Tag Archives: business

Chamillionaire Interview on ThisWeekIn.com [VIDEO]

Venture Capitalist, Mark Suster from Both Sides Of The Table VC Firm meets with Grammy winning rapper, Chamillionaire. Hear his side of entrepreneurship and marketing saavy and how he used this knowledge to leverage a successful career on his own in the music industry. Being a very honest person, Chamillionaire gives some great insight concerning all of the strings attached with involvement in the music industry and the business world all together. Also learn how social media can be leveraged from a artist and venture capitalist perspective to maintain a stable connection to your overall consumer base.

On Work – Kahlil Gibran

This was Tupac’s favorite poet. Since reading this poem he has become my new favorite poet. I thought I’d share this one because it’s very relevant to this blog’s topics, messages, and missions.

On Work
Kahlil Gibran

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It’s About Time Advertisers Started Being Useful

This was the Aircel ad in Mumbai with an real inflatable boat attached to it, the Slogan was “In case of emergency, cut the rope.”

July 15, 2009 there was flooding in Mumbai and people did exactally what was written on the billboard ad, they cut lose the rope

Big brands and advertisers need to offer their customers something in exchange for doing the marketing for them. It’s time ads were actually useful at least.

Word of mouth is the single biggest spreader of anything, hands down. If you don’t believe me, check out this quote I found in Seth Godin’s book, Idea Virus: “You cannot sell a man who isn’t listening; word of mouth is the best medium of all; and dullness won’t sell your product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance.” – Bill Bernbach, former dean of American Advertising. I don’t think this quote could be any more true, even though it’s over 20 years old.

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Record Labels Used to be Cool – Who Woulda Guessed it?

Yesterday I had an interview with Mark Cope, the Music Industry Examiner for Examiner.com. Mark has had a lot of experience in the music industry, having worked for several labels and even EMI over the years.

Mark though, has a real passion for independent artists and music, and he continues to support it as much as he possibly can. Mark and I had a chance to talk about Beat-Play and how it can solve a lot of the problems artists are facing right now. He’s planning on doing an article about us in the next couple weeks, so watch out for that. He also told me about how he has seen the music business evolve and change over the years. I thought that this perspective was worth sharing.

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Linkedin A New Class???

Linkedin has been an increasingly successful business network of over 65 million users, connecting them to exchange information, ideas, and potential business opportunities. This network allows users to connect with other professionals within three degrees of separation (a friends, friends, friend). This gives those who don’t know you the ability to see some of your posts, activity, or ask you questions.

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5 Tips for Advertisers to Better Engage Their Customers

In the world of real-time updates, and endless barrages of information, it’s more important than ever for companies to engage with their customers. Online marketing is one of the best ways to do this. This means keeping a couple of things in mind.

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The Everything or Nothing Society – A Market Analysis

We are an everything or nothing society. We either want everything now, or in our minds, we might as well have nothing.

We are never happy until we have everything we want. This is an important mental factor to be aware of in our society. It can explain a lot of behavior. I believe most people forget about it, probably because they’re guilty of it themselves..even me.

But where does this mentality come from, and what harm, if any, can it do?

Sure, some people may claim that having that mindset only pushes people to do their best all the time, and strive harder for what they want, but is this really true?

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No Wonder America is Outsourcing its Jobs to Death

Honestly, after my first time doing business in another country, I really didn’t want to come back and do business here anymore. I went to Colombia for 3 weeks, specifically Medellin, which I’m sure you know by now if you read my blog often.

But during my trip we accomplished many things. We got T-shirts printed, a new Banner printed, Logo Stamps made, promotional fortune cookies with our business cards and custom messages, we interviewed 18 amazingly talented graphic designers, and hosted a party for independent artists at a brewery with 5 free beers for everyone, with about 155 people who showed up, we had a DJ with original music, a photographer, 3 models, and even a local TV show showed up.

Now before I even tell you how much this stuff cost, I want to first talk about the more important aspect – Costumer Service.

The reason I say more important is because I didn’t know what customer service was until I went to Colombia. Once I realized what it was, I realized it was more valuable than anything else, and even if the prices were the same as here, I would have been completely happy.

These people bent over backwards for me. They did overnight designs, on the spot changes, kept in constant contact, and then even delivered the product right to me afterwards…all of them! I’ll give you a great example with the banner. We saw a little print shop on a block near where we were staying, and we decided to stop in to see what they had. They actually did a lot of banner work, and other things like big cut-outs and stuff like that. They were a print shop and a design shop in one.

Their prices were ridiculously low, about $15 for a design, but what was more surprising was that once we said we wanted to make an appointment to meet with a designer, they took us back to a room, and we met with one right then. We gave him a couple files with our logos and stuff, described to him what we wanted, and he went to work, while we were still there. The next day he came back with a finished design version. We made a couple of changes, sent it back, then the next day we saw the changes and it was perfect, and it got printed that day.

It took 3 days to design and print this banner, where it would have taken at least 2 weeks here, by the time it got from the designers to the printers, and here if the design needs last minute changes, and the printers have to mess with it at all, don’t even get me started with what they charge sometimes. This designer delivered the banner to us personally, around 6:00pm after work, and after waiting extra time after for it to dry. If a 3 day turn around, close attention to need, and a personal delivery isn’t customer service, I really don’t even want to know what is.

Okay, the banner cost under $100, where here it would have been about $500-$600 for a banner of the size here. For the whole brewery, staffed, from 6-9:30pm on a friday night, with 5 free beers per person, we paid $5.00 per head, and paid nothing up front. We also paid like $150 bucks total for 3 gorgeous models to come, wear our shirts, and give out our information to the crowd. (Slideshow here) I won’t even go into how great the shirt guys were.

The reasons to outsource just kept adding up. We didn’t even pay these people up front. They honestly will start working before you even talk about method of payment or anything, because they figure if they do the work, and diligently, as they do, you will definitely pay them before you pay someone else. Also it doesn’t hurt that they know American’s have more money than other people in their area, which is just another perk of outsourcing.

Colombia has really taught me something about work ethic. Medellin is supposed to be a pretty laid back city, but from what I saw, people will bust their ass for you. It makes me almost sick to think about how “busy” everyone is here, and how important everyone thinks their time is, to the point where if you even approach them about work, you get thrown on the bottom of a pile that could take the person 2 weeks until they even get to you.

Here, our view of work I think is much more laid back than in other countries, despite our view that our work is more important, or on a higher level. The truth is the lack of customer service and attention to detail actually makes our work of a lower quality than in other countries, while their prices are lower! Why stay here?

Most people are almost always in a residual of work that we’ve had on our plates from 2 weeks ago, and are just starting or finishing now. People in Colombia accept new work and get started right away, literally. Not because they don’t have other work, but because they work so hard on the work that they do have, that by the time new work comes in, they’re almost done with the other stuff and they have the time to dedicate fully to you. Here we are so concerned with how busy our schedule is, and how we’re going to do the work, that we waste more time scheduling, instead of just working.

I’ve ruined it for myself. Now it’s messed up to me when I come to someone with a project and I say I need it by the end of the week, and they say “no one could realistically get that done in that time, it’s going to take probably 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.” Before, I would say “well okay, I understand.” Now that sounds insane. I just saw someone do it in 3 days! and for cheaper! and they delivered!!! Just because nobody else in the market is working harder than you, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But that is how things operate here in our market, and when compared to other places, who are supposedly less advanced, our work is truly inferior, and worse yet, we’ve gotten used to it.

It’s no wonder everybody outsources. If you work at a company where they’re starting to outsource to another country, I would suggest taking a trip there if you can, or at least check out some Youtube videos, or make some phone calls to see how they operate there. Chances are they’re much more efficient and easier to deal with, as long as you speak their language. If you can even start to replicate what they do in the least, you would completely distinguish yourself amongst everyone else working around you.

We really need to learn something from these countries. It’s not JUST that they’re cheaper; they actually work extremely hard for their money, and the price is just a plus. They’re value-given to money ratio is WAY higher than ours. We’re all about giving a little for a lot, while they do the opposite. For them, they’re still getting paid usually more than a local job, and they’re just as happy as you are in the end.

Why would people here not outsource? Unless we start giving people a reason not to, by upping our customer service and work ethic, we will just keep losing jobs. We need to check ourselves for a second, and realize we are not as superior as we think, and I think our prices need to start reflecting the value that we do give. If the price don’t go down, pump up the customer service!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Retail in the Recession – How Ecommerce could Trounce Walmart

This is a response to a great question that I received on one of my posts: 10 Sure as Sun Predictions for the next 20 years in Tech.

I’m posting this for two reasons. One is I think it is a very interesting and important topic for many people, and I feel it could help guide people towards making the right decisions with their businesses in the midst of this recession.

The other reason is I am in Colombia interviewing designers for Beat-Play, but there are so many independent artists out here that we’ve connected with that could benefit from the site, that we decided to host an event to explain the concepts to about 90 bands in the Medellin area..and I am extremely busy!

Reader Question: In your opinion is retail still impacted by recession? January sales looked good, however it seems there is cautious optimism with many retailers in the throes of recession. Wal-Mart has just fired close to 14,000 employees! What is your opinion?

Well I think that ecommerce and online retail will play a huge role in actually leveling out the recession in the future. As organizational tools for consumers get more advanced online, you will see a huge shift in the way retail businesses operate.

Imagine if you want to shop for something, there is one website that you go to. Any and all retail stores can have a page on this site. You go to your profile on that site and it shows you all of your saved stores for your favorite types of products ie: clothes, shoes, computers ect.

If you want to find new stores, new products, or new deals, you type in a couple of keywords. Say in the shoes category, I type in comfortable, running, wide and low cut. Then a page listing all of the stores that sell shoes matching those descriptions will come up. You can sort this page in many different ways, such as the stores closest to you, by price, or consumer ratings. Consumers can leave their own tags, or descriptions of products too, so that other consumers who are looking for similar descriptions can find them more easily.

You can also see where your freinds shop and what products they liked. This site will allow you to compare prices instantly, and also talk to someone in person through video chat, if needed. Consumers would help play a role in marketing. With this system, Walmart would not have as much of an edge in the market.

People very often complain that Walmart’s push little stores out of business, which is very true, because it is a one-stop-shop, and they’re cheaper. With the system I’m talking about, small businesses would not have to pay the overhead for a physical store, just the cost for stock storage. In fact, proximity will have no effect on a person’s store choice anymore, because they are all equally accessable online, plus the local store’s products would deliver to your house that day.

Also, with this system, promotion and advertising would not be necessary. It will exist, but only to distinguish a brand, not to introduce you to one, because with this tag system, if I’m looking for something that you provide, I will find you. These two decreases in cost for a retailer would leave more room for smaller businesses to compete with Walmart on prices. Also customer service will play a larger role in purchase decisions in retail.

The biggest thing people ask me is what about clothes? If I can’t try them on how do I know if they’ll look good? Well there’s some really cool technology out now that uses a customer’s webcam, takes measurements, makes a real 3d model of the person, and then displays the clothes on that person, giving very accurate accounts of how a certain piece of clothing will fit a particular person.

I just wanted to paint this picture for you. The truth is this system is possible, and its’s way more practical than the current one, so I am about 95% certain that it will catch on. This is also an example of how the internet can decrease overhead and increase frequency and reach of a business. I believe that if these effects are spread out across the board, and in many different industries, that it will be enough to stimulate the economy and help jump-start us towards where we want to be. I can see this emerging in the next 5-10 years, and really having an impact within 7-15.

The internet is the solution to 90% of the big problems we face as a society today. The 10% left are caused by people, who just haven’t realized the potential of the internet to really have this positive effect in almost every aspect of our lives. However the internet is young, and I know that there are people like myself developing tools like this right now. People will catch on soon enough. Until then, the most important thing to worry about is quality products, and value to consumers. That’s what will distinguish brands in the future. Hope this helped!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Knowledge: The Infinite Design

Infinite Design

It is safe to say that nobody can ever know everything. There is so much knowledge being created, and found, every second of every day, and all over the world, that keeping up is literally impossible.

It is much more practical to be the one who is creating new knowledge in one area, than to try to tackle everything that already exists in all areas.

It is also safe to say that the purpose of man is to create. We were given hands, and tools, and means to use them. No other animal has the ability to create to the extent that we can. We take abstract ideas in our minds and make them into realities. We are problem solvers, and solution builders.

We are in a infinite loop of creation, where everyday, there is more than there was before.

Some people would find this thought overwhelming, or frustrating. As soon as you climb one mountain, you can then see an even higher one in the distance left to tackled. But this to me is reassuring.

It’s important to have new goals, and it’s also important to have a niche, or several. Pioneering a field can be an endless journey, but an amazing one.

It is very gratifying to be the one to get to the top of the mountain that no one else has climbed, and then be the one to discover another mountain.

Even if you never get to climb the next one, you can be assured that someone else will, and progress will be made because of you.

Knowledge and information are the lifeblood of society. Without it, there would be no progress.

The internet and computer age has transformed the world in 25 short years, because of all of the knowledge that has become infinitely more accessible than it was before.

It has taken a country like Colombia, who just 15 years ago was still riddled with gorillas, scared and suppressed citizens, and militant mindsets, and it has transformed it into a safe, thriving, and practical culture where ideas are shared and discussed openly, and wifi, high class cafe’s and very computer literate designers and programmers are common place.

It is important that knowledge be infinite in it’s nature. If it wasn’t, things would get pretty boring, and probably pretty bad. It’s the reason for such a big fuss about Google filtering their content in certain countries.

Knowledge acquisition has actually gotten ever more important than ever before, because of the internet.

Computers and the web give us the tool, and the space, to store all of the knowledge society acquires, without much overhead. And, It can then be accessed any time with something as simple as a Google search.

This is truly power. With this power, and basic human drive mixed together, it is safe to say that the progress of society as a whole will begin to speed up exponentially, adding more knowledge to the database, and leaving more of a reason for each person to focus on one niche, and build upon it as high as possible.

This is an amazing time to be alive. I would urge us all to take advantage of what’s being given to us, and not just focus on everything that is already here, and just stare in amazement, but actually access the root of our true nature, and take charge of innovating and pioneering ourselves, so that knowledge’s infinite structure can be strengthened faster, and our progress can truly make life better.

It is not enough to stand by and watch others make the big leaps and climb the big mountains. With knowledge being literally unlimited, it is extremely important that we get everyone involved, so we can solve the crucial problems even faster. Also, with all of the tools we have at our disposal today, it’s easier than ever before to innovate. All it takes is gathering the right information using the web, and sorting it out using our analytical and naturally-problem-solving minds.

I’m looking forward to a bright future that I helped build. I encourage you to help too, and you should encourage everyone you know to do the same. If this happens, the world will be an infinitely better place.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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