The intention was not to write about my previous employer (the one I wrote about here) but I couldn’t help but smile when I received a Google alert about Caxtons’ most recent effort to catch up with the competition.
The alert was about a web designer who is sour because he was not approached to do the company’s website. Caxtons hired an Australian company with offices in South Africa to design and implement their web presence. The Caxtons/Aussie test effort is at http://lowveld.womf.com/
Now, what gives me great pleasure is that I was fired because I questioned the master (and his disciples) although the excuse was that they could do better without me. (We’ll have to look at the ABC stats for the facts). In any case, the website that was done under my direction is at www.nmgroup.co.za and it is still going although many of the applications we implemented are not used any longer or have been removed. Despite being neglected it is still a much, much better site than what the Aussies are doing for Caxtons.
I suppose that is what happens when ignorant people who manage by flavour of the month rather than by principle, take on news delivery in the 21st century.
They obviously haven’t heard of RSS, web2.0, blogs or any of the other social media that is available. They also obviously have no idea of the debate raging in their industry about news delivery, the future of news, the way journalism will be practised in future, the fact that the traditional press do not own the news any longer and what should happen with the 5w’s and H in the new circumstances.
Bruce Sturgeon, chief honcho of Caxton’s local newspapers and the motivating force behind the Aussie involvement, would do better if he talked to knowledgeable South Africans like Walter Pike, Mark Bloomfield, and especially Kate Elphick. There are many others, but Sturgeon is not known for listening to good advice, so I won’t give a more comprehensive list.
But, I do have empathy for the editors who cannot speak their minds for fear of losing their jobs, although they know that the new initiative is not going to make them more competitive in future. The better informed editors are probably embarrassed by the initiative, but no-one dare say anything.
The lessons to be learned from this are:
* the boss only knows best when he knows best, not because he is the boss, as I wrote before;
* the only way employees can be proud of their managers, is when the managers stay informed about their industry;
* in the 21st century, thanks to the Web, mistakes receive much wider attention because it enjoys global exposure;
* this means that there is a greater responsibility on managers to stay on top of their trade;
* there are still managers who think they can survive in the 21st century by using the solutions of the 20th century and
* uninformed managers in big companies create opportunities for entrepreneurs in start-ups.