Jay-Z’s YouTube Strategy

If you know me, then it’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Jay-Z fan. I was also born in NJ and followed the Nets for a while. So when Jay-Z bought into the Nets’s ownership and subsequently moved them to Brooklyn (a place I also lived for a time), it was a win win in my eyes. I became “a fan from day one” as they say.

Jay created this short documentary about his preparation for the unveiling of the Barclay’s Center called “Where I’m From” (posted below). Jay-Z is one of the content creators YouTube has enlisted to establish a channel for producing professional grade video. This way the web video giant has a stronger pitch to make in securing more big brand ad dollars. You can get a glimpse of the viewership, content and frequency of Jay-Z’s videos that his media crew are releasing here.

The YouTube initiative was launched at the beginning of 2012 so you can observe the increased frequency of content on Jay-Z’s channel over the last few months. The documentary (below) seems to have garnered the most viewership of any video since the YouTube initiative was established, although “Empire State of Mind” is Jay’s #1 most viewed video on his channel with an impressive 125mm views (is that song really 3 years old already?). Otherwise, it seems the average view count is in the 70k-ish range (approximation). What’s more intriguing is that it seems viewership is decreasing per video over time.

What could explain this? Is Jay’s media team not using an effective content strategy? Or does Jay’s audience only really care about performance footage and music videos? It’s not fair to extrapolate what’s happening on one content producer’s YouTube channel to all the rest but for YouTube’s experiment to work, it would seem there should be a little more handholding and education to avoid trends like this amongst YouTube’s portfolio of selected content partners. So c’mon Jay, back that claim you can ‘make it anywhere’ … YouTube included.

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Tomorrow’s Digital Landscape

It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m a fan of adtech. I love the dispersion of messages. I love the art contained within a well done advertisement. Mass communication technologies have always fascinated me. The power contained within them is simply amazing. It’s what made me a real college radio nerd. What brings this fascination and amazement to new heights for me is two things:

  1. the way the web has made it easily accessible for me to broadcast a message (via twitter, facebook, wordpress, tumblr, etc.)
  2. and the way that the web has enabled broadcast communications to go from a 1-way messaging vehicle to a 2-way conversation platform

I can check my Facebook page and Coke, the multi-billion dollar business with hundreds of millions in advertising budgets, is faced with a leveled playing field in communicating their message to me. Coke has the same share of my attention as do my cousins in high school and middle school.

This is a very roundabout way of introducing this video discussion of Fred Wilson doing a live Q&A with Dave Morgan at ad:tech NY. I’ve followed @Fred from when I first heard of Twitter back in 07 as he was an early investor. He’s a true visionary and has a demonstrated track of successful investments. He shares a lot of great thoughts in the talk here about the evolution of and the technological innovations within advertising and marketing. In particular check out the discussion around native ad experiences and mobile nuances at 25 minutes in. For any adtech enthusiasts, I recommend sitting back and taking the hour to give this a watch.

Fred Wilson and Dave Morgan: Tomorrow’s Digital Landscape from ad:tech on FORA.tv

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The Sweeter Spot & Startup Bulls

I read Dave McClure’s ‘Screw The Black Swans‘ post which was in response to Paul Graham’s ‘Black Swan Farming‘ post a few weeks back when they were initially published. Lots of great thoughts in both but one idea/image has stuck with me ever since and that is the venn diagram of the sweet spot. Graham cites Peter Theil as the originator of this illustration to fully round out the West Coast name dropping here. The whole notion of the sweet spot is that when assessing early stage investments, what may seem like a bad idea might actually turn out to be a good idea. [Be sure to read Graham's recounting of this exact phenomenon when first meeting Mark Zuckerburg and assessing Facebook.]

If you were able to zoom in on this further, I’d insert a very small circle approximately the size of the “O” titled “Great Ideas” of which only a sliver would overlap the ‘seems like a bad idea’ circle. This little zone would be the ‘sweeter spot.’ Facebook belongs in this category as does Instagram given their exit valuation (say what you will about it).

Whether it’s a bad idea or just seems like a bad idea, the ability to discern between the two is something I believe can be learned. Just as my alma mater Babson professes that entrepreneurship can be learned, I suggest the same for this investment ability. Although it relates specifically to early stage businesses since its much easier to have a sense whether an idea is turning out to be a good one or bad one after some money has been spent in an attempt to grow. And for those who are bullish on entrepreneurship, with the increasingly smaller costs involved to prove out whether a business can gain traction, more bets can be placed on these companies that may seem like a bad idea but hopefully turn into good or even great ideas in the long run

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