With what seems like an overwhelming amount of coverage from those that don’t think YouTube has a chance to make it, we thought it would be good to remind folks that people didn’t think Yahoo, Amazon, Google or Netscape would make it either. Well they were kind of right with regard to Netscape but that was more corporate suicide than anything else. So let’s look at how YouTube could survive in the face of massive competition.
10: Viewer Habit: Once people like going someplace they will keep going there. You can see this with Google, even though Ask.Com is actually better for most things, folks have the Google habit and will still tend to choose Google first. Unless something forces them to change, they will probably still be using Google several years from now regardless of how good Google is.
9: Poster Habit: What is true of those that view content is also true of those that post content. While they may post someplace else as well and other sites may link to the YouTube content if it remains the most likely place to find anything, it will remain the best place to go to first for search for something.
8. Database Depth: YouTube has the largest number of videos and if the previous rule remains true they should continue to have the largest number of videos as long as folks still put their stuff into this service. If 9 holds then 8 follows and these first three represent YouTube existing assets. But things can and do change.
7. Microsoft Lesson: Back in 1995 AOL whined that Microsoft was going to put them out of business with MSN; instead AOL nearly put themselves out of business by buying Time Warner. The lesson is that if you stay focused on your market and customers, no one, not even Microsoft, can take your market from you. But if you don’t do stupid things, like large acquisitions of very different companies, you can kiss your future goodbye.
6. Know Your Industry: This is probably better said as “know the industry that actually pays you”. Increasingly, virtually everyone is in the advertising business, something traditional TV and Newspapers often seem to forget. You are in the business that generates your revenue and the content doesn’t generate revenue the advertisements that appear with the content generate revenue. The content is a means to an end not an end itself and remembering they need to maximize the effectiveness of the ads, which includes not driving away the folks that are viewing the ads, will help them focus on the things that will assure their success; something newspapers forgot when they failed to protect their classified ad revenues.
5. Assure Passion: More companies are destroyed by replacing executives and employees who are passionate about what they do with people who are on the clock. Passion assures the extra effort that can make the difference between having a market leading company and one where folks are drawing straws to see who will be the last to finally turn out the lights. Looking around in tech there are a lot more companies that fit the latter example than the former.
4. Invest in the Future: The market moves and while a leader doesn’t have to be the leader in everything, if they don’t move with the market the market is likely to move without them. This means they have to continually invest in market intelligence and trend analysis so they can anticipate and move with market trends. As noted above, the Newspapers missed this with the classified ads move and instead of buying properties like Craig’s List darn near got buried by them.
3. Keep your Enemies Close: This is Apple’s often repeated mistake. Rather than licensing or working with potential competitors they always choose the competitive path. Microsoft went the opposite direction and became the most powerful tech company in the world. Find ways to encourage potential competitors to become partners to limit competition to a manageable amount and become the standard for online multimedia content.
2. Embrace Multimedia: The future isn’t just about video, it is about all forms of multimedia and a site that can embrace all forms will have advantages over a site that only does one. This is primarily because we are seeing a blending of the media types. For instance some of the most popular videos are lip-sync and if you can get legal access to the music you avoid the copyright problems and a music service can get legal access to the music.
1. Have Fun: If the majority of people at a new-age company are not having fun they will move someplace else. Once your key assets move, there really isn’t much left but a declining revenue stream. Finding and maintaining an atmosphere of enjoyment will help ensure the company’s long term viability, competitiveness, and growth. The YouTube guys seem to really have fun!