Trying to find the right euphemistic language for the commercial opportunities opened up by new business models is a challenge. So the positive connotations of the so called “sharing” economy of tech marketplaces can often be contrasted with the withering contempt with which digital entrepreneurs talk of so called “ lifestyle “ businesses. We do get it. One is a magnet for high stakes investment and, crucially, scaleable. The other is defined by the desire of, perhaps, one or two individuals to make just enough money so they can retire and walk their dog along the beach, occasionally checking their phones when signals allow.
It is all a bit too black and white, isn’t it?
In our experience, there are plenty of pure play tech companies merely succeeding in negotiating investment bingo (if you include the magic words mobile/crowd-funding/marketplace/freemium/data/platform in your ten slide deck) and lots of seemingly analogue 20th century businesses expanding rapidly, but who may have taken five or more years to prove their particular concept by doing good, recommendable work and start making profits. The media eco-systems are rich with opportunities to experiment with different models. Publishing is a business with language as its core currency. We need to choose our words carefully to help everyone understand what really lies beneath received descriptive wisdoms. Digital companies can win big, but just because you raise a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re worth a lot of money. And more traditional businesses may get trampled underfoot by the power of an open, transactional platform. But small companies can grow and survive whatever their genesis if they are built on quality, value and a justifiable reputation for solving real problems.