Hotness, humidity and awesome food dominated my trip to Singapore, from where I arrived back to Finland just few hours ago. The Singapore Digital Media Festival 2008 gathered together a bunch of interesting, influental and/or impressive speakers who all dug deeper into the world of Web 2.0 – or, as the seminar’s focus this year was, Television 2.0. Not surprisingly, I was there again as the oddball guest, not quite fitting into the world of serious web entepreneurs, but not quite representing the serious filmmakers either. This time, though, I wasn’t alone – another freak of the both businesses, Hugh Hancock, the guy who directed the Machinima classic BloodSpell and actually originally invented the word Machinima – threw an awesome performance fill’d with energy and great points about why and how filmmakers do films on the Internet nowadays, and why do they distribute that stuff for free. He actually gave a very good description of the business model everybody has been trying to explain on “how to make money with something you are giving away for free”, that freaked most business-minded people out of their heads and frustrated the rest – but that’s just the way it goes. If you do something carefully and lovingly, and then put it out there for free, without any clear earning model, the money will just mysteriously show up. I kinda added to it that it’s the only way you don’t reek like dollar-thirsty businessman for miles away, and that’s the reason people love you.
Timo Vuorensola, Iolo Jones and Hugh Hancock at Blogger’s meeting. Photo from The Young Upstarts blog.
Yes, it just mysteriously materializes virtually out of thin air. Wether it’s you suddenly becoming a big time seminar speaker charging thousands of dollars an hour, wether it’s you being hired as a consultant, or people buying your self-made DVDs like hell, or you selling a website with a cool name dot com, or just get enough supporters to pay you or whatever… The money will just mysteriously shows up.
Is it sustainable? Yes. Is it scaleable? More or less. Is it predictable? Not quite. Can you convince VCs with the model? Hell, no.
There’s two requirements why this is mostly not very widely exploited model:
1) You need to spend at least five to ten years to get there, and even then the income isn’t anything phenomenal.
2) You need to create something with your own risk, out of thin air, and it needs to be awesome.
And, of course, thirdly – there’s nobody who you are able to explain the model and they’ll believe it. But what the hell, that’s the reason it’s so fun!
Here’s a short interview posted to Seesmic video discussion service from the festival.