A Media Insider Talks Silicon Valley

These questions originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answers by Jessica E. Lessin, founder of The Information, on Quora.

Q: What industries should entrepreneurs be looking at in the next decade?

A: Any industry. Seriously. Tech is disrupting everything. Who would have thought that the mattress industry had room for new players (Casper)? But I think there are some criteria to look at. The main one is what do you as an entrepreneur know really well and have an unfair advantage in? I knew the news business, so I saw an opening. I am sure brilliant people in all industries see openings that could lead to big disruptions.

Q: What are some interesting trends in the media business today?

A: The one I keep seeing is what I call the spaghetti business model. Everyone is realizing that the ad model doesn’t work long-term so they are throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks: sponsored content, event, bots, advertising, etc. I think that if you don’t focus, you die.

Other trends: I think the market is bifurcating into the higher end and the lower end. There’s not a lot in the middle. The top-tier publications with focused and valuable products are getting stronger and everyone else is getting a lot weaker.

Q: What are your thoughts on Silicon Valley’s evolution over the last decade?

A: I’ve been out here almost a decade. When I first got here, everything was about Google. Honestly, I had to convince my editors to even let me write about Facebook. It was all about consumer and search and mobile.

These days those same industries and some companies dominate. So in many ways the Valley has become even more consolidated. It’s interesting that the only new platform at scale has been Snapchat, which isn’t even located here.

But I do think we’re poised for another big change. Cars and biotech are going to drive the next big wave of growth in the Valley. But we are only at the very very beginning of that.

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