Book Short: It Sounds Like it Should be About Monkeys, Doesn’t It? The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson, is a must-read for anyone in the Internet publishing or marketing business. There’s been so much written about it in the blogosphere already that I feel a little lame and “me too” for adding my $0.02, but I finally had a chance to get to it last week, and it was fantastic. The premise is that the collapsing production, distribution, and marketing costs of the Internet for certain types of products — mostly media at this point — have extended the traditional curve of available products and purchased products almost indefinitely so that it has, in statistical terms, a really long tail….
(With full credit to my colleague Mike Mayor for the title) Today’s announcement that Toys R Us was probably going to sell its retail toys business to focus on the better performing and higher margin and less Wal-Mart-threatened Babies R Us business made me a little sad. It’s really no different than the way Sandy Weill turned American Can into Primerica asset management. Or how Jack Welch sold off GE’s small appliance business and built the company into a financial services powerhouse. Companies transform themselves all the time in search of better earnings and higher multiples. But although it’s “just another” one of those corporate evolutions, I can’t help the notalgiac reflections on running up and down the aisles of…