The Niche is You

There must be something in the air, Seth Godin picked up the ‘who’s the audience when everyone publishes?’ argument.

Seth is of course right – the cost of the production is quickly reaching zero. Fantastic blog software like WordPress is free – just the cost of implementation. Other hosted services are free. Once a blog is up, it’s one step away from offering audio or video. Hurrah.

I’m unclear about what Seth is asking here:

So there’s more, but is there better?

Better than what? Than mass-media? Than what doesn’t exist today?

From my perspective, having more voices is better than having fewer. Knowing that everyone I have a personal relationship with can share video, audio, or text with me (and everyone else in their circle) easily is better than not. I’m recalling Dan Gilmor‘s quote,

“Everyone will be famous for 15 people.”

A while back, Eric Larson from the Ericast asked what his niche was. I responded, the niche was him. If people want to hear what he has to say – there’s only one place to go.

Coincidentally, I think Godin proves this point in his last paragraph.

“It didn’t matter if it was the best movie Walt [Disney] ever made, because it was the only one right now.”

Replace “Walt” with your nephew, with your best friend, your sister, with Seth Godin, Dave Slusher, Garrick Van Buren, or anyone you’d like to hear from regularly. It doesn’t matter if anything from them is the best ever (on any scale) it’s the only thing from them.

In the choice between an expensive, high production-value, special-effects laden, movie and one from someone I have a personal relationship with like Chuck Olsen, I’ll pick Chuck every time. If I’m looking for tips on choosing a good bottle of wine, I’ll choose Tim Elliott over Wine Spectator every time.

The bar is a lot higher – for movie studios, broadcast radio, television networks, and newspaper companies. For now they’re competing with your nephew, your best friend, your sister, and everyone else that doesn’t have to make millions of dollars in profit to continue – just something to say and people that care about them.

“We are people with hearts, lives, families, aspirations, hope and something to say. That’s by far the more interesting story, and it has legs, it’s going somewhere, unlike the tail, which is a vestige of times gone by, when you could count on people to be idiotic couch potatoes, ready to be harvested by advertisers with their intrusive and mindless ‘messages.'” – Dave Winer

So, yes – More is Better.