The Media is Talking About: “GigaOm’s Demise”

CDM Media’s Senior Director of Content & C-Suite Communities, James Quin is regularly cited in various media stories across a variety of industries. But leading up to these article inclusions are many conversations and insightful commentaries which don’t always make the publication. In this weekly (or more!) new section, James shares his responses to a myriad of tech topics he discusses with journalists. 


The Media is Talking About: “GigaOm’s Demise”

GigaOm’s March shutdown was a surprise to some and part of evolution to others.

Despite the publication closing, Om Malik is still a very important tech expert and he continues to participate in many key events and commentary.

James Quin answered a Q and A about what publishers can learn from the demise of GigaOm:

1.         Were they surprising?

JQ:  I’m not going to say that they were surprising per se, but they certainly weren’t unsurprising if I can be allowed to walk that line. Producers such as these companies face two very distinct challenges –the first being the number of alternate channels for similar information that is available, the second being the problem of monetizing the business model.

2.         What did GigaOm do wrong?

JQ:  It’s tough to say definitively since I wasn’t there and wasn’t involved in the day-to-day, but as a former industry analyst, I’d say the issue was not sufficiently understanding their market and their ability to make money in it. Insight providers general fall into one of two camps – those that charge a fee for the insights (i.e. Industry analysts) and those that give the insight away and charge for advertising that accompanies the stories. It appeared that GigaOm tried to walk a fine line somewhere in between those models and wasn’t able to do so successfully.

3.         Is this a fickle business?

JQ:  In many ways it really is – over the years the number of individuals and enterprises that can provide this type of content has exploded. From bloggers to news sites to the seemingly endless number of “boutique” (re: small) analyst firms we have, as a society become pretty adept at obtaining and disseminating technology information. In that space you need something to set yourself apart because faces in the crowd get ignored. Content providers cannot rest on their laurels and need to be constantly re-inventing themselves and/or their offerings to stay relevant.

4.         Lessons learned?

JQ:  I think there are a couple. First and foremost is to understand your market with laser-like clarity. Understand what they want, understand what uniquely positions you to provide it, understand everyone else that wants to compete in the same market as well as their strengths and weaknesses compared to you. Second you need to have a soundly developed business model – how are you going to monetize what you do sufficiently to allow you to not just survive, but to thrive because… Third, you have to innovate or die – it’s not enough to keep doing the same thing ad infinitum, you must grow, change, innovate in order to stay relevant. So that’s three rather than just a couple.

5.         How to evolve to survive?

JQ: Identify market niches that simply aren’t being filled. Finding the gaps in the market, finding the insights that no one else is delivering, finding a way to deliver such that no one else can easily do so (to allow you to keep the market to yourself for a little while). Do the thing that no one else can do or is willing to do and do it better than anyone else can hope to. And then do it again.

6.         Will we see more deaths?

JQ: Absolutely we will see more, but this isn’t really a “now” problem – there have been players come and go over the years (look at how Gartner have been snatching up smaller analyst firms for basically their entire existence for example). It’s also not just a “one-way” problem – yes we’ll see more deaths, but we’ll continue to see births as well, as new people with new insights come the the fore.

7.         Other comments?

JQ:  I think that’s probably enough from me for now 🙂


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