Journalists should think like entrepreneurs!
I read The Lean Startup, by Eric Reis. It is about a methodology entrepreneurs should use when starting a business. The aim of the methodology is to help entrepreneurs save time and money by understanding their customers and their needs early in the process of creating a new product or service. Reis says entrepreneurs must create a Minimally Viable Product (MVP). It does not need to be perfect, but good enough to test with early adopters, which are customers who are likely to take up a product or service quickly after it is launched. Test it, and then build in what you learn from them. Once you have refined the product, test it again, and make the necessary adjustments. Once this process has been done a few times, decide whether you should pivot or persevere. Pivot means to change or drop the idea entirely. To persevere means you are on the right track and you should keep going.
So can content creators, writers and journalists learn from The Lean StartUp?
Like entrepreneurs, journalists and content creators should not assume they know what people want to consume. We must ask them and adjust accordingly. One may argue that we already do that. Guided by press ombudsmen and regulatory boards, we know what is acceptable content, and what is not allowed. However, in the pool of acceptable content, how do we know we are not missing the point completely or in part?
Perhaps more of us should start thinking more like entrepreneurs who sell good, relevant content to consumers, aka audiences. Ensuring that we are offering them what they want, will go a long way to ensuring we remain in the business in media.