The idea of Patrons is to create a super easy way for fans to support their favorite artists (with money!).
The idea actually pretty dear to me. I spent about 6 weeks working through the concept, doing customer development, and beginning to build the Facebook app. I planned on pursuing the idea for real, but decided to team up with Eli to start what would become Glider. If you’re curious to find out more about my motivation, have a read through the Patrons “About” Page.
Let’s dig in:
Musicians, writers, and creators of all kinds are giving away more and more of their stuff for free. They’re building bigger fan bases, but making a living is harder than ever. Content is getting cheaper and cheaper (and usually free or pirated). The revenue artists do generate has to be split amongst several players and middlemen.
The thing is, fans want to support the things they love, but they no longer want to buy content. However, they will buy experiences, exclusivity, and a sense of belonging.
Patrons makes it simple for fans to make a monthly pledge to artists (like a monthly donation). Similar to Kickstarter, there are different pledge levels and rewards, that artists create. Patrons facilities and handles transactions, etc. These rewards could be exclusive content, behind the scenes access, limited editions, etc. And it all happens on the artists Facebook Fan Page.
UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION
Fans Value Prop: Directly support artists you love and receive exclusive content.
Artists Value Prop: Brand new subscription based revenue stream from fans.
CUSTOMER SEGMENTS It is a two sided market:
Artists (musicians, writers, comedians, fine artists, etc)
Fans (people who love the artists and subscribe to pay a monthly subscription to them)
The path to fans is through the artists.
The path to artists is primarily direct outreach in the beginning.
It may be interesting to make it opt-out like Readability did. Fans can sign up to subscribe to any artist, then we contact the artists to let them know that they are leaving money on the table. Warning: this may piss off some artists.
There’s no up-front cost for artists. We take a % off all the transactions fans pay to the artists. This percentage would be about inline with what Kickstarter does: 5% off the top with the rest going to the artist after transaction fees.
So, what do you think? Up for the challege? If you’re interested in running with it, I’ll help you out in any way I can. And I promise to use it!
I’ve been thinking a lot about how information gets distributed in emergency situations. In the United States we have the Emergency Alert System, which you’ve probably seen on TV:
The thing is, the EAS is centered around TV and radio broadcasts. In the age of DVRs, Netflix, iPods, etc, how does emergency information reach people when we are increasingly not consuming live TV and radio? Online distribution isn’t currently effective either, because it requires the user to actively seek out alerts. Even more importantly, what about people living in poorer countries with limited access to technology?
Initially, I thought the solution was to create a system to push emergency alerts to people while they are online…but I was wrong. The key to this entire puzzle is mobile phones. Mobile phones have incredible global penetration. More than any other consumer device. There are now more than 5 billion active mobile phones in the world. Remember, there are less than 7 billion people in the world. Even Third World countries have massive adoption.
We need a system to push emergency alerts directly to mobile phones based on their location without the need for the person to opt-in.
The first idea I posted, Oregato, was a fairly small idea. Meaning, even at scale, it could be executed by a relatively small team and will never be an IPO type company. This idea is much, much bigger.
There aren’t many startups that have the potential to be a billion+ dollar company, help hundreds of millions (maybe billions) of people, and save countless lives. If you want to change the world, you have to think big.
This is Allertia
First off, what types of alerts are we talking about?
These are highly critical alerts sent out by government officials and organizations. They are often a matter of life and death, and time is of the essence. For example:
A handful of other countries are at the beginning stages of development
So the problem is solved then?
Well, no. The wheels are in motion in a few countries, but it’s taking a lot of time for countries to get up and running. (The US is hoping to be able to launch IPAWs in 2012). Only a handful of countries have even begun to undertake the task of modernizing their alert systems. At this rate, the problem is going to persist in many countries for the foreseeable future.
There is a huge opportunity to work with the other 180+ countries to bring their emergency systems up to date, integrate with outside organizations, and deliver their alerts to mobile devices. Here’s an overview of the products & services Allertia will provide:
Allertia for Government Agencies
Tools that integrate with legacy government systems and get them up to date with the CAP protocol
A feature-rich management console that takes advantage of CAP to enable government officials to create and manage alerts. Key features being:
Phased and delayed effective times and expirations
Encryption and two-factor authentication
Support for images, audio, and video
Allertia for Mobile Carriers
Integrate the incoming CAP feed into the carriers communication systems
Integrate into the network load balancing and monitoring tools
Enable the broadcasting of messages to devices connected to geotargeted cell towers (explained further below)
Broadcasting Messages From Geotargeted Cell Towers
Alerts need to be based on where you are now. That means, even if you are traveling, you need to automatically receive alerts relevant to your current location. This is not the way that some current systems integrate location. In the Reverse 911 program, for example, phone numbers are targeted based on where they were registered. This is not an ideal solution for mobile alerts.
Luckily, we can build the system to sufficiently identify location based on which cell towers a phone is connected to. Basically cell phones work by checking into cell towers and saying “I’m here”. Then when a call/message/data comes in, it can quickly route it through the network and to the correct device.
When an alert message comes in, the carrier will push the message out to all devices connected to the cell tower.
The model is to create a set of tools that can be reused across multiple instances. Each country will, however, require a substantial amount of custom build, localization, and ongoing maintenance. Allertia’s toolset will streamline integrations and provide a cost savings to governments and mobile carriers. Even though contracts will be multi-million dollars each, it’s a small amount compared to the government budgets for their emergency programs. For example, the United States allocated $106 million to the CMAS program to integrate mobile alerts.
So, what do you think? Allertia would require substantial resources but could yield big returns and be a benefit to the entire world. Up for the challege?
* What does “Allertia” mean? Allertia is a combination of the words ‘All’, ‘Alert’, and ‘Inertia’:
All: All people, all around the world.
Alert: Emergency alerts, that’s what it’s all about
Inertia: Objects at rest, tend to stay at rest. The world doesn’t change on it’s own, we need to take action and initiate change.