Archive for April, 2012

Intra-preneurship (Unless it’s a top down effort, don’t even try it.)

In February, @phillmckinney wrote an article about corporate anti-bodies and their effect on innovation. I’ve got a few thoughts on this… First off, if you’ve got a track record for seeing problems, coming up with solutions, figuring out how to make money at it and then convincing people to help you make them happen, start your own company. So few people can see the root cause of a problem and go for the throat to solve it that it’s one of the rarest of skills out there. Go make a lot of money for yourself and your family. Second, it’s the role of an organization to maintain the course of the organization and extend the profitability of the company. Things that get in the way or cause the organization to go off course are sidelined and then pushed out of that organization. Intrapreneurship, as defined by Guy Kawasaki, is really the antithesis of what the company is set up to do. It’s simply not realistic to believe that any mature organization is going to accept developing a product that kills the cash cow. Unless… it’s driven by the CEO and backed by the Board of Directors. That gives credibility, protection for the creative thinkers and innovators on staff, and it gives one more thing: the approval to take risks. Most mature companies are risk averse – they’re organized to extend the life of a product, optimize the sales process and in tough times, cut costs. The innovator is diametrically opposed to this. For that reason alone it’s my belief that intrapreneurship is a myth. If you are ready to strike out on your own then there’s a growing list of resources for you: Startup Weekend, Startup Bus (which just wrapped up at SxSW) as well as TechStars and lots of accelerator and incubator programs. If you’re in Tampa, StartupWeekend Tampa is launching on April 13, there’s Gazelle Lab and a really successful StartupBus just finished with BumperCrop placing second. Do you want to beat your head against a wall for somebody else, or do you want to do it for yourself and get even bigger reward?

The Most Daring of Ideas

In March, Paul Graham wrote a post about the top 7 most daring startup ideas. At number 4 was “Internet Drama” which discussed how video content delivery will be changing consumer’s viewing habits. He also identified two ways that this was likely to play out – either Netflix, HULU or a similar platform will continue to aggregate content from studios or a platform will provide streaming a-la-carte programming along with out of the box subscription services. The latter is exactly what ChannelShift does for video content providers. In my opinion, video distributed over Netflix or HULU builds the brands of the aggregators, not the content producers. It also makes it difficult to grow an audience and recognize increased revenue as a result. So what’s needed is a platform that allows video content with high production value (i.e. not cats swinging from a fan) to get to mobile, tablet, IPTV and ConnectedTV’s quickly and through a subscription payment method to consumers. Precisely what we’ve built with ChannelShift.

When I started the company a year ago I had no idea that it would be called the most daring of ideas. What I did see was the need for a company that focused specifically on what was happening in streaming technology and that could make it simple and profitable for companies to get access to it. So to me, it’s only  a daring idea if you don’t break it down into smaller pieces and then start knocking them out. Face your most daring ideas head-on, I promise you it’s the most rewarding of accomplishments.

Tampa Twilight Criterium

Cigar City Brewing Criterium 2012Stephanie and I had a great time watching the Pro-1-2 from under the tent at the start/finish line. I want to thank David Green for being a gracious host and a shout out to my old team mates Davey A, Tim, Jim and Bill. Here’s a pic of the action just as the sun was dropping. It’s also the first time we had a chance to eat at Taco Bus. Service…meh. Food? I’m going back for more.

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