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The Long Tail Does Not Apply to Dead Trees

| Thursday January 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

deadtree.jpegThe Long Tail is one of the most interesting business concepts to come out of recent years – stating that in many markets there is more to gain from selling “less of more”. But that’s got nothing to do with this post. Chris Anderson, the concept’s originator, has an otherwise brilliant blog which seems to have woefully blundered last week. Chris proposes that the print magazine business is less carbon intensive than publishing online. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to suspect there’s no way this could be true, but there are indeed enough variables to keep a calculator busy for a while if you really wanted to do a comparison. And I won’t belabor it here – take a look at his post to see the depth, or lack therof, that was considered, then look at the comments.
Everyone makes some bad assumptions from time to time, but the universal de-bunking in the comments makes me really happy. Many people in business use less-than thorough thinking to make decisions about their environmental footprint (among other things). If one of the leading thinkers around can do this, imagine how common it is.


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  • Shannon Arvizu

    Whoa….I can’t believe how short-sighted that article was. By only looking at tree consumption/production, Anderson completely missed the carbon intensity of print production, distribution, and recycling. Someone needs to buy him a copy of “Cradle to Cradle.”