Interviews, Media

New Media and TransparencyAug 09


This week’s guest speaker will be Andrew Cedotal, Director of New Media Strategy at Abrams Research.

This week’s topic:

The recent Twitter/Techcrunch leak controversy has put the issue of transparency in new media and technology companies front and center. Despite the Internet’s supposedly democratizing effect on society at large, it is arguable whether or not this trend is effecting the companies that, for lack of a better term, are “running” the internet.

Is new media itself making new media companies more or less transparent? And, for companies on the leading edge of social innovation, is transparency necessarily a good thing?

Possible avenues of discussion include:

  • New media companies frequenly deride old-model public companies (General Electric, Coca-Cola) as relics of the past…but is there any way that the industry’s relationship with venture capital can make corporate governance into anything other than a smoke-filled room?
  • What effect is cloud document storage having on corporate security issues? And how does this effect corporate cultures, where sharing strategic plans or revenue projections with lower-level employees is just a click away?
  • Even when new media companies books are laid completely open, due diligence hasn’t prevented disasters like Bebo and The Learning Company. Is there any way to make new media businesses truly transparent to non-new-media businesses?
  • Google and Microsoft are both publicly-traded companies, and yet their backroom anti-trust fencing on search has taken on the character of palace intrigue in 15th-century Florence. In an era where the average investor, journalist, or bystander can’t be expected to understand all the issues facing tech conglomerates, how can “real” transparency translate into “effective” transparency?
  • Long ago, new media was supposed to put content distribution back into the hands of the masses, However, Hulu has succeeded wildly with the backing of Fortune 100 media companies, and while the music industry hasn’t come up with a viable alternative themselves, they’ve at least been able to crush opponents like SeeqPod under litigation. Even the Pirate Bay is nominally corporate now! Did crowdsourcing the content revolution really fail, and if so, why?

Official Bio:

Andrew Cedotal is currently designing a content network for Dan Abrams’ Abrams Media, one which will reinvigorate the now-stale medium of blogging, just as sunlight causes toadstools to shrivel, die, and blow away like so many cheap corsages. In this capacity, he is a Contributing Editor at

He attended Yale University, where he double-majored in Hipster Crap and Server-based Gaming. Before that, he was forced to learn QBASIC for “Computers,” the Boy Scout merit badge.

Some readings:

In Our Inbox: Hundreds of Confidential Twitter Documents

Will Twitter Sue TechCrunch?

Twitter Breach Revives Security Issues with Cloud Computing

Mattel Learns Hard Lessons with The Learning Company

Google Argues it Really Isn’t So Big

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