TV + Mobile

There is a trend unfolding at the moment in that TV broadcasters are looking for ways to increase engagement by leveraging mobile. Research shows that most of us are using a connected device watching TV. Apps like Zeebox, Fango and Getglue are playing to this trend. TV commerce is a space that we are interested in at BuyReply. Our system is the perfect transactional mechanism for buying directly off the screen as you don’t even need any apps to transact. All you need to do is send an email or a tweet to buy. We can link into apps as well but it’s not 100% necessary. We view our technology as complementary to these apps. While BuyReply is focussed on fulfilling transactions, these apps are there to drive engagement but also have some eCommerce capabilities.

I’m not sure how this game will play out as its looking as if each network is promoting their own app. For example Ten and NBC use Zeebox while Seven uses Fango. Will viewers change apps when they change channels? Will viewers check into multiple shows via multiple apps? As consumers we want to have a single app that works across multiple networks however TV networks are large powerful companies and driving a consensus amongst them is a tough gig however as we know, the consumer always wins and over time I suspect this trend will converge into a single app.

The potential of engaging audiences via mobile in real-time with TV is staggering and we are excited to be a part of this ecosystem as the way we consume television shifts.

#clickfrenzy

The recent click frenzy failure was an embarrassment for Australian online retail which could have easily been avoided if the right hosting solution was used.

The execution of the promotion was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Grant Arnott did an incredible job of signing up brands and generating PR.

The aim of Click Frenzy was to replicate the US cyber Monday event and make it an annual occurrence. I’m pretty sure that come next year, everyone will remember Click Frenzy (for good or bad reasons) they will still look to see what’s on offer… So I think this blip might have worked in their favour for next year… If advertisers still trust the brand and decide to participate again.

The technical issues could have been avoided by using a cloud solution like AWS. I’ve written about AWS previously. All they needed to do was set up an auto-scalling group behind a load balancer with 50 beefy servers for 24 hours and their site would have stayed up. This is a similar architecture to BuyReply and it’s highly scalable and available. Once your first server is configured you can set this up in about 1 hour. It’s point and click stuff.

The reality is there are hosting companies out there who claim they can compete with AWS but the reality is that it’s very difficult to do this. It’s like telling people you can build a search engine that competes with Google. Maybe you can replicate the algorithm but you’ll never be able to replicate the speed and scale easily. To put it into perspective AWS is more dominant in their niche than Google is in search.

AWS just announced a Sydney based region so I’m pretty sure I know where they will be hosting Click Frenzy next year.

The importance of physical proximity

I often hear from other entrepreneurs its important to operate out of Silicon Valley, or that you need to be in New York if you are serious about your business. Entrepreneurs often say that you are at an unfair advantage if you are in physical proximity of your customers, partners and investors however I never bought that. I thought that it was enough to have a good product and build relationships over time that would grow the business globally.

I’m writing this blog from New York having just spent the last few days in the city doing business. I am convinced now that in order to be a player, you need to have a presence where your target market is because if you do, things can happen really quickly.

In the last few days we’ve bounced between some of the largest corporations in the US, all of which are in a radius of 1km. We had two meetings with two different companies in the same building yesterday. When someone e-mails you for a meeting, you can be in the lobby of their building within 10 minutes. When they call you back for a second meeting, they know you cannot be that far away.

The pace that you can execute when you are on the ground in New York is something I’ve never thought about in the past, but have just experienced. If you are in technology, the same can be said about Silicon Valley (our next stop), and if you are in media or finance, the same can be said about New York.

Even though we build things on the internet, the reality is we still need to do business in the real world and thats all about meeting with people and making things happen. Once you have critical mass, you can put your office on Mars and it won’t make a difference but until you get there, you need to be able to hustle in person.

I’ve been to New York many times in my life but this is the first time I’ve experienced the convenience of physically proximity first hand. It can make a huge difference.