What Counts at the Box Office Is the Buzz

According to the NY Times:

The amount of Internet buzz a movie generates is a strong predictor of its box-office take. But it hardly matters whether that buzz is good or bad, according to a study by Yong Liu, an assistant professor of marketing at the Eller College of Business at the University of Arizona.

I’d love to hear from the folks at trend-tracking companies such as Trendum, Intelliseek, Cymfony, and Brandimensions if they a) agree that people’s positive or negative feelings are irrelevant for movies, and b) if this is true, does this pattern hold for other product categories?

Multi-sided markets, online

HBS Professor Andrei Hagiu is an expert on multi-sided markets, and recently interviewed me on that topic: Market Platform Dynamics–Catalyst Conversation: Conversation with David Teten. His site requires that you submit an email address to read the article (but I should note that he doesn’t actually test if the email address is functional.)

Shawn Gold, SVP, MySpace: Marketing in a Networked Culture

Following up on my draft post on ‘Business Models for User-Generated Media‘, I wrote some notes on this morning’s iBreakfast.

Shawn Gold, SVP, MySpace: Marketing in a Networked Culture

MySpace has 100m users projected by july

84m registered users, 2m new registered users per week (size of Houston), 48m unique visitors per month in US

2nd most popular site for content consumption on the Internet, as defined by page views. 29000 indie film profiles. 1.8m music profiles.

#1 video viewing site

#1 referrer to Google—8.19% of Google’s traffic

42% of YouTube viewing is happening on MySpace.

Goal:

MySpace will become THE full service community portal

Introduce innovative advertising solutions while being at forefront of pop culture

DNA of Myspace Generation : MySpace is their place. Where youth culture gathers to express themselves, connect with friends, and discover popular culture.

Big differentiator from competition is the way MySpace is used to discover popular culture, i.e., bands/TV shows.

All the growth is viral—they market to influencers not to audience members.

Nielsen: Myspace reaches 51% of 13-17 year olds online (which is 85% of all 13-17 year olds).

79% of the site is 18+, and 25M users who are 30+.

Why so successful:

-A user’s profile is a metaphor for their room or apt.

– The Internet generation has grown up sharing their lives

– The profile is a characterization of who they are

– They want to express themselves creatively.

Children lack a ‘their space’. 7-11 doesn’t let them hang out in front; the mall security guards kick them out. They’re used to being in public. MySpace is a form of identity production.

Everyone takes pride in their medium. It’s ‘vested media’ because they created it.

When people say the pages are unwieldy, just think of a teenager’s room.

Social networks/blogs serve as a publishing platform for early adopters. Word of Mouth has turned into ‘citizen journalism’, which people trust more than traditional media.

MySpace allows brands to become living, breathing entities that consumers can interact with.

Best brand programs tie into self-expression, facilitate connections between people, or is centered around the discovery of popular culture.

87m stories in the database, and a lot of that content is professional. Every nightclub, every major Christian band, every celebrity brand, is in the database. They’re now slicing the database by professional type, e.g., if you want to reach all the comedians.

Basic idea of marketing: "Tell a Friend"

Average page is visited 30 times a day. If you’re in the top 8, your exposure is exponential. XMen has 3.2m friends. If you friend them, you can have top 16 friends, instead of top 8.

Core: identification and individuality. Don’t separate them—that’s Geocities. Understand core needs (identification and individuality), and address their core needs: recognition, knowledge, self-expression, belonging, access, discovery, appreciation, and confidence.

We facilitate this on a social networking platform.

Next speaker—-Shelly Palmer, author, Television Disrupted

Five buzzwords you can use right now. You will sound like a genius if you use these.

– Mobile video: clipcasts or streamcasts. He dislikes the term ‘cellphone video’, because not all mobile video (e.g., ipod video) is via a cell tower. Why does ESPN Mobile have only 2400 subscribers—because it’s $30-$400/month. It’s a MVNO—they own the handset and customer experience. They’re $30M in the hole. All the vanity cell services will meet the same fate. ESPN invested a lot of money into the technology. Behaviors change glacially. In the last century, fastest time to market for an electronic tool was Xerox machine. It killed carbon paper extremely quickly. Instantly successful. Normally new tools take 5-100 years—fax machine took 100 years.

– IPTV—Internet Protocol Television

– Broadband Video—call it ‘IP Video’. ‘Streaming Video’ is a silly term.

– Podcasting—he hates this word. A use of the RSS spec—it has nothing to do with IPods or broadcasting. Coined by Adam Curry. Based on XML spec. Blogging is the most popular use of RSS.

– Mesh Networks—each node connects or two or more nodes. No central server. Self-healing. Hard to shut down. Napster was a file-sharing network, therefore easy to shut down. If they’re wireless they’re a swarm. BitTorrent is best example of a mesh network. Cant be used in real-time streaming.

Oct. 12, 2005: the date that Steve Jobs and Eiger unilaterally decided to put TV shows on ipod—Desperate HouseWives. Very controversial with affiliates. The day the TV world changed.

"Contact is King!"

Different words for all of you in the audience:

Cable companies call customers ‘subscribers’

Phone companies call them ‘access lines’

TV cos. Call them ‘Viewers’

Computer cos. Call them ‘users’

2/17/2009: all analog TV spectrum will go digital. Your old analog TV won’t work. The good news: all the old analog frequencies will be reclaimed by the gov’t and auctioned off. Most likely it will be used to create a large broadband cloud—WiMAX? No longer will you use a little local wifi network—you’ll use the large broadband cloud. Hermistown, OR has largest broadband cloud in America: 700 sq miles, 5 megabits. It’s like living in Star Trek. Cant handle lots of streaming video/VOIP, but it’s enough for email. Intel is banking heavily on WiMAX.

Every cell phone call ends with ‘hello’, instead of ‘goodbye’, because of connectivity problems

Q&A

Shawn: They review every photo/video uploaded to myspace

Any member can report objectionable content

25000 volunteers police school site

Algorithms that search for underage kids—e.g., mentioning 12 candles on a birthday cake. They kick off 5000 underage kids/day.

Myspace is the size of two Californias—and the crime on the site is equivalent to 5 blocks in NYC

Accolo acquires Teten Executive Recruiting

accolo logo    I’m happy to report that, after two years of successful partnership, I have sold Teten Executive Recruiting to Accolo. I’ll be continuing in my current role running Nitron Advisors, which is a separate company. Here’s the press release:

Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 21, 2006

Accolo acquires Teten Executive Recruiting; combined firm is innovator in using social software and online networks for recruiting.

Larkspur, CA – June 22, 2006 – Accolo, Inc. today announced the acquisition of Teten Executive Recruiting, a retained executive search firm that specializes in using online networks to reach and recruit the most qualified candidates. The firm focuses on the hedge fund, private equity, and strategy consulting industries. Founder and author David Teten joins Accolo’s Advisory Board.

David Teten said, "I first discovered Accolo ( www.Accolo.com) in my research for my book about social software and online networks, became a client, and then created a partnership with them. When I learned how they had re-engineered the recruiting process to incorporate the power of online networks, I thought: this is the way recruiting should be. I think that the traditional recruiting model is broken and painfully inefficient, and I am excited to have the privilege of working with a team that understands the logical way that companies should manage the process of finding great people."

In this cash and stock deal, Accolo gains access to Teten Executive Recruiting ( www.TetenCo.com) clients such as American Real Estate Partners, Net2Phone, OfficeTiger, The Trium Group, Zacks Investment Research, and IDT Entertainment. Teten Executive Recruiting is known as a thought leader in using blogs, listservs, online communities, social network software, relationship capital management software, and biography analysis software for recruiting. Accolo has acquired the proprietary tools that Teten Executive Recruiting has developed.

John Younger, CEO of Accolo, commented, "We were excited about Teten Executive Recruiting’s list of lighthouse clients and its deep expertise in social software and online networks. This acquisition is the logical culmination of a mutually beneficial relationship. The company is providing us with new strategies to continue raising the bar, as well as new clients to take advantage of our growing senior executive search capabilities. Just in the past year, we have recruited CIOs, CEOs, CFOs, and Vice Presidents for companies with revenues of $5 million to $1.5 billion."

Jon Weber, President of American Real Estate Partners (NYSE: ACP), commented, "Finding top talent quickly and efficiently is a high priority for us. We’ve been pleased with the way Teten Executive Recruiting and Accolo combine their talents to save us time and money to hire the best people. Their solution has worked well for several of our companies”

Martin Babinec, CEO of TriNet ( www.TriNet.com ), emphasized, “TriNet’s long association with Accolo has been borne out of a deep faith and confidence in the company’s innovative approach to sourcing and recruiting. The fact that Accolo’s team continues to seek out partners that will expand and deepen its already impressive service delivery is proof that the company won’t rest on its laurels. TriNet is enthusiastic about Accolo’s latest milestone and looks forward to its future successes.”

David Teten, founder of Teten Executive Recruiting, is coauthor of the first business book on these strategies and technologies, The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online. He runs a business resource guide and blog about social software and online networks at www.TheVirtualHandshake.com . David also co-writes a monthly column about online networks for www.FastCompany.com, and was recently honored as a "Future HR Leader" by Human Capital magazine for his innovative use of online networks. David is a member of the Advisory Board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (www.Womma.org), which is also an Accolo client.

David Teten will continue in his current role as CEO of Nitron Advisors, LLC. Nitron Advisors provides hedge funds, venture capitalists, other institutional investors, and law firms with direct insight from a broad network of senior industry experts.

About Accolo

Accolo has built proprietary, patented software and processes that automate roughly 80% of the recruiting process. Accolo leverages this toolkit to provide Recruitment Process Outsourcing services, becoming part of a company’s internal recruitment function. Accolo’s unique application of the “art” of recruiting within a highly automated framework, along with a network of over 300,000 past and present candidates, delivers quantifiable improvements in recruiting quality, efficiency and cost. Our clients meet the top performer they will hire in an average of 13 days. The average company spends 15.9% of an employee’s salary on recruiting; Accolo clients spend less than 9%.

Accolo is profitable and revenues more than doubled last year. The company is the HRO World 2005 Recruitment Process Outsourcer of the Year and a founding member of the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (www.RPOAssociation.org). The Company was founded in 2000 and its investors include Vedior (Amsterdam: VDR, www.Vedior.com ) and TriNet ( www.TriNet.com ). Accolo works with such leading customers as JDS Uniphase, Blue Shield of California, Starmine, CMP United Business Media, ValueClick, Verity, and PRNewsWire. For more information, visit www.Accolo.com.

Contact
Diane Hassett
dhassett at accolo.com
1-415-785-7833 x220

David Teten
press at teten.com
1-212-682-6676

The Web Site of All Mothers

Great story in the NY Times on a very active—and passionate–Yahoo! group for moms in the LA area, Peachhead. This is an example of how non-technical people for non-technical purposes are heavy users of an online community—and the small orbit of businesses around that community that are benefiting from this activity.

Chasing terrorists and evil-doers online

The New Yorker magazine has an interesting profile of online (and offline) terrorist-hunter Rita Katz:

There are hundreds of extremist Web sites, but there is also a hierarchy: sites on which terrorist groups release statements and videos have the most devoted audiences. As soon as something appears, users post it on dozens of message boards, chat rooms, and blogs. For much of the past two years, activity centered on a board called Ansar; once it was shut down, with its British-based Webmaster imprisoned for his part in a bomb plot, users shifted to a board called Al Hesbah. “There was absolutely no disruption,” Katz said.


more on Rita Katz…

Rita runs a very small research group. By contrast, the IHT reports on the phenomenon of online mobs of vigilante Chinese chasing alleged evil-doers: more

How to Prevent Technology From Impeding Communication and Wrecking Your Virtual Project

Technology has made it possible for teams with members around the world to work on virtual projects. A monthly budget for such a project can easily exceed $1.2 million and involve more than 60 team members worldwide. Although email and other communication tools make this possible, what happens when team effectiveness is hampered by the same technology? Dominic M. Thomas, a visiting assistant professor of decision and information analysis at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and colleagues studied the failure of large virtual projects to learn what went wrong. Their findings are presented in a new paper titled “Making Knowledge Work Successful in Virtual Teams via Technology Facilitation.”

http://knowledge.emory.edu/index.cfm?fa=viewArticle&ID=945

You Play World of Warcraft? Youre Hired!

You Play World of Warcraft? You’re Hired!

Why multiplayer games may be the best kind of job training.
By John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas

In late 2004, Stephen Gillett was in the running for a choice job at Yahoo! – a senior management position in engineering. He was a strong contender. Gillett had been responsible for CNET’s backend, and he had helped launch a number of successful startups. But he had an additional qualification his prospective employer wasn’t aware of, one that gave him a decisive edge: He was one of the top guild masters in the online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

more….

Podcast: What Makes an Online Community Tick? Ask Craigslist, Yahoo and Pheedo

Podcast: What Makes an Online Community Tick? Ask Craigslist, Yahoo and Pheedo

“Online communities have become not just a major social force, but a significant driver of business activity both online and offline. Facilitating, nurturing and benefiting from those communities, however, is not a simple task. To explore what makes these communities tick, Kevin Werbach, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, spoke with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.com, Julie Herendeen, vice president of Network Products at Yahoo, and William Flitter, CEO of Pheedo. “

Via: Knowledge @ Wharton

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/1433.cfm

Raising Capital with Online Networks

Here’s the draft of an article we’re working on about how to raise capital with online networks. We’re particularly interested in more success stories about institutional investors who have used online networks to raise capital successfully.

We welcome feedback!

Raising Capital with Online Networks

by David Teten and Harish Venkatesh

Imagine Roger Nusbaum’s surprise when he returned to his Prescott, Arizona home to find several unsolicited messages from potential investors on his voice mail. Nusbaum, a portfolio manager at Your Source Financial in Arizona, received those phone calls because of a "blog", a journal published on the Internet.

Nusbaum is a frequent contributor to many online blogs. When Barron’s magazine recently profiled David Jackson’s network of finance blogs (including SeekingAlpha.com, ETFinvestor.com, and various industry specific blogs), they mentioned Nusbaum’s contributions about exchange-traded funds. That mention directly resulted in phone calls from some highly qualified investors, and Nusbaum has raised approximately $4m in assets directly from contacts received via his blog. “My blog really has evolved into a good source of leads, which is more than I expected when I first started,” Nusbaum commented in an e-mail to us.

Success stories like Nusbaum’s are becoming a common phenomenon as blogs and online networks are becoming a more and more important part of the business world. Using this technology, professional money managers are finding sources of capital from the far corners of the Web.

Of course, many investment vehicles are only open to accredited investors, and managers of these vehicles should not be perceived as advertising to unaccredited investors. However, there is nothing wrong with opining on market-related issues, and increasing your own visibility and investability in the process.

With new blogs appearing at the rate of 30,000 a day, and the increasing popularity of social network sites such as LinkedIn, more and more business relationships are being started and deals are being closed online. Even money managers, members of an industry known for its discretion, have been taking advantage of this new technology. LinkedIn reports numerous success stories from companies using the tool for due diligence.

Blogging (the activity of updating a blog) can significantly increase your professional profile. Greater Internet visibility results in you meeting more people, some of them potential investors. Another major advantage to blogging is that it provides a digital trail establishing your professional competence. Money managers who document their opinions of the capital markets and individual companies have made their opinions public knowledge. A potential investor is able to evaluate the ideas put forth and can determine his confidence in the money manager.

Consider the August 17th, 2005 edition of "Power Lunch" on CNBC. Jeff Matthews, a hedge fund manager at Ram Partners, and Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, faced off over Mr. Matthew’s criticism of Overstock.com’s strategy on his blog. Mr. Byrne has been in the media lately over his allegations that certain segments of the media, specifically the online community, are conspiring to devalue Overstock. This example shows the perceived (and actual) power of the Internet in the investment community. Mr. Matthews, by writing his opinions in a blog, is able to discuss business strategy, news and company behavior without needing one of the few scarce speaking platforms in the mainstream news media. Mr. Matthews said in an e-mail to us that, “I view my job as being to bring interesting facts to light, positive or negative, in order to generate intelligent discussion and feedback that might be useful to investors as they look for ways to make money.” Mr. Matthews plan is working, as his blog has become very popular in the online investment community.

Social software” — the family of software that people use to analyze, leverage, and enable communication in their networks — isn’t limited to just blogs. Online network tools such as LinkedIn allow business professionals to increase the scope of their network by adding second and third degree connections they might not have known existed. Without these tools, you would not know that your friend’s friend works at a fund of funds. These social network sites allow you to search a database of people you have some connection with through your own contacts. This allows you to approach people with a warm introduction instead of a cold one.

Being more visible to the right type of people increases your chances of finding people who can be relevant to your goals. Also, making yourself easily accessible allows you to be approached by potential business partners with no marginal effort, once you create a strong online presence.

Online communities are another affective way of increasing your online presence. For example, Albourne Village and the Value Investors Club are both valuable resources for professional investors.

Albourne Village, run by hedge fund consultancy Albourne Partners, is an unusual example of an online community successfully serving a busy, time-sensitive group: hedge fund investors and others interested in the sector. About 25% of their members visit the site at least once a day, which is an extremely high usage rate versus other online communities. About 85% of their members visit the site at least once per month.

The Value Investors Club (“VIC”) is another example of an online community with extremely high quality content and an intensely engaged audience. Founded in 1999 by hedge-fund managers Joel Greenblatt and John Petry of Gotham Capital, Value Investors Club is a highly exclusive club for discussion of value-based investment ideas and of “special situations” (ie. spin-offs and recapitalizations). It currently has 220 members out of a maximum allowed of 250. It is free to join, and the club management even pays a $5,000 reward every week to the member with the top investment idea.

The requirements for entry are twofold: first, write an “A+” description of an investment idea, in keeping with the site’s Buffett/Graham investment style. VIC is primarily interested in opportunities based on value or special situations. VIC receives about 100 member applications per month, of which only about 1 in 15 are accepted. Second, assuming you are accepted, you must provide between two and six investment ideas per year. The reason for the six-idea maximum is that VIC only wants your very best investment ideas.

The advantages of being known and trusted by relevant people are well documented in the academic literature. Online networks and social software are an extension of the traditional ways in which people have connected with one another face to face. Something as simple as blogging is helping Roger Nusbaum to raise capital and allowed Jeff Matthews to gain national exposure. You can do the same.

For definitions of terms related to social software please visit https://www.thevirtualhandshake.com/glossary.htm.

David Teten is CEO of Nitron Advisors (www.nitronadvisors.com), which helps hedge funds and other institutional investors make profitable decisions by giving them direct access to industry experts. You can access our Circle of Experts by phone, survey, or in-person meetings, and talk with industry executives, front-line managers, researchers, regulatory advisors, customers, and competitors from a wide range of industries, particularly technology and energy. To qualify for a free initial expert consultation, contact us at NitronAdvisors.com. David is coauthor of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, the first book on how to use online networks to find your next investor, business partner, next client, or next job. He runs a detailed blog and resource site about online networks at TheVirtualHandshake.com, and his personal blog is "Brain Food" (www.Teten.com/blog).

Harish Venkatesh is currently a student at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Canada’s top-ranked business school. He recently interned as a research analyst with Nitron Advisors. At Ivey, Harish is actively involved in the University Student’s Council, Investment Club, and is an avid tennis player.