Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Distributing Video Content

So you got a bunch of content and you need to figure out how to get it into your viewers hands, increase engagement and get more followers for yourself or your business.  It’s great that you have content but remember, 50% of “content marketing” is marketing (haha?).  So time to roll up those sleeves and start distributing those videos out to a wider audience.

Sanitizing & Marking your Videos:

  1. Music - if you use popular music, some of the networks will automatically detect licensed music and block your video.  So head over to soundcloud or audiojungle and grab some license free music.  Some sites, like Vid.me don’t do the autodetect functions so if you are using music that isn’t yours, you can definitely use vid.me and then use the link in Facebook.  
  2. Branding - remember to include either an intro, outro or watermark to keep on your videos.  It’s especially important if you’re doing content that is not directly talking about your product.  However, don’t annoy the user by creating a 10second intro for a 5 second how-to video - discretion is always a fine line.

Video Networks:

  1. Youtube - youtube is its own social network and google search for videos.  It is the biggest video social site and the users there tend to want long form content (instagram would be short form).  Make sure you post, tag and create appropriate playlists for your videos.  Keep them here, they will generate organic views.  
  2. Vimeo - something you might want to consider although I haven’t personally tried it myself, but it is a larger community of video editors, plus their embedded video is extremely nice.
  3. Vid.me - I love this site - it’s essentially imgur for video and a good share of users going there.  I like to add my videos in here just in case.  Furthermore, if you are using unlicensed music where other networks like YT and FB are not allowing you to use, just pop your video on vid.me and then use the shared link to link to FB and anything else.

Facebook

  1. Facebook - I assume you have your own page.  Time to upload those videos.  Do NOT link from YouTube because directly uploaded video to FB automatically plays. That's the magic right there. If a video automatically plays users are more likely to watch it, so upload your videos directly to your Page for this magic to happen
  2. Take this video and find fb groups that would enjoy watching it. Post it there and start a discussion. Don't be stupid and say "wow what a great vide" say something like - we went up to the peak of mount bromo. Didn't realize how cold it was I should brought some Etta long underwear. Nice lady we met (she's in the vid). Share the experience. Don't post often. Post genuinely. 
  3. Tag the shit out of it with influencers you follow or hashtag absolutely everything you can get your hands on.  The point of the # is that when people search for a certain subject in the FB bar, it will show everything.
  4. Find FB Groups - find interest groups on FB. Send them a message asking if they would like to use your video - offer to give them the original source video as long as you can get a mention.  You’re giving it away, yes, but if you don’t have your own audience, you have to use other peoples reach to build your own.  

Instagram 

  1. Instagram allows you to post 1 min videos. You can cut them directly on IG if you need to. There's not much branding necessary here as on if you have to watch the video as a post from your brand anyways. 
  2. Tag it, give mentions, make relevant hashtags.
  3. Add a URL to the full length video on your tube or fb if that's an option. 
  4. Take your full length video, create a smaller 1 minute version of it or cut it down within IG.  Use IG as a sort of “Teaser” to drive people to the full featured video on FB or YT.  

Editing Options


  1.  If you have video content and don’t have time to edit, then you have a problem.  I would suggest using Bropro.video as they have professional editors that are super affordable and can create social/snackable video within 24 hours.  They are great if you are a brand that relis on UGC or a person of interest that wants to get into the video content game.
  2. 90 Seconds - use 90 seconds if you are a business and need to actually create professional footage at a very cheap rate.  

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Video Editing is a Problem, Not a Product.

Video Editing is a problem



Anyone and everyone is talking about how to edit video. From Nick Woodman, the CEO of GoPro to anyone that bought a brand new camera. And they should be. Videos are hot; they have more conversions and create more attention from an audience than any other form of media. Once you see an awesome video, you want to be part of it and share it. Video is trumping pictures in this day and age.

However, in order to show some amazing video, you have to edit it. There are over 50 video editing applications out there, ranging from high end Adobe and Sony ones, to free ones, to mobile apps all meant for different maturity levels of editing. Video editing software has been around ever since... well... video.

Editing is the barrier between taking video and sharing it.


And this is where I see the problem: Everyone perceives video editing, the act of it, as a necessity to sharing an awesome video. Editing is the barrier between taking video and sharing it. However video editing software is concentrating on making it easy to edit video: how can we make it simpler? How can we add more effects? How can we make anyone be able to edit?

Well how about we don't? Here's a weird way to think about it - why does the average consumer that just bought a GoPro have to edit their own footage? They don't know what their doing, they don't have time nor creativity. So let's get someone else to do it. Let's get the pros, the people that have the hardware, konwledge, time, patience, creativity to do it. Let's get rid of video editing for the average consumer.

That's what we are building at BroPro.Video - It's video editing as a service, Vaas. Imagine, after a day of shooting some radical 1080s on the slopes, you get back home. You plug your gopro in to charge and automatically connects to your home wifi and then our BroCloud. All of your footage is sent to a professional video editor in Serbia and he does what he is good at. You wake up, you check your phone and voila; a fully blown video is there ready to share.

For the average consumer, Video editing is a pain point. For the professional Video editing is a product and a profession. BroPro bridges the gap between two markets that want video and benefits both.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Flocations Acquired by VRG


Well, it has been a LONG journey.  And finally, Flocations.com - the marketplace for online travel, my little baby, has been acquired by Venture Republic Global (VRG), which is a Japanese company that is a powerhouse in Japan's meta-search scene.  Kei Shibata, a Flocations Director and CEO of VRG, lead the acquisition.

I'm a bit flabbergasted as it's been a tough journey.  There's so much emotional investment in something like this that it can sometimes be debilitating.  Luckily I always had my cofounder Venkat Dhamodaran and Shaw Chian that always stayed calm and followed me even in some bad decisions.  Florian Cornu was also an awesome support as a cofounder and later as a board member.

Thanks to everyone for this success.

Here are a few sources:
Tech in Asia - Japanese travel operator acquires tour package search startup Flocations
Web In Travel - VENTURE REPUBLIC BUYS FLOCATIONS TO STRENGTHEN TRAVEL OFFERINGS IN SOUTHEAST ASIATNooz - Venture Republic buys Flocations in bid to grow tour package bookings in Asiae27.co - Japan’s VRG acquires tour packages marketplace Flocations


Saturday, 21 March 2015

How to Give Purpose and Leadership to an Early Stage Startup


As a startup founder, you probably never think about how to actually and truly lead your team to victory (or at least the next pivot).  You probably have a small team, maybe consisting of other cofounders and right now, you are strictly concentrating on execution.  Your scope right now is small enough that everyone on your team "gets it".  However, if you want to get that extra mile out of your employees, partners and even cofounders, it is wise to make a small attempt at creating an overall leadership foundation that your team can believe in.

I get it, everyone is in execution mode and everyone subscribes to the overall product.  Does everyone understand the larger vision?  It's probably too early to tell what your vision is, or if you do have one, perhaps not everyone agrees with that vision.  Therefore, we need something larger, a motivating tool that supersedes "vision" and gets into something broader.  

I don't think I have one word to encompass it, but everyone, regardless if they agree on the vision or not, must agree to WHY they are doing what they are doing.  

Why are you building what you're building?  This is a super high level question and the answer, as much as you like it or not, has to be warm and fuzzy. You're not doing this to get rich, you're not doing this for the glory, you must do it for a larger purpose.

People are naturally altruistic, it's a genetic trait (well, for the majority, and hopefully you're hiring ethical people) and everyone needs purpose in their life.  Purpose makes even the worst type of work workable. Installing toilets in sub-saharan Africa is not a pleasant job.  But if you're doing it because it literally saves lives of hundreds of people, that's a pretty big driver.  We need to instill that purpose into your startup.

Empathize with your your team; they have decided to drop their current life paths and embark on a startup journey so marked with social and financial parrel that they must be able to go home and answer the question of "why am i doing this?  If it's the money, why am i making less money than a corporate job?  Why am i working 12 hours a day for no results?  why am i dedicating 3 years of my life to this company which could utterly fail?"  If you can give meaning and answer the WHY, all of those questions that can demolish your ambition will seem less daunting. Plus, it establishes meaning in your employees, cofounders and yourself.  

How can you develop an answer to Why?
1.  it's gonna be warm and fuzzy, so get over it.
2.  it has to be altruistic - what are you doing to better people's lives (even though they're paying you for your service, you're not actually after the money, you just want to enrich their lives.)

Examples
B2B SaaS - We believe that people have better things, more creative things to do than run their boring operations.  We want to give them time back, we want them to go home and not worry about operations.  How many times have you heard that "our customer's growth is our priority"?
B2C Commerce - Commerce is no longer tied to one geographical location. Commerce is now world wide, accessible to billions of people, and the producers have now created millions of jobs.
B2C Travel - Travel enriches people's lives. It's the best way to enrich one's self, through memories and experiences - that's why we work hard to give people the best travel experience.

Anyways, those off the top of my head.  Sit down, have a think and ask yourself, what larger purpose are you or your company serving?

Good luck!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Tudor Coman - Front man of JFDI


JFDI.ASIA, the incubator Flocations went through and probably the most successful in SouthEast Asia thus far has Flocations on their front page.  I'm flattered but really, let's face it; it's because the shot suits the site :)

Regardless, if you are an entrepreneur or want-to-be entrepreneur, you should definitely apply to JFDI.  I have been in Singapore for the last 4 years and been an entrepreneur for 3.  I have seen many incubators in the surrounding area sprout and die quickly.  Some only lasted one cohort while others were just pipe dreams.  JFDI has established themselves, in my opinion, by consistently raising capital for 6 cohorts so far.  Flocations resides in the same building as JFDI so I do venture there often to meet the new cohorts and offer mentorship.  The quality of incubatees is higher and higher each year and JFDI is becoming more polished as well.  I would definitely re-apply and take the adventure again as I would encourage anyone else to.  Head over to www.jfdi.asia

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

How to get the most out of oDesk for nominal tasks.

Quick interview with Hugh Grant, CEO of JFDI, the digital incubator Flocations was part of on how to effectively use oDesk.com to outsource some of your nominal, data entry work.


As long as you have nominal work, like data entry or research that can put into a process on paper, you should outsource it.  Here's how I started it so all of our data entry is done offshore.
  1. Do the work yourself - Before you hire and give broad instructions, set up a google word document on the exact steps needed to do the work.  Do the work yourself several times and put what you are doing into words.  Write it in simple, precise english that doesn't leave ambiguity.  Pretend you're leaving instructions for a 10 year old.
  2. Post your job on oDesk - You can now look at the oDesk workforce.  After you post your job on oDesk you will get about 10 applicants within the first minute and about 20-80 within the first hour.  You don't have time to sift through all of them so you need to sift through them quickly by leaving test instructions in the JD. 
  3. Trial before you hire- Within your oDesk job description, leave instructions for a test as a lot of the applicants won't read instructions, so it's a quick way to filter them out.  I like to give them the process document I made and set up a public google spreadsheet which they will put their answers in.   Look at the results.  Between accuracy of completed tasks and just general completeness, you can get a pretty good idea how well the consultant will do.  
  4. Hire & Train - You can now hire one or two oDesk consultants.  Put them to real work; Let them do the job and repeat your written process several times - see if you are getting the results you need systematically.  Ask them for feedback on the written process, improve the process some more.
  5. Refine - Once mistakes are minimal and the oDesk worker is constantly performing rather than asking for clarifications,  it's a good indication that your process is refined enough to hire a few more oDeskers.  Use the same test to hire a few consultants, rate them and bring them on board.
  6. Scale - However, this time, instead of training them yourself get your current oDesk consultant to train them.  Start a chat group on Skype and watch the scaling begin!  
Good luck!

Tudor

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dynamic Packages - A Fallacy

As you know we are a meta-search for tour packages in Singapore called www.flocations.com.  Our goal is to have the largest database of tour packages in SEA, which we have already achieved.  This means that we have taken both online and offline packages from some small local agencies and also used APIs to take packages from larger incumbents.  However, most incumbents don't have their own packages per se.  They have what is known as dynamic packages which is a flight and hotel combination that, if purchased together, the user receives a small discount.  Dynamic packages are very different than traditional pre-made package that are sold off-the-shelf at a local tour agency.  

After running tour packages for a while using Asiatravel.com, Expedia and Wego, I have some internal knowledge that I would like to share.  This is a lengthy writeup but I guarantee there's something in here that you don't know about, especially about tour packages and the markets that purchase them.

1.  Brand Affects Conversions - We have both Asiatravel.com packages on our site and our own "Dynamically" created Wego Packages (we used Wego API to pull out a cheap flight and match it with a recommended hotel then make it look like a ) -> Even though the Asiatravel.com and Wego Packages are both rank the same, ie, exact same in appearance and "page position", Asiatravel.com packages generate way more clicks (10-20x more) than Wego packages.  
We think it's a brand thing amongst our audience as our market tends to be  more in-tune with local offline brands.  We haven't found a good way to test this hypothesis.

2.  Package Purchases are done Offline - We have used both Asiatravel.com and Expedia APIs to access their own Dynamic Packages -> Click Volume is quite high for these packages but conversion to sale for us was below 0.1% (the advertised conversion-to-sales was as high as 2%). 

We speculate that low conversion from our traffic was due to a mismatch between dynamic packages and purchase intent from traditional package buyers (the flocations audience).  Read below for an attempt at an in-depth explanation.  Essentially, traditional package buyers will not buy online packages.

Traditional Package Buyers vs Online Package Buyers:
Since Asiatravel.com & Expedia are established OTAs, have packages and thrive on online sales, we were expecting a higher conversion-to-sales rate for their inventory. Perhaps even half of the advertised 1-2% conversion-to-sales that they are experiencing on their own domains.  We are still speculating on why our target audience was not converting on these OTAs, and our hypothesis is that Package Buyers is not one group but actually composed of two, mutually exclusive groups: "Traditional" Package Buyers and "Online" Package Buyers. 
  • Traditional Package Buyers make their purchases offline.  This group are the 35yo+ with families or young couples that are used to buying tour packages from the travel agency down the street.  These are the original travellers which purchase packages offline.  They might not have credit cards nor have the trust to do a purchase online. In fact, this group's travel requests are so expansive (visa requirements, large families, children of different ages, dietary/religious restrictions, payment issues) that an online sales system can't cater to their needs.
  • Online Package Buyers - online package buyers are not actually package buyers at all.  In fact, we think they are your regular, independent online buyers that never have (or no longer) purchased traditional packages.  However (and this is where there is a misunderstanding), they get falsely defined as package buyers when they happen to purchase a flight+hotel combination on the same OTA or system.  These Online Package Buyer never bought a package in the traditional sense, they just happen to buy a flight and then got "up-sold" to buy a hotel which online people define the Hotel+Flight purchase as a "package".
Traditional Packages Buyers and Online Package Buyers are mutually exclusive and are a completely different markets, but unfortunately, the industry has slotted them in the same definition. In other words, Traditional Buyers will never buy an online package and Online Buyers will never buy a Traditional Package. 

We believe that Traditional Package Buyers do have a chance to convert to an Online Package Buyer and vice versa, but that's another topic.  

Hence, we recommend that dynamic packages should never be promoted to Traditional Package buyers. Dynamic packages should only be used to upsell a previous purchase (ie, you just bought a flight, now buy this hotel for 10% off).

Conclusion: Dynamic packages should not be treated as Tour Packages in the traditional tour agency sense nor can they expand your market to reach a traditional tour package buyers.  Dynamic Packages only exist if an individual online travel buyer happens to purchase hotel+flight on the same OTA or is a travel purchase that gets "upsold" an additional travel component.  The users that buy Dynamic Packages are not the same user that buys Traditional tour agency packages and these two groups are mutually exclusive.