Search
  • 60. but they're often being resisted “ sources suggest that ” compliance [with open access policy] remains low
  • 61. and are often weighed down by hugely complicated politics
  • 62. ..if there's one thing that doesn't work, it's complicated business models
  • 63. maybe we need to forget the original models
  • 64. ...or at least, radically simplify
  • 65. and focus on loosely joined
  • 66. if.. ..giving away PDF's of books increases book sales if.. ..streaming music for free increases other revenues if.. ..having an open API increases content reach
  • 69. thanks for the free stuff: big finger me don't panic http://flickr.com/photos/brighton/2153602543 question http://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/327122302 castle mine trees and moon mine landscape http://www.flickr.com/photos/24471966@N04/2851251413/ connection http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/2855271953/ tag cloud wordle chicken http://www.flickr.com/photos/slopjop/2476844826/ vertigo http://www.flickr.com/photos/anapinta/1324230318/ diamond http://www.flickr.com/photos/clagnut/233522021/ valuable http://www.flickr.com/photos/10ch/3347658610/ hidden http://www.flickr.com/photos/21173961@N07/2189341054/ cash http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/211399263/ crowd blur http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriapeckham/164175205/ bifurcation http://flickr.com/photos/ethanhein/2292232215 suberbia robots fog baby http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntr23/730371240/ lazy http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkumber/2645078671/ cds http://www.flickr.com/photos/joemad/2170846681/ web2 newspaper http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/172495285/ book http://www.flickr.com/photos/andross/3137926953/ sea http://www.flickr.com/photos/10589224@N05/3386776372/ bored dogs http://flickr.com/photos/bobilina/361415711 revolution http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickerbulb/53116195/ light http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3199296759/ direction http://www.flickr.com/photos/b-tal/116220689/ easy silos opportunity http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasabicube/2270556458/ good things http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaplanbr/526326334/ openness http://www.flickr.com/photos/gauri_lama/3039881498/ resisted http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandj98/2931196061/ lights http://www.flickr.com/photos/mostafa/19172096/ telegraph http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericsetiawan/23293820/ forget http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfajardo/396104047/ zen http://www.flickr.com/photos/robnwatkins/113258509/ golden http://www.flickr.com/photos/da100fotos/490531799/ unknown http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahmedrabea/246570462/
  • 70. and thank you for listening mike.ellis@eduserv.org.uk http://slideshare.net/dmje

Editor's Notes

  1. Head of Web at The Science Museum Before that, Web Production at Waterstone’s Online
  2. Before we get started...
  3. Address at the end Also - will hope to have at least 5 minutes for talking / questions
  4. ...instead, I’d like to think around the question - “riff” a bit on the theme
  5. The main point is to take a step back from the journals / publishing sector and look at the rest of the world for a moment
  6. Hopefully, this’ll be useful, and if not, thought provoking. And if not, just enjoy some time off :-)
  7. There is a LOT of detail, history and existing business models around online (journal) publishing. I don’t really want to spend too much time looking at this detail
  8. This is a complicated and emotive space. Business models, and hence jobs and futures are therefore obviously a part of the conversation Just remember, I’m not offering an answer, just posing some questions :-)
  9. So let’s ask a big question..
  10. ...if you have something which is valuable, and desired, hide it away
  11. ..and you can then create some form of capital (financial, social) out of your assets
  12. This is very familiar, very standard stuff. It is what drives commerce and businesses; from market stalls to the trading floor
  13. The emergence of the web - not “the internet”, but the web that we are starting to see today - a web that is absolutely ubiquitous to our lives and being
  14. ..things have changed beyond any kind of belief
  15. Clay Shirky (author of seminal book “Here Comes Everybody”) focuses on the core issue of *content mobilisation* in this blog post
  16. ..three main points about this: first, the network is only getting faster, more accessible and usable. Second - DRM has been hunted down and shot dead in a ditch. Third - hidden content (we’ll look at this in some more detail) is unpopular
  17. Users are changing
  18. ..also changing - the *way* that people use the web, and hence their content, too - search (mainly google, but in general) becomes the core starting point for...everything - users need rapid satisfaction - they are less likely to be faithful, more fickle - they are “natives” to the technology: absolutely familiar - it is “invisible”, as Tom Standage puts it
  19. one of the consequences is that the *model of ownership* has changed because of all this. And this is in a way that “us old people” probably don’t understand!
  20. One obvious place to look at this is in the music industry, which has suffered the digital generation more than most
  21. Downloads are on the rise as the physicality of music drops off.
  22. and particularly in this space, we’re seeing huge numbers of alternative business models - subscription, freemium, costing based on popularity, free! (seeqpod), social...
  23. ...not forgetting illegal! But bear in mind this particular screenshot isn’t from some dark internet backwater, it is just from a specially formatted google search. And *is* it illegal?
  24. ...more to the point - what does the industry DO about it? When everyone is a software pirate in (literally) two clicks of their mouse...
  25. Newspapers have come under similar scrutiny, and have responded in many different ways
  26. Clay Shirky again - his angle is that this is, effectively, the END of newspapers as we know them. Maybe the important point in this quote is the highlighted bit - the changes are far too rapid to cope with them
  27. The Guardian has recently been in the headlines for opening up their content and data store via a freely available API. This is radical for publishing, but the norm now online: Amazon, eBay, Flickr, Google, Yahoo! to name but a few. More on API’s later.
  28. Books are potentially in a similar space, although we still hang on to notions of physicality, and the fact that the content is more lasting than news makes them harder to let go of. I’ve got a wall full of books, and strongly resist thoughts of not. But we should still face up to the fact that this isn’t always going to be the same for everyone
  29. Coelho, well known author of The Alchemist, did something interesting in this new climate. Much to his publishers’ horror, he put his books available for free on BitTorrent. And saw sales radically increase because of it...
  30. over in museums and galleries...
  31. very familiar landscape where the *authority* is what makes these places special
  32. object wikis, open api’s, tags, user comments, etc
  33. Powerhouse museum - use of API’s (and don’t forget the “Ray Oscilloscope” example)
  34. So what’s the point, really?
  35. Firstly, the most important thing I guess is that we need to recognise, however painful, the HUGE extent of this change
  36. REALLY huge..
  37. and that we are truly living through a digital content revolution - one which requires radical, revolution style responses
  38. One of the most important hallmarks of this kind of change is *emergence*. The ideas which win through aren’t often the biggest or the best funded; they’re the ones which gain traction through ease of use. RSS is a prime example
  39. In short: the evidence is starting to show, from many quarters, that providing more access to your content is actually beneficial from many, many angles. Startlingly, some of this evidence seems to show that more access = more sales...
  40. This means - letting go of your content, setting it free..
  41. I talk a lot about Web2, the “social web”. Mostly this is considered important because of the surface stuff - but under the hood, content is usually accessible, and this is arguably more important. Sometimes, 5-10 x the “surface” number of users are seeing content via an API
  42. The enabler here is open, linked data.
  43. This means not just from a “web usability’ perspective, but those that have been focused on the goals of individuals
  44. ...and not on the goals of specific, partisan players in the industry
  45. But these opportunities are *different*. They are challenging because they absolutely threaten the existing status quo. This is hugely unpopular, particularly where whole industries are in the frame
  46. Coming back to journals - I think it’s absolutely the case that there are lots of positive signs
  47. ...and these are some of them
  48. ...albeit often resisted. This source (who’d rather remain anonymous) showed me a letter from a well known funder who recently wrote to universities warning that they’d be checking that OA guidelines were being followed...
  49. Good though the open angles are, they are (like any embedded, older industry) surrounded by treacle-like politics. And this often leads to *really* complicated business models. Example: pay at publication / pay at use / self archive...!
  50. Experience shows time and time again that complicated, “bolted-on” business models just don’t work.
  51. This is obviously naive! - but pushing for bigger-picture strategies that take on board user experience and expectation seem to me to be required
  52. At the very least, examine the pain points and try and simplify. Creation of open API’s would be a huge start!
  53. Small pieces, open (web) standards, distributed systems
  54. These are big ideas, and as such can be very challenging.
  55. Symposium - Identity - Cameron Neylon Open Science 21st May Evolution or revolution: The future of identity and access management for research