Cory Doctcorow makes my brain hurt.
But in a good way. A very good way. That's Cory after Friday night's Free Culture @ NYU talk: State of the Copyfight 2007: Looking up, not out of the woods yet.
The fast-talking, and even faster thinking Cory Doctorow is co-editor of Boing Boing, otherwise known as the world's most popular blog. (The stats tell all.)
He's also a sci-fi writer and activist for our rights, when it comes to the world of copyright and DRM. Here's a video of him talking up DRM and self-determination, courtesy of Loic Le Meur (and Google Video).
I sat next to Cory at a conference today. It was like playing
basketball next to Michael Jordan. Cory was looking at more than 30
screens a minute. He was bouncing from his mail to his calendar to a
travel site and then back. His fingers were a blur as he processed
inbound mail, visiting more than a dozen sites in the amount of time it
took for my neck to cramp up. I'm very fast, but Cory is in a different
league entirely. Rereading this, I can see I'm not doing it justice. I
wish I had a video...
Side note: Interestingly enough, I was one of the people Cory was emailing from the conference, which we all three (plus about 297 others) attended. In the email, Cory agreed to be Waxxi's next guest, on an interactive podcast in February. More over here, shortly. In the meantime, check out his new short story collection, Overclocked.
On giving it away:Chris Anderson, Wired magazine's editor-in-chief and author of The Long Tail (we take a liking to that title), informed us that the average book sells 500 copies a year, and just two (one, two) sold one million copies or more last year. He also said that “giving away free electronic versions of a book is the smart way to distribute content.” Stellar fellow speakers that day, Seth Godin, Cory Doctorow and Tim O'Reilly concurred.
Cory Doctorow might just be the poster child for this strategy (with Seth at a close second). Mind you, most of the free books are indeed e-books, but that is the entire point. Said Cory, "Electronic books are social, and social activity around a book is a key way to selling books."
The time for (big) change is now. For an incredibly conservative, slow-to-adapt, traditional industry, this is no small feat. Tim O'Reilly advised publishers: "We're in an era of tremendous change, and you need to embrace this change." It sounds simplistic, but it is certainly not simple. The (traditional) publishing industry is kicking and screaming while fighting this change. We think they should take a look at media companies who are not only getting it, but doing something about it.
The prize for best closer yesterday goes to Seth. To a backdrop of an image of the galaxy, he said, (with great enthusiasm, and sense of urgency) "In five years you're either going to be the center of the universe, or you're going to be ... Pluto."
Side note: For the second time in as many days, I chatted with CNET's Caroline McCarthy (a brilliant person and woman-in-the-know). Here's her coverage of the day.