Gonzo innovation

Anyone else out there excited for football this Sunday? Sure, I wish the Giants were playing, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen this year. However, I’m pleased to have legitimate rooting interests in both games. One of my college roommates grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, right next to Green Bay, so when the Giants are out, I’m willing to get on the Packer bandwagon. And in the AFC, I just root for whoever’s playing against the Patriots, of course…

Anyway, in reading up on the match-ups this weekend, especially Packers/Seahawks, I stumbled on this article, which, despite the title, talks about how basketball, baseball, and football are going to see some wildly inventive coaching in the next few years, spurred on by advances in statistics and Moneyball-style analysis. A lot of food for thought here, especially if the Patriots make it past the Colts—as much as I hate Belichick, the man is nothing if not inventive. The trick he pulled last week with the four O-line set seems like “gonzo” coaching personified.

Meanwhile, I had drinks last night with a client who was in town for the Digital Book World conference, which focused heavily on data and statistics. And from his description of the presentations, I think there might be a parallel to what’s going on in sports. After all, both sports and publishing at some level start with talent. And then the team/publishing house develops the talent of the athlete/writer, which these days typically involves data analysis, in order to generate wins/book sales.

So, does that mean we’re in for some gonzo innovation on the publishing side? Well, time will tell, though one could argue the PRH merger was pretty gonzo in its audacity. I’ll certainly be watching to see if publishers start pulling some Belichick-style stunts in the coming months—or not, especially if Tom Brady loses yet another Super Bowl. One can only hope…

One Response to Gonzo innovation

  1. Okay…so let’s brainstorm. What would be gonzo innovation or moneyball for publishing? The trick in moneyball is to get to first, right, because everything else comes out of getting to first base first?

    So the real trick in publishing is to get regular folks talking about your book, right? I’ve noticed over the past couple of years a few things have generated some buzz. For instance, J.K. Rowling trying to publish under a pseudonym. Then her pseudonym got outted (mysteriously!) right before the book came out. For that matter, the whole “Interview” story about “oh, we got hacked, now we’re cancelling the movie release, oh, whoops, we uncancelled it the day of, go figure” always struck me as at least partially calculated. Or, remember when Stephen Colbert got involved in the Amazon-Hachette fight and suddenly he recommended everyone buy CALIFORNIA from Hachette?

    So are we going to start seeing more of this P.T. Barnum stuff? Let leak on the internet some story about chicanery within the industry, and the poor little book you’re representing/selling happens to be in the middle, and suddenly that book is on everyone’s lips? I doubt such trickery would be sustainable, and it might be an even bigger issue if it got out (or even more exposure?) but it could probably light a few fires.

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