Forget Unicorns and Giants: Be an AMPHIBIAN!

The tsunami is here. It’s been building, far off in the distance, for a long, long, long time….two plus decades.  We’ve talked about it ad nauseum, the wave of change that is going to hit our industry, but we’ve always looked at it on the horizon. Not anymore. The wave is cresting and in the midst of knocking down all barriers and changing the way content is created, analyzed, distributed, monetized and consumed.  It’s changing the rules of how business is done.

The new ecosystem is data-driven and highly-targeted to the end-user. People don’t watch entertainment anymore; they experience it socially, engaged, on-demand, streamed, in real-time, in virtual reality and augmented reality, where the consumer is immersed in the  experience.  Advertising is still alive  (somethings are just too hardy to die, like mosquitos), but it will be laser-scope targeted to the user’s interests, programmatic will make ad-buying nearly instantaneous, and there will be a level of data and analytics unlike anything the industry has ever seen.

The question now is: What are you going to do to thrive in this new world?

Many of the giants of the industry watched, and largely ignored, the coming change for two decades now. They believed they were big enough to weather any changing environment. The dinosaurs thought so too. And then a meteor hit the planet. The savvy giants are innovating like crazy; collaborating in this new ecosystem and doing everything they can to adapt and evolve.  The less-savvy are digging their heels in like the dinosaur believing they could withstand anything.

There is a dramatic expansion of bandwidth that is helping to drive Direct-to-Consumer forward. Total unbundling is near: there’s no question. Ad-blockers, bots, and DVRs have made the traditional advertising more challenging, but in the end, the ads will be more authentic, organic, targeted and welcomed by the consumer.

To survive and thrive, giants need to do more than adapt. They’ve got to mutate. The convergence of media, tech and entertainment is finally here. Three different industries with three very different models and cultures, now need to work together to deliver a seamless product. Grab the DNA from each of these industries and splice it into your own. Change the way you think about your business and change the way you do business. Friend, foe or frenemy, you need to collaborate.  You’re not a media company, phone company, entertainment company, cable company or broadcaster anymore, you’re a company immersed with data analytics, armed to create, deliver and monetize content directly to the consumer in new ways. Now is the time to be aggressive with innovation, or risk ending up as a fossil.

Then, there are the so-called unicorns. Every start-up wants to be a unicorn. Here’s the thing: UNICORNS AREN’T REAL!  They don’t have magical powers that make them fly forever without one day, smashing into reality. The sad truth is that many companies that think they’re a unicorn, or are a unicorn for a very short amount of time, turn out to be a donkey with a horn taped to their head. The good news is you can mutate quicker than the giants. And, you can help the giants mutate.  You can help them, help you, help everyone thrive in the post-dystopian new reality.  You’ve grown up in the shadow of this tidal wave. It’s now time to grow gills and dive in with the savvy giants who are doing the same. Be open and collaborative.  The tide will once again rise and you will be surfing like a pro.

The changes that are affecting our industry are cataclysmic, but that isn’t a bad thing. Cataclysms force mutations, and the new creatures that emerge are stronger and more adaptable. The sea changes aren’t over; it is just beginning. Technology continues to morph as does consumer habits. And with it are the meteors, tidal waves and earthquakes that overturn the way we do business. It isn’t enough to evolve this one time, you’ve got to be able to do it over and over again.

The collaboration and convergence of tech, entertainment and media morphing into one beast, means you’re not  a giant or a unicorn, YOU ARE AN AMPHIBIAN! You are a creature that can live, breathe and hunt underwater or on land, can survive scorching heat and bitter cold, and can mutate again and again, and again.



About Harry Glazer

harry-glazerHarry M. Glazer is the founder and CEO of the World Series of Start-Ups, LLC – the creator of SPROCKIT. World Series of Start-Ups, LLC launched SPROCKIT at the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas in collaboration with NAB.  SPROCKIT is an exclusive media and entertainment community focused on bringing the most innovative products, services and revenue models to market.  Showcasing 30 of tomorrow’s game-changing start-ups to its membership of iconic  media and entertainment institutions, SPROCKIT provides its community of startups, corporate members and select industry leaders a year-long opportunity for learning, networking and collaborating.  In addition to the NAB Showcase to the media and entertainment industry, SPROCKIT organizes three day-long Sync meetings in our Corporate members’ offices in the media, entertainment and tech capitals of New York, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.

In addition to his work with SPROCKIT, Harry is a seasoned lawyer turned entrepreneur and investor, who for the past 25 plus years has been actively helping build emerging growth companies.

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