The Washington Post publication “Express”, intended for Washington DC subway riders and given away free of charge, ended publication yesterday. (See DC’s free commuter paper ‘Express’ ends run with shot at smart phones.)
The final front page displayed a large headline:
“Hope you enjoy your stinkin’ phones”
My first thought when I saw this headline was that it reminded me of those shopping mall kiosk sales people who physically step in front of you to try to get you to stop and buy something, but then if you walk around them they cuss you out and spit at you as you go on about your business. And in my mind I’m thinking – quite sincerely – “well I was going to stop by on my way back to my car if I can get through the Apple store with time to spare before I have to get to work … but not now.”
Technology doesn’t compete with you, it merely enables competition. And if your customers are happy, they won’t leave. Radio still survives.
When Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post (owner of Express) in 2013 the company was in trouble. I was with some Post employees then and one said something like “good – we can keep doing what we’re doing” because “he won’t care that we’re losing money.”
Really? OK, Maybe, Bezos is, after all, a billionaire. And he had been willing to lose money with Amazon for years – but for an objective. What’s the objective with the Post? Did he have one? Maybe he would be willing to lose money indefinitely …
Not with the Post’s Express.