Drama 2.0 is fast becoming one of my
favorite blogs-- good commentary and snark, but not too much snark... not annoying snark, you know.@centernetworks recently interviewed the elusive blogga behind the drama and excerpt is below:
Allen: Let's start with a brief bio.
Drama 2.0: I expected you to ask for something like this. The two questions I get most are "Who are you?" and "How old are you?"
Drama 2.0 is a highly-successful businessman and connoisseur. He’s basically Web 2.0’s Keyser Söze. Constantly traveling the globe in search of opportunity, he has a penchant for the finer things in life and the faster things in life.
The man behind Drama 2.0 is as charismatic and charming as his alter ego, but has a tighter grip on his indulgences. Right now, he is an entrepreneur running some sort of company that might or might not succeed. Through his extensive business dabblings over the years, voracious reading habit and graduate degree from the School of Hard Knocks, he has acquired the wisdom that he distributes to the world through Drama 2.0.
Since I know bloggers love an exclusive and I’ve been disappointed that some people apparently think I’m an old man, I will officially reveal my age on Center Networks: I am older than 25 and younger than 28.
Allen: What do you view as 3 trends that will be hot in 2008?
Drama 2.0: Besides Drama 2.0?
1. I think online video will continue to be hot. While I'm not convinced that the substance matches the hype and that the WGA strike is going to do for online video what some bloggers have predicted it will do, I am excited by the opportunities for professional original online video content and don't think there will be any shortage of activity in the space.
2. I anticipate that revenue will become a lot more important to startups as the economic situation gets tougher. In my opinion, a recession in the United States is inevitable. I've discussed the problems this poses for advertising-dependent businesses and therefore I think "revenue" is going to be fashionable again in 2008. When it comes to the type of things that can drive revenue for consumer Internet startups, I'm actually a fan of virtual goods. Over $2 billion/year is now spent on these items and while it seems silly on the surface, once you recognize that, for better or worse, an increasing number of people find that their online identities are just as important as their offline identities, you'll realize that the same psychology that drives the purchase of $1,000 hand bags and $700 jeans can drive the virtual goods market pretty far.
3. I like niches because I think far too many startups are attacking the mainstream market. There's a finite amount of room for winners there but I still see a lot of room for solid niche plays. It's important to note, however, that a solid niche play does not entail creating a generic MySpace clone for sci-fi lovers or a generic Digg clone for activists. Niches have to be done well by people who understand the niche.
Allen: Sum up the general state of the online advertising market.
Drama 2.0: Lots of hype, lots of potential, far less substance. The potential is real but I think publishers have to deliver more for advertisers if this potential is to be fully realized. Despite all of the hype, online advertising really isn't delivering knockout results for most advertisers. In fact, some of the results advertisers have reported on hyped properties like Facebook are quite atrocious.
On the startup side of this equation, the most dishonest part of the hype is that there's this huge and growing pie of advertiser cash up for grabs and that every Web 2.0 startup can get enough of it to build a great business. The truth is that a relatively small number of big properties and networks are getting most of that cash and the proportion they get is only likely to increase the bigger the pie gets.
Allen: What suggestions do you have for someone just getting started with their service or product online?
Drama 2.0: Well, before you even build a new service or product, I think it makes sense to have an honest dialog with yourself and/or your team. I see so many new ventures where it's clear that the people behind them really didn't put a whole lot of thought into answering the basics, such as:
* What is our target market and what's the real size of this market?
* What problem are we solving?
* How are we going to acquire users or customers?
* How are we eventually going to make enough money to create a self-sustaining business?
* How are we going to differentiate ourselves?
* How can we build something defensible?
Unfortunately, far too many ventures don't have answers to these questions or the answers they do have are not satisfactory. For instance, I do not believe that "viral marketing" and "word-of-mouth" are realistic marketing strategies for new ventures.
Every battle is won before it is ever fought and in the business world, this means that before you launch, you have given some serious thought to what you're doing and have some idea about how you need to execute.
Allen: What country do you make your residence in?
Drama 2.0: I don't know yet. I'll be sure to let everyone know when I decide. South America looks good right now, but the Mediterranean is tempting too.
Allen: 1945 Chateau d'Yquem or 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild?
Drama 2.0: d'Yquem hands down, although I’d honestly prefer the ’76.
Allen: Which feeds are you reading these days?
Drama 2.0: I'm a closet luddite and I don't have a feed reader. The tech blogs that I load up manually in Netscape 7.0 on a regular basis are Center Networks (Allen Stern is the man), TechCrunch, Mashable, GigaOm and the best tech blog of all - The Drama 2.0 Show (damn that guy is good).