The panel was called Information Wants to be Expensive, but the panelists represented businesses with price points lower than or equal to their competitors. In fact, Gawker's Gaby Darbyshire oversees a company reeking havoc with media giants by offering content to users for free. The title might have been a misnomer, but the opinions presented during the discussion at Cipriani 42nd Street were relevant to those working to perfect their business model.
"Look at your business and try to find a way to make money off of change," was the advice of Jim Fowler, the CEO of Jigsaw Data Corporation. His company offers traditional data list services, but also offers a proprietary system through which their clients are able to get updated data lists daily. He used the difference between Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia as an example.
"My nine-year-old son is going to grow up and not even know what Encyclopedia Britannica is unless he reads about it on Wikipedia," said Fowler.
Darbyshire added that the businesses in her industry have to cut costs. "It is not sustainable to have these incredibly huge newsrooms where everyone reports on the same facts," she said.
The third panelist, CEO Cheryl Milone of Article One Partners, added that businesses must engage their customers and ask for their opinions. "Ask your customers what they want. Have a deep desire to listen and learn from them," she said. Milone added that Encyclopedia Britannica might have had a chance against Wikipedia if they had reached out to their diminishing customer base and adjusted their business based on that feedback. Then again, maybe not.