Netflixing of Bags, Everything Else

29 05 2007

Compete recently blogged about Bagborroworsteal. The management team comes from trendsetters in the fashion industry. In handbags, they’ve picked a highly suitable segment where rotation of items is a must for fashion-forward customers yet the cost to own outright is prohibitively high. It’s a nicely rounded user experience -kudos indeed.

Seth Godin writes about Meeting Tomorrow (on demand meeting equipment) and how micro-sizing plus FedEx actually makes rental a feasible model.

I think the defining factor here is a trend for less not more. Yet we want beautiful things. This is the era of the iPod, Apple and simple design, and pithy sayings on organic soy extra room lattes. Rental allows for the best of both worlds and I personally think it’s a elegant way to accomplish both (iLetYou is a testament).

We have enough stuff – most Americans have consumed enough for a lifetime. It’s about time for a trend that contracts the amount of stuff we consume, not expands.


Paid Downloads Dead: No Way

16 05 2007

James McQuivey released a report a few days ago that says that Paid Downloads will peak at $279 million this year, up from $96 million.

Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee takes issue with this, however admitting that she may be one of the affluent geeks currently even downloading paid videos.

The video/TV/movie/film landscape is definitely changing. However, it is a rapidly expanding pie. Production of everything from YouTube short clips to full-blown TV and channels on Joost to more independent films and productions. It’s an amazing democratization of media, something we should all embrace.

There will be pre- and post-rolls for the time being, although this method will eventually go the way of the banner: used, but increasingly less relevant. There will be participatory media and product placement, two areas that hopefully see some useful innovation and work towards democratization.

I buy the argument that Joost is a leading catalyst for ad-supported video. Short, independent content will thrive in an ad-optimized environment, of which Joost seems to be the key catalyst. Much professional content will find a way to monetize appropriately as well.

The business model, delivery method and technology for paid downloads aren’t there yet. It’s not there yet for ad-supported video. Hollywood can not sustain movie productions on advertising alone (Spiderman 3 anyone?). The machine works pretty good as it is – and a payment mechanism is necessary, whether it’s a DVD purchase, rental service (which still pays the content owner by way of the original purchase or revenue share agreement) or paid download/rental.

Will piracy kill the business? It may start to have more adverse effects, but this is a big business- people will figure out how to protect their revenue streams within reason (hopefully more so than the music industry). Early jumps into paid movie downloads to start to figure it out suggest that there it will turn out at least better for movie studios than for those in the music industry.

This being said, I’ve said before that Paid Downloads has major issues. It may be true that it will stall significantly until we get some true innovators to figure out the model.

As Founder of iLetYou and a true believer in easy solutions, I understand and believe the DVD and disc are going to persist for a while. News like this only prolongs how long it will be.

However, I love technology and want to promote what’s best and easiest for consumers so it’s certainly not that I’m rooting for the death of paid downloads. I just believe the march to an all download/streaming world will be a slow, slow march for many of the same reasons there is a new proclamation that Paid Downloads are dead. Delivery to the TV will have to be a seamless experience, DRM will have to die.

The future holds more great content, all around. Let’s not forget all of the great pieces of film art enabled by plunking down bucks for a movie ticket, a VHS or a DVD. It’s digital equivalent is not dead- it’s just a slow, maybe even zombie-looking march at this point.

Healthy Obsession

11 05 2007

In yet another link to Seth Godin, the marketing guru/author mentions the newest (and coolest) update to Google Analytics and believes that Google Analytics can become a distraction in the unending quest for more traffic, more traffic.

It’s indeed a great point to bring up. It’s a refocus on the one metric that is most important. Whether you want more sales, more content creation or more spreading of an idea, you need to focus on what’s most important to you and (basically) ignore everything else. And you need to be able to use tools like Google Analytics to systemically help you get to your goals more efficiently. Otherwise, you’re just blind walking in the dark.

Google Analytics is an addictive program and eventually I need to get sick of continually checking our key metrics.

My focus here is on obsession. Is there such a thing as healthy obsession? Of course, there is unhealthy obsession, possibly of the type that leads to restraining orders.

Sure, there is such thing as healthy obsession. There are likely linguistic issues with this phrase. By a short definition, obsession is an irrational preoccupation. Some may say that healthy obsession is better phrased “healthy fascination”.

In fact, the goal should then be “rational preoccupation”. You should be extraordinarily preoccupied with the right things. Like Andy Grove says, only the paranoid survive.

I liken this to exercise. At one point during college, I was not obsessed with nor fascinated by exercise. I got fat and felt lethargic far too often. I’m now obsessed with getting exercise pretty much every day of the week, not usually the weekends but especially the weekdays when my stress level is high and I’m obsessed with getting that release. I’m not obsessed by any means by exercise though. I’m basically fit but by no means a lean, mean fighting machine- this alone generally dictates I’m nowhere near obsessed. If your goal is utmost physical fitness and your well being is predicated on your physical fitness, then you should be obsessed (or rationally preoccupied). It’s not for me, so I’m OK with this.

With iLetYou, I find myself obsessing over the particular areas that I think will propel the concept forward and make it successful in the long run. I use the word obsessing because I think that’s ultimately the danger with preoccupation with anything. A human being generally can not help but get into an obsessive mode to some extent, maybe some more than others. I think an obsessive and addictive personality can be a positive, properly channeled.

The overriding goal is to focus that energy into those areas that are worth obsessing over. This overall ability to choose where to channel your energies to ensure your organization’s utmost success in is what separates the best of the best I believe.

You may argue over the use of words, but however you want to say it, I say obsess away. Your neurotic nature will propel you to greatness one day.