Thursday, June 9, 2011

Google's Doodle and in-house development

This morning's Google Doogle, probably one of their best yet, reminds me of a conversation I once had with a newspaper manager a few years ago.
I was speaking with someone who was in charge of all things digital at a major Midwestern newspaper discussing online video. We were offering an opportunity to add customized video content to their website and the woman in charge had some questions about what they would need to do on their side of things.

Somewhere in the conversation she said "you know, we don't want to become programmers here." At first I let the comment go by. Later, when it was apparent that the newspaper had no interest in online video, claiming that they wouldn't be able to see ads for the video, I had to say what was on my mind.

I asked the newspaper manager if they had people on staff who knew anything about digital photography. Of course, she answered. And did they have people on staff who knew how to create charts and graphs it illustrate news stories. Again, of course they did. So why would they be against employing people who could help them develop new digital products? The answer was that that was not what newspapering was about, that they could outsource that activity.

It's an odd attitude some publishers have concerning programming and developing. Yet when the industry transitioned from hot type to cold type to desktop publishing the publishing executives of those eras saw the importance of having those skills in house.

For the record, the Google Doodle above is a tribute to Les Paul, the guitarist, songwriter and, more famously, a pioneer in the development of the solid body electric guitar.

YouTube is quickly filling up with examples of people using the Doodle to create music videos. Here is a little Beethoven: