Kill the Media
Tina Brown tells you.
" . . . it would be marginally consoling if the pink slips were going to those who contributed so vigorously to their companies’ accelerating demise—the feckless zombies at the head of corporate bureaucracies who cared only about the next quarter’s numbers, never troubled to understand the DNA of the companies they took over, and installed swarms of “Business Affairs” drones to oversee and torment the people “under” them. There are floors of these creatures in any behemoth media company, buzzing about each day thwarting new ideas or, worse, having “transformative” ideas of their own when what is usually required is to revive, with a bit of steadfast conviction, the originating creative purpose of the enterprise. It’s the same with the auto companies . . .
"What do cars, debt risk, and collapsing television networks have in common? The suits running them all lose sight of what they condescendingly call “product”—i.e., whatever it was that motivated the company’s spirit of excellence in the first place. The trouble is, those guys and their appointees don’t seem to be the ones who are leaving, do they? Indeed, the recession is giving many of them air cover. “It’s not my fault, it’s the times we live in.”
In all these big, lumbering companies every effort at innovation or practical efficiency gets strangled by something called “the process,” that long death march from an initial promising convergence of minds, not to rejection—rejection would be easier—but to indeterminate stasis. The cast of characters needed to reach a conclusion is eternally changing . . .
"Meanwhile, inside the company a “major restructuring” is announced and heads start to roll. That skill that took a lifetime to acquire—can he or she please cost it out on an hourly basis? Do we really have the time to slog through the details of a project that might, incidentally, save this company?
"Slowly but surely the talent drains away. It turns out that the two major best-selling authors only stayed at the mighty imprint because of that mousy middle-aged woman who really cared about their sentences—that’s right, the one who just got laid off. The talented TV director who made the network’s last hit series got tired of talking to a voicemail and took his next successful show to the opposing network. The investigative journalist whose Pulitzers the chairman bragged about at awards ceremony dinners was told to crank out five half-cooked additional pieces a week for the website and guess what, the paper or network doesn't win prizes any more and the public finds it increasingly irrelevant . . . "
A glorious rant, with me standing at the foot of the soapbox yelling, "Hear hear."