Lean Media book update – early July

By | July 8, 2016

I have been relatively quiet on the Lean Media website. Behind the scenes, however, I have been making progress with the Lean Media book. There are a few major updates to share, but I also want to reassure readers that the project is continuing and I expect to have more materials to post (including new draft chapters) in the weeks to come. And, as the book itself is a Lean Media project, your feedback is key in helping me focus on the things that matter, so please leave comments!

The updates include changes to the framework as well as project updates. I will start with the framework first, because I believe readers (and media creators) will find that most interesting.

Differences between Lean Media, Lean Startup, and Lean Manufacturing

As I moved forward with the manuscript, I really took a hard look at the differences between Lean Media and other types of lean thinking in business—namely, Lean Manufacturing and Lean Startup. I always regarded Lean Startup as the spark that led to Lean Media, and there are some commonalities between all three (such as the focus on reducing waste) but there are also some major differences. This has been fleshed out in a draft chapter and will be posted on the blog soon.

The three principles of Lean Media

Prior to my presentation at the Harvard Extension School Alumni Innovation Symposium, I worked on a quick slide presentation. I saw how Eric Ries had created five “Lean Startup Principles” in his book The Lean Startup, and thought that something similar was needed for Lean Media. In the presentation I listed two — reducing waste and getting closer to audiences. But I felt the list was really missing something critical. Reducing waste and getting closer to audiences in order to do what, or in order to serve what purpose? Then it hit me as I was working on one of the draft chapters. Lean Media is all about creativity that leads to great media which in turn elicits a variety intangible reactions from audiences. The third principle that is derived from the first two has to be “focusing creativity.” (I will have a lot more to say about this in future chapters).

Lean Media used to improve a financial news website

I talked with a practitioner who is using Lean Media techniques to develop a major financial news website. He agreed to a brief email interview, the results of which I will share on the blog and in the book.

Lean Media in the IBPA Independent!

Earlier this week a new Lean Media overview was published in IBPA Independent, the monthly magazine of the Independent Book Publishers Association (disclosure: I am an IBPA board member). The focus was naturally on books, and I have some good examples to share. I will provide a link to the article if and when it appears online.

IBPA Independent Lean Media article

Here are the project updates:

  • The book is no longer “Lean Media In 30 Minutes.” I wanted to move away from the “how-to” series and write something that’s potentially a lot deeper and not tied to the other books I have written.
  • Changing the title also gives me the freedom to find an external publisher. I was more enthusiastic about the possibilities of working with another publisher in the spring, although I have also heard from other writers—including Jonathan Blum and Kwame Alexander—that most traditional publishers move at a glacial pace, adding delays of years. Someone on a forum I read even said it can take 5 years to get a book published the traditional way, which is simply ridiculous. Lean Media needs to get out in book form within a year, tops.
  • The working title of the book is now “Lean Media 1.0,” but I am not completely wed to the idea. While it allows me to revise the book in a meaningful way a few years down the road in response to feedback, it also obliges me to write “Lean Media 2.0” a few years down the road that is significantly different than the first one. I already know one topic I should write about in the next edition—the business of media—but it is so hard to tackle. I want to give information and ideas that people can use, but in the current media environment no guru can promise sure-fire business success. So, while I have media creation covered pretty well in the current draft, I am not sure I will be able to have a follow-up edition.
  • I am working with Zach Gajewski, a New York-based book editor. Zach has a great deal of experience working with business authors, and has a lot of ideas about how to improve the manuscript. After getting his first set of comments back on the proposed table of contents, I realized how important it is to have a strong editor who can help develop the ideas.

When will the book be done? I want to get through the first very rough draft by the end of August, and I think I am on the right track. Then it will be time to do some serious revisions (based on my editor’s feedback, as well as feedback from blog readers and professionals in the field).

Stay tuned, and please keep commenting!

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