Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Life by Sam Huleatt

“Presence,” a Nice Present for a Smart VC?

2007 For my first post on Leveraging Ideas I thought I would share a business thought. As an MBA student interested in pursuing a career in venture capital, my main problem is that I have no capital. However, forgetting that aspect for a minute, I’m going to pretend that I have money to spend on an acquisition for my portfolio’ .my choice for the next big thing? MyBlogLog ’“ but not with that name, and not with the current business model.

What I really like about MyBlogLog is the idea of ’presence.’ MyBlogLog knows who you are and where you have been and makes it easy to share that information using a community approach.

My issue with the MyBlogLog model is that they didn’t think big picture ’“ their name limits them; blog communities are strong, yes, but the percentage of people with the know-how to insert the code into their blog, or even the percentage of people who read blogs on a regular basis is still very tiny.

What’s more, RSS readers (Google Reader, Net Vibes) are disruptive to the MyBlogLog model, so while MyBlogLog might continue to grow, as an investor I’m interested in something with the potential to reach a much larger audience.

The answer is the MyBlogLlog model, made for Television.

Let’s take a show like ’24’ as an example. Many young people like myself watch television with their laptops handy. Some people even watch television directly on their computer via various LCD devices or Slingbox. This mean that the computers’ IP address is already half way ’talking’ with the TV.

So how cool would it be if I could go to the 24 home page, while watching 24, and see the profiles of everyone else watching ’“ similar to MyBlogLog? To make it really smart, all I would have to do is go to say www.fox.com/me and my computer recognizes that I am watching 24 and thus loads the 24 community page, complete with all the profiles. I would be able to sort by geographic region since there will be thousands of profiles for a really popular show.

Going a step further, I’m sure it won’t be too long until MyBlogLog adds instant messaging functionality. The idea is especially strong for sports. Take for example a RedSox vs. Yankees game. Once on the RedSox Community page during a game, I might search for my buddies also watching the game. Seeing an old college roommates’ profile might prompt me to IM him and re-connect. Similarly, I could have an ongoing ’conference call’ with my three best friends as we watch the game together and talk for free via Skype – also integrated with this network.

  • http://TD Anatoly Ryzhenko

    Great Post! Thank you Samuel.

    A.

  • http://www.intelligrad.com Joe

    Hmm…interesting applications of MyBlogLog.. it would be cool if there was something like that for TV

  • http://mybloglog.com/buzz/members/rafer Scott Rafer

    We certainly hear you on the name, but your stats are backwards on RSS, blog reading, and probably TV. Though it pains me to say so, as I spent a huge amount of my time working on RSS, it’s failed so far. Adoption of RSS readers is trailing so far behind overall blog readership that it’s tough to measure. The figure is close to 20-to-1 against RSS in that particular comparison (Please note that I don’t include the My Yahoo accounts which are all technically RSS-based but in which the grand majority uses subscriptions available before the RSS switchover).

    TV viewership is still one of the largest media available. However, with the onslaught of Internet Video, my bet is on video blogs not TV as you describe it. We can create a lot more value growing up alongside a thousand sites like Wallstrip.com [ http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/community/wallstrip/ than we can trying to convince CNBC to include us. If Fox wants to include MySpace presence on 24, they can easily do so, but it’s the user-gen video that will capture the volume as we grow to millions of users.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Management

    Hi Scott,

    Well first off – congrats on the acquisition by Yahoo!

    I think RSS numbers are way down because its still such a new concept. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I didn’t even really “get it” until last year and even then it took the simplicity of Google Reader to get me actively using a reader.

    Great point about Video Blogs – still, I don’t think TV is going anywhere for a very long time. Part of that is because TV is often the ultimate in community – friends watching a game together, a couple watching a favorite show, or DVD. Third screen technology is great, but humans were designed for interaction. For example, reading a blog at work and seeing who else is in that readership community adds a sense of community that would not exist otherwise. However, TV already has community, so I’m just suggesting complementary technologies that enhance it (or facilitate it further).

    Finally, I don’t think the Myspace being added to Fox is the right answer. What is needed is a third-party whose profiles can go seamlessly from network to network

    Anyway, congratulations!

    Sam

  • MikeD

    There are a couple web apps that show users who else is visiting a page – here’s an example: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/4039/ )also at
    http://www.topiczero.com/shoptalk/)
    This is a Firefox sidebar, but an HTML widget wouldn’t be hard at all.

    There are others if you look.

  • http://www.leveragingideas.com Management

    Thanks for the beta Mike, I had not been aware of these apps before. Shop Talk looks pretty cool – I’m going to give it a shot…thanks for the tip!

    Sam

  • MikeD

    You may also be interested in OthersOnline (http://www.othersonline.com) It’s all about finding others online and while very useful to help blog authors get found, it has a broader audience appeal.

    It’s not about television though, sorry.