Smart TV – Producing for Pixels

The battle for high-resolution HD displays, including 3D, is well underway, the next front on the war for viewership lies in Smart TV.

Now that the battle for high-resolution HD displays, including 3D, is well underway, the next front on the war for viewership lies in Smart TV. Once viewed as a gimmick for high-end large-scale displays, Smart TV is now a canvas for producers to deliver shows and apps to a new generation of Internet-enabled displays.

Rachelle Zoffer, Verizon

Displaysearch predicts that 50% of all television sets above 50 inches will be some form of Smart TV by 2014. And the landscape is not just confined to traditional TV manufacturers, but includes the likes of Apple and Google, among others.

With smartphones and tablets providing greater opportunities for producers, apps produced on one device will be ported to a new generation of Smart TVs, and vice versa, transforming how producers conceive of television for an audience that still wants big-screen experiences, even if the television needs to behave like multiple screens, simultaneously.

Vamsi Sistla, Telvetto

Timo Korpela Multitou.ch

Panel Discussion & Audience Q&A

Speakers

Timo Korpela, Multitou.ch

Vamsi Sistla, co-founder, Telvetto

Vamsi Sistla is the founder of Telvetto, a stealth start-up that is building the next Smart TV curation experience. He was formerly director of the mobile/social media platform product group at Rovi and previously held mobile content management roles at Macrovision and TVGuide. He has been a pioneer in the interactive TV space, having developed new platforms for Ignite, creating AOLTV experiences for ‘Price is Right;’ ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ and ‘Jeopardy,’ while at Mixed Signals, and building the first real-time social TV experience for ‘Survivor,’ while with Steeplechase Media and Television.com. He has worked as a software engineer for Structural Research Dynamics Corporation and the Ford Motor Company.

Rachelle Zoffer, Director, Content Strategy & Acquisition, Interactive TV at Verizon

Chris Pfaff, President, Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC; vice chairman, PGA New Media Council

A board delegate of the PGA New Media Council since 2006, and a PGA NMC member since 2004, Chris Pfaff leads a consultancy – Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC – that represents some of the leading service providers, audio/video technology firms, networking vendors, and media companies in the world, from PRIMEDIA and Eastman Kodak to Cantor Telecom. A veteran of the venture world, Chris helped launch more than 20 ventures from the Lucent New Ventures Group, including iBiquity Digital; Flarion; Lucent Digital Video, and GeoVideo Networks, among others. In addition, he has helped launch AT&T’s Internet strategy; the Viacom New Media division of Viacom, Inc.; Sony Electronics’ Digital Betacam format, and Sharp Electronics’ LCD product division.

The Future of Web Advertising

4 AdTech Startups That Could Change The Marketing Landscape for Online Retailers in a Big Way

4 Startups That Could Change The Marketing Landscape for Online Retailers in a Big Way

Hear pitches from 4 companies who are changing the way online retailers advertise to consumers. Learn how these innovative entrepreneurs plan to disrupt the web ad online advertising space and dig down to learn more about their ideas and business models.

5 minute presentations by each of the teams, followed by 5 minutes of questions by our panelists which include a distinguished group of VCs.

We showcase the 4 following startups:

Album+ – is the easiest way to aggregate location specific event photos, in real time. We use mobile technology, and geolocation, along with a web app and some API`s to make shooting, collecting, organizing, sharing and purchasing photos from the same event; automatic. Our target market right now is weddings, and our business model is charging the host for the service. The app is free and can be found here http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/album-plus/id437410243

Appside – Founded in 2011 AppSide is the first end-to-end content marketplace for motion-controlled entertainment devices. With years of experience in the motion field, AppSide provides the “missing link” between hardware manufacturers, developers and end-users, in the fast growing market of motion-controlled/Natural Interaction entertainment devices. AppSide`s end-to- end marketplace (platform and content) gives users easy access to innovative motion controlled games and apps using the best device experience possible. The company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is backed by Wekix, a technology and new-media start-up accelerator, as well as high-profile US and European private investors.

Immersive Labs – provides adaptive advertising technology designed to optimize content based on actual viewership on digital signs for retailers and out-of-home advertisers. The technology is a combination of anonymous facial detection, sophisticated machine learning and strategies specified by the marketer. Immersive Labs is a Techstars NY company and was selected as one of the Top 25 hottest startups to watch in New York City by Business Insider.

Lemon – (an acronym for Location Enhanced Mobile Opt-in Network) is a digital media company providing total B2B solutions for location-based mobile marketing. The company offers state-of-the-art white label software that can be integrated into any app on the Android, Blackberry, or iPhone platform. When installed, the LEMON software enables push messaging based on precise locational awareness and specific user behaviors, resulting in highly targeted and relevant messages delivered at exactly the right time and place for maximum impact. The company also offers agency and consulting services, including strategic planning, custom app development, campaign planning & management, and metrics & reporting.

Panel Moderator:
– Lori Hoberman, Partner, Chadbourne & Parke LLP

Panel Speakers:
– Peg Jackson, Gridley & Co.
– Erik Nordlander, Google Ventures
– Jeanne Sullivan, Starvest Partners

ICF Names Eindhoven Region of the Netherlands as its Intelligent Community of the Year 2011

The role that broadband communications and information access technologies play in shaping the economic and social development of communities worldwide.

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named the Eindhoven Region of the Netherlands as the world’s Intelligent Community of the Year 2011 during its annual awards ceremony at Steiner Film Studios in Brooklyn, New York (USA). Eindhoven, which made ICF’s list of the Top Seven finalists for three consecutive years, was represented by a delegation led by Mayor Rob van Gijzel of the City of Eindhoven and Deputy Mayor Yvonne van Mierlo of the City of Helmond. ICF Co-founder Louis A. Zacharilla presented the award to Eindhoven, which succeeded Suwon, South Korea, the 2010 recipient. Representatives from Suwon were on hand to see the succession, as were officials from former recipients, including Stockholm, Sweden (2009), Gangnam, the high-tech district in Seoul (2008), Waterloo, Canada (2007), Taipei (2006), and Glasgow (2004).

ICF also honored Suvi Linden, Finland’s Minister of Communications and Commissioner of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development, as its Visionary of the Year. The award was presented in recognition of her commitment, through recent legislation passed in Finland, to ensuring affordable broadband access for every citizen and her leadership of the movement to use broadband for economic and human development

The awards are presented by the independent think tank as part of its annual summit, Building the Broadband Economy. The annual invitation-only conference was attended by 275 thought leaders from around the world. The event is produced in association with the Institute for Technology & Enterprise at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. The goal of the awards is to increase awareness of the role that broadband communications and information access technologies play in shaping the economic and social development of communities worldwide. Mayors, city managers, CIOs, and executives of leading technology companies from around the world, as well as academics and urban planners, are part of the Intelligent Community movement and were on hand throughout the three-day program (www.icfsummit.com).

Intelligent Community of the Year 2011: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
The Eindhoven Region, south of Amsterdam, has long been the industrial center of Holland, with 730,000 inhabitants and a workforce of 400,000. Eindhoven generates €24 billion of GDP and €55 billion in exports, one-quarter of the Dutch total. It is a manufacturing center in a high-cost country. By focusing on producing high-value, technology-based products, it is in competition with fast-growing manufacturing centers in nations with much lower costs. At the same time, however, Eindhoven is saddled with demographics familiar to Europe and much of the West, in which a low birth rate and aging population is reducing the regional labor force. To win the battle for the talent that provides its competitive advantage, the region must make itself economically and socially attractive to knowledge workers from around the world and concentrate on innovation.

Eindhoven’s answer to these challenges is a public-private partnership called Brainport Development. Its members include employers, research institutes, the Chamber of Commerce, the SRE, leading universities and the governments of the region’s three largest cities. A small professional staff meets regularly with stakeholders to identify their strengths, needs and objectives, then looks for opportunities for them to collaborate on business, social or cultural goals. Its range of projects includes broadband deployment and applications, workforce development, digital inclusion, marketing and advocacy for the region – and especially innovation.

In healthcare – the theme of the 2011 ICF summit – the region already has nearly 825 businesses active in the sector, which employ 17,000 people. To drive further growth, Brainport created a project called Brainport Health Innovation (BHI). Its goals are to foster increased well-being for the elderly and chronically ill, to reduce healthcare costs and increase productivity, and to do so while generating economic opportunities for the region.

The total cost of regional healthcare is forecast to rise from €17bn currently to €25bn by 2020, in large part because of the need for 100,000 new healthcare workers. BHI’s goal is to improve productivity by 1 percent per year, which would reduce demand for new personnel by 25,000 and save about €750 million. Meanwhile, BHI’s work is expected to generate 150 new companies employing at least 10,000 people. This is a conscious effort to reduce employment demand in one area in order to increase it in another, thus benefitting the entire region.

BHI has involved hospitals, insurance companies, technology manufacturers local government and individual patients to design and implement realistic technology solutions that offer a profitable operating model. A Living Lab eHealth project is planned, in which aging people will test new services and products introduced by the BHI participants, including remote monitoring and diagnostics enabled by the broadband network.

More information about Eindhoven is available on the Intelligent Community Profiles pages of the ICF Web site.

ICF Co-founder Louis Zacharilla congratulated the new Intelligent Community of the Year, saying, “Eindhoven is the model for a new way of thinking about collaboration and regional development. It has developed an ecosystem that links its private sector, government and its academic and creative communities in a way that looks like an economic ‘triple helix.’ What has emerged is an extremely efficient local economy that can compete with anyone, anywhere. It is focused on what I call ambient innovation. It is constantly creating and redesigning itself based on its goals. It never loses focus. I am pleased that Eindhoven has finally achieved what it has sought, recognition as one of the world’s communities we can all learn from.”

About ICF
The Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) is a New York-based think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community and attempts to help shape and to energize cities, regions and communities worldwide. Whether in industrial or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and progress increasingly depend on broadband communications and access technologies. The Intelligent Community Forum shares best practices with every community and provides research and insights into the success of the world’s designated Intelligent Communities. ICF develops criteria, conducts research, hosts events, publishes reports and holds an international awards program. In May 2010 ICF announced the establishment of a non-profit association of intelligent communities. It is a working group for the world’s nearly 100 intelligent communities. ICF is partnered with the Polytechnic Institute of New York University which hosts its annual summit, “Building the Broadband Economy.” The Intelligent Community Forum was founded by Robert A. Bell, John G. Jung and Louis A. Zacharilla, authors of Broadband Economies (2008).

What’s Next for U.S. Wireless Broadband?

100 Mbps? A look at the technology, market, and investment opportunities in wireless, along with government policies.

What are the Benefits, Challenges, and Opportunities in the U.S. Wireless Broadband space?

Wireless broadband technology is evolving rapidly, presenting significant growth opportunities over the next few years. The FCC recently announced plans to bring broadband to 100 million American homes by 2020, with mobile broadband playing an integral role. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have awarded over $7.2 billion to broadband projects.

While broadband will be available across the US soon, other countries already have nationwide coverage with plans to upgrade from 1-10 Mega-bits per second (Mbps) to lightning-fast 100 Mbps services within five years. What are the benefits, challenges, and opportunities presented by these changes?

This panel discussion includes representatives from service providers, application developers, and sources of capital. They share their experience and offer their views on the future of wireless broadband and how it may impact today`s business models. Among the issues discussed:

  • Market potential: Some of the first rural broadband wireless networks will spring up as early as this year.
  • Technological obstacles and trends: WiMAX, 3G, and 4G LTE each present different technical challenges – and there are demand-side obstacles, such as fewer household computers in rural areas.
  • Emerging opportunities and VC investment: Some startups are already receiving significant funding – for example, LightSquared has raised $850MM for a satellite-based 4G LTE network.
  • Government policies, funding, and regulation: Today, the FCC has assigned only 50 megahertz for broadband use; industry players have already warned that this could limit U.S. innovation and technology development.
  • Long-term impact: Some industry commentators have predicted a “mobile nirvana,” with even greater demand for mobile apps, more widespread use of social networking, and an increase in mobile advertising.

What is Broadband and What is Wireless Broadband?

Panel Moderator
– David Goodman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NYU

Panel Speakers
– Sandeep Beotra, Managing Director, Morgan Joseph
– Frank Boulben, Chief Marketing Officer, LightSquared
– Dana Spiegel, Executive Director of NYCwireless, VP of Product and Engineering at AxialMarket
– Bart Stuck, Managing Director, Signal Lake Venture Capital
– Jagjit Toor, Director of Access Networks, Alcatel-Lucent

Consumer Wireless Pricing

Infrastructure and Technology Requirements for Wireless Backhaul

Technology: Reservation Protocols to Improve Wireless Broadband

Redistribution of Wireless Broadband Traffic to Improve Network Efficiency

Cable versus Wireless Broadband

Predictions for Wireless Broadband in the U.S.

Live Video Webcast of PaidContent 2011

The gear, tools and services we used for a multi-camera live video webcast

A quick recap of the 3 camera live video webcast we produced for the the PaidContent 2011 conference last week at The Times Center in NYC.

We had three Sony EX1 HD cameras sending down-converted Standard Definition (SD) video via 100′ BNC cables back to a Tricaster Broadcast video mixing board. The house audio feed was also going into the Tricaster Broadcast.

From the Tricaster, we sent composite video and audio to a Canopus ADVC 110, which converts the analog signal to digital.

We then sent the digital signal out the Canopus ADVC 110 via firewire to a Mac laptop, which had Telestream Wirecast loaded on it.

We broadcast the live feed to our Livestream pro account, which was featured on the Livestream site and also embedded on a few Web sites, along with a twitter chat widget.

We had a total of 8,580 unique viewers during the day long broadcast and a peak of 432 viewers at any one point in time.

The largest audience came from the US, followed by Brazil, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Argentina, France, Canada and India.

Cleantech Scaling to Growth

Cleantech requires significant funding, often larger than traditional vc’s are structured to support.

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – Panel Introduction

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – China

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – Utilities

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – India

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – Strategic Partners

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – The Role of Government

Cleantech Scaling to Growth – Audience Q&A

The emerging cleantech venture’s pilot has been supported by government grants now it is time to scale. Cleantech requires significant funding, often larger than traditional vc’s are structured to support. How does a cleantech venture scale to grow? Hear from national project developer Constellation Energy on the emerging technologies they seek for internal deployment and the corporate milestones they look for emerging ventures to demonstrate, hear from both the CEO and VC of NY based Primet Materials (battery applications) on their path to Series C greater than$10M. Network with investors and other entrepreneurs growing their firms.

Panel Moderator:
– David Yeh, Venture Capitalist, Private Investor

Panel Speakers:
– Michael Adams, Vice President-Corporate Strategy and Development, Constellation Energy
– Zachary Shulman, Managing Partner at Cayuga Venture Fund
– Larry Thomas, President & CEO of Primet Precision Materials, Inc.
– David H. Wells, Greentech Investing Team, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

Mapping Carbon Emissions, SourceMap Paves Eco-Conscious Markets

Companies are rapidly hopping on the ‘green’ bandwagon, hoping to entice increasingly eco-conscious customers with biodegradable packaging and small carbon footprints. But how can executives and consumers be completely sure which corporations are the most earth-friendly? Enter SourceMap.

sourcemapimage

Companies are rapidly hopping on the “green” bandwagon, hoping to entice increasingly eco-conscious customers with biodegradable packaging and small carbon footprints. But how can executives and consumers be completely sure which corporations are the most earth-friendly?

Simple: Turn to SourceMap.org, a user-generated visualization of a product’s supply chain and resultant carbon footprint.

Originally conceived and funded as part of Leonard Bonanni’s 2007 PhD project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SourceMap represents the future of environmentally friendly consumption, one based on transparency and accountability.

“Basically,” explains Bonanni, “the idea came from the fact that people want to make sustainable choices, but there’s no place for them to go if they want to investigate products and services.” The site, then, acts as a “public good mission to teach sustainability and understand supply chains.”

To get the project off the ground, Bonanni and his advisers at MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media, Hiroshi Ishii and Chris Csikszentmihalyi, first focused on breaking down select commodities’ trade routes, which can often be quite convoluted. Electronics, for example, can contain components from over ten countries. Thus, Bonanni and his team started by reverse engineering products to track their origins, often by simply calling companies to find a certain item’s origins.

Then, with a trail mapped out, says Bonanni, “I needed to break the problem into environmental impact,” like how much carbon shipping and packing sends in the atmosphere, and ending with a “lifestyle assessment based on the making, shipping and throwing away” of specific merchandise.

Of course Bonanni knew we live in a digital world, and wanted to create a visual guide for easily distracted public. To that end, he reached out to graphic designer David Zorg, who drew maps laying out a product’s trade route and emissions. Now customers can look at the guide for a Giant TCR ’04 bicycle, and see its 21 components result in a carbon footprint of 82.01 kg, or Apple’s iPod, which has seven assembly spots, and emits 9.84 kg of carbon along the way.

Three years later, SourceMap, a forthcoming 501(c)3 still funded by MIT grants, has evolved into more than just a research product aimed at consumers. It’s a resource for companies, as well.

“The site was originally for small businesses,” says Bonanni,” but then larger companies came forward and said they are looking for tools to discuss supply chains.”

Mega chain Office Depot and sustainability-minded New Leaf Paper teamed up with SourceMap and UK-based nonprofit Carbon Trust earlier this year to map out the impact of paper products. Now New Leaf Paper’s commodities come with a SourceMap barcode so that shoppers can track their paper’s trail.

By researching and promoting a smaller environmental impact, SourceMap also gives companies bragging rights, yes, but those rights can also translate into financial benefit.

“Sourcemap has helped attract additional business from environmentally aware customers who appreciate the steps the companies are taking to try and either off set or reduce there carbon footprint,” said John MacKenzie, development manager at Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a governmental group that fosters socially and ecologically responsible businesses and helped sponsor Bonanni’s project in 2008.

The work, he says, paid off, and has helped regional companies in terms of both promotional power and accountability.

“SourceMap has certainly improved the visibality of the supply chain in the companies that are using it here,” insisted MacKenzie, before citing a hotel that started planting trees to offset guests’ carbon footprints. “In the long term, mass use of this tool would help to improve any region, and I we will continue to promote SourceMap.”

He continued, “I certainly think it can be the social driver to get people to think tabout the impact that supply chains have on our environment, and businesses to look at themselves through the eye of the consumer.”

The Scottish government and Office Depot can’t be SourceMap’s only source of marketing, of course, and Bonanni says that research papers and lectures, like September’s Opportunity Green business conference, have proven to be a valuable source for his project’s growth.

Indeed: After seeing Bonanni appearance at a Net Impact panel called “Carbon Mapping: Radical Transparency and Truth in Advertising,” blogger Nick Aster at Triple Pundit made his own map of Fiji bottled water’s supply chain, unaware SourceMap had already predicted interest in the company. The site and the public are working in tandem, clearly driven by the same concerns.

As with other up-and-coming projects, like MakerBot, SourceMap relies heavily on people like Aster and other green-friendly citizens to help build up its open source content, thereby helping guarantee consumers the most ecologically sound information possible.

In terms of catering to interested businesses, Bonanni and his team of twenty, mostly volunteers familiar with supply chains or programming, are developing free or low cost application programming interfaces that will make it easier for companies to “optimize their carbon footprint.”

Taken as an entire package — accountability, transparency and responsibility — SourceMap strives to achieve the piece of advice Bonanni cites as his guiding light. “John Maeda, the President of RISD, once told me, ‘Design for trust. How can you make something work if people don’t trust you?’,” Bonanni recalls.

He continued, “People need to know the good and bad of products.” And SourceMap makes it that much easier.

Behind the Scenes

Startups need tools to organize themselves. Here’s what SourceMap.org uses behind the scenes.

  • Customer Relationship Management: 37 Signals’ Highrise
  • Accounting: Google Docs.
  • Project Management: CodebaseHQ.com
  • Cloud Computer: Self-hosted Apache Server
  • Internal Email: Gmail
  • Marketing: YouTube, Blogs, Twitter
  • Site Analytics: Google Analytics

Online Video Analytics and Advertising

TubeMogul’s Brett Wilson gets in the hot seat to talk about trends in online video.

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I sat down with Brett Wilson, CEO of TubeMogul, a video analytics company based in San Francisco, to talk about metrics, measurement and analytics.

TubeMogul is about to add a demographic reporting tool to their platform that will allow publishers to see exactly who is consuming their content – male, female, head of household, auto intenders, etc. They will do so by marrying offline data from third party data partners with online information. Publishers can then share this information with advertisers to confirm that they are reaching who they intend to reach.

TubeMogul will also soon add near real time analytics (15 – 30 minutes after the data is collected), which will allow publishers and advertisers to see, fairly instantaneously, what is happening with their online videos and video ads so that they can take action. For example, if a video is going viral, the publisher can promote the video to the site home page.

Analytics are moving towards being more decision oriented rather than just reporting on what happened. Video analytics will help organizations use the data in real time to make decisions, and automate business decisions based on business rules (if this happens, then do that). In the above example, the business rule could be that if the video is trending towards going viral, say if it has 100,000 views in a certain period of time, such as an hour, then the video will automatically be pushed to the home page.

Most video publishers currently do not have additional inventory. They’re already sold out. So they care about getting audience and performance information that they can share with their advertisers to justify higher CPMs.

TubeMogul is also working on engagement metrics, such as who is sharing a video or who is tweeting the video.

TubeMogul recently did a study with Dynamic Logic to explore the effectiveness of a repackaged 15 – 30 second TV spot online and longer form video advertisements (60 – 90 seconds) made specifically for the web. They found that the 15 – 30 second ads, typically delivered as preroll, are more effective for branding, whereas the 60 – 90 second spots, typically in a display advertising box on the side of a Web page, are more effective at driving purchase intent.

Generally, I think the next few years will mark the beginning of real time analytics that allow companies to:

  • make sense of disparate silos of data and information to forecast future possibilities based on past or current data sets,
  • ping business stakeholders based on current data-related events,
  • set up business rules to automatically take certain actions based on various scenarios that are confirmed by the data, and,
  • make predictive decisions based on the real time information that will be at every business stakeholder’s finger tips.

What kind of competitive advantage will your company have if you can make sense of and react to your data just a little bit faster than the competition?

Manufacturing the Future

New York start-up MakerBot embraces Open Source to bring affordable manufacturing techniques those with the next great idea, or a desire to recreate Mt. Rushmore in hot pink.

makerbot

MakerBot’s founders: Adam Mayer, Zach Smith and Bre Pettis

Manufacturing has long been the realm of big business. The little man lacked the resources and machinery to make their imaginative innovations come to life, and tycoons were left to call the shots.

3-D Printers?

3-D printers are machines that use hot plates and malleable materials, such as plastic, to manufacture three-dimensional representations of a design.

This is done by layering materials atop one another, shaped by moving parts, such as robotic arms, to form a solid mold.

Want to create your own action figures? Too bad. Dreaming of a plasticine replica of Mount Rushmore in hot pink? You’re out of luck.

But MakerBot Industries is trying to change all that. The Brooklyn-based company produces open source 3-D printers, machines that may very well turn the manufacturing imbalance into a thing of the past.

“One of our mottos is ‘We play well with others,'” says Bre Pettis, one of the Brooklyn-based company’s founders. “We’re open source, so our community helps us make improvements.” And that open source ideology courses through every aspect of MakerBot’s business plan, from marketing to the supply chain.

MakerBot first started as a hobby for Pettis and co-founders Adam Mayer and Zach Smith. The men wanted a 3-D printer of their own, and employed their respective engineering backgrounds — Pettis helped create the NYC-based hacker space NYC Resistor, Smith worked in robotics and Mayer in programming — to make their dream a reality. And with their machine’s completion, the men realized what they had to do: deliver MakerBot to the masses.

MakerBot, a “rapid prototyping machine” whose “Cupcake” model starts at $750, remains one of the most affordable 3-D printers on the market. You simply need to buy the machine, upload your designs to their computer, and set it to print, a process MakerBot accomplishes by heating plasticine materials, like high-density polyethylene, and molding them into the desired shape.

But MakerBot’s more than a toy. It’s an entire community: users can share their products, patterns and ideas on the company’s Thingiverse site, thus fostering not only friendships, but businesses and reputations.

For example, a man built a following by selling the 3-D code for camera parts, while the women at Design Glut created egg-shaped salt and pepper shaker program for the public. This all-inclusive community also keeps MakerBot’s assembly line in motion.

When MakerBot was founded in January of 2009, the founders relied on ordering parts from outside factories. “We first got money from friends and family, and took that to buy parts,” explains Pettis. “And then spent the money we made for more parts. I know it sounds like a crazy business model, but it worked for us.”

Demand proved to be too high, however, and the company adopted two new approaches. “At some point, we bought all the parts,” explained Pettis. “So now we have to get things like stepper motors, custom manufactured for us.” And what the MakerBot team can’t make or buy themselves, they receive from their loyal community, currently 2,000 strong and growing, who use their own machines to make parts others need.

Of course MakerBot’s founders, who currently employ 10 people that include two full-time bloggers, realize the risks involved, and, according to Pettis, discuss them on a daily basis. “Decision-making remains a daily conversation. We discuss what will work, what won’t and move from there.”

MakerBot’s open source philosophy also facilitates rather painless marketing. Pettis explained that most of the marketing energy has been spent on building on Twitter, Facebook and other virtual connectors. “Our marketing plan is to make friends,” said Pettis. “We’re doing everything to make connections. And our community helps, too.”

And Pettis also credits his company’s communal attitude for keeping MakerBot ahead of the competition, made up mostly of big players like Stratasys, Inc., whose machines start at about $15,000. While there are projects similar to MakerBot, like RepRap, which also sells reasonably priced printers, Pettis has no worries. In fact, he welcomes the so-called “competition.”

“Our goal is to democractize manufacturing. In term of competition, the more 3D printers the better. We want to get the technology into as many hands as possible,” says Pettis of MakerBot, which is as much a public service as it is a business.

MakerBot Industries’ story reads like a Utopian dream, and may be a bit intimidating to other start-ups, but rest assured not everything runs smoothly. Asked for a horror story, Pettis recalled a bit of an international incident: “We’re almost entirely American made, except for electronics that come from China. Turns out there’s a month in spring that’s Chinese New Year and we couldn’t get parts.” The lesson here? Pay attention to other nations’ bank holidays, because it may impact your business.

Pettis also offered two pieces of advice. First: “Have a good relationship with your shipping company.” And the second: never be afraid to ask other entrepreneurs for guidance: “Basically, we’re engineers and had to learn on the fly, and turned to friends who told us about things we have never considered, like having insurance.” Pettis cited Wired editor Chris Anderson and the team at another open source company, Adafruit Industries, as huge influences on MakerBot’s early success.

Sharing and community are the rules of the game in new world of business. “Open source software is growing into open source hardware,” says Pettis. “I feel confident that open source is inevitable in business, and the lines of communication need to be open. If you’re not doing something open source, you’re probably doing it wrong.”

Startup Tools

Startups need tools to organize themselves. Here’s what MakerBot uses behind the scenes.

  • Customer Relationship Management: Custom software.
  • Accounting: Quickbooks and Paycycle.
  • Project Management: The old fashioned way, says Pettis: “we talk.”
  • Cloud Computing: Amazon S3
  • Internal Communication: N/A
  • Site Analytics: Google analytics and WordPress stats for blog.
  • Email Marketing: Mailchimp

What Online Video Advertisers Want

Julian Zilberbrand, SVP, Digital Director, Starcom Mediavest Group, on what buyers are looking for from vendors.

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What do prospective online video advertisers want from vendors – the publishers and ad technology companies that can help brands get in front of audiences?

That’s the question I posed to Julian Zilberbrand, SVP, Digital Director, Technology Activation Group Services, Starcom Mediavest Group.

Besides cheap rates, which agencies will always try to negotiate on behalf of their customers, advertisers want good technology, strong analytics, an audience, a safe environment, and a clear differentiator – what is unique about your solution that separates you from your competitors.

Oh, and know who your audience is when you walk in the door for a meeting. Show that you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully reflect on their brand prior to a meeting.

Advertisers are simple creatures. They evaluate ad solutions by whether they can solve a problem facing the advertiser, provide extra reach, a better level of reporting or a better direct response capability.

In the online video advertising space, most advertisers today are doing pre-roll ads because it’s easy for them to repurpose their existing 30 second TV spots for the Web. For advertisers to adopt innovative ad formats beyond the plain vanilla pre-mid-post-roll, they need to see a case for ROI.

When I pushed Julian to give some examples of ad types that have piqued his interest, he mentioned Interactive pre-roll ads as an ad type that provides a level of direct response to a branding initiative. As I noted in our conversation, advertisers, when submitting RFPs to vendors, always want their cake and to eat it too. They want branding AND direct response, often in the same campaign.

Innovative video advertising vendors that got a shout out from Julian include Innovid and Panache, both boasting interactive pre-roll capabilities.

Julian is a big fan of The Pool’s Ad Selector, whereby a viewer can choose which pre-roll ad they want to watch from a few options.

Engagement mechanisms, such as overlay, ticker, bug, or time spent with an ad, are important metrics to advertisers. A social response mechanism, such as sharing, is a nice feature too.

Ad Verification, while mostly used for display advertising, is coming to the video advertising world. So get ready to haggle over who pays for it. Starcom has worked with Ad Verification companies such as DoubleVerify, AdSafe Media, Adometry, and AdXpose, to verify that their brand customers are getting what they pay for, and is working with these same vendors to bring verification to the video advertising arena.

It was pointed out to me that Julian has a lengthy, impressive sounding title. Here’s what it translates to in plainer, albeit still jargony English:

Julian Zilberbrand oversees the implementation and reporting of digital campaigns for clients across the SMG network. In this role, he leads training on buying, planning, trafficking and billing tools for all digital staff, and manages digital and technology vendor relationships. In addition, Julian has helped lead and oversee the development of the Digital Mediabank platform throughout the entire Starcom MediaVest Group network.