Start Up Blog

Comedians = Entrepreneurs

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 8, 2012

HBO released a great chat forum with terrific comedians called ‘Talking Funny’. It features the rock star line up of Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais. It is incredibly entertaining and funny, but that’s not why I am posting about it. I’m posting about it because it has within it some are some timeless messages for entrepreneurs.

These comedians manage to disagree on pretty much everything they discuss. What it takes to be successful, who they are doing it for (themselves or the the audience) and whether or not swearing is a good or bad thing while delivering their product. It’s clear that they’ve all carved very different paths that lead to their ultimate success, but they all arrived regardless. While they can all agree they need to be able to ‘sell tickets’ to be successful, the methods they embrace differ greatly. It’s another superb reminder for startups that there is more than one way to do it.  We can all do it at different life stages too. Jerry started young, while Ricky started late. I also appreciated how honest and human their assessments of life are in this session – all wearing their superstitions and worries on their sleeve.

It’s clear that no matter what we do, our job is to listen to and share as many ideas as possible, and find a shtick that works for us. Enjoy the lessons and the laughs.


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Jerry goes web first

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 26, 2012

Most Seinfeld fans are in raptures about the new series by Jerry SeinfeldComedians in cars getting coffee.

It’s so good on so many levels. But it’s not the just humour that is worth commenting on, it’s the way the series has been presented to the market place. It has been launched on it’s own website comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com and hosted by video sharing website Crackle.com (which is owned by Sony). It’s a classic example of the strength of personal branding (admittedly there is possibly non bigger than Jerry) and the hacker approach the web brings to those with a brand strong enough to self publish. Going direct to fans not only enables one maintain creative integrity and control, but invents all sorts of monetization possibilities.

At this stage I can’t see where the financial win is for Jerry or Crackle (Crackle is free with little evidence of advertising?), while the deal between the 2 parties is also unclear. One thing for sure, is that this model is one we are going to see far more often – big stars and micro entrepreneurs going direct to market – to create the art and projects they want to create. Another comedian who did a great job of this approach was Louis CK who also decided to sell tickets to his fans direct from his website. This all reminds me of one of the great visionary talks from Garry V who predicted this a few years ago.

Smart brands and people are now going straight the web. It’s not about asking how we can ‘also use the web’ but it is a simple web first or maybe even web only mentality. Controlling our own distribution channels matters more than ever. The fact is it works better for most people to do business directly and it allows fans and content creators (or sellers) to have the direct relationship they’ve always wanted.

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