Archive for December, 2009

In the past, publishing and record companies issued only a small number of copyrighted works, which were then sold in a large number of editions (records, CDs, books, tapes etc.) Consequently, consumers always read the same sort of books and listened to the same kind of music through the only available promotional channels. There was limited access to specialized, unorthodox artistic creations. Moreover, in the cinema and on television, the pubic were presented with the same kind of shows and films.

All the media mentioned above created trends and fads in that way. The song heard in the early morning was the one many sang all day, even if they didn’t like the genre.

Today, however, advances in information technology make it possible for the public to listen to almost any kind of music. All kinds of books needed for learning or relaxation are available and artists can find an audience for works that interest only a small minority. The new technology has created unlimited possibilities for niche markets. Whereas in the past, the classic business model had no room for works that were not commercially profitable or were not sponsored by special interests or the government, that is no longer the case.

The Long Tail business model allows for the combination of the business models of music artists and authors with the business models of companies that use the Long Tail platform. These platforms connect authors and musicians with clients who are looking for rare niche works. The companies that use the Long Tail platform offer a supply chain to combine business models in the production and logistics of real products, such as books and CDs. In such cases, the following are combined:

• The Long Tail business model with the business models of authors and other artists

• The Long Tail business model with the supply chain business models of suppliers

I have used the Flickr web platform to post photos as examples of the Long Tail business model. So far, I have published almost 1500 photos, which have been viewed 21,571 times since 2007. Most of them have a Creative Commons license, which  allows viewers to use my pictures and creates a niche for Flickr  users who appreciate my work.

Moreover, Flickr allows me to become involved in groups with interests similar to my own. Once I post my photos on that site, they can also be positioned in relation to the  geo area where they were created, probably affecting the promotion of a specific place. For example, photos taken at Aconcagua in Argentina could encourage tourism or even other climbing expeditions to that place.

Flickr also allows my Flickr partners to post summaries of the photos that I shot last. Then, selected clips can be published on my WordPress blog and website , a  facility that I use to great advantage on my blog. Flickr allows me to be able to represent the desired content in many popular media, which can easily promote myself or my brand, or on which I can publish micro news. In addition, the Flickr platform is able to combine with my business model by entering tags, which can affect the ranking of all my productions in the search engines.

I’ve used a number of photos and animations that have a Creative Commons license, which I found on Flickr and which well suits my business needs. My experience with using Flickr as a Long Tail business model has demonstrated so many different possibilities of combining business models and making my productions available to a much wider viewing audience.

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I attended a conference on Open Innovation in Ljubljana last week where I listened to some very interesting lectures. I was particularly interested in a presentation which recounted the the story of a Slovenian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. As I have previously worked in finance and therefore know well the difficulties and dangers involved in obtaining financial resources, a story about a business model combined with venture capitalism was one that held a particular attraction for me.

It was especially interesting since I got the feeling that because an asymmetrical access to information and combining business models had been utilized, all the stakeholders didn’t benefit. Venture capital stakeholders profited from the business not in a financial sense: they kept what they had invested. However, they gained a very valuable, intangible asset: knowledge.Those who came into the business with knowledge and money, invested that knowledge but lost out on all the profits, and, in addition, were saddled with heavy debts. The stakeholders who invested the venture capital took control of the story and ended it by their rules.

This cautionary tale has strengthened my belief that it is necessary to enter into transactions with a multidisciplinary team that has initiated clearly defined rules which prevent information asymmetry in business. Since forming a multidisciplinary group of specialists can be difficult to do within a single company’s business model, this can most often be best achieved by combining different business models in collaboration with other enterprises.The rules for the participation of multidisciplinary groups can be constructed on the basis of business model canvases.

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