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How Much For Free, How Much For Pay

March 30th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

Week Of Deep Thoughts Post #2

Today’s deep thoughts in a moment, but first some knee surgery levity. Met a customer this morning who gets surgery on a torn meniscus tomorrow (my op was for new ACL & repairing some femur damage) — best wishes Michael! Anyhow, we arrived at destination simultaneously, from different directions, converging with each of us on crutches. That gets heads in the room turning.

Drawing topic again today from stuff in the small-n news right now. Firm moves being made by big-N News Corp to insist on for-pay journalism on the internet. Closer to our company’s home is the weak commitment and shrinking programming from video content owners for Hulu, despite lots of viewing, is in large part driven by desire to retain capabilities for monetization from viewer pay.  Closer still, as a software company, we face dilemma of maximizing our user base with ability to use our stuff for free versus maximizing revenues by making sure all’s paid for.

Our posture emphasizes for-pay usage, and we prefer maintaining that from the outset of our growth, instead of jeopardizing momentum by switching later. New users can sign up and try the full range of video.Market7 services for free, at decent capacity, but the limitations are set such that usage can’t practically extend beyond doing a single, not-gigantic, video production project. One could argue that by not giving away more during our early existence and maximizing user base we are in fact not optmizing our revenue prospects. We feel differently and think it’s best for start-ups to orient ourselves by intelligently & always understanding how users tangibly value offerings, and to adjust operations with consideration of that.

Lots of people seem to expect News Corp to face some difficult come-uppance  while trying to reverse its own participation in getting consumers to expect news on the Internet for free. That may be a good point. We’re picking a practice of having usage for-pay from the get-go with no switch in model anticipated.

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Ethics And Profits

March 29th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

Week Of Deep Thoughts Post #1

Per the sub-headline here, a plan was that during this week after just getting a knee operation, I would be mind altered by Vicodin and could daily offer brief opinions on various weighty topics with chemically enhanced color. But Dr. Colin Eakin’s precise hands have me quite literally feeling no pain, so here are the first of those thoughts, in full sobriety.

Let’s start with Google eliminating China presence as a topic. Some of the controversies about this include whether the company is putting principle above fiduciary duty to its shareholders, whether the “do no evil” ethic can be selectively applied here whereas there are other areas it is arguably diluted (ex: constructing profiles based on observation of personal on-line behavior), and whether it all might just be posturing while selecting a more tactical retreat versus tough, local competition.

This post’s quick analysis acknowledges such compromises as potential factors and salutes Google nonetheless. Even if not absolutely purely, the company is overtly embracing principle that is consistent with the identity it’s cultivated. That identity is in fact reason why many choose to trust much of our online lives to Google. And by & large there is evidence that it’s been thusfar abided. So, in fact Google’s public embrace of principle is a driver of its popularity and hence its success, and this weighty demonstration could bolster such positioning perhaps with greater benefit than its ofsetting & significant consequences.

Market7 has yet to reach stature where our demonstrable abidance of particular principles makes much impact on our success, but we do have resolution of what some of those principles are. They motivate us (another factor that may favor Google here — internal, cultural pride in the workplace) and we look forward to the day we can exercise them (likely in  less Star-Wars-esque manner than the Google slogan) to the business benefit of our company through generation of extensive goodwill among multiple key constituencies.

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