Woisio: Fair and Simple
A few months ago, I had written about how the whole online media today is missing the essence of basic needs embedded in the human DNA and that all the engineers, computer scientists and business people together with hundreds of millions of dollars are playing in a sandbox building solutions that just doesn’t resonate with people.
That blog ended with the following paragraphs:
“What we all are looking for is to have fun, feed our intellectual (or not) curiosity, kill time and…. this could be a long list. Oh don’t forget, after all that we do, we want to be able to talk about it the next day at work or call a friend right at that moment.
And the online media today with all its bells and whistles has not been able to capture all this very basic human need and experience on a simple platform that can be easily adopted by all.”
Just look at average time people spend on Youtube: 15 Minutes a day. That is ridiculously low. I am sure executives at Google/Youtube have been butting heads on how to get this number higher and many heads have gone on the chopping block throughout this mission.
Again, Google spends hundreds of millions but the expected results are just not there.
For us at woisio, these two paragraphs above have been a guideline right from the start and boils down to 4 fundamental attributes:
Simple, fair, social and fun.
First off, media itself is, well, a vehicle. That is, it is not the objective. It doesn’t matter whether we watch a video, listen to a song or read an article. Ultimately, what matters is the experience and what remains (even if that is for a split second) thereafter.
Driven by this need, we, at woisio, built a platform that happily accepts video, audio or picture and stories. Our basic belief is that people don’t have to get lost trying to navigate from web site to web site and should be able to find what they are looking for on a single platform.
And this experience should not be any harder than that of TV, the biggest media platform we are all used to. Well, I take that back, even TV is complicated today. We should be able crash on our comfortable couches and just through flip buttons on our “remote”, we should be able to get to what we want.
We, at woisio, think that the playing field for the whole media game should be leveled and this is only possible when we exercise our collective power to choose. On woisio, people together decide who is the star and who is not.
Why do we go to movie theaters? Don’t we love to laugh together at a hilarious scene or a line?
Is there a similar experience online?
We think the answer is no.
We, at woisio, want to get everyone together around things and concepts they like and laugh, chat, think and act together.
Most of all, we don’t want to take anything (even ourselves) so seriously and we want to have fun. As we wrote on our home page, we are dream chasers in disguise as engineers, designers and business people and all we want is to get everyone to have a little fun everyday.
When it comes to power and control, I am amazed how we are discovering a path of evolution with spurts of mutation on the Internet today, very similar to our civilization’s journey.
Historians and political scientists would depict us a much more detailed picture of evolution of our communal structure and its governance. In a very quick and dirty summary, we started off with clans, then we had hierarchical tribes, feudalism, kingdoms and empires. Throughout this transition, the acts of people that incorporated democratic ideals like Magna Carta, Petition of Rights and Bill of Rights came along.
But true democracy materialized only when our communal structure was based on large scale unity and the communal neurons we developed that allowed for a single human flicker of any sort turn into a wide spread fire. Collective power exercised and hierarchies torn down.
On the Internet, we started also as clans in the early 90s; late nineties, we were building empires. We were all in awe of these never before seen colossal structures. We enjoyed our newspapers, we ordered our books and pet food. We had just discovered chatting with friends even with video sometimes if our ISP’s network was not very busy. However, we were still playing our part that was tailored for us in the consumer economy as individuals. But little did we know about our growing collective power that had started to build with every chat, blog and e-mail.
Then spurts of mutation started to take place in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Groupon (and others) and each of these “mutations” (in my view, very similar to revolutions in our civilization’s history) started another phase in this evolution that exercised the collective power of people against commercial status quo eventually also triggering political and social fall out. Today, with each of these software and Internet (or technology at large) bits, our communal structure is going through a major upgrade for a new release :). Again hierarchies are being torn down and the game refined with a level playing field.
It just happens that we have been building the next mutation that is going to take out the last standing stronghold called media that “manufactures” stars, news and facts. And it is a lot fun…
No, I am not given a challenge to use all these 4 words in a sentence.
Reading all the articles around Google Glasses, it made me realize once again that in media (online and traditional), the name of our game is “Capture the eyes and ears”.
This epiphany occurred to me years ago when I first saw a screen bolted above a urinal at a busy international airport. I had to stand there and stare at the wall for 10-15 seconds while taking care of business. And somebody had thought of a way to monetize that. To me, that looked like pure genius.
Fast forward to today and every player is stepping up the game a notch. In our quarters, the game has evolved from TVs in our living rooms to desktop computers and to our laps with the laptops and more recently into our pockets and hands with smartphones and tablets.
And today, end users just need to open their eyes with Google Glasses. Bam, the game starts. The way the whole ecosystem is evolving, it looks like next step will be 15 seconds ad insertions in our dreams. Then we won’t even have to open our eyes.
All this sounds fun and exciting, however this whole land giveaway race will soon be coming to an end. Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) had recently written about growth in mobile and flatlining browser based big services*. 2 years from now, a similar article will be talking about declining mobile services growth.
All the developments in the last 40 years since the first TCP/IP paper that Vint Cerf authored, has blessed all of us with the variety of services at our fingertips and now at the blink of an eye. But a big question still remains:
With user experience reaching very well set equilibrium across services, channels and companies, users will be looking for other flavors on any application or platform. And when it comes to dictating terms, it wouldn’t matter how big a company is since the collective power of people with hardwired communication through social media is much more powerful than any behemoth out there in the market.
So, bad news for all companies out there. No more bullying the user, no more irritating privacy breaches, no more hidden charges (in the form of user’s money and time)
Consumer economy is turning into consumer democracy. Therefore, from the single developer app company to behemoths like Google and Facebook, transparency and trust will have to be a core value proposition for all.
(*) Fred Wilson, Mobile is where the growth is, http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/07/mobile-is-where-the-growth-is.html
All of us enjoy a moment with our TV remote after crashing in our couch after a long gruesome day; or read through sports or economy section of our local newspaper on a bench outside office at lunchtime.
These are the things our parents and their parents before them enjoyed 60 years ago and we still enjoy today and our kids will continue to enjoy… OK, the medium is changing; you may not see your daughter read paper; or who knows what the TV is going to look like 30 years from now. But the core human experience and what surrounds that, is not going to change.
What we all are looking for is to have fun, feed our intellectual (or not) curiosity, kill time, reset our mind and…. this could be a long list. Oh don’t forget, after all that we do, we want to be able to talk about it the next day at work or call a friend right at that moment.
And the Internet with all its bells and whistles has not been able to capture all this very basic human need and experience on a simple platform that can be easily adopted by all.
Engineers of the Internet world have been able to build big ass optical switches, routers and connected them with 100G interfaces. And marketers invented concepts like social CRM and Hyper Local based Marketing.
Yet, the raison d’etre of all this technology, that human experience to spot the relevant quality content on the Internet, is still like trying to find the long lost crown jewel in a jungle. And on the way, you have to fight with savages and malaria. And usually finding the crown jewel, costs many lives, that is, many give up along the way.
That is too adventurous for us. We need our remotes, we need our sitcoms, top hits, documentaries, blogs and vlogs right in front us in the comfort of our living rooms and offices. If we don’t like what we see, you know we have the remote.
That is our power.