Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Nice boys: The entrepreneurs

Last night 2 of the founders of, Martin Stiksel and Felix Miller made their first public appearance since they sold their website to CBS for a rather lovely chunk of cash ($280 MIllion). I'm not going to attempt to give a blow by blow account when The Guardian's Jemima Kiss does such a great job.

Its' great seeing a bunch of conviction entrepreneurs (and for me , local boys) creating success by staying true to themselves, rather than becoming the oxbridge/ silicon valley chino clones that the investment community feels more at comfort with.

Tie-ing in with my last post about Music 2.0 it was interesting to get their take on how the music industry is being disrupted by digital technologies. Whilst everyone agrees the music majors will survive (in some form at least), the message coming over loud and clear is that now the average person has more choice of music to listen to, and that is stimulating music appetite as people are more likely to come across songs that 'do it' for them.

The industry is changing with more 'bottom up' fanbase led music success slowly competing with the traditional 'top down' model characterised by the majors with their heavily marketed internationalised stars. Thus the much vaunted 'long-tail' business model is having its first major real world success with music - note Elvis dominating the charts in the UK recently.

To me, its part of the new paradigm where successful digital businesses need to be 'porous'; consider themselves more like just one of the stakeholders in their business, skimming off the cream not gulping down the whole pint. Ultimately these businesses are 'owned' buy the people who use them ( create the content in them,
therefore make them) and the trick is to make money by helping them do what they want to do, not by simply working out how to extract cash (please note GMTV).

The one piece of 'gossip' they hinted at quite clearly is the (frankly obvious) notion that TV network CBS will take the underlying technology of (audioscrobbling or working out who likes what based on actual behaviour) and apply it to TV. I think Sky will be looking on with interest, and I think BARB should take note too; yes 'video-scrobbling' will be great for audiences in finding new shows - it may also help CBS create a competitor to the dominant Google in personalised advertising.

Finally, I want to thanks my mates Judith and Michael of Second Chance Tuesday for putting on such a great event; they just keep adding to their long list of the biggest names in disruptive digital businesses who talk and share with those who attend.

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