The invention of the Printing Press in 1439 is currently beating Jesus’ birth in an Intelligent Life online poll on the most important year in history.
With 34 per cent of the votes so far Gutenberg’s press is leading the birth of Jesus (24 per cent), the discovery of DNA (8 per cent), the fall of Nazism (8 per cent) and the beginning of the United States of America (6 per cent).
If you were running the New York Times, what would you do?
[Andreessen] Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offence. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business – shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defence and into playing offence, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.
The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 per cent of your revenue. Then you play offence. And guess what? You’re an internet company.