I wish you’d been given more opportunity to elaborate on your strategy to win. Instead you had to spend most of the Q&A time defending Pressly’s raison d’etre to Dustin Moskovitz et. al. That was unfortunate; deck stacked against you. But you did a nice job staying the high road and giving solid answers to the skeptical questions.
Jeff, I loved your comment about publishers being great at telling stories, and not so great at building technology innovations to deliver those stories (in compelling new ways, with compelling profitability). It’s true. And it’s good, I think, that Pressly is joining a cadre of other players in this same space. Existence of multiple players is proof that the market is ready. And publishers need lots of options right now, especially ones that let them do fast, cheap experiments. Pressly can help them do that.
I suppose controversy-seekers could frame this as “walled garden versus open web, round 2″. That was my very first thought after watching the video. But that isn’t really the case, is it? Neither the iPad/App Store ecosystem nor HTML is going away anytime soon. There will be multiple winners in this market, with multiple technology bets. Consumers will buy many different kinds of devices, and consume content in many different places and ways. It’s probably more accurate to compare Pressly’s space to the blogging services market back when it was just getting going: Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, and so on. Lots of experimentation and diversity, with consolidation down the road.
My biggest takeaway on all this is that Pressly makes a lot of sense from a publisher’s point of view. Publishers are losing sleep over how to follow their audiences to digital devices without abandoning all the assets they hold dear: their brand, destination websites, exclusive content, and UX. And with limited capital and time/runway remaining for technology investment (or investment of any kind) they have to be brutally frugal and thoughtful about what bets they make. Pressly has good answers on the economics (very little cash up front), the technology (more open), the user experience (niiice), and control issues. Clearly The Economist and Toronto Star think so, and I bet many others will reach the same conclusion.
I hope Pressly does really well.
Let me know when I can buy some shares.