What Monopoly Can Teach Us About The Video Business
by William A. Lederer , Friday, August 5, 2011
While audience viewership, available content, ad inventory, and time spent are all surging, the online and mobile video industry continues to experience ownership consolidation. In thinking through video industry next steps, I am reminded of lessons learned from playing the board game Monopoly with friends and family long ago during the lazier days of summer.
Lesson #1: Location, location, location. I’m not talking about physical location, rather an advertisement’s or video’s proximity to the right audience in-context. Trust and relevance are paramount to attracting and keeping audiences, whether you are delivering content or advertising. You still have to offer the right message and deliver it optimally, but without the right location — as all good “Monopolists” know — you will rarely reap “green” results from “pale blue” properties.
Lesson #2: Don’t over-improve your property. Online video is not about going for broke on just one option; produce more and different content or ads, instead. This is akin to focusing all your hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk — or worse (e.g., Baltic and Mediterranean). While you have nice, shiny hotels, you can be handicapped by having virtually nothing else on which to collect rent. With online video, experiment until you get it right. This is not TV for now. You should not suffer from high production costs, decision-making barriers, elapsed time, or meddlesome middlemen. Take a few calculated risks in content, audience, and buys and build from there.
Lesson #3: Start slow and then build up while, constantly looking for great deals. You need not and should not put money down on every opportunity. Be selective of video inventory as to quality and relevance, always keeping in mind that someone may be coming behind you to seize what you may have neglected. While prices and rents in Monopoly are fixed, video requires both buyer and seller to be aware. Great deals and not-so-great deals exist at nearly every turn.
Lesson #4: Know your numbers. In video, as in Monopoly, an analytical approach bears the most fruit. Understand how success is best measured in the most relevant way for you. Determine your key performance metrics. What drives them? Creative? Format? Distribution? Technology? Audience? Category? Placement? Social Media? Virality? Frequency? Effective Reach? Engagement? Effectiveness? ROI? The buy? Optimize your results to the best of your ability. Most importantly, know the limits of your budget. Running out of money will leave you mortgaging your properties or worse.
Lesson #5: Luck cannot be underestimated. Strategy and skill can overcome poor execution and relative access to capital, but luck, the roll of a dice and the poor choices of one’s competitors or suppliers, can count for a lot. Landing on “Free Parking” or one’s own properties can revitalize oneself when built-up monopolies challenge us at every turn. Maximize the likelihood of achieving and seizing upon your own luck. For online video, as in all other business, chance favors the prepared mind.
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If You Build It Awesome…They Will Come
Minus the “Awesome” part, this was the line from the 1989 classic movie “Field of Dreams” that inspired me to become a risk taker and an entrepreneur that eventually drove me to build telezoo.com in 1999 and awesomzie.me in 2011. Certainly people are coming… I’ve included a few of them all the way at the end of this article:
Now we all know that times are tough and the economy is in the dumps with our current unemployment rate of 9.2%. To date, no one has come up with a solution. So to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
The way I see it – the only way to fix the economy is jobs, and the burden for creating jobs and getting this economy rolling, is ours, the entrepreneurs. Only we can make this happen! Forget about taking the big company paycheck, they will lay you off soon enough just to meet Wall Street expectations and pocket the change.
If even 20% of us make it, that’s good enough for the nation and of course the rest of the world! Look at the employment opportunities Apple with their iPhone and iPad, Google with Android, and Facebook with their social network have created all over the world. That’s not even counting the countless firms that have been growing as a result of the emergence of these firms (e.g., Zynga, FourSquare, etc.) Although, my awesomzie.me has not created thousands of jobs yet, it has done its part in adding four jobs since its launch date earlier this year – a pretty good start. So if you build it – they will come. Whatever ideas you have in mind, bring’em on!
As a reminder, historically, when the economic climate is tough, it has been a great time to start a business – no one is hiring so hire yourself! In fact, 16 of the 30 companies that make up the Dow industrial average were started during a recession or depression. These include Microsoft, McDonald’s, General Electric and others. Each time we hit a tough economic patch – a new industry emerged as the engine for all our growth – be it cars after the depression, computers and technology in the 80s or the emergence of Google after kicking ass during the 2001 recession. But for them to come, you must build it. So, again, you got an idea, bring it!
i) Early 90s: WWW was born…
ii) By mid 90′s: millions of sites popped up on the Web…
iii) Mid – late 90s: Yahoo & Google were born to help us to find the right information of the right pages on the Web…
iv) Early 2000: Social media was born…
v) Late 2000: Millions of pages created by people, companies, and organizations on all these social media channels.
vi) 2012 and beyond.. the days of just setting up a website or blog to promote yourself, your talents, and even your business, by creating a page for them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are O-V-E-R!. Your social media pages and sites should be on a place where the vast number of users and communities can easily find you, learn about you – AND – express their opinion/rate you and your goodies. If you are confident you are selling something awesome, you need the power of the crowd to promote you (and your company) anyway. So come on take the first step – Build it and they will come.
Here are several awesome users on our site. Click on each page and check out the links on the left hand side and their ratings on the right. Feel free to awesomize them:
All that being said, you’ve heard my story –I look forward to hearing yours. If you have an idea and not sure whose door to knock on for investment or are in need of some mentorship, feel free to create your page on awesomzie.me, show me how awesome you are, then drop me a note via my profile. Do you see the trick here? You scratch my back and I will scratch yours J I have built it, now will you come?
Feel free to connect with me via awesomize.me
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Filed under social media, Business & Finance, Tech Tagged with elias shams, google, entrepreneurs, Telezoo.com, twitter, Mark Walsh, facebook, Genius Rocket, creating jobs, LinkedIn, If You Build It They Will Come, Field of Dreams, awesomzie.me. poor economy, high unemployment rate, getting this economy rolling, entrepreneurship. Tough economic climate Social Media evolution, : Elaine Fogel, SOLUTIONS Marketing & Consulting, Josh Sippola, CenturyLink, Alin Vlad, BullGuard, Jay O’conner, WCN Transmedia Group, Lynette Young, Purple Stripe Productions
About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me