Tony Perkins: The Open Source Media Movement


Tony Perkins, of Red Herring fame, is the last keynote of the conference. He now edits Always On, an online high-tech journal. There is an RSS feed. I've just gone and signed up---mostly because I'm curious about the format and what he's doing.

Tony believes that right now is the cheapest time to start an Internet company---its only going to get more expensive from here. Whatever we did in the past 5 years, we educated 700 million people to have a new behavior: using the Internet. That's an expensive proposition. Its done and we don't have to incur that anymore. There's plenty of people and lots of good tools right now. In the future, it will be more expensive to build a brand, high good people, and overtake the people who start now.

He gives some stats about the always-on generation: 74% of teens use IM every week. 94% surf the web for homework help. 41% use IM or email to talk to teachers. 30% have used IM to find new friends. 17% have used IM to break up with someone.

24 million US households now have broadband---up 2x from 2001. This is in contrast to what many people believe. The "broadband myth" still persists. 42 million TV's worldwide are Internet enabled.

Tony's rules for media start-ups:

  • Its better to boot-strap than to go to board of director meetings
  • Build a community that advertisers care about
  • Create multiple revenue streams
  • Build a virtual team
  • Trust your gut, but listen to your readers
  • Building a media brand is black magic

Tony talks about comments as viewer ownership. Third time this has come up for me. Maybe I should reconsider? Tony doesn't allow anonymous posting---he wants people to own their words. He considers member transparency to be an important invisible hand that guides posting.

AlwaysOn makes money from multiple sources: sponsorship and advertising, producing events, paid membership for premium services, pay-per-drink for AO generated archives, re-selling research and other info products, classified advertising, and AO Media Labs (new network development).