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From the get go?

[ 2011-06-24 17:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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From the get go?Reader question:

Please explain “get-go” in this sentence: “This is why we conduct a detailed interview with all incoming clients because we want to position ourselves to win from the get go.”

My comments:

“From the get go” is the phrase in question.

“Get go” is an American expression meaning “the beginning” and it is believed that this colloquialism was first popularized among black communities as a variation from the phrase “get going”.

Which is more or less obvious, of course.

There are many ways to say “Let’s begin” of course, such as “Let’s go”, “Let’s get started”, or simply “Move” or “Go.”

“Let’s get going” is another one, as we often say: “Alright, everyone’s clear with their job. Let’s do it. No more wasting time. Come on. Let’s get going!”

Hence, “from the get go” means simply from the beginning, or from the very start.

At any rate, remember “get go” as short for “get going”. It won’t hurt.

This, by the way, reminds me of another similar American expression, “from the word go”, which, in fact, has the exact the same origin. “Go” is the word we shout out aloud to get, say, a running race going. Therefore, the word “go” becomes the signal for something to get started.

Hence the expression “from the word go”, also meaning from the very beginning.

To sum up: Both “from the get go” and “from the word go” are simple, informal expressions that are American in origin, and both are more or less widely used.

Here are recent media examples:

1. from the word go:

After months of anticipation, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch finally showed off The Daily, his attempt to bring the daily newspaper to the iPad, as a finished product yesterday in New York City.

In the end, we have a multimedia magazine that's not all that interesting.

We’ve been hearing about this thing for so long, in some ways it was bound to be a disappointment. Robert McGarvey wrote an Internet Evolution blog on the matter back in November, suggesting it might save journalism. I’m here to tell you, it’s probably not going to do that.

First, the details: The Daily, as the name suggests, is a daily iPad newspaper. It costs 99 cents a week, or $40 for a year....

What strikes me immediately is that The Daily looks like a conventional news magazine. I don’t know what I was expecting -- perhaps something new and more exciting -- but what I got was essentially a multimedia iPad version of Time.

Sure, the multimedia elements are nice, but I can highly recommend The Guardian's Eyewitness or the Life Explorer apps for some really dazzling photo journalism -- both of which are free, by the way. And the fact that The Daily includes video? Well, of course it includes video.

The problem here as I see it is the model. Murdoch apparently thinks that we still want a daily newspaper from a single voice, and that we are willing to pay for it. What he doesn't understand is that today's readers want to read the content they want from a variety of sources. The Flipboard app, for instance, creates a magazine-like experience on the fly from the sources you choose -- and it’s free.

Unfortunately for News Corp, as VentureBeat reports, it’s already invested an astonishing $30 million just to launch this thing, and it will cost another $500,000 a week to keep it going. While Murdoch says the right things about taking the presses and the trucks out of the equation to produce a leaner operation, I’m left wondering how many subscribers and advertisers it will take to make the initial investment back, never mind make it profitable -- especially with Apple taking half of the subscription revenues.

What really has to be troubling for the folks involved in this project is the short leash that Murdoch has given his experimental projects in the past. And make no mistake, this is one of his experiments. Writing on PaidContent, Evan Rudowski, co-founder of hosted Website platform provider SubHub, told the tale of iGuide, a 1995 News Corp. project he worked on with a similar mission to take the news business to the Web.

The parallels between the two projects are hard to miss, and it didn’t take long for Murdoch to conclude he was throwing good money after bad. Rudowski writes: “With no partner to help pay the freight at iGuide, Murdoch soon lost his resolve and shut things down - ironically right at the beginning of the dot-com bubble.”

Rudowski wonders if The Daily will suffer a similar fate.

The surly Murdoch surely understands the news business, even as he struggles to “get” the Internet, the Web, and a new generation of tablets. But like a new restaurant owner, he also understands he has to sell a certain number of meals to make this work, and even he has to wonder how he's going to get the economy of scale to make that happen.

Unfortunately for Murdoch and News Corp., The Daily is doomed from the get-go because it’s a 20th-century model in a 21st-century package -- and what the old newspaper man in Murdoch can’t see is that nobody wants that anymore.

- News Corp’s The Daily is doomed, by Ron Miller, InternetRevolution.com, February 3, 2011.

2. from the word go:

The former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion accused ministers of adopting a “shoot first, aim later” policy towards cutting the arts, singling out Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Arts minister Ed Vaizey.

“Jeremy Hunt... from the word go has seemed more determined to get into George Osborne’s good books as a macho money saver and quango-burner than to serve his sector well,” he said in the annual Romanes lecture at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.

“Ed Vaizey... does seem to have a genuine love of the arts but no ideas about how to defend them in difficult times.” He added that he could not recall “a single remark has ever been uttered about the arts and humanities by our Prime Minister and his deputy”.

The result was wholesale closure of libraries, the axeing of bodies like the Film Council and the museum, Libraries and Archives Council and the slashing of funds to the Arts Council (£118 million had been cut from its budget). In addition, music services to schools had been cut by local authorities and Education Secretary Michael Gove was introducing a new English Baccalaureate certificate for which a\n arts GCSE would not qualify.

“Really, for the last several months, hardly a day has passed without some new blow being struck against the values and activities and institutions of which we’re thinking today,” he added.

Cuts to university arts and humanities budgets meant that higher education institutions were now focussing on “practical skills, economic gain and the commercialisation of intellectual life instead of cherishing and teaching ‘universal knowledge’”.

“We don’t want our reputation in the world to depend any more on the speed with which we go to war or the eagerness with which we privilege bankers,” Sir Andrew added.

“We want instead to have a reputation for caring about the good quality of our citizens’ lives and to affirm that the arts and the humanities are the bedrock of that good quality.”

On the closure of libraries, he added: “To see this happening now when we are meant to be having a conversation about the Big Society - frankly, it almost defies belief.

“Whatever we decide that phrase ‘Big Society’ means, we can understand immediately how libraries would contribute to its value.

“The same phrase I just used comes to mind again: Shoot first, aim later.”

Sir Andrew praised academics campaigning for Oxford University’s senate to pass a “no confidence” motion of the policies of Universities Minister David Willetts.

“All power to you,” he said, “and all power to others involved in similar efforts, Tell national and local government what is valuable and why.”

The Romanes lecture is an annual event. It was first delivered by William Gladstone in 1892.

- 'Shoot first' policy over arts funding, Independent.co.uk, June 3, 2011.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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