I spent the early part of the week at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. I can attest that despite all of the bad news in book publishing these days, there are still a lot of inspiring people making great things happen. I’d highly recommend watching the videos. Standouts for me are Corey Doctorow, Jason Fried, Sara Lloyd and Tim O’Reilly.

Biggest take-aways from the week (besides DRM is dead) are:

1) Content should be customizable. The free version, premium version, phone version, etc. can all exist together. Let the customer drive the format and delivery and tell you how they want their content. Listen to your customer. Content needs to travel with a lot of functionality and social potential. Mobile reading is going to explode. Phones are everywhere.

2) Free and paid can co-exist. Don’t get caught in the “nobody will pay” mentality. People are paying for access to information. The internet is not free! People pay for basic service. “Paid is coming back big time.” — Tim O’Reilly We have to reinvent what it means to add value. As American Express says, “Membership has its privileges.”

3) Curation still matters. The job of a publisher is to confer status.

4) The tribalization of business is extremely powerful because it’s letting humans behave the way we were built to behave. Communities done right are self-perpetuating and don’t need ads or marketing. They will recruit on their own, are passionate, and want to be with others.

5) If you have an IT department that can’t make it happen the next day, you’re in trouble.

6) How do you NOT find time to be on Twitter? (Tim O’Reilly)

7) Don’t just make announcements. Talk about issues that matter to you.

8 ) Share what you learn. Be disclosive.

9) Read the Digitalist blog.  I have been a fan, but when I saw Sara Lloyd speak on Manifesto 2.0: What Does the Future Look Like For Publishers, it was a profound experience — not to mention that 8 out of 10 of her top TOC list would have been the same as mine  had I not gone to read her blog before I wrote mine. Now I can add a few others.

10) “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Tim O’Reilly