Exaggerations and Perversions

Valla Vakili (Small Demons)
Manage Astor Ballroom
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Huge swathes of the discussion about the “future of publishing” focus on format, product and process—what books will look like, what workflows will look like, what organizational structures will look like. How technology makes all this different.

Much of this is reminiscent of Ted Levitt’s seminal paper on “Marketing Myopia,” where an overemphasis on product narrows future growth opportunities. If format—the known quantity and its changing nature—matters less than we think, where do we look for growth? I’ll argue that we can look instead to customer behavior, specifically their exaggerations and perversions, for ways forward.

Drawing on my experience in developing Small Demons, I’ll describe how we pushed ourselves beyond format and focused instead on the obsessions that culture produces. Drawing on a range of practices starting with Cosplay, I’ll argue that the journey to the future of the book leads right back to the story itself.

Photo of Valla Vakili

Valla Vakili

Small Demons

Valla is the CEO and co-founder of Small Demons. Prior to Small Demons he held several positions at Yahoo!, most recently VP Product with the Entertainment Group in Los Angeles. Valla is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and on leave from doctoral studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford.

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • COPIA
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

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