Archive | November 2011

The Money-Making Trifecta Of Content + Access + Hardware

More than 2 years ago today, I did rounds to a couple of companies, presenting in what I thought to be the next step in entertainment media – the media ecosystem. The idea itself was not new, and many of the parts of the idea were inspired by real-world businesses, like Nokia’s Ovi, RIM’s BlackBerry platform and of course, Apple’s iTunes. I simply tried to point out that the market is still wide open to create a seamless ecosystem for media products – music, movies, news, sports, and so on – to meet with advertising and brands, to become equally beneficial to all parties involved. This concept was based on 3 principles:

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[REFLECTION] Our Secret Expectations

The cruelty that is Jakarta, is that it never lets us think, reflect, or contemplate. From the moment we wake up early in the morning, usually a good time for reflection and prayer, we’re forced to plunge ourselves into our routines of preparation for work or school or whatever; we have not yet made peace with the new day and given it purpose, so we rush into it – because there’s no other way, like trying to stuff in a huge hamburger in 2 minutes. We probably haven’t made peace with yesterday, either.

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[INSIGHT] High/Low Culture, The Internet And The Perception Of Quality

As I have been rambling on and off about on Twitter, quality seems to be something more of an agreed perception of things, rather than a definite benchmark of something… right?

Let me move back a bit.

Point 1:┬ámany people are claiming that ‘the end is near’, due to the seemingly frequent amount of natural disasters, freak accidents, shootings, murder, war and other terrifying, doomsayer-supporting things. The fact is, since time immemorial, natural disasters do happen on an alarming scale – it’s just that now, with internet and social media, every piece of news speeds around the world very quickly, and bad news travels fast. The earthquake in Japan pretty much got global attention in less than an hour, maximum, at least for those people connected to the internet. And with the amount of information going around, it’s tempting to connect the dots and reach conclusions that may or may not be true. But thus, the speed that the internet spreads information and delivers it to us, has influenced our perception of the world.

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In Vietnam, 1 Year Later

Exactly 1 year ago, Saskia and I packed our bags – 2 large suitcases, 32 kg each; 1 small suitcase, 10 kg, a large backpack and tote bag – and went to Soekarno-Hatta International airport. Our parents were there, and a few of our friends were kind enough to see us off, to an adventure of a lifetime. We were moving to Vietnam.

After 2 apartments (we moved to an apartment complex in a nicer area in April) and right now in the middle of a move to a new office building, we’ve had the opportunity to take trips to Phan Thiet and the Mekong Delta, and I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hanoi.

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[INSIGHT] Balancing Act

Many times, especially when working in large teams, we become so engrossed in discussing the details, arguing on doing things this way or that (with an occasional bout of pride or ego), that we lose sight of the big picture. We lose sight of the mission.

It’s very tempting to go into a heated discussion on which time of day would be perfect for a radio ad placement, but if we don’t remember the mission, we engross ourselves into an argument of some campaign element that would only give us, say, 10 more customers. We’re so focused on perfecting our jump shot when we should be practicing strategies.

It’s also very tempting to focus on the big picture so much, you forget how you got there. Dropping revenues must be replaced by new revenue channels, disregarding the need to build it properly to ensure it is sustainable. Like finishing a complicated Lego model, but forgetting how to build it. Shareholder pressure can do that do you.

I’d rather have a team that plays a mediocre game this season and goes on a winning streak next season, rather than have a winning season now and lose all my players next season due to injuries. Good things need to be built with a mission, and built with discipline. And that mission should transcend short-term goals (like money, because money always goes away again).

So, a delicate balance is needed between looking at the big picture and making sure the process is sustainable. That’s why you need to make sure you have the right people around you – which might not be people who always agree with you.

So, what’s your mission?

What’s The Next Step For The Music Industry?

This article originally appeared in Rollingstone Indonesia magazine edition 871 (October 2011) in Indonesian. This is the English translation of that article.

A few months ago there was a rumor that the popular file-sharing site, 4shared, would be blocked in Indonesia, as part of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics to stop digital music piracy through that site. Although the rumor turned out false, it brought the issue of digital music piracy back to the surface. The question is, what is the correct course of action?

At the end of July 2011, a rumor that 20 popular music blogs and websites were to be shut down by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics; when actually, the associations of music industry companies supporting the ‘Heal Our Music’ had sent an official letter to the Ministry regarding this, which was also spread to the press. At the time of writing, there has been no action from the Ministry towards these sites.

This is a sign of the times, something with an apparent long history.

The recorded music industry that we know today, grew from the commercialization of music products through vinyl records. The music that we enjoy could only be heard through a live performance, or the purchase of a vinyl record (and in turn, cassettes and CDs). The recorded music industry had a stranglehold over music distribution, because access to music was limited to a physical product, in the form of vinyl records, cassettes or CDs. A relatively perfect business pattern was shaped – an industry structure that sold all kinds of music, in relatively equal formats and prices, and could be maintained indefinitely; as long as market conditions did not shift.

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