Persona-comments-Bill Anderson retired banking CIO
Source: Email received April 22, 1011
"Competitors working together for the betterment of all"; the time for debate is over
Let me preface my comments with a description of my background. I am a retired banking system technologist and operational executive. I spent over 40 years in the back office of some of the largest banks in the country. I have no experience in the news or publishing industry, but what I do have is experience with competitors working together for the betterment of all.
We, in the banking business rely on information systems technology for our very existence and without agreements among ourselves we could not provide our customers with the ability to transact business -- in any part of the world instead of just in their own neighborhoods. We do that by joining together in associations or consortia that administer rules of operation and behavior. The ACH, VISA, MasterCard, Bankwire, International Wire Transfer are just a few of the many networks whose services provide communications technology that allow for the flow of the information required to conduct our business. The systems that manage these networks were all developed by the banks themselves without governmental help or regulation.
Banking is not the only business that relies on cooperation among competitors for effective and efficient operation. The telecommunications business is another example. Local phone companies cooperate with long-lines companies and cell phone companies to manage the flow of traffic. They have comprehensive accounting systems that settle and clear payment information. They compete in the market place, but cooperate in the back office so their customers can use their phone to reach anyone in the world.
Bill Densmore has recognized that the only way for the news industry to survive is to join together and form an association of competitors (the ITA) and develop your own network. I don't mean that you have to buy a lot of expensive equipment and spend hundreds of millions of dollars developing software. Much of what you'll need is already available and relatively easily adaptable for your use. Micro accounting systems used by cell phone companies are very mature and easily adaptable. Clearing and settling systems are well established in the banking system. Inter-operability between web sites is well established.
The challenge facing the news industry is not a technical challenge, nor is it a challenge of a lack of customers. The challenge is facing the fact that no one is going to solve your problem for you. The time for debate is over. Unless you ACT now you will lose the opportunity to determine your destiny. Bill Densmore has painstakingly and eloquently laid out a pathway for you. You need to do this in order to take charge of your destiny: DO IT NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE!