new ventures

Music Streaming and Analytics-How Spotify is Impacting the Music Business

Excellent New Yorker article about Spotify and how music sector business models are changing- very clear here that the online music market business models are morphing quickly- check out http://tinyurl.com/lw88lkc

The article reinforces my view that analytics, not content, packaging, or other features will be the primary success driver in most of today’s markets, including the music sector. I am looking at analytics-centric healthcare, financial, and business management ventures and clear to me these ventures will reshape current sectors and create new large scale opportunities just as Spotify is doing in online music

To fully understand the possibilities here, consider the following 3 points noted in the article:

  • Note migration from early stage “collaborative filtering” analytics-using what you did before to define what you want in the future – first generation analytics here which provided a competitive edge.
  • Spotify bought Echo Nest-an analytics company and created “Truffle Pig” – result is an artificial music intelligence platform that helps Spotify dissect in detail the music elements (they now look at 50 parameters for all music products) and further tighten ability to meet users’ needs
  • Most significant, Spotify’s analytics are what I call second generation, seeking to use other external personal/ environmental data to improve their ability to meet users’ needs/improve user satisfaction (and of course not switch to iTunes or Pandora). To get a glimpse into what is meant here, check out the following from the article:

Now that the Echo Nest is part of Spotify, its team has access to the enormous amount of data generated by Spotify users which show how they consume music. Spotify knows what time of day users listen to certain songs, and in many cases their location, so programmers can infer what they are probably doing—studying, exercising, driving to work. Brian Whitman, an Echo Nest co-founder, told me that programmers also hope to learn more about listeners by factoring in data such as “what the weather is like, what your relationship status is now on Facebook.”

When I look at how analytics is shaping all market sectors, we see explosive growth of what I call second generation analytics- this will spawn many exciting new ventures, and some of these will be in new market sectors that don’t even exist today. Exciting times lie ahead here

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Comments on Business Models at “For Entrepreneurs”

Excellent summary by David Skok on new business models we now see in the entrepreneurial arena. If you are interested in understanding the variety of business models we now see in the market this is a good place to start. I contributed comments on Data Intensity Models or “DIM” which I am looking at for new ventures- very exciting area using analytics. Check out David Skok’s site and my comments at  http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/business-models/    Copy of my comments below:

David
Excellent summary on business models – good work. Glad to
contribute here. I am focusing on a related models in the new venture arena looking at how companies create value based on their customer and ‘community of interest’ data. The Data Intensity Model (“DIM”) goes beyond lead generation models to increase revenue and looks at the value created by understanding customer needs using analytics. Mint.com is the widely quoted example here but other directions are emerging. Sounds far out but the DIM model may shape how you manage your wardrobe- check out https://paulbsilverman.com/2012… Obvious opportunities in finance arena similar to Mint.com but major opportunity I foresee is in healthcare arena. Check out my post/exchange about new business models on Accenture blog https://paulbsilverman.com/2013…. The excellent contribution you are making to educate entrepreneurs is I am sure appreciated by all.

Paul B. Silverman

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Failure Is Often A Key Driver for Success: Check out “Failing Forward — 3 Tips for Failing Your Way to Success”

Most entrepreneurs are familiar with the story of Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb. To outsiders, looks like a waste of time and effort- we see about 10,000 failures and one success. Thomas Edison saw it differently in his widely quoted views on success and failure: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

I agree with Thomas Edison and always define failures as “Learning Experiences” — this works for me.

I recommend checking out “Failing Forward — 3 Tips for Failing Your Way to Success” – an excellent perspective on success and failure from Marshall Graham, Managing Partner at Indian River Advisor, LLC. Excellent insights here for all entrepreneurs.

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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WSJ – Comments on Alibaba “Singles Day” Results

On November 10th, the WSJ reviewed Alibaba results and the Gross Merchandising Volume or “GMV” metric used to measure performance of e-marketplace companies such as AliBaba and others. I find GMV and related platform business model metrics not well understood. These will be increasingly important as growth of “customer to customer” platform networks accelerate in healthcare and other sectors. Below is a full copy of my comments. Link to the WSJ article and edited comments at http://tinyurl.com/n369mha

Eeading about Alibaba’s business model, I recall the “eyeball model” driving the e-commerce explosion in the 1990’s. The premise- attract large numbers of users/customers to your site, generate value by product and service sales and, most important, generate scale to drive advertising revenue and “exponential” future earnings. Some did it well such as eBay, but the model spawned hundreds of new ventures and most failed. Why? Management, undercapitalized, poor execution strategy- these are the usual reasons most ventures fail. But there was also a fatal flaw here- the eyeball model at the time could not create a universally successful business in all sectors without careful positioning and deep pockets, not the outcome many investors expected. “Build it and they will come”- they didn’t.

Fast forward to today. Alibaba reported very impressive results on “Singles Day”, I.e., 111114, reporting 35 billion yuan ( about $5.75 billion) in the 24 hour Singles Day period. GMV or Gross Merchandise Value is their key business model metric- high GMV translates to higher revenue and presumably long term earnings growth. Following a $25 billion IPO two months ago, there is great pressure to show high GMV.

Several comments here. No question Alibaba is an outstanding success by any measure. One question is long term sustainability. Having merchants offer steep discounts ( 50 % in some cases) to create high single day sales volume looks like a “loss leader” strategy- at least one analyst also questioned whether this is sustainable long term. Remember Groupon and LivingSocial issues. Secondly, note GMV shows total value of transactions sold through Alibaba’s marketplace platform and is not a well defined standard. GMV may include shipping charges, items that will be returned, and other components for the “customer to customer” sales via Alibaba’s platform. GMV is excellent for comparing marketplace companies, but each player may use different assumptions to calculate. Finally, recognize GMV is one of several platform model metrics such as Gross Transaction Volumes or GTV which is well suited for platforms using commission-based pricing strategies. Bottom line here- Alibaba’s success will spur other “GMV” centric new ventures as did the “eyeball” model- lets understand the definitions here and standardize, ensure the proper financial accounting and reporting practices are in place, and ensure the e-marketplace sector achieves the global market growth we all foresee.

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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Posted “Emerging Business Models Driven By Predictive Analytics” in Business Model Innovation Forum

Agreed to serve as a member of the Business Model Innovation Forum. Good discussion here on all aspects of business models and where we are heading. I posted following comments today as an initial contribution – more information in the Forum at www.businessmodelhub.com. I am pleased to share a copy of my posted comments:

Emerging Business Models Driven By Predictive Analytics

I am pleased to contribute to the Forum and look forward to discussions with other members.

Two areas related to business models in my view should be discussed. First, predictive analytics which is reshaping traditional business models and changing the competitive landscape. These new tools analyze millions of “information records”, develop “rules” to explain the outcomes with major improvement in speed and accuracy. Note information records may include traditional databases, as well as unstructured “text analytics” from news feeds, messaging, maybe doctors notes related to an electronic health record (EHR). Seamless analysis of both traditional structured and unstructured data is a powerful new direction and where we are heading.What we are seeing are new services emerging, creating new markets, many driven by entrepreneurial firms. New clinical diagnostic services to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs- results show dramatic improvement. Technology Assisted Review or TAR, using advanced analytics in the legal arena to assist in identifying relevant and priviliged documents reviewing millions of documents for class action and other major legal cases. Continuous Audit, Continuous Monitoring or “CA/CM” using real time analytics in Fortune 1000 companies to identify problem, possibly fraudulent transactions pre-audit saving time and money and reducing exposure.

I have been involved in these and can cite many others. Key point- we are creating new business models here- some based on outcomes, others based on client savings maybe linked to longitudinal or total costs. So today what looks like a traditional software product, services, or solutions business may be competing with “transaction based” players, oftentimes entrepreneurial firms using creative business models and pricing structures.

Secondly, while we often focus on the internal, company- centric elements of the business model which are essential, lets keep in mind that external factors play a major role in shaping a firm’s business model and strategy. In 2013, I made this point in comments on an excellent business planning post by Accenture. You can see my comments and the Accenture link at http://tinyurl.com/ozugkl9

Bottom line here- we can expect to see many new, creative business models emerging which “push the envelope” demanding that management acquire new business planning and analysis skills. “Business as usual” will not be a successful strategy. Many of these new emerging business models in my view will be driven by agile entrepreneurial firms creating both new investment and value creation opportunities as well as challenges for traditional players,

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters- Post By David Skok

Excellent post by David Skok at http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/on using a using analytics to manage a SaaS business. I posted comments also emphasizing need to use analytics to assess changing markets/external factors for #entrepreneurial ventures. Also strongly recommend the site – http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/- excellent resource for entrepreneurs

Below is a copy of my posted comments – you can review the original post at http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/

Here is a copy of my posted comments..

David

Excellent article- thanks.

Several months ago I was invited to do a guest blog post and serve as an Advisor for Funding Profiles, a Santa Clara-based company offering a powerful suite of financial analytic tools that “integrates with existing business applications to continuously translate traditional financial metrics into the language of business strategy”. For companies with thousands of products, infrastructure, and processes spanning the globe, the ability to ‘drill down’, examine ‘what-ifs’, and assess how and if global LOBs meet KPIs and support the strategic plan, is a powerful planning tool. Your post reinforces this point.

But markets and technology are moving quickly, consumer power is increasing, and external global factors will impact all global businesses which creates risk and uncertainty. In fact, one study shows macro-environment, competitive and corporate positioning factors account for about 80 percent of ROA variation among LOBs. So optimizing the company’s internal resources, processes, and KPI’s really address only 20 percent of the planning challenge based on these findings. My post “How Analytics is “Raising the Bar” for Corporate Strategy: Understanding the External Environment” talks about how new analytic tools can provide a competitive edge, creating what Tom Davenport (Author- Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning) defines as “analytic competitors”.

Bottom line- while emphasis of the above is larger corporations, my view is entrepreneurs that also understand how to analyze markets, external opportunities and threats, and how to use analytics with Porter’s Five Forces Model, STEEP, and competitive benchmarking tools can achieve a competitive edge. Properly used, external market analytics provide a competitive edge for evaluating, strategy positioning, and managing entrepreneurial ventures. During the past six months, I have looked at ventures in areas of wearable healthcare monitoring devices, clinical analytics, analytics for fraud detection, legal analytics, and solar energy among others. To accurately gauge outlook and opportunity for these and others, venture evaluation must go well beyond the typical “size of market, expected market share” and ‘drill-down’ to understand external market threats and opportunities. We have a way to go yet in educating the entrepreneurial community but I believe today’s “hyper competitive” dynamic global markets will help accelerate the adoption of these new analytics capabilities.

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

 

 

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PR/Advertising Lessons for Entrepreneurs from P.T. Barnum

Here is wisdom from circus showman P.T. Barnum I have often shared with early stage #entrepreneurs to reinforce the last point- end game here is to create short and long term sales-  the rest is ‘showmanship’ and important not to confuse this point. Also note the need to emphasize benefits to build on adv/promotion and actually close the sale (i.e.,”explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions…”). Good counsel and insights here for early stage entrepreneurs.

“ If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks thru the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                P.T.Barnum

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Annie Oakley Wisdom for Entrepreneurs…

Annie Oakley Wisdom for Entrepreneurs

Annie Oakley lived in the late 1800’s, was a sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, and had a starring role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

But Annie Oakley faced many obstacles- the fifth of seven children, mother widowed twice, poverty, raised in the county poor farm, and sent to an adoptive family for several years. Suffered more mental and physical abuse, often locked outside when snowing. After she returned to the county poor farm, reunited with her family and her mother had married a third time and had more children.

Annie Oakley succeeded despite a most challenging childhood. That is why her quotation is even more powerful when you understand her path to success and the many obstacles she had to overcome:

 “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

 Good counsel here for entrepreneurs and worth sharing …

                                                                     Paul B. Silverman

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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How to Create a Killer Business Plan- Martha Stewart Perspective

Good counsel on creating a ‘killer’ business plan from Martha Stewart who many may not know offers excellent resources for entrepreneurs.

Note the recommendations to “… be concise, compelling, complete” – the “3 C’s”. While good points here, the article missed one critical point- the need to emphasize and show a winning management team. I shared the following comments:

Good counsel here and I like the ” 3 C’s ” recommendations. Article emphasizes business plan essentials but we know investors often invest in management more than plans. Reinforcing the depth of management experience in the venture; creating a strong Management Advisory Board; structuring a Product Advisory Council- these are low cost, smart steps that add great value to business plans based on my experience .

Check out article at

 http://www.marthastewart.com/266952/how-to-create-a-killer-business-plan

Paul B Silverman

 

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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How To Be A Startup CEO– Interview with Bing Gordon Kleiner Perkins

I am reviewing materials for an upcoming entrepreneurship book and found an excellent interview on how to be a startup CEO with Bing Gordon, partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. While posted in December 2011, Bing Gordon’s counsel for startup CEO’s is right on target today, particularly his points about the need to Quantify Objectives with Trackable Milestones”. Gordon describes Intel’s ‘OKR’ or ‘Objectives and Key Results’ management approach – managers set objectives and identify and track 2 to 3 results, and managers are expected to achieve 70 percent of results. Very important discipline which helps companies grow and send messages to Boards and investors. Gordon also makes excellent points about “The CEO’s Need to Balance Management and Entrepreneurial Responsibilities”, emphasizing the need to nuture and balance entrepreneurial culture with clear focus on tightly managing results. Not an easy tightrope to walk as we all know, but a “build it and they will come” philosophy clearly doesn’t work in today’s rapidly changing global entrepreneurial market.

 You can view Bing Gordon’s presentation at http://tinyurl.com/6vc5hy8 . The 28 minute video is well worth watching. At the time, I also posted comments on the video which you may find helpful- you can see these at       http://tinyurl.com/l7nfuzo.   

                                                                                          Paul B. Silverman   July 2014

Paul B. Silverman writes about entrepreneurship, healthcare, analytics, and strategy management and serves as Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and Managing Partner of the Gemini Business Group, LLC, a new venture development firm, and author of “8 Building Blocks To Launch, Manage, And Grow A Successful Business.” He also serves as Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University. See more at Paul B. Silverman Blog and sign up for Entrepreneurship Today! email updates to track latest new venture developments.

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