Choosing the Right Customer

Harvard Business Review • March 2014

Who do you work for? Libraries and museums have multiple customers—visitors, patrons, donors, collaborators, and the list goes on. Harvard business professor Robert Simons shares his strategies for identifying your primary customer and adapting priorities accordingly. Even more important, remember that change happens: "Changes in tastes, regulations, technology, or competition may alter what it is that your primary customer values—resulting in a need to reallocate resources or redesign your business structure."

This is always an interesting question to ask and it always results in a difficult discussion. Consider the academic library setting. Haven't you had the debate about students versus faculty versus administrators versus donors? And each of these groups comes in multiple flavors. (Michalko)

Wooing a New Generation of Museum Patrons

The New York Times • 19 March 2014

Navigating a sea change. A shift in generational priorities could put social and health concerns ahead of arts groups when it comes to charitable giving. "We're not just talking about replacing one generation with another generation. We're talking about a new generation that behaves so differently than the last one," says Kaywin Feldman, director of the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Read on for more about how millennials view philanthropy and what they expect in return.

Ditto for libraries both public and academic on the shifting generational priorities. I had not thought about the way in which transience in careers and mobility in residence for the wealthy impacts the ability to build successive generations of supporters and patrons. (Michalko)

Community of Equals?

Democracy • Spring 2014

Reform agenda. Forty-four percent of US undergraduate students are enrolled in community colleges, which are struggling with low graduation rates, abysmal funding levels and challenging demographics. And although they operate below the radar screen of "elite" institutions, community colleges' role in turning out productive graduates is critical to maintaining a pool of eligible hires for future businesses. Read on for suggestions on how to boost the potential of these "people's colleges."

We don't pay enough attention to the pivotal role that community colleges play in the US system of education. Because we don't, the class stratification that they now embody seems surprising. This reinforces the elite higher education value proposition. Because of the classmates they offer, a student pays a "cohort dividend." (Michalko)

The Newsonomics of Spotified News Subscriptions

Nieman Journalism Lab • 27 February 2014

Symbiosis. The Times of London is partnering with Spotify on a digital subscription bundling offer in an effort to broaden generational exposure; move older readers toward membership-based digital relationships; and build on subscriber loyalty to create new editorial and marketing opportunities. Read on for more on how mature industries can partner with new media to strengthen their staying power in a changing market.

This is a clever strategy that might be a specific instance of a more general model. Given the number of news and entertainment subscriptions that I have I'd be intrigued by a bundling offer. Who is best posed to put forward something really compelling? Amazon and The Washington Post. (Michalko)

Everybody Wants a Netflix for Books

The Scholarly Kitchen • 18 March 2014

D2C—dominate to conquer. Using the Netflix media distribution model to give consumers "a comprehensive and fully up-to-date library for a low monthly price" is an unrealistic goal, says media consultant Joseph Esposito, who notes licensing issues and lag times would derail any serious effort. Read on for Esposito's suggestion on how direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing could possibly work as a win-win for consumers and publishers.

This is another amusing and accurate observational outing from Esposito. He's right about Pandora (how long can it last?). He's also right when he observes that the only way a book offering of this sort can thrive is if it is narrow, deep and self-reinforcing. He suggests some academic disciplines but how about genre fiction where certain publishers own large parts of the landscape? Tor? (Michalko)

How 3D Printers Forge New Art from Old Etchings

New Scientist • 17 March 2014

Something old, something new. Sir John Soane's Museum in London has opened a new exhibit that showcases the 3D printing capabilities of Italian firm Factum Arte, which has transformed architectural details depicted in 18th century Italian etchings into three-dimensional representations. Read on for more on how Factum Arte is using 3D printing to explore "the middle ground between serious restoration and pure fantasy."

The Soane's Museum is one of my favorite London places. This exhibit is a great match for the place and the space. I did not know Factum Arte and the fascinating work they do. Explore their website and enjoy the extraordinary photos of the exhibition and the detailed story of how it was built. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is the BIBFRAME Authority?

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