Macworld 2009: Leo Laporte-Note Non-Live Blog (Now Up!)

Leo Laporte of TWiT fame's Macworld 2009 Keynote. Be sure to check out our photo gallery as well. All the highlights after the break!

  • Leo is on stage, using Keynote 09 and the iPhone Keynote remote app!
  • Slide 1: End of the world as we know it, but he didn't mean Macworld!
  • Best thing about Macworld is meeting like-minded people, has to keep going but may be different
  • Media is changing anyway, so maybe this is a good time.
  • Not end of Macworld but end of mainstream mass media.
  • Already his iPhone is asleep, hope that's not a sign - may be to bleeding edge even for him
  • Showing young Leo on slide show, using pseudonym Dan Hayes.
  • Wants to explain he knows old way of doing things.
  • He's seen the light, and wants to explain how great things will be.
  • He gives this speech to old media guys, but he has to lie to them say they can find a way to make it work..
  • Started with Dvorak, Ziff Davis called, and when Microsoft made MSNBC, they wanted to compete with a show called The Site.
  • Too depressing, doesn't want to show us, but has clip of Dvorak demo'ing 286 PC. Pathetic.
  • ZDTV and TechTv gave chance for non-mainstream - different
  • Throw out old model, assume audience is intelligent, enthusiastic.
  • Was Chinese history major in college, likes history, wants to give us some
  • Mass media was coined in 1920 but has always been some. People like to share back to cave paintings back in stone ages.
  • Theater was first mass media, 250,000 people could be seated in Rome, great accustics.
  • Travelling minstrels could reach people.
  • Moveable type/printing press helped but economics were tough, hugely expensive
  • Guttenberg is example of kind of shift we're seeing now
  • TV didn't replace radio, but Leo thinks we now have a greater shift
  • In the beginning, they only printed bibles, just faster, but a generation it took to start doing interesting things - The Price, novels, Luthor's reformation, scientific revolution.
  • Newspapers went broader still, country. Movies go international. True mass media as we know it.
  • TV reaches huge audiences - 2.5 billion watched World Cup
  • Internet blows this all up. Global Audience
  • Mass media = monopoly, only richest could afford to publish/distribute
  • Because it was expensive, you needed a mass-audience
  • If you wanted to broadcast, had to beg someone who owned tower.
  • Early days, anyone could paint on cave wall, play a guitar
  • 1920s, only a few could decide who got voice -- but now the monopoly is shattering
  • High cost meant diversity of voices was mall (last 100 years, not normal)
  • Brains are tribal, understand small groups and communities, talking to each other. We prefer conversation
  • Monopoly disolving, anyone can publish now.
  • On YouTube, anyone does!
  • 1 Billion now have distrobution, voice, chance to put content out
  • Not like 3 anchors of traditional TV who controlled agenda.
  • When Cronkite gave up on Vietnam war, was powerful enough to effect country
  • Cost of content also dropping. Before, to be rock star, had to borrow from studio but never got profit back. TV, radio, same.
  • Big media can't control content or creators now, but could control editorial
  • Doesn't think they'll do a good job, but have to give them something
  • Ultimately, will have to become one of us
  • Diversity changes, narrow band dissolves, we can all create
  • Now we can talk back. Media hates that!
  • Leo did well because he was from Talk Radio where people always talked back.
  • Generally most try to control too much, hang up, control. Play you as instrument. People who call in are fodder
  • But it was closest thing.
  • Audience is turning into communiity, monolog is turning into conversation
  • Back to early days when audience talked back -- most important thing
  • Mac lovers really get this: digital content/Mac empowers creating and distributing
  • A thousand flowers bloom
  • Let's talk about Money -- someone has to pay you
  • One engaged community member is suddenly worth a lot of less-engaged, passive listeners and advertisers are beginning to notice.
  • TWiT can succeed because relatively cheap to make, and advertisers prefer intelligent audience they're engaging.
  • People listening to mass media are very loosely engaged, skip ads, TiVo.
  • Advertisers want people to pay attention. Can't go to audience as pitchman, have to come as member of audience.
  • Markets are conversations, not pitching, not tricking to create need where none exists
  • Advertisers need to come as equal and offer what you might like, ask you to try it
  • Advertisiers are having hard time with this, haven't caught up, only sharp people
  • LONG TAIL! Go Dieter!
  • Right hand side is best sellers who make a LOT of money. The rest make less. The Thin part can be as much as the best sellers. Amazon knows this, can capitalize on it. Same with Google Ads.
  • Is shifting, however. Problem for content creater. Tiny slice is Leo!
  • Aggregators make money, put it togther: Podango, Meevio, put a lot of shows together to get long tail. Didn't work.
  • Isn't what community wants, is disperate communities now. Lots of us now with thin slices.
  • Growing, aggregating by community.
  • TWiT downloads 2-3 million shows per month. Group is growing but not by diversity, but by community of common interest.
  • TechTV didn't understand this, wanted to broaden to get Long Tail, people who don't like technology
  • Leo: are you crazy? Like ESPN doing show for people who hate sports.
  • Should use laser focus!
  • Old media guys can't get head around it, think there's no money in it.
  • TechTV said "Brand is the refuge of the Ignorant", mantra of TechTV.
  • Didn't want smart viewers, who choose on quality not tricks.
  • Old school might be right, new way is wrong. Now assume you are intelligent, interested.
  • NBC boss once came in with 3-piece suit and cowboy boots with Henchmen. Leo and Ziff Davis had 90-page treatment for site.
  • Boss said he really liked it, then cancelled as soon as they could. (Same studio as TechTV).
  • They believe viewers are cattle, afraid of intelligence. TechTV was to avoid word "educational"
  • Leo didn't want to talk to stupid people, doesn't care if audience of 5
  • TWiT was without apology, Geeky as can be.
  • Steve Gibson -- nerdiest fellow he ever met
  • Quinty Venty Latte - 5 shot latte before every show.
  • So enthusiastic, loves getting down to details. Writes everything in Assembler.
  • Leo likes that, kind of guy he wants to put on the air.
  • Doesn't want broad, dumb network.
  • For many people who run tech, it's foreign language, don't want something on air they themselves don't understand.
  • Now he turns down advertisers -- they want engaged audience.
  • Doesn't want ads that tick people because audience is too smart.
  • Radio now changing -- still doesn't understand but knows he's selling out ads.
  • TechTV never got it. Not bitter, but SO many stories.
  • TechTV did create this, Kevin Rose/Rev3, Patrick Norton. Unfortunately, runners were still old media, wanted tall part of tail.
  • TechTV wanted Apple, Microsoft of Screen Savers. NO! Not vendor spots. Okay, how about Cleavage?! Maybe if you have cleavage, more people will watch.
  • TV people listen with sound off, not about content, only looks. Million dollars on Tech Live studio (what put them out of business).
  • Kenny Rogers talking about iPod was when it jumped the shark for Leo.
  • All of a sudden it became cheap, bandwidth, Skype, 30% audience outside US, 60 counties.
  • Bad for advertisers, don't understand multi-national. But are slowly getting it.
  • TWiT and similar audiences are now growing and "best sellers" are shrinking.
  • Now FAT SHOE
  • Getting fatter and fatter, but have to know how to work it and what it means.
  • Starts with bloggers, always leeast expensive form. Now music, which is template for mass music.
  • Jonathan Coulton is example. Sells out venue. Discovered new way of doing it.
  • Builds community, doesn't sell ads, makes money of concerts.
  • Promotors now ask for mailing list, website, community, band has to show they can fill seats.
  • Pointy part of tail shrinks, less platinum artists, more Jonathan Colton.
  • Makes a living, and soon will have platinum artists without record labels.
  • Big blogs like HuffPo doing very well aggregating.
  • Need large community but not too large -- need that niche.
  • Conferences are changes. Now un-conference are most exciting. Everyone can contribute.
  • Can be commenter (not Troll, though they unite commenters in defense/anti-body)
  • Podcasting is kind of in trouble, reached largest number of listeners, not growing, most don't make money.
  • Leo says don't care about money, podcast what you care about, build audince, let chips fall where they may.
  • May not make living but time is coming where you can.
  • Being on Twitter is creating content -- compelled to participate. Facebook the same, don't just read pages.
  • Chat room is a way Leo tries to increase participation, wants to give people as many ways of communicating as possible.
  • Knows it's working because when show ends, chat room keeps going.
  • Evangelists have roll as well.
  • Need to build that fat shoe.
  • Content creators need to understand that they're also consumers.
  • Consumers whant content where, when, and how they want it.
  • TiVo changed TV, podcasts changed when you listent. Play when you want, pause when you want.
  • What's missing is immediacy of community.
  • Real time web is important.
  • Beetles on Ed Sullivan. Everyone could talk about it next day. Lost via asynchronus on-demand consumption.
  • But we want it all. That's what makes real-time web exciting.
  • That's why Leo streams video, wants you to be real time.
  • Bottom line, consumers want content.
  • People spending more than ever before. Plenty of connsumption.
  • Great news for content creators.
  • Economy will make it harder to make money right now, but "good thing" is that it's hastening the end of old media.
  • No print versions any more. If you want it -- you'll print it out.
  • Forcing capital-intesive media to find new ways.
  • Huge talent pools. CNN sorta gets this.
  • What will happen for CNN is two things left: aggregate "our" content and editorialize
  • Doesn't give CNN monopoly any more.
  • You could do knitting or hard drive network -- more narrow is better.
  • Deeper the niche the better.
  • Problem is, when CNN was created, it was cheap compared to mass media, but now expensive compared to new media. Costs much more.
  • Audience sizes for new media are now comparable, but better audience.
  • People think its all about twitter, facebook, etc. but the tools will change.
  • Friendster failed. Podcasting or blogging may not do well, but those are just tools.
  • The way is towards active, highly engaged participants.
  • Isn't that what we want?
  • When socienty is disrupted, people withdraw. When industrialized, people turned to alcohol. Now mass media caused people to retreat to sitcoms -- same as Gin in London. Can't handle it. Too much.
  • But we're now emerging and learning to deal with wash of info, love participating.
  • Era of Mass Media was Mass Delusion. Crazy, money and economics of content. 100 years.
  • Like JR in shower, just a dream. Now we're waking up.
  • Burdon now is to participate. Will be tough times, but not a bad thing. Hasten death of old media, rise of new media.
  • What's your role?
  • Finding community of common interest is extrenely satisfying.
  • Why watch Gilligan when you can create.
  • Apple gave us great tools. Feels bad for Windows people but they went to CES...
  • Windows people have to beat their head against wall to make 1 movie
  • Mac users lucky, can easily express themselves.
  • Won't make a million dollars selling out to Yahoo!
  • Find personal thing, what expresses you? World is waiting.
  • Exciting time!
  • So much more fun on Live-Cast and chat room.
  • Leo invites us to do this.
  • We're now all a part of it.
  • On behalf of old media, Leo gives up. Hopes we enjoy new media.
  • END.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Macworld 2009: Leo Laporte-Note Non-Live Blog (Now Up!)


Wow, that was heavy (and not easy to read in its current state). It has a sprinkling of Marshall McLuhan for the 21st century. I'd love to see a full video of the Leo-note so I can get a greater sense of how much passion he's speaking with. Good job though! That couldn't have been easy to keep up with. :p

I also would like to see this entire talk. New media and old media are definitely changing, as are the people who need to monitor it, and report to their clients...

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Its like you read my mind! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you can do with some % to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.