Saturday, November 27, 2010

Miami International Book Fair

The Miami International Book Fair is a huge event that sprawls taking up four city blocks. Elayne Pines who host a radio show called "The Book Report" was conducting interviews with authors all during the day. She lead us to building one of Miami Dade College where she would conduct her interviews on the second floor. Terry was her assistant for the day. I was left on my own to wander the booths and sketch. The fair was in part sponsored by the Mexico Tourist Information Association. In the center of the sketch there is a Red Mariachi Clown who wandered through the crowd. Later that day, Salman Rushdie, the well known author of Satanic Verses, was walking in the same intersection towards the authors lounge in building one. Wide eyed fans approached him, letting him know how his writings had affected their lives. Since Elayne wanted to interview him, we ended up becoming part of his entourage following him into the building.

After the sketch was finished we went to an authors panel discussion on "The Facebook Effect." David Kirkpatrick has been writing about Facebook since it began as a college meeting site. He pointed out that this is the only company to go from 0 to 600 thousand users in 6.5 years. He pointed out inaccuracies in the recent movie. The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, did not form the site after loosing a girlfriend, he had a girlfriend the whole time. More importantly David was highly impressed by Mark and he felt Mark was inaccurately portrayed as an asshole. Marks friend didn't walk away from the company empty handed but became an accidental billionaire.

By next year FB should have a billion users. Zuckerberg doesn't focus his energies on advertising or marketing, he hires people who do. Instead, all his energy goes into making immediate improvements to the program. This process of making immediate improvements and changing to meet new demands is what is making Facebook an unstoppable force. Another author, Dale Lamanga told hon he built a multi-million dollar business by simply selling tweezers. He stressed the importance of delegating responsibilities and empowering workers. He pointed out how important it is to focus on three things consistently, product, sales and management.

The third author, Larry Kramer discussed the idea of convergence. How all forms of media are now available on one platform. The iPad makes it possible for children to learn in new ways, a book might have a picture of a ball and when touched, the word ball appears and the audio plays. Newspapers that try to only promote the printed product fail if they do not also put their best content online. Consumers are in total control of where and when they will read and watch content. For content creators who embrace the new trends this is a very exciting time to market work in new and limitless ways.