About personal branding

December 6th, 2009 by Tommi Rissanen

Facebook brought people into the web with their own names instead of nicknames. Rapidly the real name was spread into other services that did not require it. I had used a teenage nick “genjic” in all services that required one. About two years ago I decided that it is time to make a change in that policy and changed all my nicknames to “tommirissanen” or “rissanen”. Being a bit slow mover at this point, I ran into trouble with services like gmail that had been around for a while already. So, as neither of the previous were available, I now have a gmail and wave address beginning with “tmmrssnn”. I am quite happy that I was visionary enough years ago to buy myself the domain rissanen.fi which comes handy in these self-promotional days.

Bands and their members have been eager to promote themselves with their names as brands. Facebook has not been able to beat Myspace in this last game yet. Music is a special brand in the entertainment industry in its way of creating fandom. The way music is being consumed is going through a change. The amount of digital music versus physical copies is increasing rapidly and Spotify has created a completely new business model to the industry. Well, there is also Nokia’s “comes with music“, but for some reason nobody gives it any credit at all. One interesting phenomena is youtube’s “new” function. Almost all music can be found there and new songs are being shared with friends “legally” as youtube-links. And iPhone is a new interesting platform for musicians. An application featuring  a rapper called T-Pain was sold 300 k times in three weeks for the price of $2,99 a piece.

But going back to branding. People in the web 2.0 tornado have a plethora of services under their name. Today I found out that Brian Solis, a greatly respected PR evangelist, author and blogger has made a very bold move in his personal branding. In Facebook he became a fan of his own fan page which as interesting in its own way. But the most notable release was the Brian Solis Facebook app. The idea is huge. Brian is by no means a nobody, he is well respected professional, but then again he is far from a rock star or a main stream celebrity. And yet the iPhone app to distribute his work in different fields for anybody, for free, makes all the sense in the world.

We have come a long way from Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame”. Your name is the most valuable asset in web 2.0 world and its importance is increasing all the time. With your name goes your personal networks and even if today they are tied to specific communities such as Facebook or Twitter, in the future it is possible to have more control over the whole of your web identity. This is something especially Jyri Engeström and Chris Messina have promoted lately. My advice is to take this seriously and start building your brand more systematically.

Digitalization of media

October 13th, 2009 by Tommi Rissanen

The future of music is digital, that is hardly news to anyone. There are still some in the industry that do not get it, but the hard fact is that CD is at the end of its lifespan. Of course it will live on just like LP is still available for collectors, but with this I mean that the main format of distributing music is going to be digital. The reports have been telling this for years. This does not mean that musicians are out of work – how can they be when there is more music consumed today than any other time in history. The ecosystem is changing, however, and the old business models or value networks do not work anymore. A perfect example of new way of thinking the business is Spotify. For artists the revenues need to come more and more from other sources than selling music – which has not been a huge source of income in the past years anyway to but a few.

Movies and television are next on line to become online. DVD is predicted to have two years time to be the main format of distributing movies. At the same time streaming services are booming and linear television is in trouble. People want more choice and those that can provide it are the winners. Piratism is blamed often by video and music industries for stealing from the content producers’ pockets. It is a valid claim, but as long as there are not as easy legal alternative channels of getting the content, it is very hard to fight piratism. By nature, most people are law-obeying and will quickly adopt new ways of buying and consuming media if it is easy to use and secure enough. We come again to the ecosystems – collaboration between producers, distributors and consumers, partners and competitors alike leads to long term success. Apple iTunes -ecosystem is an example of a different kind of ecosystem, one with a dominant player with total control over it. It has worked well for Apple and made a big difference in the market – and consumer habits. In my opinion it is not a lasting model, however. Already Apple is getting a lot of pressure from all sides and more open ecosystems are gaining supporters.

Books are the third form of media that is buzzing right now about digitalization. Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader was the first to finally be accepted as almost equal to a real book. The reading and browsing experience is not as good as with a regular book, but the possibility of online purchases and having 1500 books with you makes it very appealing. Amazon is not the only one in the electronic book reader market, however, the likes of Sony and Barnes & Noble among others are already in the market and for example Apple is rumored to have something coming. At the same time Google has a huge project called Google books library to scan the books of of the world aiming in making them searchable. In October 2009 they had 10 million books scanned. The opportunity window of making the sales and distribution channels work are the same that music- and video-industries had. If done right, piratism will remain a marginal problem, but if not, the book industry will join the same boat. The digital ecosystem once again is needed.

As a conclusion, the fact is that digital content can not be controlled with the same laws and manners physical media is. That has been tried and the experiences are not good. In addition, the way people are consuming content is changing. Jyri Engeström made a great presentation in Mindtrek about Snack Size Sociality that hit the point. Digital ecosystems are replacing rigid value chains in the digital age and fighting bits and pixels with guns and bayonets is not going to work.

The Swedes are about to rob the bank

July 27th, 2009 by Tommi Rissanen

Spotify announced that they have sent their iPhone app for Apple to approve. I reposted this news and heard that actually there is a spotify client called Spot for jailbroken iPhones already. My first thought about the Spotify iPhone app was that as it requires the 10 euro/month premiun subscription, it is really going to make the machines print money for Spotify with increasing speed. Then again, as I’m facing on the edge of possibility to have all the music on my iPhone for “just” 10 euro per month and I have to make the decision. And I’m not that positive anymore, or am I…

Let’s see the facts. I am not a hardcore music listener. I have a wide taste and a very wide library of all kinds of music on my computers and ipods. I don’t add much music to my library anymore nor do I change the selection I have on my iPhone, too lazy for that I guess. In addition to music, I listen to audiobooks and I have a 14 euro monthly Audible account. I have unlimited data on the iPhone.

We use Spotify at our office all the time. I have noticed that the commercials come more frequently nowadays and they last longer. I hate Jonathan even though I almost every time pretend to have a cheerful conversation with the chap. I have made a few playlists and added a few from my friends, but nothing that I’d miss if I did not have access to it. I play sometimes music for my children on Spotify at home and they do have a good collection of children’s music. The kids love when Jonathan breaks in.

So, ten euros a month. It’s way worth it. The pricing is exactly right and the quality of service is excellent. I will get the premium account very soon. However, it is very interesting to see what Apple will do. My guess is that they will not let Spotify make a deep cut into their business, but also that this will change the way music will be consumed in the future. All the big digital boys are on the same carcass that we used to call the record industry. Will Spotify have a break there is entirely up to Apple and Stevie. Apple will be flamed heavily if they dismiss Spotify and since they have been criticized quite a bit on appstore policies, there is a possibility they will accept Spotify as it is a small player still and they may be able to cut a deal, maybe even acquire Spotify. This is a great win for us consumers in any case!

Hello world! or What am I going to be writing about

July 21st, 2009 by Tommi Rissanen

I have been an irregular blogger on my own site for a few years. I have also tried out podcasting with my brother. Prior to this my writing and podcasting have included all areas from my life. In this blog I will, however, be concentrating solely on business matters.

So, what are those “business matters” then?. I have a business background and have several years of experience on digibusiness- and social media industries – even though they can’t be called industries. Combining these issues, the business logics that in the end have seen very little change – until perhaps very recently with the credit crash – and the latest digital innovations. In particular, my interest is to see how real time web and social objects will be migrated in enterprises.

My plan is to post weekly about the latest movements in my interest fields but there is not going to be any fixed release plan. We’ll see how it goes.