Monday, March 8, 2010

Burn the Boats

TechCrunch profiled Marc Andreessen talking about how media companies are handling the digital disruption of the Internet. In particular, Andreessen was remarking on print media such as newspapers and magazines, and his longstanding recommendation that they should shut down their print editions and embrace the Web wholeheartedly. “You gotta burn the boats,” he told TechCrunch, “you gotta commit.” From there he went with a Cortes analogy, dirty colonizer that he was (Cortes not Andreessen per se). Cortes excerpt:

Legend has it that when Cortes landed in Mexico in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown. Marc Andreessen has the same advice for old media companies: “Burn the boats.”

There's one more excerpt that seems important to remember, lest fetishizing runs amok. It is,
Andreessen points out, that the iPad will have a “fantastic browser.” No matter how many iPads the Apple sells, the Web will always be the bigger market. “There are 2 billion people on the Web,” he says. “The iPad will be a huge success if it sells 5 million units.”

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