You’re selling the wrong thing

Hugh McGuire’s latest article on HuffingtonPost, Porn Knows What It’s For — Do You? points out that traditional businesses like newspapers and music are looking at their function in the world wrong. This is a great read.

It seems to me the porn business, one of the most profitable businesses in the Universe, gets this in a way no one else does. Because the porn biz understands exactly what it is for:

Pornographers don’t sell pornography; they provide orgasms.

Looking at it that way, they don’t seem to care much about how they do it — they’ll just find ways to give people the orgasms however people want them given. Dirty postcards, magazines, porno theatres, VHS and Betamax, phone sex, online photos, online videos, chat lines, webcams, cybersex and God knows what else. You don’t hear the porn business whining about Intellectual Property and illegal downloads, and consumers as thieves, because they don’t have time: they’re too busy trying to give the world what it seems to want, more orgasms.

So, stepping out of the peepshow and back to the respectable world, why are newspapers, for instance, having such a hard time? I think it’s because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what they do.

The value of a newspaper is not that it gives me information; the value of a newspaper is how it selects information – what it puts in and what it leaves out.