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Apple Music – A Not-So-Fast Follow

Originally iTunes was disruptive. It came into existence to fill a hole in the music industry: Record companies didn’t want to digitialze albums due to their fear that bootleggers would upload the tunes for free to websites like Napster.com. This is wear iTunes came in. They premiered a site focused entirely on selling songs in the digital era in a convenient way. The fact that it was convenient, since the iPod was then swallowing market share at an extraordinary rate, made it easy for consumers to use. The fact that they sold the songs at a good price for the record companies lent comfort for the industry to change. By these factors they were innovative for the age. Then they stalled.

For a decade iTunes remained comfortable as a service to buy albums or singles for their products, leaving music streaming to services like Pandora radio. This was a comfortable arrangement as smartphone ubiquity and selective song streaming were not mainstream; reality soon changed.

Spotify came teetering into the market. It entered into the music arena and up-heaved the status quo: Suddenly the consumer could save specific songs from his or her favorite artist to a library or listen to a personal favorite off of that new album. Spotify quickly stealing market share from the music distribution juggernauts; Pandora and iTunes slowly lost loyal customers and so too did the record companies lose revenue. There was push back, of course; Taylor Swift’s withdraw from this platform was the most notable resistance to this new form of music delivery. In the end it did little to stop Spotify.

The music industry eventually came to grips with the general public’s willingness to pay for subscription services instead of traditional albums or digital access licenses like iTunes was selling. iTunes was not slow to change; in fact it changed at a remarkably normal rate: It adopted this model, along with maintaining its old model, right around the time that YouTube Red and Google Play Music were coming onto the market. Its worry and need to diversify is evident in its expansion onto the Android platform, a rather nontraditional move for Apple.

Two questions remain for the future: The first, will these copy-cat services steal Spotify market share? The second, will this streaming service stave off the loss of current Apple customers?

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Rooster Teeth – A T-Shirt Company in Disguise

When Rooster Teeth was founded in 2003 it was little more than a few friends making a non-sense video series called Red vs Blue, spun out of the Halo video game saga. RvB, as it was soon known, then became the house hold staple to many teenage and college aged young men. Over the next decade this small comedy study grew and began producing content such as Achievement Hunter (a video series of their friends playing games, think Twitch.tv), The Know (an internet news source for all things gaming related), my personal favorite RWBY (a very well done cartoon series), and much more.

Now located is Austin, Texas this company has expanded it’s content offering and company size too. With the 2014 acquisition by Fullscreen Media they received the monetary backing to continue to grow their venture as a subsidiary. New animation engines and additional staffing were added to improve the already impressive body of content.

All of these entertainment accolades aside, one must wonder how the company makes money to exist. The answer is remarkably simple, through their loyal fans. Some¬†subscribe to a membership model giving early, and sometimes exclusive, access to content. Most buy paraphernalia such as posters, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. The CCO (Chief Creative Office) laughably joked that they weren’t a content company at all, they were just a really well disguised t-shirt company.

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Mentor Box

 

“The more you learn, the more you earn.” ~ Warren Buffett

 

Today our modern landscape is changing faster than we can blink. Merely a decade ago Amazon.com was something to laugh at, now it is the single largest retailer in the U.S. Hiring practices used to be based on pedigree and risk minimization, now Zappos.com offers its new employees $3,000 after training to quit (a tactic to rule out employees who do not truly wish to be there). My point remains the world is changing faster than we leymen can reasonably keep up with.

Those who struggle most from this changing landscape are today’s CEOs: Tasked with leading a company into a future. Burdened with the mantle of financial security for their staff. Expected to perform a hundred hours worth of work in a mere sixty hour work week. It is difficult to say the least.

Astoundingly it is seen that the CEOs of some of the most successful companies share one common practice, they read. They don’t just read though, they consume information at an alarming rate. Refreshleadership.com summarized a plethora of surveys from these miracle workers discovering that the average book count for a single year among the upper echelon of business was a stunning one-hundred books per person. So how does someone so consumed by business and responsibility find the time to read so much? Frankly, I think the best of the best must have some sort of genetic abnormality which relieves them of the necessity of sleep.

What about the rest of the world? For them a new venture has appeared, Mentorbox.com. This site delivers three books per month with cheat sheets and quick memorization tools so that the CEO on the go can quickly gleam the useful ideas and move on in mere minutes a day. The price tag is slightly high for the average man, but not for the average CEO. Priced at $225 per month on a monthly subscription model this service is not aimed at the average employee. Still it has caught on in the right spheres and is already a cash positive venture due in part to the co-founder’s reputation as a knowledge guru.

Tai Lopez made a name for himself (and quite a few conspiracy theories) with his YouTube ad Here In My Garage, where he stood next to his Lamborghini and bragged instead about his books on the wall. It quickly went viral and earned him a name. He was later featured on a TedTalk where he claimed to read a book a day and branded himself in that manner. With this type of personal branding he took his following and launched Mentorbox.com which immediately sold out and went cash-positive.

  1. http://www.refreshleadership.com/index.php/2013/01/average-ceo-reads-45-books-month/
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