Friday, August 9, 2013
BIG’s Blog: Selling the Washington Post to Amazon.com
Okay, technically the Washington Post newspaper was sold personally to Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, rather than the actual Amazon Corporation itself.
But the important fact is that a tech titan of the digital era bought what is perceived to be a dying print newspaper of the analogue era.
The Washington Post, like most American newspapers, has been losing money for years. And the Graham family that owned the newspaper couldn’t see how to turn a profit anywhere in the future . . . so they sold it.
So now Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. What does he do with it? Frankly, I don’t think anyone knows for certain, but what I do know is this: Jeff Bezos is all about the future. He was one of the first to clearly understand that The Internet Changes Everything. Not only did he found Amazon, but also he has been an early investor in many of the major Internet-based companies…Google, Facebook, etc.
Amazon began by selling books online. Today, Amazon sells a gazillion categories of stuff. Wal-Mart worries more about Amazon than they worry about Target or other brick-and-mortar competitors.
The thread that connects not only Amazon’s success but also all of Bezos’ other investments is the Internet. It’s the Internet!!!!!!
I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t care what the Washington Post looks like in five years, but I certainly care what your Development department looks like in five years. And if Bezos’ thinking is our guide, I’ll bet it is more Internet-based.
Print newspapers are dying because their owners can’t figure out how to make money when the world is moving online for their news.
Your direct mail fundraising programs are slowly shrinking away and you can’t figure out how to turn them around. Hopefully, your mail appeal programs are still turning positive revenue, but for how long?
How long could the Washington Post continue to operate without changing its business model in the online world? It couldn’t. What do you bet that Bezos installs a new business model?
How can your fundraising department continue with its current fundraising model?
Be open to the possibility that others can offer you a different model that is built on the Internet.
Don’t look at today . . . look towards tomorrow.
-MikeWelcome to BIG's Blog! Please feel free to forward this post to your friends and coworkers...and email me a comment at: firstname.lastname@example.org