Maxys Personalising the Web

Maxys - Personalising the Web, looking at digital media communication and internet video for business sales and marketing.
Dec 31
Scott Maxworthy

Sharks Draw - Ecal Test

Posted by Scott Maxworthy in Untagged 

Dec 07
Scott Maxworthy

On the Road to Cronulla

Posted by Scott Maxworthy in Untagged 

I'm attending my second MOOC - Massively Open Online Course.  Please note: My blog spell check may not be working so please excuse any typos - these are just my course notes.


One of the fundamental learnings when it comes to everything Internet is the idea that anything Google (or the Internet) touches it flattens.  What this basically means is that it cuts out the middle men - the space between creator and consumer - in economics we call this "disintermediation" - that heirachacial distribution networks - whether product, service or knowledge - are flattened.

These technology driven changes to a market are often called "disruptive innovation" - where they challenge conventional models; the status quo or sacred cows.   I'm reminded of the quote "Just because it's always been doesn't mean it always will be".

For example, in classifieds advertising we saw how Google Adwords took over newspaper classified revenue; in music we saw how Apple I-tunes disrupted the conventional established studio model and in retail how we could source brands overseas via the web and have them delivered often faster and cheaper than local agents.  


One of the most interesting disruptions is the emergence of MOOCs - Massively Open Online Courses.  These are like Adult Education Courses but delivered online and from world class universities and lecturers.  The course I'm currently doing is a FREE six week Coursera - Creativity Innovation and Change by PennState University.   There are 100,000 people doing this course across 89 countries!  

The other very interesting elements is the groups and communities.

Some reading and the key element is to decide how much time you can spend on this per week - in my case a day per week and to keep a blog (these posts).  

Getting Started

At first I'm overwhelmed by the multitide of divergent channels (Twitter; Facebook; LinkedIn; Google+ groups) where the student conversations are occurring - combined with the core course material.  


About the Course

This course can empower students to develop their creative human potential to improve, enhance, and transform your business, your community, and your personal life. Processes like Intelligent Fast Failure will teach you rapid prototyping skills, while the Creative Diversity model will help you understand how and why your ideas are unique - and how you can work better with others to solve complex problems. 

Personal reflection tools like CENTER add a character development dimension to the course that is an important first step towards unlocking your creative potential. Along the way, you will engage with a rich set of tools, exercises, and metrics in order to understand these concepts and how they impact the development of your creative life and career. 

Week 1

Is a basic introduction to the core concepts of Creative Diversity; CENTER and Intelligent Fast Failure.  

Creative Diversity - there are four variables used to understand.  One element Creative Style is a population distribution from "more adaptive" to "more innovative".  According to the test I'm "more moderatively adaptive style".  

Some time is contemplating paper towers where my design idea was made obsolete by one of the first user posts.  

The CENTER Life Ring exercise reminded me of my Priority Time Management goals and objectives training nearly 25 years ago - where you break down your life into core sections and set goals and objectives eg - Financial; Spiritual; Emotional: Physical; Creative; Intellectual; Family.

The Fast Failure lecture reminding me of Eric Reis and Steve Blanks Lean StartUp and Business Model Canvas approaches.

That's it - until next week.  

Massively Open Online Courses

Project: Maxys Band - Corporate Entertainment 

For our band I'm applying the same strategic business development processes that I now use for my clients or partner projects.  This blog series will aim to explore and demonstrate some of those strategies, processes and techniques which can then be applied to any new start up business; project or campaign. 

To begin - every story starts somewhere in the past; moves to the present and is going somewhere.

Where are we now - the Current Sitution/ Problem - "Where Have All Our Band Gigs Gone?"

As a band "The Maxys" have been playing together for over 25 years - originally it was my dad Peter, brother Brett, sister Nicolle and I but today it's Brett, female vocalist Rachael, lead guitarist Bruno (Dad passed away and Nic moved down the coast) and I.  

The music we play is good old favourites - you know some soul; some disco; some rock n roll - Motown; Jo Cocker; The Committments; Elvis; Beatles; Neil Diamond and ABBA - just good singing, dancing, fill the dance floor type music. 

Over the years we've played hundreds of gigs to thousands of people; in pubs; clubs; some corporate events; packed auditoriums to ritsy private parties; BUT, herein lies our problem - in the last couple of years the number of gigs we've been getting has dropped right off - today we're lucky to be playing once a month.

As a product there's no question we're good, with Brett and Rachey we've great singers, Bruno rips on guitar and our music production sounds as good as any.  Note: We might need to add a few more songs for the 18-34 year olds in the audience (our Facebook fan page demographics) but my gut feel is that it's more to do with marketing then the product. 


Anyway, that's the purpose of this project - to apply the same business development processes and digital marketing techniques I'd apply to any other client I work for.

So, with that situation in mind - what do we do?

Planning - Why Bother?

As an old saying states, “If you don’t know where you’re going, then you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” 

In a nutshell - the old MBA departmental business plan approach doesn't work in today's fast, small startup digital world - it's born out of the old mass media manufacturing model, often takes months to complete and is dated before any activity begins.

What's needed is a highly iterative; dynamic and much more collaborative planning tool. 

The process and framework we will use to develop this plan is the same we use of all our corporate projects based on Steve Blank’s Business Model Canvas / Eric Ries “Lean Startup” framework and methodology.  This approach has come out of the Silicon Valley Tech StartUp community

I'm wondering how it will work when applied to a more conventional type business or project such as our band.

Why bother with all this detail and process at all?  

  • Better communication across all stakeholders

  • Approach consider’s the whole picture

  • Should generate better/ more effective creative marketing


The Business Model Framework

I've found this which is based upon the Business Model Canvas but is more customer centric.

Business Model Framework


Step 1. Value Proposition 

The most important element to look at first - before we look at - any marketing (photos; videos; website etc); competitive analysis (other bands/ forms entertainment); or product development (outfits; new songs; pricing etc) is to understand  

  • Who is the Customer? (Event Manager/ Conference Organiser/ Marketing Manager etc) 
  • What are the Customer Needs?  (including types of events - awards nights; fundraising; conferences; after parties; weddings; private parties; pubs/ clubs)
  • Our Value Proposition (what problem are we solving?)
  • What are they doing now to satisfy that need?
  • What is the customer benefit - ie what would they tell their friends/ colleagues about why they think we are so great?
To begin this process today I've spoken at length with four event managers I personally know.
FYI - some initial feedback
  • The majority (60%) of Event Managers are women
  • Budgets everywhere are being cut. 
  • Annual Awards night event entertainment budgets ranged from $4K to $25K (total entertainment budget).
  • No "Event Manager" would EVER book a band they hadn't seen perform (ie reduces risk)
  • Often book a new "IT"performer - Australia's Got Talent/ X Factor etc.
  • A good website is very important 
  • Need to differentiate - there's lots of acts out there - "why would we pick you?"
  • The Event Manager usually puts forward several entertainment options to their client
  • Product (Band) - Having a drummer (full piece band) less important as some clients are very concerned about being too loud. 
  • Entertainment budget (depending on the event) is roughly 10%.


The next stage is do get an idea of the market opportunity - the number of events; event managers.