I just watched a Wallstrip interview with MyTrade.com CEO Andy Swan.
Near the end, Swan says he’s short MySpace, long Facebook, because Facebook listens to users.
I completely endorse listening to users. It’s something newspapers and newspaper.coms have not traditionally done well.
But here’s the thing for newspaper web sites: Which users do you listen to?
If you listen too much to your current users, what sort of false feedback might you ingest?
I mean, your current users are predominately core newspaper users. Their expectations for how a newspaper.com should behave may be mired in the same Packaged Goods Media think that holds back many newsrooms. It’s something less than a virtuous circle.
Whereas the users who can best help you envision the future may not be among your core users.
When you’re Facebook or MyTrade.com, you’re creating new users with new ways of thinking. But when you’re legacy media, you’re dealing with more legacy users.
So how do you know when you’re getting the kind of feedback that will help you grow and build a great business?