Stock and flow

Really crystal clear metaphor and insight on real-time vs. more thoughtful media, and how each depend on each other.

“There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the forest. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three-thousand tooth­picks a day. Easy. Too easy.

But I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:

Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the con tent you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.

I feel like flow is ascen dant these days, for obvi ous reasons—but we neglect stock at our own peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul.

(…) I feel like we all got really good at flow, really fast. But flow is ephemeral. Stock sticks around. Stock is capital. Stock is protein.

And the real magic trick in 2010 is to put them both together. To keep the ball bounc ing with your flow—to main tain that open chan nel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the back ground. Sacrifice neither. It’s the hybrid strategy.”

Read more at Snarkmarket, one of my new favs.

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