Joseph Pew and Latour's Third Position

Dave Weinberger has a live blog up today from Google's Chief Technology Advocate Michael T. Jones. Jones quotes Joseph Pew (1946): “Tell the truth and trust the people.” A quick search for the quote led me to the Pew history page, where it is accompanied by another quote by another member of the Pew family:

“No subversive forces can ever conquer a nation that has not first been conquered by ‘subversive inactivity’ on the part of the citizenry, who have failed in their civic duty and in service to their country.”

Another interesting point reported by Weinberger- "The [Pew] site shows that since 1980, the viewership of the evening news in the US has halved. Broadcasters ask where the audience went and how to get them back, which is the wrong question, he says; they went away by choice and you can’t force them back."

Rather than attempts to force them back (such as Rupert Murdoch's pay-for-access approach), Weinberger notes Jones's bullets:

How to solve the great problems of the publishing industry? 1. Please users. 2. Please customers. (Advertisers are the customers.) 3. Ask the right questions. 4. Accept change. 5. Embrace failure. 6. See the essence. Be sure you’re solving the right problem.

In some ways, I'll always remember Mxrk's take on this--just make it easier for people to pay. I'd add to that, only make us pay when we want to. If its good enough, then enough of us will want to. But, for that, you need to trust the people.


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