Week Four Reading Questions: Organizational Change

Describe, briefly, one reason organizational change is challenging.

Give an example of dysfunctional or at least “less optimal” forms of leadership and how they can negatively affect an organization’s ability to innovate.

Anything else you found interesting or relevant, feel free to share!

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Cookeville Tennesee Startup Scene

By Lori Shull

For a small town in a relatively isolated region of Tennessee, the entrepreneurial landscape in Cookeville is more dynamic than might be expected, though it is hardly cutting-edge.

Probably in large part due to the presence of an engineering-focused university with a strong business school, the environment seems to be becoming more friendly to people who want to start a business of their own.

 A change in leadership at Tennessee Tech University has resulted in a greater focus on creativity and the entrepreneurial mindset. Though the university for years has had a Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which offers free and confidential business counseling and seminars on social media marketing, entrepreneurship and start-up finances, it also is building more partnerships with area incubators. The positions of vice president of research and economic development was recently created and the first person to hold the position is actively working to bring new industry to the area, especially by using his connections in India and Birmingham, Alabama.

The university also recently opened a Center for Healthcare Informatics, which is developing new ways to analyze and find connections in healthcare data and to create and spin-off new businesses. One, Cumberland Health Analytics, is already up and running. The university is also in the process of setting up a Rural Policy Institute, which may have an interest in rural economic development.

Outside of the university, the community has other initiatives, some of which have been around for several years, to help bring business back to Cookeville and the surrounding region.

CityScape is a downtown redevelopment initiative that gives grants to businesses in the downtown Cookeville area and helps to keep the streets attractive and friendly through a variety of annual events that double as fundraisers, including installing street lamps and parking signs. It has been around since the 1990s, and in the three years I have lived in Cookeville, I have seen many vacant storefronts reopen in the area CityScape is most active.

The BizFoundry is a start-up incubator that opened within the past two years. It partners with a variety of organizations, including the university, to offer a short-term, intensive boot camp to help would-be entrepreneurs write a solid business plan and build a decent product. It also has a co-working space to allow entrepreneurs to work in a space that is lower cost than setting up their own office space immediately. This is an idea that is taking off nationally.

There is also an organization called Leadership Putnam, which invites people who are gaining prominence in the small town to a series of seminars. It seems to be mostly a networking opportunity.

Many of the entrepreneurs in Cookeville are part of the service industry: there are many florists, salons, restaurants, boutiques and small gyms, especially with a focus on Cross Fit. There are also some engineering and architecture firms and medical offices. There do not seem to be many that are focused on technology.

The media environment in Cookeville is fairly weak and though there are a few entrepreneurs active, they do not seem to be highly profitable and are focused on using the old media model. There are two or three magazines that opened within the last few years. One is based on the culture of the region and I know that several on its small staff are actively looking for other jobs. The other publishes two biannual magazines based on wedding planning and raising a family in the area. Those two publications are run by a photographer and graphic design company and used primarily as a marketing tool. The publications are available free and is supported exclusively by advertising.

Cookeville, especially its chamber of commerce and the university, seem to be more focused on bringing industry to the region. Cookeville has a long industrial past, and when the factories left 15-20 years ago, it took a toll on the region. With the creation of a business park, the region seems committed to bringing that past back to life. Recently, TTI Floor Care, which makes vacuums, announced an expansion to the Cookeville plant that is forecasted to create more than 200 jobs. Academy Sports and Outdoors also announced this summer that it would bring a distribution center to the park, creating more than 700 jobs in the course of the next eight to 10 years.

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Legacy Media Case Study Assignment Due 9/16

Choose a traditional media organization (PR firm, news organization, ad agency, etc.). What has this organization’s response been to the changing media landscape? Do some research, and if possible (STRONGLY recommended), interview somebody from that organization, and ask them what lessons they have learned as they work to adapt.  What kinds of opportunities did they take…or miss…. to grow audience or build new revenue? What specific challenges did they face? This does not have to be comprehensive, but will hopefully get you thinking.  Due next class and be prepared to discuss.

Email this to me as a Word Doc. Please feel free, and indeed you are encouraged, to embed links as relevant.

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Week Three Readings

Easy question for this week since you are working on the legacy media case studies. Just tell me one thing you found interesting or relevant about the readings for this week.



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Assignment: Survey Your Entrepreneurial Landscape

For next week, do a little research on the entrepreneurial “scene” in your community. You can search the web, make some phone calls, and/or see what kinds of info your local library might have. What kinds of resources are available in your community to support entrepreneurship? Is the entrepreneurial community in your town known for anything in particular? Do they regularly host events, offer opportunities to pitch investors, etc? Any examples of especially successful startups? Write up a brief blog post about what you learned to share with the class.

You can email these to me and I will post them on the blog as their own posts. Makes it easier to read. 

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Questions on Readings Week Two 9/2

Please answer the following questions in a comment on this post before our next class on 9/8:

1. As succinctly as you can, describe your key takeaway from Paul Graham’s piece on how to get startup ideas.

2. What do you think about Clay Shirky’s argument about the new news environment? Do you agree?

3. Describe a way in which you might use design thinking techniques in your current or future work

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Class Reminders Week One August 26

Thanks for a good first day of class! Holler at me if you have questions.
To do before class next week: 
1. Watch Page One movie. This is a tale of disruption in one news organization (New York Times) but some of the lessons apply beyond journalism/news.  As noted in class, it is available via Netflix, Hulu, hard copies in Meeman 300 if you are in Memphis, and possibly other places such as your local library. 
2. Respond to the questions in this blog post in a comment on the post.
3. Start thinking. What is your best media business idea? Hint: Think about a problem you could solve or a pain you could cure. You don’t have to DO anything with this yet. Just marinate on it a bit. 
4. Send me a short bio via email that I can post on the class blog. Also send me your Twitter handle with this so I can link to it with the bio.  
5. Join the class Facebook group
6. I don’t have specific quota or requirements for this, but please feel free to post articles, thoughts, questions, etc. on the Facebook group or on Twitter using the hashtag #jpreneur.
7. Finish readings for week one and do readings for week two. 


Response to Readings Week One: Journalism and Disruption

Please respond to the following questions in a comment on this post. Length is not as important as THOUGHTFULNESS.  This week’s questions are pretty easy – mostly just asking you to reflect on what you have read or heard thus far.

1)Describe, briefly, one key takeaway you got from the Tow Center report on Post Industrial Journalism. What did you find most interesting or most important? Yes, you can skim over the report. Be sure you are not just repeating one of your classmate’s takeaways (incentive to post early). Hint: Here’s a list of my own takeaways, if that gives you any ideas. Be specific.

2)This is a review question, so if were paying attention in class, it should be pretty easy. Of course, you can use the readings too. Name one way in which media has been disrupted by technology…e.g. how did Google disrupt the New York Times? How did Apple disrupt the music industry? Be specific.

3)After watching Page One, describe one way in which The New York Times has faced either negative consequences OR opportunity from disruption.

Book publishing, disrupted

by Amelia Ables

Given the rise of  e-book sales, it’s interesting to see what’s going on with the major book publishers. Analyst firm PwC estimates that e-book sales will reach $8.2 billion by 2017.

This shows that not only are people using e-books, but that they will more than likely continue to choose them over traditional paper books. “The advantages of e-books are clear,” says New York Times writer Moshin Hamid. “E-books are immediate. While traveling…I can bring along several volumes, weightless and indeed without volume…” Hamid says.

This ease of access shows that books are easier to obtain than ever before, considering that readers can effortlessly download a book onto their e-reader of choice. The challenge that book publishers and brick-and-mortar bookstores face is how to compete in the digital marketplace.

Amazon has done a lot to disrupt the book publishing industry. The greatest way it did, of course, was with the Kindle, which is the best-selling e-reader out there. Furthermore, while book-publishing companies need their best sellers to offset their less successful books, Amazon does not. This ties in with the idea of the long tail. Chris Anderson states that best sellers are not the only books that make money, but that the “misses” make money too. “And because there are so many more of them, that money can add up quickly to a huge new market,” Anderson explains. E-readers give customers more opportunities to happen upon these “misses” or more obscure books that they otherwise would not know about. Anderson’s example of this is Rhapsody adding tracks to its library and each of these tracks finding an audience somewhere.

This same concept can be applied to why Amazon does not need best sellers to offset all the non-best sellers out there.

Non e-book publishers have to worry about things such as distribution and printing costs, which results in e-readers being cheaper than physical books. Another thing Amazon does that greatly affects the brick-and-mortar stores is their price check app. Customers can scan the price of a book in a bookstore and find it cheaper on Amazon’s site. Amazon even decided to take on the Big Six publishers in 2011 by creating a general-interest imprint.

How do the brick-and-mortar stores react to this? Many refuse to carry the titles that Amazon publishes. This is true of Barnes and Noble and of many independent stores. When Amazon created their general-interest imprint, these stores chose not to stock some of the titles, which resulted in the books flopping. That was one victory for other publishers and for physical bookstores. However, the article “How Amazon is disrupting the book business” explains that Amazon customers don’t necessarily browse the site for new book titles, printed or e-book versions. This is mostly done in physical bookstores, after which consumers will purchase the titles through Amazon on their e-reader. But what happens if physical bookstores cease to exist because of digital books? This causes worry that all book sales, physical and digital copies, will drop significantly.

Barnes and Noble came up with a response to Kindle, which was to create Nook. The Nook failed to compete in the realm of e-readers.  Brain Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, attributed its failure to Barnes and Noble not illustrating the full value of the Nook. Apple and Amazon advertised their tablets not only as readers, but also as browsers, movie streamers, etc., while the Nook was only advertised as a reader. Furthermore, Sozzi states the Nook did not have a place because people saw the Kindle as a less expensive iPad, leaving the Nook “with no foundation to stand on to speak to consumer.,”

In fact, Nook hardware is no longer being made, and they are instead focusing on Nook apps for other types of tablets. Kindle, and Amazon, won this category.

One thing that the Big Six publishers did to combat the e-book problem is work with Apple to create a new model in order to allow them to remain competitive with Amazon. Essentially, they created a scheme that would allow them to set the price everywhere. Amazon eventually gave in and accepted the plan, but the publishers and Apple were sued for collusion by the DOJ, allowing Amazon and Kindle to come out on top.

Another thing publishers have to worry about is that authors, especially big ones with already established careers, will leave them and begin to self-publish. But not just well-known authors are taking this route. Hugh Howey did this with his series Wool after he decided he didn’t want to take on an agent. He self-published and his series became wildly successful on Amazon, both in digital and physical form.

Two publishers, Random House and Penguin, had to merge in order to “double down on the digital publishing industry,” states Seth Fiegerman in an article on the merger.

Even though Random House alone was the largest book publishing company, they said, along with Penguin, that they did not see as much success as they would have liked in the e-book area. Their response to the shifting of the book industry was to come together in order to cut costs, but with the book industry still in flux, only time will tell.

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How iTunes Shaped the Music Industry

by Dominique Williams

To some, iTunes was a great element of the digital era. And it really was. The iTunes music store was a catalyst for many new things such as phones, music players, and even cars, but what it really affected was the music artist and industry. Music was transformed from  cassettes, vinyl, and disks to a single entity that you can carry anywhere and everywhere. This did, however affect the music industry. From April 2003, when iTunes music store first opened, music sales dropped from $11.8 billion to $7.1 billion in 2013 (CNN Money). Singles began to be purchased instead of full albums through iTunes. Due to this change, music label ownership has dropped, and today there are more independent artists.

Musical artists are now finding new ways to get their music to their audience without a label because they are desperate for hits to make a profit. More artists now than ever are starting a new movement to work without a label and have creative freedom, but also they have to find new ways of distributing their music. Many have gone the digital route, but they also use mix tapes or EP’s (extended play single), which are like a feelers they send out before releasing an LP’s or long play album. This helps them be more in tune with the audience and  more persona,l and they can do this purely digitally so it costs them less money than if they were with a traditional big label. This also makes it so they don’t have to pay for as much for production of physical copies. Most artists only make physical copies during a tour for merchandise table purposes.

The biggest example of this I’ve seen recently is artists like Mackelemore and Ryan Lewis. People think that with the album The Heist, he just showed up on the rap scene, but that isn’t true. Macklemore released his first mixtape at 15, and he has obviously grown as an artist, but even during the growth he had to decide which route to take: traditional or the emerging indie route. He chose indie. This took 12 years, five mix tapes, many failed label meetings (which he even discusses in his lyrics on the current album) to get to the album success he has now, without a label. He used media like Twitter and Facebook to get a following and played small gigs to create buzz. This buzz led him and Ryan Lewis to 1,269,000 in album sales by January 2014. This shows that even though digital distribution and marketing  may have hurt the music industry,  it has helped artist like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis keep their creativity and make a profit. Yes, they did have to go through a bigger company for physical album distribution, but everyone has to work the system to their favor during the rise to fame.

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