Most Seinfeld fans are in raptures about the new series by Jerry Seinfeld – Comedians 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.
Changing someones opinion is one of the hardest things to do in business. Our world views are very often entrenched and shaped over many years. A consistent improvement in products or service over many years can often get the job done. But this is a long game. Every now and again someone manages to do it a couple of minutes. I have recently had one such moment personally with an advertisement. Watch this below and then I’ll bare my soul to you…
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this, but before I saw this advertisement I had zero interest in the Paralympics. I honestly felt as though I was compelled to respect them. As though it was evil not to like the event or even care about it. But I didn’t care at all.
Fast forward 1 minute 30 seconds and I not only want to watch them this year, but have a new found level of respect and interest. It’s another great example of how we no longer buy what people do, but why they do it.
Taylorism defined our world for the best part of the past 100 years. Even in marketing realms. During the mass media era, we could use tested methods to go to market with predictable success – so long as we had access to the right resources.
Rapid change and fragmentation is the new normal. While we are half way through planning, someone else will arrive and do it different, cheaper, better and in a way we never quite expected. Both in terms of what they build and how they spread the word.
Our mindset when it comes to startups and business (isn’t everyone in business a startup now?) should be fluid and philosophical. It’s time to drop the template and best practice six sigma bull crap.
It is very hard for a best practice to exist when something has never been done before.
So I was true to my word and turned off Foxtel in my home. Instead I now have a Sony web enabled TV, and an Apple TV. Both of which do not have any on going monthly charges, but movies and TV shows can be purchased on demand – pay for what you use, not to keep a ‘network’ afloat – just the way I like it.
But the truth is that this TV set up is very labour intensive. It’s not as seamless as cable TV is. Firstly, the usability is not great. We all agree IPTV has a way to go to solve the usability problem (just like smart phones did). Maybe it will be the domain of smart entrepreneurs who develop apps that cut across all web enabled TV’s to give a more seamless, yet personalised viewing experience? If someone out there plans to do it – here’s what it needs:
So here’s the things it really needs:
- Smart phone enabled control pads / remotes.
- Aggregation sites which curate content from places like Youtube and other video sites to give a ‘network style experience’.
- Curation of longer videos on the web – videos that run for less than 20 minutes are annoying.
- History pattern suggested shows to view – genius style.
- Geo located news & viewing experiences.
- Full access to all studios output, not just manufacturer based deals.
Just like web search has become. The TV needs to be agnostic about where the content comes from and just deliver what people want. Once this happens, TV will never be the same again.
* On a side note. Our house now has about 90% of it’s viewing time allocated to Youtube. Full episodes of TV shows, documentaries, music video and kids shows are all available and free here. We use the Apple TV and the iPhone as the remote. it works very well.
Here’s 3 cool videos that have landed on my desk top that are worth sharing for different reasons.
1. A great advertisement which I’m putting in the anti-social media category. Taking a simple human truth that is top of mind for many of us as we blindly forge ahead into the world of big brother. I really do feel like we might see a lot of people moving against a digital public life soon. Is this the start?
2. Another more subtle advertisement from Quiksilver. The thing a like about this is that it moves deeply into the mind of the surfer. It unlock how emotionally attached to surfing we are. And for those who have never been inside a tube – it looks very similar to the visual in the film below.
3. Is of the art of presenting to an audience. It is the late Steve Jobs who knew how to use theatre to sell. Here he demonstrates the first ever laptop with wifi way back in 1999.
Guys – this link was made private by the Arts council while they get other stuff ready – they promise me it will be available shortly and I will advise.
Here’s a talk I did for the Arts Australia Council Marketing Conference. It’s kinda long – around 30 minutes, but it might have a few useful ideas for my readers in the entrepreneurial and marketing space.
(I apologise for making up the word ‘decomplexify’ during the talk. My mouth was moving faster than my brain at that stage)
I came across this terrific piece of film where the founder of Advertising Agency Wieden+Kennedy – Dan Wieden spoke on the future of TV. He has a smart point of view on “The New TV Landscape” and the opportunities it presents in business.
Besides the fact that it is a great micro lesson, for me it’s another reminder at how terrific the world is today where we can have almost instantaneous access to the worlds great thinkers, for free. As entrepreneurs, we just need to seek it out.
My regular readers will know that 2 weeks ago I released a video of a Lego Space Shuttle that we got into actual space. Quite frankly I was surprised at how much attention it got both on-line and in mainstream media (TV, newspaper, magazine & radio). It has had over 1 million views on Youtube alone. It really got me thinking about what tends to win attention in today’s connected economy, and although I don’t really know the answer, it feels more like simply joys and personal interest work better on line than commercial intentions or hard nosed value equations.
And while I’d much rather one of my businesses get this amount of coverage – it has lead to a lot of interesting business opportunities and offers. The attention generated has become its own asset. It has become a proof point in the people behind it and so it creates intrigue from others who want to simply do cool stuff.
So the question for startup entreprenuers is this:
What cool side projects can we do to generate attention around, so that our bigger ideas can attract the resources they need?
I’ve been a vocal opponent (and customer) of Foxtel. A service that, as the web evolves is loosing its reason for being in my life. So I decided to disconnect my service and here is the interesting story of what happened.
I called the number and the options to choose from (1,2,3,4) for the appropriate issue. This surprisingly included ‘Press 4 to disconnect’. This was the first clue things aren’t right down at Foxtel. Any business that has this issue come up often enough to include it in the first 4 options of customer interaction has some issues.
So I click it and get put through to the ‘Customer Retention Center’ and they ask me why I want to disconnect. A few of the reasons I tell them include:
- I’m sick of seeing better offers advertised to new customers. (Screw the existing ones hey!)
- They have reduced the services and kept the price the same for my account.
- I can’t get movies on demand (which I’m prepared to pay for) without signing up to a more expensive packaging (WTF, the tubes are already in my house?)
They apologise, tell me I’ve been a good customer for a few years, so they offer me a $30 discount per month. Which is 30% off what I’ve been paying. I retort with, ‘if I’m such a good customer why do you only try and keep me once I’ve already decided to leave you?’ Seems to me they have things back to front at Foxtel.
So I took the discount for now – I’m moving house in 2 months and it is all over for me and Foxtel then.
My advice to any Foxtel subscriber out there is to call up to disconnect and get the discount anyway and hack their already flawed proposition, before it gets hacked entirely by market forces.