Thursday, February 20, 2014

A million dollar idea

I just had coffee with a retired CEO who told me a great story. When someone would come into his office to pitch a new idea, and ask for, say, $10,000, the CEO would tell him to come back when he could ask for a million dollars. Every day, said the CEO, there should be a line outside my door asking for big money for big ideas.

How many times did anyone take him up on it?

Never.

So that's an interesting scenario. If I were to say to you, here's a million bucks for you to radically transform your institution, or at least to begin to in a significant way, what would you spend it on?

I wonder how many librarians could answer that?

4 comments:

Ignacio Albarracin said...

How about creating location-based digital collections to compliment the checkout anytime/anywhere business model? Couldn't we create geographically aware library content?

Imagine a patron walking into a library, a city park, or anywhere designated as an "official public reading zone." Could we not create a virtual bookshelf within that geographic space that provides access to content without requiring any checkout process? You just tap the title and start reading - no friction.

And furthermore, since this is digital technology, could we also not allow all such content to be used simultaneously by multiple patrons?

Upon leaving the area, the patron would lose access to the content. Thus, they would have an incentive to return to these official public reading zones. And if not, they could always check out the content through the traditional channels.

This seems like a way to encourage reading, harness more of technology's potential, and perhaps assuage some concerns that publishers have.

bosslady said...

I could. As a matter of fact I'd go back and ask him for $2 million.

August Wainwright said...

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Simplifying the "publisher/author - library - patron" relationship is in severe need of an overhaul.

I could spend a million on that problem.

Jamie said...

Yikes, I see I missed some responses! The geo-located free digital collections is a great idea. I understand that Total Boox is planning just such an event in New York parks, soon.

Bosslady: the point is that you have to be able to articulate what you would do with it, and why you need a million bucks.

August: and you actually are trying to spend some money on it - building an actual platform and a business model. That's what it takes!