Friday, October 07, 2005

What exactly IS this ClickCaster thing anyway?

What, exactly IS this company of ours anyway?ClickCaster: What Do You Have To Say Today?It’s about, really, two things. Creating a directory of user generated content, in this case, Podcasts (internet radio shows you can subscribe to and have automatically delivered to your computer or MP3 player when a new episode of a show is created).

This directory, what we call ‘Get’ (trying to keep it simple don’t ya know) is what draws people to the site. They can find podcasts from all over the internet. And, they can browse ClickCasts (Podcasts created on our site with our software) which brings us to the second function:Create. This is where someone can simply and easily create a Podcast (i.e. ClickCast). We have a built in recorder that’s easy to use and easy yet to publish with. You pick a license type (standard copyright or any of 10 Creative Common’s type licenses) and write up some show notes on what your show’s about that day/week/however often you create one and you hit the publish button.And that’s pretty much it right now. Very simple, Very powerful.

It gives anyone who wants a voice, the ability to have it. And to get their ideas, there music, their whatever they want out into the world in Audio (and eventually, in Video) format.

Call it, social networking, user generated content or even citizen journalism. It’s really about us, the people, creating the content and not being just consumers of content from some centralized content factory in New York or Hollywood. Not that those are bad, or even that they’ll go away (they won’t), but it’s an alternative.
Just like Radio didn’t die when TV came about, I doubt ‘professionally’ created content will go away under the swell of user generation content. But it WILL have to compete with it.

Notice how many recording studios there are today vs. 20 years ago? Maybe 1/10th. Why is that? Well, it’s mostly because the equipment required 20 years ago cost half a million dollars. Today, for under $1000, you can create a multitrack professional studio in your home. Something with 10 times the power of the recording studio’s used by The Beatles to do Sgt. Pepper, for instance.
And that puts the power directly into the hands of the musicians. They no longer need a recording contract and an expensive studio to create a CD. The software’s gotten so powerful, it acts as a sort of idiot savant recording engineer, handling much of the work required to make your music sound professionally produced.

And that’s what ClickCaster is all about, but on a broader scale. Although nascent, it’s similar. YOU can create your own radio show. As broadband becomes ubiquitous, you’ll see more video as well, and user created video shows will become reality.A lot of it will suck. Hell, most of it will, but 3,4 even 5% will be stellar. As good, or better, than some of what passes for content on TV today. And people will know. They’ll find it. And they’ll spend their time listening to, and watching that instead of the radio or TV. It’s happening now. And it’s just starting.. just at the very beginning edge.

We’re really an example of a complete Web 2.0 company. If AOL and Yahoo where Web 1.0, we’re the next generation. Us and hundreds like us. “Point’ solutions that do one thing very well.

These point solutions companies, like ClickCaster, eventually will get bought up by the Web 1.0 companies, or, in some cases, if the VC community get’s religion and figures out this really is real and starts investing in earnest, we’ll see more of these companies go public (something I’d like to do with ClickCaster, although I’m not adverse to being bought by a bigger company that’s smart and can really leverage what ClickCaster’s doing).

I think that’s really the next wave of innovation that you’ll see forming up. User generation content using tools from companies like ClickCaster to change the face of media, information and knowledge. A much more transparent world without the gatekeepers you see today monitoring and controlling what we see and hear and by extension, what we think and believe.

How will we pay for this? Well, Google’s got it pretty much nailed: Advertising. It’s the end all and be all of revenue sources. It paid for radio (and still does). It paid for TV (and for a large part of that world, still does). Advertising is the lifeblood of a free market society and it’s also not going away.
If it can be used to support the creation of things that are good, I say: go with it. Make it happen.

The nay sayers (like Business 2.0 which recently called Podcasting ‘a fad’) just don’t get it. These are the same guys that said ‘who’s going to spend good money on a box to listen to tinny music and stupid comedy shows and soap commercials’ back in the early part of the last century.

All what’s old is new. It doesn’t have to be a highly complex business model to work. Create a directory to draw people to your site.
Make it easy for them to find and subscribe to free content (podcasts)
Entice THEM to also make podcasts while they’re on the site
GROW the listener base AND the creator base into the millions
Sell advertising in the podcasts (to keep them free). People will listen to ads if it means: this is free

Radio’s a $25 billion dollar a year business in the US. And it’s free to listeners, because they agree to listen to the advertising between the content they want to hear.

If you do it right, and you do it well, it’ll work. And it’ll open the world up to an entirely new kind of media. Media created by you and by me. And some of it will be damned good and worth spending your time and your mind on.

It really is a form of revolution, and it’s coming fast.


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An excellent read from an ex-evangelical.

  As you know, I once was an evangelical megachurch pastor and my pastoral career stretched over many years. Eventually, I could no longer t...