Nick Bilton writes about Nick Denton and Ninja.
He says publishers struggle when they try to be tech companies.
Meanwhile Medium is kicking ass, imho -- and Nick (Denton) should be playing that game too. There's an opening for someone in publishing to challenge Twitter and Facebook in news distribution. It might as well be Denton. But it could just as easily be the Washington Post, or really any publisher who has some flow and a name with which to bootstrap a news system.
The key feature of such a news system is this: point off-site.
The same way My Yahoo kicked ass. The thing they were willing to do that other publishers weren't was to point to articles from their competitors. So you would go to Yahoo to find stories on CNN or MSNBC. Sounds weird to the ears of a publisher trying to create a destination site that's sticky.
But it is the way of the Internet -- People return to places that send them away. How do you think Google did it? Twitter? Facebook? They served as flow distributors before they were originators of news.
Now that Gawker is doing a restart, now would be a great time for them to get into the flow distribution business. Make a place that's great for getting the latest news whether or not it originates from Gawker. We can do a lot better than Twitter, Facebook, Google and Apple in this area. A lot!
And before you get all cynical, think -- that's how new things start on the net, by breaking rules that were once considered sacred and delivering value to people with minds.
Another way of looking at it -- become the Amazon of news. Amazon as a retailer doesn't make the products, it just offers a convenient way of browsing and buying. Same with AWS, it doesn't write the software that runs on its servers, it just provides a blank slate for others to do so. News works the same way. The pipes are where the value really is. Yet the money is going into making more of the stuff that goes in the pipes.