Telstra ‘Smarter Business’ magazine

Telstra Smarter Business magazine recently commissioned me to write an article on how to get your next big idea funded. I was able to draw on good friends Steve Fanale at App Village, Ian Gardiner at Viocorp and Innovation Bay. As A Pozible Ambassador, I got to know Alan Crabbe at Pozible, and had good chats with Mick Liubinskas at Pollenizer, and Rob Antulov at Venture Advisory

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Enjoy the article – There is a nice breakdown of where to go for advice, what questions to ask, characteristics required, and lessons to learn. Good luck!

Lavolta Digital Bullets – Apps

Apps have become an extraordinary area of innovation in the past few years, initially triggered by the capability of smart phones and more recently the tablet. There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS and Android users in particular. The rise of the ‘app-economy’ has given huge power to gatekeepers like Apple that approve and distribute apps and then take a big cut of any revenue generated from them. Is this proliferation and excitement around apps just a brief fizz in a bottle or is it genuinely the beginnings of a trend that will turn the digital world in significant new directions? Where do you see apps going in the next few years? What are the significant trends to watch? Will so-called ‘web apps’ take over from ‘native apps’?
Big thanks to our guests on this bullet.

Tony Faure – Pollenizer, Dealised & Torque
Simon Goodrich – Portable & AIMIA
Steve Fanale – AppVillage
Mark Britt – Mi9
Paul Fisher – IAB
Fiona Bendall – Bendalls Group Digital Intelligence
Nick Bolton – Feverpitch
Peter Williams – Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Tim Burrowes – Mumbrella, Encore, Focal Attractions
John Butterworth – AIMIA
Robert Wong – iNC Retail Digital Network
Hannah Schwartz – Ninefold
Ian Gardiner – Viocorp
Jennifer Wilson – Project Factory
Michelle Deaker – OneVentures
Oliver Weidlich – Mobile Experience
Jane Huxley – Industry Consultant

Watch the Digital Bullet here

Nice Shorts – a few years ahead of its time

Back in mid 2006, Ian Gardiner (CE) Viocorp, @rabbieburns) , Carlo Ledesma (@allorange, ex Viocorp Director and now Director of The Tunnel movie) and I were brainstorming how to promote our business based on online video. This was pre YouTube. Pre-UGC, Pre Social Networking.

Carlo and I were both filmmakers and were frustrated at the repetition of burning DVD’s of our short films, posting them to film festivals and never recieving them back. Very costly and a lot of time spent.

So we came up with the idea of creating Nice Shorts.

Nice Shorts was a website dedicated to showcasing quality short films, animation, and music videos made by aspiring filmmakers and visual artists from all over the world. It aimed to help future directors, animators, and visual artists get noticed by people in the industry and help them reach an audience through the growing medium that is the internet.

We built the site ourselves using our online video platform Viostream.

Apart from screening films, we also offered exclusive interviews with respected industry professionals (Rob Carlton, Rachel Okine, Gary Eck, Tony Greirson, Jeff Purser, Tom Schutzinger) mini-documentaries on what goes on behind the scenes, featurettes on up-and-coming feature films, and a unique profile page for every filmmaker whose work is featured on the site. In addition, we gave armchair critics a chance to flex their critical muscle by rating our content and publishing their reviews, whether it’s an enthusiastic thumbs up or a disapproving thumbs down.

We launched in March 2007 and by December had obtained 15,000 unique views a month, averaging 50,000 views a month, with 5,000 subscribers to the database. Corporate sponsors included myspace, (hey they were cool then) Adobe, Johnnie Walker and more.

Sadly there was little monetisation models in those days, and Carlo and I were spending far too much time on the project, and so we decided to sell the website to the Destra organisation. We thought it would be in good hands but sadly they refused to use our online video platform, ‘Viostream’ and so of course the quality and delivery of the video streaming fell badly, and so therefotre did the viewers. Weirdly the site is still live yet with no video streaming.

However, those 12months were an amazing journey turning a problem into an idea, into a build, launching it, managing the growth and ultimately realising it had got too big than our resources would allow and selling for a profit.