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Publishers on Push: Greg Knauss
Apr 23, 1997 :: Greg Knauss

Technology is the new religion. While the high priests and cloistered monks of the Digital Revolution yammer on endlessly about the cabala the general public sits patiently in the pews waiting for the heaven that's been promised.

In other words, who cares? To tout any method of distribution as the One True God is neither heretical or an epiphany, it's just silly. Customer's don't give a damn. If you were to sit the average techno-agnostic Mark, Matthew or Luke down in front of his shiny new Sony MediaMan, he's not gonna care if it's push, pull, yank, shove or dribble, he's going to care if it's easy to use, if it meets his expectations, if it's natural. He's going to care if it does what he wants.

Of course, push has a place in making that happen. There are forms of information that fit nicely into being pushed. Just like there are other forms of information that work better when they're pulled.

But, after opening the box and pulling off the Styrofoam, the vast majority of the population of the planet won't care. They'll just want the thing to go together and plug into the wall and turn on. Some of them will plow through the manual and figure out that you can configure it and make the headline updating automatic and shut off the annoying Fun Fact of the Day, but in a world where most VCR time reads 12:00, the religious debates over delivery options seem pretty, um, distant.

Push or pull? Both, and more. Whatever works. The public -- the ones who all this nonsense is supposedly for, right? -- wants convenience, simplicity and reliability, not technical details. How the miracles are accomplished is left to mysterious ways. They just want their loaves and fishes.

Greg's semi-regular musings are available on the newly relaunched An Entirely Other Day



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