Last fall, around the time that Conde Nast announced it was cutting a significant share of its staff, I wrote a brief blog post to (hopefully) remind the publisher to invest in agility.
I doubt that anyone at Conde Nast reads this blog and takes it to heart, but the firm has developed a GQ iPhone app and is now poised to test iPad versions of several of its titles.
An encouraging development: the Conde Nast initiatives are described in ways that emphasize experimentation and learning. In the Times, Thomas Wallace and Sarah Chubb, who are leading the initiatives, talk about things like “range”, “two-track approach” and “optimizing the consumer experience.”
Yes, there is still the usual corporate positioning, and Conde Nast managed to offer the story up for Monday release in more than just the New York Times. But the spirit behind the initiatives appears to be a good one.
While I believe, strongly, that devices will not save publishing, it’s equally important to experiment as Conde Nast has been doing. No bad news there.
Full disclosure: In 2000, I was part of a team that offered advice and direction to Conde Nast, primarily in the area of cost management. I have not done any work with the firm since then.