Last week, on an “all hands” call with our entire organization (about 650 individuals, about 2/3rds direct FTE employees, and the balance contingent workers = AKA Contractors) there was a slide where they made a big deal about multiple business streams, and how we were going to build a unified portal to deliver these streams to customers.

One of the major initiatives was the concept of “syndication”. Historically, we have built our content from the ground up, and served it to customers in exchange for money (as in, this is our bread-and-butter value proposition). Naturally, this is limited to what we can actually produce, and we have lots of ideas that fall to the edit room floor, because we just can’t do it all. The idea was to pen agreements with some independent actors to pull their content in to augment our offers, and share the wealth of our channel to customers.

Business 101 stuff. Sell more stuff, to more people, for more money. Easy peasy.

The Dude was a bit shocked that this was discussed, as he knows that some of the independent creators are a bit wonky to work with, at least at his level. But he presumed that before our Grande Poobah would announce that we were going down this path, that we had at least some agreements signed, or at a minimum, a MOU (memorandum of understanding) in place.

Then, just two days later, on a Friday afternoon jaw session with the Dude’s direct boss it came out that this whole thread of Syndication was already removed from the plan. No color. No details. But The Dude can surmise that calls with the potential partners where we pitched it to them, and the answer was a uniform “Go blank yourself”.

n.b. the Dude doesn’t know that is what happened, but it probably isn’t too far off the mark.

A variety of reasons, but in short, there are many other larger, established aggregators for this content, with well honed business models, and exceptional audience reach, and economics. We are upstarts, niche-y, and no natural constituency.

So, this initiative was announced on Wednesday, and then shot down/retired by Friday.

Damn, that is very fast rejection. I guess this is what they mean by “failing fast”.

The Dude has to laugh. They had already identified and staffed a team to run this arm of the business. All for naught.

Strategy is hard kids, doing it by the seat of your pants, and without digging into your teams’ historical experience and knowledge, instead listening to your coterie of “yes-men” means you are going to have a bad time…