Adapt or die, the sequel (Adapt or die harder?)

Sarah O'Keefe / Analysis3 Comments

Artist's rendition of a comet hitting Earth

Back in 2013, I used the phrase content velocity in several posts. These posts also had a certain doomsday theme, as I compared the rise of digital workflows in publishing to the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The main point was this:

The impact of digital publishing is that content creators must stop operating as a cottage industry or in an artisanal bubble. We no longer have a margin for error in this new world.

Artist's rendition of a comet hitting EarthFour years later, the need for speed is basically accepted, and the hot topic for debate is how to make it happen. New, light-weight tools are popping up, which can work well for smaller organizations. But scalability, as always, is difficult. How do you collaborate across time zones and cultures? What benefits do software systems bring to the editorial function? Are the trade-offs from automated formatting acceptable?

One area where we still need to do a lot of work is in localization workflows. Too many organizations are still accepting lengthy delays in localization. Adolfo Hernandez, the CEO of SDL, addresses this issue in a recent Globally Speaking podcast.

Most of our discussions are now focused on how to create rich content that we can integrate with the product itself, which I’m pleased to see was the conclusion in 2013:

Intelligent content helps us solve the velocity problem by making the content itself richer and by making it possible to connect the content with the product.

What are your thoughts? Are we making progress in content velocity?

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

3 Comments on “Adapt or die, the sequel (Adapt or die harder?)”

  1. The term “content velocity” reminded me of “Unsafe at any Speed”, the book and the general idea. I would claim that unstructured content usually is “unsafe”.

  2. I think another side of content velocity is the writer/engineer ratio. Then it’s not just a matter of cranking up the velocity, but also of managing increased complexity. Modern tools do help with that, as long as you have the time and ability to capture/code the complexity in the tool processes. Authoring content is increasingly like coding software. You have to manage dependencies, filter output for different channels, integrate with different build processes… It’s all information management in the end. We can probably learn a lot from how software coding tackles similar problems.

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