“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting” (aka. WPNI) Crew Just Keeps On Innovating

Posted by direwolff on December 6, 2006

WPNI was one of the two corporate investors in Tribe Networks until about 4 months ago. They were eager to learn more about the various phenomena happening online, like social networks and online classifieds, of which Tribe participated in both of these worlds. They were also one of the first newspaper sites that began experimenting with placing the Technorati widget at the bottom of articles for those readers who wanted to explore the conversation in the blogosphere. They were also among the pioneering newspaper sites that experimented with their own blogs, and while they may have paid a price for this, they learned a lot. More recently, they’ve entered into a relationship with Pluck to receive syndicated content from the blogosphere. This is obviously a company that has shown itself to be nimble, while understanding the reality of the market they’re in. They had one of the older reader demographics in the newspaper industry of their physical publication, but they also knew that they needed to address that issue or perish online. Today, I find their articles frequently referred, nearly as much if not more frequently for the subjects I follow than the NY Times, and far more than the closed Wall Street Journal.

Well, in their latest explorations of new business models, they’re entering the blog ad network space with their WPNI Blogroll program. They’re really understanding their role and strengths, and how that combination can enable them to deliver new services to constituencies that didn’t exist before, but can really use their help today. I find this move by WPNI to be on par innovation-wise with the following corporate moves:

  • Amazon’s recent announcements of their S3 and EC2 cloud-based services
  • Fed-Ex turning itself into a logistics service provider from just a package delivery company
  • Nokia converting itself from a rubber company to leading mobile telephone developer

These were significant tectonic shifts requiring these companies to reinvent themselves and really understand the essence of their strengths and weaknesses in order to make those changes. WPNI’s recognition of its place in the marketplace is a credit to their management team’s ability to step back to look ahead. Nice to see another big company innovating quietly in such significant ways in the midst of all of these start-ups getting the lime light.

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2 Responses to “ (aka. WPNI) Crew Just Keeps On Innovating”

  1. Wow, what a flattering write up. Thanks so much.

    If you don’t mind, I will link back to you from the Blogroll Blog.


  2. p-air said

    Don’t thank me, it’s your team that is pulling this off. Congrats on having the guts to execute on this.

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