In a recent video on Wistia.com, Jay Gould from Foundville listens to various success stories from startup entrepreneurs.
Foundville is an organization that interviews founders of successful startup companies via online video chats. It then posts those videos online in order to share those stories with entrepreneurs who may need a source of inspiration. The videos teach those entrepreneurs not only what they can achieve, but also what to do and what to avoid.
All of the featured entrepreneurs believe that Foundville’s mission is beneficial to businesspeople who are just beginning their careers and/or companies. One of the hurdles a startup company must overcome is finances. Often, it is difficult to spread a company’s name to potential investors and employees.
In the video, Jameson Hsu, co-founder of San Francisco-based Mochi Media, says that he admires Foundville for what it’s doing. Mochi Media was founded in 2004, raised $14 million, and was acquired for $80 million in 2010.
“There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t in San Francisco and don’t have access to these entrepreneurs, these people, and you’re helping inspire so many people around the world. I admire you for doing that and I think it’s something that people need.”
Other founders featured in the video comment that it’s beneficial for entrepreneurs to tell stories in order for other people to learn. They view the act of storytelling as a way of paying it forward and helping other companies.
In the video, Co-founder of Userplane Mike Jones admits that he likes telling his stories to other entrepreneurs and seeing how his lessons help others in turn. Userplane was founded in 2001, hadn’t raised anything on its own and was acquired for $40 million in 2006. He says:
“I love sharing my entrepreneur experiences. I’m very open about them, I’m open about my lessons, I’m open about guidance. My hope is that any of the knowledge that I can share with people will help their process and make them become more successful. That’s what I want to see happen.”
Similar to Foundville’s goal, film distribution company Film Annex also strives to spread awareness of artists and businesspeople. Through its WebTV pages and profiles, artists are able to reach audiences worldwide in order to gain attention and investments that allow them to continue producing content.
Watch the full video here.
A recent article in the New York Times discusses the brand new Cornell NYC Tech school, a graduate school designed to teach applied science - the art of being a technological entrepreneur. The classes are taught by businessmen and women, and the students share space with businesses who’ve set up shop in the building, donated by Google. According to the article, “Cornell NYC Tech is not just a school, it is an “educational start-up,” students are “deliverables” and companies seeking access to those students or their professors can choose from a “suite of products” by which to get it.”
Surrounding the students with companies and corporations who seek to access them could restructure current theories about education. This game-changing school could set up a new model for education - if it can successfully navigate the barriers surrounding the culture clash. The school seems to be walking a fine line, potentially setting up students to work, unpaid, for businesses.
Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell NYC Tech, is all-too-aware of the potential issues and conflicts of interest this model could bring. He said,
“I think there are lots of risks in trying to bring what are fundamentally different cultures and sets of goals together. Companies need to make a profit. Universities have different motives — partly societal good, partly education — and that leads to different value systems.” He points out a possible ethical dilemma, saying, “[I]f a student that a faculty member is advising is working at a company that the faculty member has a financial interest in, is the faculty member really keeping students’ interests in mind?”
The school could potentially change the nature of academia, at least among a small subset of students. Whether or not this school-cum-business will usher in a new era of college education remains to be seen. The traditional model, many people believe, is no longer effectual in training students to face the modern-day truths of the working world.
Of course, whether or not education works is a highly situational question. For example, Michael Sweeney, a managing partner at Film Annex Capital Partners, graduated from Boston College in 1984, going on to receive his M.B.A. in 1989 from The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. His “traditional” degree has helped him achieve his position today.
Francesco Rulli went the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates route. Francesco is a high school graduate from Florence Highpoints out, “It depends on the educational stage. For a kid that needs money tomorrow, it’s a different story than a trust fund kid who can stay in school forever.” Whether or not a typical education works depends on each person and their situation.
One place where a typical education could work quite nicely is in Afghanistan. Fewer men and women in Afghanistan have an education, which is why Citadel of New York LLC, along with Film Annex Capital Partners, have founded the Afghanistan Development Project. This initiative connects students in Afghanistan with others from around the world via the Internet and social media. There’s no question that a standard college education will help them succeed.
At the end of the day, the educational model students choose depends on what their needs are and what their background is. Some students can afford to pay nearly $50,000 a year to essentially work for free, while others, like those in Afghanistan, don’t have that luxury.
Film Annex partners with Roya Mahboob to create a Web TV presenting the latest stories from Afghanistan. Our mission is to show people the new face of Afghanistan with current event videos, interviews, and news clips as well as archival material directly from the Afghan Young Development. We are certain that the result will be one of hope, excitement, and innovation. Here is a summary video of our progress in building the first four internet classrooms in high schools in Herat, Afghanistan:
Please see the Afghan Development Web TV, where the mission is to show the world the new face of Afghanistan by broadcasting current event videos, interviews, and news clips as well as archival material directly from Afghan Youth Development.
Roya Mahboob is the founder and CEO of the Afghan Citadel Software Company (ACSC). After receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Herat University, Mahboob went on to get her MBA in IT (Information Technology) in Malaysia. Mahboob worked as the IT Coordinator at Herat University from 2007 to 2010 and founded the Afghan Development Program Organization (AYDPO) in 2008, where she held the position of Female Officer and IT Officer. She was also a Project Coordinator in the IT Department of Ministry of Higher Education.
Roya Mahboob founded ACSC with the intention to facilitate more jobs for recent graduates, especially girls, and help them find opportunities in the new IT market. Her goal is to be a role model for the Afghan women and motivate them to start their own technology businesses and take a step closer to having a better future.
For more information about Roya Mahboob, visit the Afghan Development Project and Film Annex Founder Francesco Rulli's wiki page.
I have been updating myself on our Your Buzz messaging and I found myself watching Steve Brazell's video. Steve is the architect of "Competition Removal"—the idea that it is easier for an individual or company to beat their competition through innovation and real differentiation rather than trying to compete with them head-to-head. Affectionately known as "The Hitman," he is an ideator—and helps companies and individuals grow market share and profits by developing and communicating new ideas that set their brands and products apart—making them the first and obvious choice for their customers. Steve founded Hitman Inc almost 15 years ago, and works with some of the world's leading corporate and celebrity brands. He also works with start-ups providing marketing and branding expertise as well as early round investment. He is the recipient of multiple industry awards including; Addys and Bronze Quills, and was one of Esquire's 45 Under 45 Professional Men. Steve recently designed the world's first (patent pending) online Branding Engine—Brand Op.™ Here is the video that I have been watching that was recorded in the Film Annex studios:
Steve is the author of "Clear! The simple guide to keeping your business alive and kicking”, and is in high-demand to present and workshop at companies, conferences, universities, and private leadership groups around the world. Steve presents on the art of Competition Removal, marketing, branding, and persuasive communication techniques. He has been rated in the top 1% of events he attends and listed as "most thought provoking," and "most life-changing."
He is fluent in Japanese and an avid student of body language, human behavior, and Far East Philosophy. Hitman Inc is located in New York City and Vegas.
A picture is supposed to be, in some cases, worthy of a thousand words. I can argue the case that some of the better fashion film productions that I have viewed while overseeing Models WebTV have generated discussions many times more than that. The use of engaging video productions by businesses today could be the last step of the puzzle in creating the necessary buzz for promoting a product to an engaged audience as it is launched.
Amanda Dhalla writes in her blog for Video-Commerce.org that "Online video is an ideal medium to tell the stories behind your products and build your brand authenticity" and gives fantastic examples of companies that have utilized video for this benefit. I would like to add a company to this roster. It's name is Killspencer, the brainchild of Los Angeles based industrial designer Spencer Nikosey. The company started with the mission of creating the perfect, waterproof, 100% USA made backpack. My search for such a backpack led me to Spencer's site. His bags are amazing and I plan to purchase one.
What was more inspiring was how Spencer is successfully utilizing fashion the film genre and 'making of' productions to showcase his company, his products and himself.
Ms. Dhalla continues with this; "To maximize exposure and buzz, marketers need to explore other types of video formats that are better suited to that task. One example is a ‘making of’ or ‘behind-the-scenes’ video". I get to know Spencer and his Killspencer brand on a personal level when I watched his very own interview video. His "making of" video gives the prospective buyer an insight on the process of how the bag is made and the materials used to make it.
Now to the exciting part, the videos that I may categorize as fashion films which Spencer created for marketing the vibe of his products and the settings one could only wish to be in when wearing them.
Click to view the KILLSPENCER® | WEEKENDER FILM
Click to view the KILLSPENCER® | UTILITY COLLECTION 2.0 FILM
Spencer Nikosey is the perfect example of an entrepreneur who recognizes how vital video production is for opening the doors to his company and letting an eager consumer in. What this has done for me personally is let me know the man behind the product and connect with him. I now better understand the process of how my future backpack will be made and through his films I can dream about the perfect location that a Killspencer product will be at my side.
Well done Spencer, I'll keep my eye open for the postman!
The Veterans that Film Annex has been interviewing in personal documentaries are 22 years old on average. Most of them only have a high school degree and in many cases the only available role models are other Veterans that have limited Entrepreneurship and business experience.
These young men and women are now learning basic business skills with Film Annex such as how to write a resume or a business presentation. These young Veterans have a great sense of discipline, time management, and hard work. However, they lack marketing and writing skills as they are often located in remote areas with limited access to modern communications.
See (G.I.V.E.) WebTV @ Film Annex
The military dedicates years of their lives to fight wars and maintain peace. We owe it to them to get them up to speed with contemporary requirements in business, marketing, and social skills back in the mainstream world. Film Annex looks forward to this opportunity with Veterans.
See Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship (G.I.V.E.)
Watch more on Film Annex
(G.I.V.E.) Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship is a new initiative by Film Annex. Its mission is to re-introduce war veterans to society and help them make their business ideas a reality.
(G.I.V.E.) prioritizes the veteran's future goals and focuses on how they can utilize their skills most effectively in the job market. To empower the veterans, Film Annex founder, Francesco Rulli, set out to interview each Marine about his aspirations, skills, business ideas, and inspirations. By staying away from past experiences in the military, these interviews intend to shed light into these veterans' future and turn the viewer's gaze to what lies ahead.
In addition to the interviews, Film Annex offers Web TV channels to all veterans on its network, where they can broadcast their content and receive advertising revenues.
(G.I.V.E.) advocates that war veterans have the necessary skills and vision to be given distinct business opportunities due to their experience in the war, knowledge of different cultures, peace-keeping efforts, perseverance, supreme time management skills, and hard work. The (G.I.V.E.) concept to improve the image of veteran and easing the transition back into the civilian world. Film Annex will:
Film Annex interviews Marine Luke Deer in Jacksonville, North Carolina
- Focus on the fact that the military and soldiers are a peace keeping force;
- Films will examine the Afghan, Iraq, Vietnam and other non-combat experience as a learning experience culturally and as a way to develop business ideas. For example, we are developing a pilot where soldiers help open a pizza restaurant in Herat, Afghanistan with online orders for deliveries!!
Watch more on Film Annex
I just finished reading a post on the Fast Company Design website titled, 'If You Want Change Agents Hire Pirates', which is an excerpt from Peter Sander's book, What Would Steve Jobs Do?: How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win. It is a fantastic synopsis on Jobs' vision when it came to hiring employees or "Pirates (who) had to have the passion, the drive, and the shared vision to want to delight the customer with a perfect, game-changing product". Apple's phenomenal quarterly numbers released yesterday have earned them the title as the planets #1 valued company, the belt is theirs! They reached this pinnacle due in large part to Jobs' diligent selection of his band of amazing pirates.
"A pirate can function without a bureaucracy. Pirates support one another and support their leader in the accomplishment of a goal. A pirate can stay creative and on task in a difficult or hostile environment. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team."
When I was reading this I couldn't help but think of the crew at the Film Annex studio, which in introduction would read like the start an old school NY joke;
"So, An Italian, a Turk, a Parisian, a couple of Russians, a Haitian and Irish American walk into a bar (the rabbi and priest walked out when they met us)....
There lies the start of a great story that is the team at Film Annex and Models WebTV. Jobs strategy in building a crew of pirates, heavily relied on diversity of personality and interests, the desire to embrace change and challenge convention, and flourish in an entrepreneurial environment. We have molded this concept organically by who we are as a team and for what we want to achieve as entrepreneurs in our selected endeavours, be it project development, advertising, and all aspects of pre and post production.
Film Annex and Models WebTV are comprised of a diverse crew of individuals with varied life experiences, upbringings, educations, talents, and passions. We are positioned to move swiftly and concisely in an ever changing digital environment to achieve results.
Bureaucracy, the bain of Steve Jobs' existence, does not exist in our vocabulary. We are free to make decisions and implement them immediately to the result of success and sometimes failure, a word in every entrepreneurs vocabulary. Though, being nimble and free from multiple layers of decision makers (investors) we are afforded the opportunity to try new ideas and collaborate with exceptional people who as well desire to reach the pinnacle in their respected and varied fields.
As Jobs states, “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” I agree.
On November 11th 2011: Francesco Rulli coined this term “Slavery Technology Organization", which was Francesco's way of poking a little fun at the BIG platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo that pay content providers (filmmakers and writers) practically nothing for their content. Here at Film Annex we share Advertising Revenues 50/50 with content providers as expressed here in one of our early articles:
Here is a series of "Slavery Technology Organization" articles on Film Annex Corp:
In this video, Tyler Trimbath explains the "Big Picture" of his SEO and tagging process @ Film Annex:
Watch more on Film Annex
Digging deeper, we all can use the power of effective Keyword and Tag technology, and it allows us to express a concept in a very functional way and makes specific content easily searchable on the web.
Many online articles discuss search engine optimization techniques related to titles, meta tags, and site maps which are important but confusing. There are a number of SEO techniques that may be best left to professionals, but a great deal of on-page SEO/blog tag SEO is something we can all do ourselves. SEO in general is all about ensuring that search engines can find your content in this case blogs/articles specifically. A search engine will then list your information because it provides elements relevant to what you may be providing.
Most search engines only “crawl” for text, and may not index pictures or video the same as verbage. The bulk of crawling, indexing andranking happen because of specific tag words formatted in the content or tagged to the blog itself. Research and be sure you know what keywords are being entered in search engines by those looking tofind you. Next, avoid stuffing keywords into blogs that may not make sense. On top of that make sure your content and “TAGS” are relevant to the blog orarticle. TAG’s really become specific KEY words “LONG TAILED” that break downthe rich content in each article posted.
As an example if you write an article about Political Debates, that would be considered the main category. However, “TAG’s” identify the detail in the categorysuch as “Democratic National Debates”, “Upcoming Presidential Debates”, “Final Debates Before The Primary”, etc… They are a list of specific words that individuals will use to search for exact content.
"Tags are the gasoline of this industry", without tags it can be extremely difficult to gather information and express a cohesive concept. This is the reason why Film Annex has implemented a very advanced and functional“Content Tagging” system. As a bonus aspect of the new tag system, after you write the first two letters of the tag, it will query our database and suggest Recycled Tags similar to auto-complete on your iPhone!
When creating tags for an article be sure to think about what online surfers will type into their search bar to find your content.
Francesco Rulli and I created Models Web TV a little over a year ago with the simple intent of mimicking the success that Film Annex had achieved over the past 5 years distributing independent film on the internet and take that very concept into the worlds of fashion and modeling. Quite often we were happening upon amazingly created, and engaging short fashion film content on Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube. An ever growing community of photographers have been complementing, some even replacing their still work with motion capture, producing beautifully edited and captivating films, behind the scenes videos, and interviews to maximize the content of a regular shoot, very similar to a video diary.
The advent of relatively inexpensive hardware, such as the Canon 5d Mark II camera, and enhanced editing capabilities from software like Apple's Final Cut Pro have given the modern photographer (cinematographer) the tools necessary to create outstanding work at a reasonable cost for their clients and the millions of fans that seek this genre on the internet daily.
The light bulb went off and we knew that this category of visual artist was under served and were due the same respect, consideration and revenue sharing opportunity that Film Annex provided filmmakers.
When the photographer registers he gets a Web TV channel where he will showcase and promote his videos, photography, and blog entries to a community of eager and loyal fans.
Other than YouTube which may share revenue with selective content providers at a fraction of Film Annex's 50/50 split, most platforms are TAKERS. They do not give back to the content provider their due share for uploaded material. WE BELIEVE THIS IS NOT FAIR. And we are doing something dramatic to level the field between the platform and the content provider, GIVING BACK the $. Artists are entrepreneurs, as they work for themselves, must sell their artistic vision (product) to an audience to eat, and success and or failure rests solely on their shoulders at the end of the day. Models WebTV and Film Annex are in the business of facilitating their success.
Here is a film on Hello Hollywood with Elite Models:
Watch more on modelswebtv.com
Till next time....