Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

We’re now more than a publishing company

09/06/2011

Books are dead?

Sigh. No, they’re not.

But we’re no longer a publisher. At least not just a publisher. Let me explain.

Books themselves have never been the point. It’s what’s in them—in our case, expertise that changes how you do UX work—that’s always been more important than the format itself. Great expertise can be delivered in a variety of ways: not just books, but classes, consulting, and an exploding number of newer formats.

So, after years of thought, planning, and fretting, I’m proud to announce that Rosenfeld Media is no longer a publisher. In fact, I’m not sure what to call us. All I can tell you is what we’re doing: building and curating an ecosystem of user experience expertise.

At its center are the experts—at current count, 49—who can help you research and design better. Some are our own books’ authors, some have written excellent books for other publishers, and some are simply too busy to have written a book at all. What distinguishes them? Their combination of smarts and experience is simply without equal.

Our role in this ecosystem is to provide the infrastructure to get their expertise to you, in the formats that make most sense to you. You already know about our books (by the way, there are 14 more in the pipeline), and we’ll continue producing our series of public workshops in at least six cities annually. What’s new are these two lines of business:

  1. Consulting: High-value, short bursts of “teach a man to fish” consulting on dozens of UX-related topics. Bring in a guru for a couple days of advising, coaching, facilitating, showing, and mentoring, rather than extensive, long-term deliverables-based gigs. Think “brain shop” rather than “body shop”.
  2. On-site training: Our experts teach, at the moment, 42 full-day UX courses; it’s really an incredible catalog. Remember that great class you sat in on at the such-and-such conference? Now you can have it taught to your whole team—at your own location.

The upshot? You now have access to stellar UX expertise and education—all from a single source and a brand that, I hope, you’ve come to value. Now you can work directly with an expert whose work you’ve admired for a long time. Or have a critical gap in your team’s knowledge plugged. Or mix and match—work with us to pull together an interdisciplinary board of design advisors to meet with your team every quarter. Or a line-up for an in-house UX conference.

Please let me know if you have other suggestions. After all, this is, from what I can tell, an untested approach, and one that rubs up against two traditional, entrenched business models: large agency consulting (firmly of the 20th century), and book publishing (arguably stuck in the 19th century). Wouldn’t it be swell to disrupt them both at once?

So wish us luck! And, as always, please let me know what you think.