I am anything but a baseball fan. It is too slow a sport and still seems that players are juiced for my tastes. But, I’ve always admired and loved Derek Jeter. In an era of athletes where Alex Rodriguez was the norm, Jeter stood out for his humility, workman-like attitude and team-above all else professionalism. So, when he announced he was going to do something in journalism, I for one, wasn’t skeptical and truly believed he would do something significant. And having seen what he launched with The Players Tribune, I wasn't surprised at all that it was truly amazing.
Of course, he has a long way to go, but if you look at the longevity of his career, and the relentless focus and commitment he brought to his baseball life, he will undoubtedly be successful in anything he pursues. I also love the fact that he picked something as old school as traditional media for his first venture outside sports.
What is he up to? Nothing short of groundbreaking. What he’s doing, to me, is the final affirmation that traditional media is dead. Look around at the success of Vice, BuzzFeed and Grantland in the midst of the failure of so many traditional media outlets (too numerous to mention here) and you will see it's clear as day that the old guard is dead.
What Jeter discovered is you don't need traditional media vehicles to tell your story. Self-publishing in the consumer world via Facebook or Twitter, or in the business world via LinkedIn and my little engine that could site, The News Funnel, has forever changed the landscape. The old guard’s cost structure, dependence on traditional forms of advertising and stubborn desire to hold onto print when the entire word has moved on to mobile are just a few of the reasons.
Back to Jeter: The whole world today is about platforms. Need a room? There's Airbnb. Want to watch a movie or TV show? There's Netflix. Need a ride? There's Uber. These sites don't actually create anything; they just connect people to things. And look what's happening on the content side. Hollywood is getting crushed and YouTube is hosting killer content from amateurs.