Archive for the “business” Category

Men with beards are so nice.

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I had salted caramel ice cream with Derek Powazek yesterday + coffee with Jonathan Coulton this morning. They know as much practically about online community and being a self-sustaining independent artist online as anyone. I feel lucky to have their support and access to their insights. The best thing is that there’s nothing “special” or guru-like about either of them or the point of any of this. It’s not about distance and glossing everything up to imply that you’re great. It’s about putting the digital content out and accepting yourself and work as you are (this is my synthesis, not their direct words) and listening to and responding to your audience and your self.

This is a relief.

Both of them were so helpful and encouraging about my work and had some good insights and ideas about the web site design challenges my team and I face. (It’s amazing to say “my team.” I am stunned and thrilled that talented people are working with me on the talk show and my Internet infrastructure)

Of course it’s not just web design. It’s how to make a living as an independent artist. As Derek summarized + identified with my challenge “want to be a star, a community manager and an entrepreneur.” While I quibble with the word star (because my desire is to shine yes, but not to be distant or focussed on getting attention or fame for no reason), he’s right. It’s good thing I like to do all these different things. He does too and so does JoCo. It’s a good thing because they’re all necessary to be a successful independent artist apres Net. It will be true for any online business, but that’s a topic for another day and another post.

Being open, just putting stuff out there is at the heart of it. So in that spirit, here are my notes.

• put everything out (right now I have a constipated catalogue)

• Don’t sit on the egg too long. (DP) Put out stuff you think sucks. (JC)

•You don’t know what will hit.

• Tip jars don’t work. Sell your work.

•digital content doesn’t cost to store, and you can sell only one copy of one piece and make that one person really happy while another piece sells, travels a lot. Don’t focus on making something “viral,” just on making stuff.

• user content is the greatest fun. Invite it. Make room to show it.

• have a store, JoCo intelligently links to his with the word music in the nav. His store page is an explanation of how to get his music and his goals ie making a living. I like how JoCo’s store with all his digital content works. I want to do the same. I know most of mine is video and that heretofore people haven’t paid for this. But we will try and see as my mission will be clearer to people as I share it more.

>JoCo recommends e-junkie for shopping cart

• a place to capture email addresses easily near each piece of video content posted

• each show has it’s own little node as each of JoCo’s songs does, seen here, which includes a place to see fan/audience response + to solicit it. I find his simple way of doing it easy to understand and follow.

• within the HG Show each conversation should have the same.

• may not need subvert + hg as separate sites. just have subvert redirect to hg for now. Simplicity yes!

• the corporate / biz stuff has it’s own small site/page in another place

• all shows are under the heathergold umbrella

• Jane Siberry (now Issa) is having sucess with her “pay what youlike now or later ” system. JoCo is trying to get the code. He has learned that when a big wave of people come the pricesdrop. but this greater volumn / lower price makes sense to me.

• the feedback is the critical piece for the audience/ community (and the artist too :-), everyone wants to know that what they do say, create has an impact and is acknowledged.

• paying the artist directly for their work is the future, get with the program folks.

•integrate my manifesto, the why I’m doing things along with my work. Don’t worry about separaing everything.

• don’t worry about “branding” / calculating a single essence before putting things out. As Cory Doctorow told me, people are learning to filter. Don’t let self-definition paralyze you. Just put the stuff out.

•It’s really great to put out work you don’t like (JoCo). Get’s you over the perfectionist thing. That last 2% only matters to you.

• continue to play with the multiple levels of ticketing pries but make it clearer what they are. Eg. Keep the names of the pricing on the front page but have a “what the hell is this?” link that will go elsewhere to my FAQplace where I can explain this stuff along with my manifesto.

• pre-ordering. Use the fund this project / participate/gimmesomecandy approach to putting together a DVD and book of the last season (and same for Cookie) see: |

• calendaring. JoCo uses eventful . He was so so about their coding. They say they push all their events out to other calendars if you check that preference inc upcoming, but he hasn’t checked to see if, in fact, this is working. He said promoting the eventuful a lot is key. We can have in the show area a link so people can go there if they want to bring the show to their town/place.

• having lots of guides helps people find what relates to them. JoCo does a nice start here guide that lays out some of this (that link is in the margin, the little box at the top) and also lays out how and why he’s doing it and the approach to singing/giving the music.

•involving people in the process, blogging openly about it is great. I’ve been toying with putting all the numbers out so people can see how much each show costs etc. Although once the thing is done, like the stage is built for the hydraulic lift, how does one generate the $1000 to pay for it. Involving everyone in helping us solve the problem and costs is great. In fact, I will probably blog this :-)

Ticket prices and bootstrapping a show in the Net era

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

My grandparents owned a corner store when I was a kid.

I went to law school, took classes at Kellogg and worked at New Line and Apple in strategic new business positions, not to mention with plenty ‘o start ups, but I learned more about business from the corner store than anywhere else.

Retail businesses scaled into Macy’s and Walmart. Along the way most of them lost the humaity and sense of service that makes a small business truly successful.

Now that the Net is capable of video and some basic infrastructure pieces are in place –video hosters like blip, blog software like WordPress (just to name a couple that I use)–it is possible to build a little corner store of a show and grow it.

And that’s exactly what I plan to do. The second season of my interactive talk show begins September 21st (Theme: Does art change anything?). Unlike most videoblogs and online shows before it, it is based on a live experience with an audience (who are truly participants). The experience of the show comes, in large part, of the mix of guests and audience members and inclusive vibe. We have few public commons where people can meet each other and even fewer where we can openly discuss the most important issues of our lives without political posturing creating an experience as whitewashed and removed from real life experience as mainstream television. There is a cost to capturing this and bringing quality conversation and interesting people to a bigger audience than the ones who can fit inside the garage where we tape. It’s much, much less expesive than making a television show, but quite a bit more than vlogging alone at home, talking into your webcam.

So this season I’ve taken a page from different conference models I’ve seen and suggestions from Shannon Clark, Gimme Some Candy, and conversation on Jerry Michalski‘s list to create a pricing model with multiple tiers.

I’ve always kept the show open to anyone who bakes for it and anyone who needs it to be. I don’t want a lack of money to keep people out who want to be part of the community and conversation.

Regular tickets are $15 (lube tech) and now a sponsor level ticket $30 (greasemonkey) is available if you want to help back those people who can’t afford tickets. If you’d like to support the show as a patron and back the podcast with a producing credit of your choice of 5 words, and access to green room fun there are a few $100 tickets available. And if you really love the show and want to be a regular, I’ve begun a season pass (warranty) $125 as well. The intention of this pricing is to keep the show open to those who need it to be free, while making a dent in the podcasting/vlogging costs for the show.

I’ve been speaking with different online networks as possible distributors. Will I be able to bootstrap all the way or will I need to take some investment partners ?

I’ll keep you posted as the adventure continues. I look forward to hearing your ideas and your feedback.

Supernova Interview Video: Tara Lemmey, Jerry Michalski and special guest Tantek

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

We discuss: the government, technology,the Mafia and spam,and poptarts at the recent Supernova Conference.

Supernova 2007 – video discussion

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
  • While asking a question about getting to video audience online:
    “During the civil rights movement, the sherrif would make black people come into his office in order to vote and ask them how many bubbles are there in a bar of soap.” – Tom Mandel
    How Mr Mandel connected this to video, I am still uncertain.
  • What key content will drive people on to the net to watch? Very little says Lee Berke, except sports. Lee Burke, surprisingly, works for sports teams.
  • The video audience online is pretty small now, says Scoble. The top show is Rocketboom at 300,000. (here in the room) says 10-20,000 for his livecast. So Scoble chose a small niche attractive to advertisers and spends a lot of focus getting his posts to high Google rankings (via metadata and headlines) since most people experience the Internet via Google.
  • When we let people come imbed a player from our site into theirs with our content our traffic tripled- Scoble
  • – the democratic web video play by the Skype co-founders. (Jost is the “quality” MSM play). You can imbed this on your facebook page.
  • 14 cents/GB = cost of video. So is there a revenue model big enough to support this? Because if you get too populsr, how can you fund this?
  • How do we get an advertiser to recognize the value of our enthusiastic audience of 5-30,000 users? Good Night Burbank team member-Sanford Dickert. Answer was wait 5 years.
  • Other than Scoble and Goodnight Burbank, I was the only person I know i=of in the room actualy making stuff, and the only one making it long-form net-first. This point of view changes my interests and what I see:

    Vlogging Supernova 2007

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

    I’m bl/vlogging a geek / biz conference with a strong media twist this week. I’ll let you know when I’m doing some live streaming commentary. I’m not sure how quickly Ill post video. For now, I’m blogging and twittering (twitter name – heathr)

  • How do you price engagement or intention /attention – Deb Schulz
  • What you’re disintersted in is very important to marketers – Dick Costello Feedburner
  • Ev Williams makes the obivious statement that influential people in your life matter the most. He envisions a world of Burger King croissandwich sponsored people twittering and hotlisting their croissandwich love.
  • Turn media buyers into community evangelist – Deb Schultz
  • “I want what I want when I want it. Why is that so hard?” – Deb S.
    Because companies are as narcissistic as many parents. Service is left for religion. -hg
  • Max from Nielsen just said econometric. Wow I didn’t know you could turn marketing into physics. Why bother understanding or listening?
  • Lots more about the “new digital economy” and the “mystery” of how to get business to understand how to build word of mouth, community business. Women have been doing this for ages: Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay. It’s about personal relationships, fun, community and being paid attention to.

    My thoughts on the coming more humanly/communicative company:

    Sales> service
    Marketing> community management / relationships

  • Jonathan Coulton and indie creative success

    Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

    Fantastic post by Jonathan Coulton on his success as an indie artist on the Net. He is living the dream of the middle class musician many of us had working on music in the early Web days (I thinking specifically of my time in Apple’s early music and webcasting group in 96).

    I feel that the talk show will continue to grow in a similar (but not exactly similar) way. Although I envy the simplicity of pure performing sometimes. Just you and the audience. The talk show takes a lot more organizing, multiple cameras etc. But I love it so much. I love bringing people together. I love a mind/heart jam session.

    How do you see creative growth online happening for things other than music?

    Tip of the hairs to Derek Powazek for the link.

    If you have a hard time getting it to load, it’s probably because half the Internet is reading it.

    Socially-Conscious Capitalism 2.0

    Monday, May 21st, 2007

    How can entrepreneurship can make the world a better place?

    I believe it can:

    • serve, don’t sell (selling is expensive, inauthentic and analogized to battle)
    • no one can own community, only serve it
    • this creates accountability for those serving it
    • community is the only cost-effective way to deal with marketing and advertising in the digital era
    • universal access to publishing promotes transparency
    • social + digital networks (built with the intention of sincerity, since openness is necessary for them to be sustainable) make scalable collective problem solving possible
    • fun+play attract attention and collaboration
    • business must be humanly sustainable to stay competitive
    • solving problems that make a meaningful difference in the world are engaging problems which attract talent and collaboration
    • imposing a tether of social responsibility on business is an unattractive battle and a sad binary
    • social consciousness is necessary to create a working web 2.0 business. The social awareness is integrated and organic.
    • we are entering an era of integration

    At this point, I’d rather focus on what I can do, and on working with others who are focussed on making real things happen than on either political party. You can read why in yesterday’s post.

    For co-sponsors Stuart Skorman Associates and Social Venture Network, I’ll be hosting an intergenerational conversation about this tomorrow night (the 22nd) in San Francisco at The Hotel Rex. Details are here.

    What do you do? (audio podcast)

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

    5/11/07Heather conversates with the uncategorizeable: the funny Marc Horowitz, Lakota Harden, a brilliant UC Berkeley rhetoric prof who chooses to remain ungoogleable and the people formerly known as the audience.

    What if you can’t describe what you do? What if the way you make your income and see yourself are different? In an economy that is forcing constant job changes, does it become more important to figure out what special value you offer to the world (marketplace)?

    Listen to the mp3 of the entire show (90 min)

    Add yourself to the conversation on Flickr.

    What do you do?

    What do you do? Jon Stewart

    Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

    “I don’t spend any time thinking about what I am or what what I do means. I spend my time doing it.”
    –Jon Stewart on Bill Moyers
    in response to Moyers commenting that Stewart has evolved from a stand-up comic to a serious cultural and social critic.

    What do you do?

    Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

    Step 1: write your vocation / occupation[s] on a card
    Step 2: stick that shit on your forehead
    Step 3: take a snap of yourself

    Then upload it here.

    This is the theme of The Heather Gold Show in May. See you there.

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