More than 20,000 people are expected to attend BIO 2007, the world's largest biotech conference.
Stephen Heuser, a reporter for the Globe, covers biotechnology, medical devices, and the life-science industry.
Christopher Rowland , Globe reporter, covers the healthcare economy, including doctors and hospitals, insurance, and research.
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Thursday, September 28, 2006
For a guy who's never been a journalist, Roger McNamee sure has a lot of ideas about what we're doing wrong. Pretty interesting ideas, too.
McNamee is managing director of Elevation Partners, the venture capital firm that recently teamed up with U2 lead singer Bono to purchase a hefty chunk of business magazine publisher Forbes Inc. After a couple of decades investing in makers of computer chips and hard drives, what explains McNamee's newfound interest in media? His conviction that traditional media are screwing up big time, and he can do better.
During a discussion today at the MIT Emerging Technologies conference, McNamee said "right now newspapers are behaving as if their real audience is the retail advertisers in their community, and their real job is to deliver coupons to the home."
Instead, media exist to serve readers, a fact obscured by the traditional newspaper model. McNamee thinks the rise of the Web enables a far more reader-centric approach, one that he's putting to the test at the online business news service Forbes.com.
So what makes Forbes.com so different from its dead-tree rivals? McNamee didn't offer many details, though he noted that about 90 percent of the site's content is unique, not just lifted from the print edition.
Among media critics, Forbes.com has earned mixed reviews. Claims that it's the top online business site have come under fire after rating agency comScore decided it had been overestimating the site's readership. And some have complained about an excess of fluffy features with little value to serious business folk. Still, how can you resist articles about the most expensive luxury cars or best topless beaches?
In the long run, said McNamee, Forbes.com and other Internet-based media will prevail through compiling vast amounts of knowledge about each reader, and then delivering exactly the sort of information that a particular person would want to know. For instance, if you're a real estate investor, you shouldn't be bombarded with the latest news on semiconductor stocks. Pointing at members of the audience, McNamee said that news services must learn how to deliver "the one thing you, or you, or you need to know right now."
So now we have to be mindreaders. This job's getting tougher by the day.