Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

How do you justify a $10 Billion Valuation?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Geoff Lovatt

This article was contributed to CongRegation 14 (#cong14) at congregation.ie in which the author participated. Visit the website to view this great social media gathering event!

 

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Astronomical valuations for tech companies are nothing new, in fact it’s commonplace nowadays. The tricky part is justifying these sky high estimations and that problem becomes even harder when the company doesn’t have any real turnover to date. This is Snapchat’s problem. Yes Snapchat, the app made famous for being used by teens and others alike to send each other disappearing sexts, is apparently worth US$10 Billion! Maybe proving once and for all that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

So how do you attempt to validate, and more importantly monetise, an app with such a large estimated worth but no real turnover? Snapchat might just have the answer. Earlier this year Snapchat added a new feature called Our Story to its Recent Updates section. The Our Story feature is a central live feed of user generated videos and pictures usually lasting 2-3 minutes from a particular global event. Users can contribute to the Our Story feature by having their location services enabled to prove they are at the event before submitting their content for review by Snapchat. All of the content from the live feed can be viewed multiple times but only lasts for 24 hours or the duration of the event.

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Initially Our Story was tested at a handful of music festivals like EDC and Lollapalooza and after great engagement with users was rolled out to more events such as American College Football games, The FIFA World Cup and even things a bit more obscure like Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0BclkfvvZ0) in Mexico City and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. The addition of the Our Story feature has proven a roaring success for the company. According to Snapchat the number of daily views for their Stories has now surpassed the number of daily views for individual snaps and stands at over 1 billion.

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What’s more impressive than the numbers though is the thinking behind the move towards live events. In doing so, Snapchat has created a new era of event participation and live broadcast by giving users the chance to experience, and contribute to, global events from multiple points of view in near real time with ease and convenience. The Stories are always expertly edited and deliver exactly what the name implies, a story of the given event from beginning to end, and for the first time ever allows users access to what in the past would have gone unseen. The American College Football Stories usually show fans en route to the game, behind the scenes footage from both teams dressing rooms shot by the players themselves, a fans view of a touchdown from the packed crowd, songs being sung by the fans and finally who won! According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel more people are watching College Football on Snapchat than on TV (100m vs. 2.6m). This high level of engagement not only helps to build a sense of community for Snapchat it also attracts new users who may have been turned off in the past by their unjust seedy reputation.

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In October the company expanded its Stories feature to include College Campus, a brief insight into daily college life at 4 US colleges, UCLA and Penn State among them, with a live feed of campus generated content. Except this time Snapchat tried a bit of clever marketing by limiting the ability to both post and watch the feed to users actually on the college campus. Creating exclusivity around the College Campus Stories feature is a great way to increase demand for it and who knows maybe even improve class attendance rates for fear of missing out!

By making the move into live broadcast Snapchat has not only diversified its product and strengthened its brand, they’ve also managed to figure out a way to monetise an app for self-destructing photos and videos. One option available might be to offer sponsorship of a live event in the Our Story feature. This would be less intrusive to users than sponsored ads on or before individual snaps and also offer advertisers better targeting and fit for their brand. In October this year Snapchat rolled out its first sponsored ad. A twenty second trailer for the horror film Ouija, paid for and specially edited by Universal Studios to play in a similar fashion to other Stories. And this is what excites marketers and advertisers most about Snapchat, it’s not their 100 million monthly active users, although that sure helps, it’s the similarity to TV advertising that their platform provides. For now the Stories only last for between 2-3 minutes, but this could easily be increased as could the 24 hour lifetime.

Snapchat has also reportedly held negotiations to distribute other media content from both traditional mass media outlets like Time and CNN as well as new media from Vice, Spotify and Vevo in a new section within the app called Discover. And the news earlier this week could give a hint of another possible revenue stream Snapchat has in mind for the future, SnapCash. A joint venture with Square to offer users a Peer-to-Peer payment feature that has initially been advertised as being a handy way to send friends money. But who’s to say it couldn’t one day be used to pay for admission to an event, or extended behind the scenes footage, or a new music video not available elsewhere. The possibilities are limitless, much like Snapchats future seems to be if they can continue to grow and innovate with such ease. $10 Billion could even end up looking like a bargain in a couple of years!

Wordnik LOVES words

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Wordnik is the new online dictionary that takes the stuffiness out of lexicography. Unlike a traditional dictionary which can take years to approve and update, Wordnik “gathers” definitions and examples live from the web. So you can usually find the newest and most obscure words you won’t find elsewhere. If you subscribe you can join the Community and contribute to the love of words. Wordnik is likely to become the Google of Words: the single-purpose front screen asks you to do just one thing – look for a word. You can’t get simpler than that.

Wordnik's single-focus is on finding the definition of a word.

Wordnik delivers the definitions for the word you search – drawn from live web sources, together with synonyms and hypernyms (similar but more generic words) as well as Lists. Why no Antonyms? You’ll also find Comments and Visuals. That is packing a lot of “finds” in one search. Give it a try!

WiFi Lightbulbs – are here

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Dim those lights! Each has an IP address.

What’s the IP address for that lightbulb? NXP, a Netherlands-based semiconductor company has invented Greenchip technology that will be in many Wi-Fi connected lightbulbs on sale by early 2012. What? WiFi lightbulbs? Well, crazy as it sounds, it will let you “talk” to the lightbulb – for example from a smartphone or iPad or laptop. Not home? No bother. Bring up the IP Manager for your house and turn on all the lights, or dim the front room and boost the upstairs.

Thanks to microchips and the new ‘limitless’ range of IP addresses under the IPv6 protocol, it won’t be long before the fridge really does talk to Tesco’s. This is a world emerging faster than Bill Gates millions. And he’s the man who turned his house into an experimental electronic abode. How that plays out in the everyday world remains to be seen. But we can expect some dazzling light show examples in the next couple of years.

It may be too much fiddly technology for the average person, but the ability to micro-control all the lights in your place opens up all sorts of creative potential. Lighting designers are going to have a fantastic new toolkit. At home WiFi lightbulbs could save you money too, because you don’t need to waste it if you’re not around to enjoy it… just open your smart device and turn ’em down!

For the whole-r story, go to FastCompany’s website here. Ten years ago FastCompany was the fattest internet/interactive magazine in the world. It still publishes interesting and breaking tech, social and marketing news. Enjoy!

Social Media for Business

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

"How to Profit from Social Media" Chambers InBusiness magazine Spring 2011

 

I teamed up with Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications for this brief but comprehensive overview article – just published in Chambers Ireland’s InBusiness magazine. Click here to read the full 4-page article online. You’ll find Eoin’s blog here and Chambers website here. Enjoy!

SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOW THE MAINSTREAM. No longer the territory of nerds and techies. Globally it has come of age. However, the idea that social media marketing can be achieved by tinkering for a few hours online is entirely false. While it is easy for individuals to engage, making social media work for business requires knowledge, skill and insight. Social media is the public space and for companies wanting to leverage this new market, real expertise is needed. It requires clear aims and clever thinking to get good results.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr and Pix.ie are all social media portals. Facebook is by far the largest with over 500 million daily users worldwide, including 1.5 to 1.9 million in Ireland. Social media is where we find the majority of people hanging out these days, where users share news, photos and gossip with friends and colleagues. It has spread all over the globe and is ever present.

In the social media world it is the public who rule the airwaves. It hasn’t taken long for businesses to realise that’s a lot of people and a vast potential market. In the past couple of years we have seen huge growth in social media campaigns, from some of the largest global brands to some of the very clever smaller companies too.

The term ‘going viral’ belongs to social media and is the Holy Grail when ‘talking up’ your brand, product or project. It can spread instantly around the globe. But how do you ensure that your message stays on track and doesn’t backfire? This has already led to a new service offering called reputation management and is changing how the public and media relationship works.

To read how you can make Social Work for your business – click here to read the full 4-page article online. InBusiness is published quarterly by Chambers Ireland – click here for website. To view the InBusiness magazine archives – click here.

Making a New Business Online

Monday, April 11th, 2011

image and link to Chambers Ireland's InBusiness magazine Winter 2010

click above to read full graphic version online

How a young Cork entrepreneur is doing it

Kieran Walsh was born into business. His family founded Walsh Engineering in Cork, one of Ireland’s leading industrial suppliers. But he wasn’t born with a silver or golden spoon. He was put through his paces by elders who “knew a thing or two about business” and he has had to prove himself at every step.

This year Kieran appeared on The Apprentice (TV3) and underwent a grueling and rewarding baptism. As followers of the show will know, Kieran didn’t make it all the way. But the moment he was freed from “television prison”, as he calls it, he came home to his apartment in Cork city, looked around and said to himself “I need a cleaner!” His next project was born…

And it’s called PigSty.ie – everything you need to find someone to clean up your house, flat or office.

Read the full article on Chambers Ireland’s website – select Winter 2010/11 issue.

EFF’s 20th Anniversary Video

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which was founded in 1990 by Mitch Kapor (of Lotus 1-2-3 fame) and John Perry Barlow (the Grateful Dead lyricist and the man who coined the term cyberspace) and other early ‘Net leaders, celebrates 20 years of battling for citizen / netizen rights with a cartoon tribute from Nina Paley – which is funny and painfully true. It fits the brief for EFF. This is what they’re about.

How much surveillance is good for us? EFF (www.eff.org) has battled in the courts and on the airwaves for individual “user rights” from the beginning… and the fight goes on. A worthy group to support too, if you have a few dollars to spare.

I saw John Perry Barlow a few years ago at the IFI, talking about how the internet was no longer free and open. In Ireland we were in the throes of the Net Boom and no one in the audience was interested. Instead they asked him how to sell things online. He must have gone away with a raw impression of uz!

Creativity’s On Design blog

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Woofers by Sander Mulder

For a quick view of some of the best creative ideas in media, you’ll enjoy Creativity’s On Design, part of a suite of blogs celebrating interactive, cross-media and installation design. Go ahead and enjoy poking around – and be aware that not far into exploring you’ll be hit with a well-crafted lightbox pop-up ‘inviting’ you to subscribe for $99. You can ignore and you’ll still get plenty of eye-food for free and some refreshing ideas too.

I fail to understand why Creativity’s main page, which offers the latest campaigns from ad agencies, requires a $99 subscription to view. Seems to be a self-defeating approach. But do check out their “Integrated Production White Paper“, which dis-integrates some of the most productive agencies to see how their departments and their talent execute all manner of new ideas. A bit of a mouthful, but worth the PDF download. Who said getting at new ideas was easy!

On the other hand… Ken Wilber

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

A friendly critic took me to task for being “harsh” about NeoOgilvy. I trust no-one at Ogilvy took personal offense, if they read the review at all, at all. To balance the picture, I’m reminded that Flash isn’t always a no-no. There are times, places and “interactive audiences” (for want of a better term) for whom it works and fits perfectly. An excellent example is the “very flash” American philosopher Ken Wilber. This is no dry and crusty academic. Ken’s all about now, both spiritually and in contemporary-ness, and his site uses Flash to perfection – a total integration of sound and visual and interactivity. You’ll find Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and social media channels all integrated neatly. Go see it at http://kenwilber.com. If you haven’t downloaded the latest, now bug-free, Flash browser plugin from Adobe you can get it free here.  (The new Flash plug-in finally fixes security and machine-crash issues – at long last! Bravo to Adobe. Now, maybe, Steve Jobs will let you put Flash on the iPad. But somehow I think he really likes the power of HTML5.)

Ken Wilber's integrated Flash website. All singing & all dancing. And philosophy too!

Neo Ogilvy – Alas, Nothing New!

Monday, May 31st, 2010
Neo Ogilvy Falling Man

Neo Ogilvy - The Falling Man as concept?

This morning’s New Thinking, Gerry McGovern’s e-newsletter, was titled “The reason why ad agency websites are truly awful” pointing out their lack of grasp of web fundamentals – that people like to “do” things and “interact” with websites. Most of us in the web industry are aware of the pitfalls of using Flash as the frontpage or whole site too. Doesn’t seem like Neo Ogilvy got that message.

So I wasn’t greatly surprised to find NeoOgilvy.ie is a Flash site. Visually well done. Big typeface messaging. Who We Are, What We Do. Just what you’d expect from anyone selling their talents. But there is absolutely nothing NEW or NEO about it. Instead Ogilvy rolls out the usual pitch – we do it all. This is 2010. What were they doing for the last decade?

Under “What’s Different?” it says: “Our fluid understanding of digital territories underpins our approach to the development and delivery of successful consumer engagement strategies…” That sounds fine. But there isn’t any sign that Ogilvy actually grasp what “interactivity” is about. The website is an advertisement, a one-way broadcast. This doesn’t add up to a “fluid understanding of digital…”

Ogilvy needed to “show & tell” with NeoOgilvy – big time. Alas, there’s nothing new here. Except perhaps the frontpage image of a falling man. Is this image meant to impress their clients? Who exactly is falling? Client or agency? In our current climate it is an unnerving image & reminds of those who jumped off skyscrapers in New York as the Stock Market crashed.