During the 8 days of the Passover festival it is forbidden for a Jew to have any “chametz” (refers to bread, grains and leavened products that are not consumed during Passover) in their possession. We throw lots of stuff away, clean like germaphobes with OCD, and seal any cabinets in the kitchen with masking tape that contain chametz products that we didn’t want to toss out. Then we sign a contract with our rabbis to “sell our chametz” in a paper transaction that removes ownership of the products sealed in our houses until the holiday is over, at which time the chametz are transferred back to our possession.
Enter the Internet
My wife usually needs to remind and remind me again to sell the chametz. I usually wait until a day or two before Passover before signing the 1 page simple contract with our rabbi and fulfilling the obligation. Well not this year. Here I am almost a week away and I fulfilled my obligation without ever leaving my home.
My friend Yoni forwarded a link to Kipa.com’s program to sell your chumetz online. The site is in Hebrew, but thanks to Google Translate (or the built in translator on Google Chrome) I could read what it said. Basically, you enter your email address and they send you a verification code. You then enter the verification code, which brings up the web form equivalent of the rabbis contract asking for your name, home address, phone number, and places where chametz can be found. The whole process took me 3-minutes and once finished I received a verification email that my chametz would be “sold” right before the holiday and revert back to me 1-hour after it.
This brilliant use of the Internet is just another reason I love all things online. What are some of the novel things you have found the Internet to do that used to require physical actions?
Just what does it mean when we say that content is being “repurposed”?
In a nutshell repurposing means taking existing content and using in different ways to reach a wider and more varied audience. The focus here is trying to get the most mileage out of the content that companies invest in. Rather than restricting production and distribution to a single product in either print or PDF online, take the whole work or even pieces of it and create an entirely new product to meet a different demand. XML (Extensible Mark Up Language) plays a large part in the ability to be flexible when these opportunities present themselves.
For example, in a recent author discussion about a forth coming book, which surveys topics in American Law for first year law students, the following repurposing opportunities were identified:
- Content Feed to Open Web Projects – Using parts of the book to provide content in practice area primers on the New Attorney Hub, a LexisNexis open-web site that caters to the needs of 3Ls and recent graduates. While there is no revenue attached to such an effort, excerpts can be used to promote the original book, the authors and their projects outside of the Lexis system. Here, the author gets exposure for their projects, the book gets exposure, and the New Attorney Hub gets content.
- Introducing the Content in an Online Menu to the International Market – a book like this, which is not your typical case book, could easily be adapted as part of an International menu on Lexis.com b/c attorneys around the world are always looking for comprehensive and condensed overview material on U.S. Law.
- Creating Forms for Practitioner Use – original commentary or checklists could be extracted into forms that can repackaged to the practitioner market.
- Podcasts of the Book – in the Millennial generation (today’s average law student) everyone wants to multitask and learn how they want to learn. Offering a downloadable podcast of the book which could be created easily by the authors with simple and inexpensive tools. These can even be automated through a service like Odiogo (see my post about this & subscribe to my audiofeed to the right).
- Contribute to Rule of Law Knowledge Banks – there are many sites devoted to the Rule of Law around the world. Often attorneys working to establish or defend this cause do not have the funding to access premium information. Content can be donated to knowledge banks or open web projects like the LexisNexis Rule of Law Resource Center to promote these worthy causes.
The point is this: traditional publishing involves a receipt of content from the author, a period of editing, production of the content into a PDF file, and the publishing of a single book. When a new edition is needed rinse, lather, repeat …
With new technologies we have an opportunity to stretch the life of the same content across platforms and audiences. When it comes to repurpose, we are only constrained by imagination and willingness to be think in different boxes. Opportunities like the ones cited above embody the essence of repurpose. This is not a call for abandoning the current course blindly for wild and unpredictable trends. It means positioning content development to use current resources in different ways to maximize value, while keeping relevant, profitable, and innovative.
It has been a long four days since I left the Holy Land for New York City to attend Legal Tech. The big news of the conference for my company was the introduction of Lexis Microsoft Elmo (or “LMO” as we fondly call it while picturing a fuzzy little red monster). This is an integration of LexisNexis tools to Microsoft programs like Outlook and Word that allows lawyers to search in the context of their documents with the push of a button. Check out my post from the Martindale Blog that was written the day we announced LMO.
One of the main things I did a Legal Tech was capture the “man on the street” perspective about what we were doing. Here are some videos posted on our LexisNexis YouTube page with me interviewing conference goers, keynote speakers, and our own CEO:
Interview with Bruce MacEwan, partner at Adam Smith Esq.
Interview with Mike Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis US Legal Markets
Interview with Jonathan Silverman, Service Executive at Microsoft
Interview with Alex Dilessio, Innovation Lead at LexisNexis
Interview with John Alber, Partner at Bryan Cave
Check out the LexisNexis YouTube channel for all of the videos from Legal Tech.
The hype finally fizzled to reality yesterday when Steve Jobs revealed the iPad to the world.
Check out Howard Greenstein’s prediction, which came the closest I’ve seen in sizing up what this device would be. There were many reactions:
But none as emotionally charged as this one.
As for me, the iPad seems enticing. Read this post from my blog last year and you will see it comes nowhere close to what I envisioned Apple doing. I have heard a range of reasons why people will buy it, my favorite of which is “it’s slick, cool, and sexy.” A sexy iPad. Sounds like a reason to drop $500+ on a device that does less than my iPhone. And yet, like a car crash or an MTV reality show, I just can’t look away.
What about you? Will you buy an iPad? Why?