#Jeecamp, Simon Waldman and the Opening Keynote. Internet has returned.

21May10

As Paul states it, the punk-rock ethic stays strong, and “In the spirit of Jeecamp” the internet rebelled.

Regardless, I write from beyond the internet barrier in an attempt to update you on the first speaker at this years’, the third, and the final Jeecamp.

Simon Waldman; a pioneer of online journalism way back in the dark ages of 2004. Fresh from escaping The Guardian Media Group and, alarmingly, amongst the sleepy haze of coffee, naturally fresh as well, we are introduced into the “new physics of business”.

Amongst the smattering of entrepreneurs, students and practicing journalists, a show of hands elaborate how in touch our audience is with the online business.

There are, as Simon states, four points of note in our opening keynote; entrepreneurship is the first.

Entrepreneurship changes everything. Start-ups are the future, and an existing business is ever-so-quickly becoming to past. Netflix and Blockbuster are the perfect, and exemplar, example.

Economy is our second major influence; the internet provides “our most prolonged economic boom” in an epic build-up to a crash the likes of which this generation have never seen.

Investment in the internet was and still is at best, messy. People threw money into cyber-wind and it happily chomped it away.  “We don’t really need cash anymore”, Simon states, as people like to challenge authority, gather up as much as they can for free and, as social media is built for, make social capital a net gain in order to promote economic game.

“Bellyvision”. Definition: the introduction of Wi-fi and the resulting exponential increase in household laziness.

Wi-fi is of course a massive influence, and as Simon states, it completely changes personality and activity simply because it changes the way people work.

I missed four points, but I believe I covered every point. I feel ashamed.

Simon states that a newspaper trying to act like Google is like us trying to behave like Wayne Rooney and expecting the same result. S’a great metaphor, I’m using this again.

IBM has had the biggest ever loss in the 1980s. £8 billion. “America’s great business”.

“Record earnings for the last 10 years” shows a massive turnaround, a result of catching the massive wave and riding it through an economic storm by working on the parts of the company that count.

So, to kick your business running, you need to;

  1. Fix the mainframe. Business needs to be airtight before you set it afloat on the web.
  2. Move into new areas. Newspapers buying more newspapers is a mistake. The Washington Post, as Simon states, “got lucky” in the 80’s by gaining a business that lies away from the newspaper and provides financial buoyancy to keep the whole business afloat.

Britannica lost 80% of its revenue, even through “herculean efforts” to get the Encyclopaedia online. No wonder subbing is a dying art. Businesses change, and driving it through is the hard part.

Apollo 13 was an amazing film. Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon ftw.

The story of the pump developed by a tiny team in Houston and replicated in space is epic. This is innovation. Loose resources, no “quibbling”, and the scraping together of the bare minimum to fulfil a need.

As a venture capitalist, you needed a huge business plan to want to get a media business up and running.

Web 2.0 changed this.

Our advice? “It’s a fantastic time to try something in entrepreneurship on your own”. Should you have the time and dedication to push a well-formulated idea through to the end, then aim for a huge market and scalability.

Venture capitalists want to hit a huge range of people in the long run. S’a fact.

But, online, a big market and scalability are very difficult things to achieve in a business, let alone in a start-up. Advertising is about growth and is integral to business, where-as charging for content is not a possibility.

Journalism businesses are difficult to scale, and advertising is hard to fight for, as Simon tells us.

The sales team and Tech must manipulate and strangle their budget and have a stupidly high hit rate to have the right effect, but when they get it right, it makes a business.

There “is a wealth of opportunity” for start-ups today, but, in terms of a comfortable living, it will be difficult to achieve; there is a difference between running a business and being a business.

You have to think about sustainability.

But, regardless, you have to do brilliant things.

And it’s rounded off with the words, “be optimistic”. I like.

It seems like we are in a time where bravery and innovation will be rewarded, and with strategy and a clinical business nature there are many opportunities out there for a journalist. It’s nice to hear some positivity.

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