Content is King. Platform is God. 

Old 4 Comments on Content is King. Platform is God.  29

content is king- platform is god

[Audio recording for this article below.]

I must confess I get annoyed when I hear people say the words, “I’m not in it for the the money.” This apologetic approach to content creation and art is the reason the “starving artist” reality exists. Saying the sentence alone is a form of payment. They build their own ego simply by telling themselves they’re above petty worldly measures of success. But in so doing, they not only harm themselves, but those within their own industry. Perhaps their confusion comes from the language they’re using to begin with. What Eli and I refer to as an industries, others are calling communities.  Community inferes a lot of social aspects. Developing a community is a group effort. Something you do without compensation. Would any lawyer in their right mind ever refer to the practice of law as a community endeavor? There are those that do, and they mainly work pro-bono.

Let’s explore some platforms. I mean, “communities”:

Facebook. 

It’s your blog. The one you don’t get paid to write. That same article written on your own website could’ve brought you traffic for years. But you wanted everyone to see it right away. You wanted comments now! Okay, so you got six comments and three likes. All those clicks made facebook some money. You got a total of $0.00. It gets worse, remember all that goodwill and traffic you brought to your facebook page by creating great content? Well, if you want any of your followers to see any of your new content, you’re going to have to pay to promote that new post.
Kindle Publishing:

When you publish a book on amazon Kindle you receive 70% of the sale price so long as it’s priced 2.99 or higher. Anything below that and you get 30%. The challenge here is determining what you want – more downloads at lower revenues per sale, or more revenue per sale. What about making it free? You’re a new author. Why not make the first book free and sell the next two in the series for 4.99 each? It’s a smart strategy. But what happens when every author makes their books free? Does the kindle become an unprofitable sector for amazon? Nope, they get just as creative as the authors. Knowing there’s that many free books on kindle, Amazon simply creates a program. One that charges X amount each year to access all the free content. Or perhaps they increase the cost of a kindle? (Increasing can simply mean freezing the price rather than continuing to lower it as they’ve done over the years.) Eventually Amazon says, there’s so many free books on here. How can someone get noticed? I know, we can charge them money to promote their free book on our platform!” This has already been happening. Authors pay to have their books promoted on the lockscreens.

YouTube:

Remember when having subscribers was valuable? These days it’s not so true. It began when YouTube starting displaying the “What to Watch” page rather than the “Recent Uploads”. What to watch means they can insert anything they want. Whether you’re subscribed to that individual or not. Which means if people want their videos to be shown on more “What to Watch” pages, all they need to do is fork over a fistfull of cash. Don’t believe me? Every video I have under five minutes long has a button that says “Promote This Video”. This means YouTube is not a democratic endeavor. If you have the most money, you’ll have the most views. Remember to laugh when someone refers to it as a community. They’re a child playing in a sandbox full of cat feces. The blissful feeling of ignorance doesn’t change the smell.

Conclusion:

If you don’t monetize your content, someone else will. The NFL doesn’t pay artists to play at the superbowl. In fact, starting next year, they intend to charge musicians to play there. Do you want this to become standard? Restaurants and bars pay bands to come and play at their establishments. Do we want them to start charging for it? “You can play here by paying us $3K.”  I contest there are enough bands foolish enough to take them up on the offer. All they need to do is sell 200 t-shirts while they’re there to break even! This “future potential value” approach is the worst way to build a sustainable business. In-fact it’s something used in business negotiations to ensure you settle at a lower upfront price. It’s the hiring manager that says “And we’re also considering stock options for early employees like yourself.” I call these vanishing token benefits. Things good negotiators throw out there to make an offer more alluring. What you do in these cases is make clear you’re not interested in any stock options. You want to act repulsed by such an idea. Then you ask for a higher salary instead. The reality is, if those stock options come later, you can still change your mind and actually buy them. This is a better approach to ensuring you get as much value upfront without compromising long term payouts.

Do you want to be the game developer who became famous for making a free game who has to do conference speaking gigs in order to pay your mortgage? “Hey, that’s the guy who made BoomSmashBoom! We should go to that conference.” But wait, in order for you to speak at the conference you had to pay the organizers $1k. (The conference is the platform.) So now they’re making money off you too. Look, you’re selling T-shirts now. But you’re selling something aren’t you? So why didn’t you just sell your game to begin with?  -Jake

Audio Recording:

 

Author

JakeWildAcademy

I teach programming and software. Visit WildAcademy.com

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4 Comments

  1. ebey October 9, 2014 at 4:06 am

    No wonder Fb is sponsored more by government

  2. Katy Pillman October 20, 2014 at 11:19 am

    As a game developer, I request to make the games/apps free, but the publisher wants to make money, so I’m stuck at charging half a dollar. Money isn’t really my issue, but if I get paid for something that should be free and people are dumb enough to buy it, GO AHEAD!

    • dominic1995 October 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

      i know right, If your going to pay money in the game its no longer free

  3. Jacob Williams October 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Your game cannot be free. There is monetary value in your game regardless of whether or not you set a sticker price. What artists do is cut themselves off from the value chain while the upper levels still exist and benefit.

    The internet service provider will charge for access to an internet full of free content. If everything is free, the value of the internet goes up. People using torrents are delusional if they think they’re getting movies for free. The costs are just obscured and hidden.

    The killer feature of the iPhone was access to tons of free and useful apps. That value is captured by Apple by increasing the price of the iPhone.

    If you’re stuck at charging half a dollar you should raise the price to a dollar.

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