by David Rosenbaum

Changes in Media and Audiences

Nov 01, 20063 mins
Relationship Building

The other day I was chatting with Patricia Seybold, CEO of the eponymous Seybold Group and author of the new book Outside Innovation (to read our review, go to, and she stressed how the smart enterprise is figuring out not only how to use the Web to get closer to customers but how to use it to involve them in the design of products and even processes. Customers today, Seybold says, expect to influence the relationship between buyer and seller and are willing to pitch in to make sure that whatever they’re consuming—be it a product or a service or a publication (like, say, CIO)—comes to them in a form and manner that works for them. If the enterprise can’t provide that product or service (or publication) in the flavor the customer wants—or worse, if it doesn’t know what flavor the customer wants—that enterprise is out of luck and, pretty soon, out of business.

In the media world, involving readers and viewers in the creation of the product has enabled almost-instant access to some incredibly compelling content at some amazing economies of scale. “Citizen journalists,” for example, armed with digital cameras, are now filing on-the-spot news reports from the sites of natural disasters—and from the hometown soccer game.

Here at CIO, we continue to explore new ways to leverage our readers’ considerable expertise and invite them into our editorial process. After all, our readers represent the best IT minds of our generation. So you will see more of your own voice and expertise on our website and in print, while you continue to benefit from top-flight journalism done by professionals skilled in collecting, assembling, analyzing and presenting information in a manner both useful and entertaining. Case in point: “Cheap Frills,” Page 60, by Senior Editor Stephanie Overby.

Overby’s story is a classic deep dive narrative into the startup of Virgin America, a new airline attempting to develop a fresh model for success in a famously troubled industry. She tells the story of Virgin’s creation, introduces us to its cast of executive characters (the cost-conscious CIO; the COO who’s experienced the industry’s turbulent ups and downs for the past 30 years), analyzes industry trends, picks the brains of analysts and reports on the efforts of the competition to keep the new airline grounded. This is good old-fashioned feature writing by a pro who, by speaking with the players, knows the issues, the technology and the key business drivers.

We can’t be relevant, we won’t be successful, without the active participation of our readers. And the journalistic skills we at CIO bring to the table will make that relationship work.

Or, as Bogey says to Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

David Rosenbaum, Managing