Surfing the Internet
July 23, 2008 1:11 PM
In the Internet world, they call conditions ideal for opportunity “perfect storms.” YouTube, MySpace, Facebook—even my former startup StyleDiary—all were born in this type of climate in a sense. Certain trends, user habits, connection speeds and all kinds of other factors were going on, creating a really good environment for a smart, successful startup to potentially cash in.
I compare it to surfing: You watch the horizon, spot a wave coming in and start paddling with a plan of attack. Surfers and startups do it, and in both games, even the big pros are at risk of miscalculating something and, of course, failure.
The only defense you have is to know how to spot a good wave and as importantly, how to efficiently, effectively ride it.
The internet itself is a force of its own, already creating opportunities for businesses with the promise of more to come. A lot of very good waves have been breaking and the forecast only points to bigger and better ones coming soon.
I believe the most important thing digital entertainment executives need to be watching right now isn’t their fellow surfers, but the playing field everybody’s on. In the Web game, that’s called Internet protocol (IP), and believe me, like the ocean, there are very specific, fairly predictable things it is going to do.
In technical terms, it’s a fault-resistant, highly stable, device-agnostic, accessible and less expensive platform intended to unify all communications to its single, better structure.
For the entertainment business, it means the merging of television and radio as we’ve known it to the new broadcast channel: the Internet.
People in my world (IP telecom) have seen the conditions forming since back when most in business were first learning to say “social network.” Early signs and winds (webisodes, digital video production houses, etc.) are starting to blow now, and believe me, things are going to get good.
The problem is, as with any perfect storm, certain trends, user habits, technology and other factors are a big part, and plenty of players in the digital space are already miscalculating and misjudging them. I believe the best approach right now is to create a team of seasoned professionals from both markets, then take out the boat.