Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

DCM Announces the First Eight Android-Only Investments in Portfolio

Android robot logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Today DCM announced the first investments made in its A-Fund, an Android-only investment portfolio that is, I believe, the first one of its kind.

And the mix is a global bag, with a particular focus on the Asia market.  Here are the companies:

 PapayaMobile, the leading Android mobile social gaming network with over 30 million users in China and the U.S.

Appia, creators of a white-label mobile app store platform currently processing over 1 million downloads per day for operators, handset manufacturers, and other partners

Billing Revolution, a mobile payments company that enables secure payment transactions through their PCI-compliant Single-Click Checkout platform

Happy Elements, a social game developer with 2.5 million active daily users on Facebook’s non-English market, as well as users on Mixi in Japan and Kaixin001 in China

Kanbox, a leading Chinese cloud storage and sharing service provider

Loki Studios, which makes location and environment-aware smartphone games like their flagship monster battle game, Geomon, which stars a freaking unicorn with a rainbow mane! FTW!

Kakao Corp., developer of KakaoTalk, a cross-platform mobile messaging application with over 25 million users worldwide.

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Filed under: Gaming, Influence, Tech, Work, , , , , , ,

Can #China Teach Advertisers to Stop Thinking Brand First?

Jack Ma Yun - Annual Meeting of the New Champi...

Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

The Re-wired group and I were talking on a call today about some of the changes taking place in the China social media space, and how they could herald changes to e-commerce, advertising and marketing here in the United States.  When it comes to social tech, and the social networking that happens on platforms like Sina weibo, Tencent’s QQ IM service, and with companies like Alibaba’s alipay service, China often appears to have a leg up. Those companies are led by aggressive first movers, who have a lot of government support.

I brought up the fact that it looked like Alibaba CEO Jack Ma’s aggressive push to tie services into a social e-commerce bundle looked like a big play for changing the way consumers shop and how consumers are marketed to.  It seems a simple gesture, but Bob Moesta and Chris Spiek pointed out a few things, and I think they are worth bringing up today.

Bob said that the aggressive push to use social media technology was a big sign that China didn’t have to spend millions (or maybe billions) on traditional forms of advertising.  If the social layer is well embedded, then advertising and marketing becomes a very granular enterprise.  He said it is about “building influence through credibility and bypassing thirty years of marketing and advertising and selling with underlying technology.” What that means: if you can find the people that influence their friends the most to purchase goods, why do you have to come up with a million dollar advertising narrative? Just give them the product, make them feel they are part of a community, and let them make up the rest.

Chris added, cogently, that this technique obviously “lowered the advertising and selling costs. You can cut that in half becuause you are getting product to market through people, not through advertising, per se.”

Dude yapping on his mobile phone while he walks through densely commercial Hong Kong

What Chinese social media companies and what I will now begin to call social e-commerce companies are doing is creating the next layer of seeing who is influencing what product purchase in what category. As Bob said on the call, “It’s about measuring the direction and magnitude of specific topics. It’s really about making connections, so you you know each other, you must influence each other. Your friend in one area may influence you in one way, but then again, your other friend might influence you in other areas.”

It kind of turns the world of advertising demographics on its head. You can’t say anymore, if the above is true, that a person aged xx to xx with two cars, living in xxx city will live a lifestyle closely resembling other males in that area. You now have to drill down into the relatinoship. So what job does advertising and marketing begin to do? It begins to be about researching your life history, not researching what you own and where you shop, what you like and what you don’t like. It’s about the emotional narrative that YOU create for your life.

If you want to be a successful advertising team, you need to have people on your team who can research people, who can listen to people, and who can help them tell THEIR stories, not the brand stories. It’s not about the brand anymore. It really never was, but what made us think it was? Well, the structure of the media.

The online media and social web structure we have now, as it is currently being used, will unseat the most powerful of advertising and marketing companies, IF they keep doing what they have always been doing — telling a story about the brand. Stop thinking about the brand.

“There is a calculus that has not been invented yet, but the guy in China will be best positioned to help and know this,”says Bob. But I think it’s not even that complicated. Watch how China puts together the tools for listening, and then lets buyers, sellers, marketers and the whole community take care of itself.  I close with a quote from Ma, who recently told an annual Alibaba conference in China that he’s out to do more than make his competitors Baidu and Tencent, or RenRen stay awake at night. He wants to disrupt the entire financial system.

Mr. Ma also said Alibaba Group wants to take on state-owned enterprises. He said Alipay, an affiliate providing online-payment services that was recently transferred out of Alibaba Group to a separate company controlled by Mr. Ma, already has made a contribution to Internet users by challenging banking services.
“If banks don’t change, we will change banks,” he said. Mr. Ma has been criticized for his decision to transfer Alipay’s ownership because he didn’t seek approval from Alibaba Group’s board of directors, on which Yahoo has a seat. But he has said the transfer was necessary because of restrictions by the People’s Bank of China on foreign control of online-payment companies seeking new licenses would have prevented Alipay from obtaining one, because of Yahoo’s involvement.

image from Fool’s Mountain: Blogging for China.

Filed under: Influence, Tech, , , , , , ,

How Four Essential Changes in China’s Social Web Will Affect Global Business

Image representing Jack Ma as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

The following list of five areas of China’s social web, and the five areas where they have changed are my personal assessment of these technologies. I believe that areas of change in China’s Internet will have pretty big implications for how people in other parts of the world do business. To me, it doesn’t seem like much of a surprise, for instance, that advertising models may take cues from Sina’s weibo microblogging platform. If you compare weibo with Twitter, the weibo platform does things that Twitter would only dream of trying, in terms of advertising delivery, commerce, and marketing opportunities. I say “would only dream” of trying, but I should say, “should try.”

Keep reading for my list of five important developments and what I think they mean for worldwide advertising, marketing, social networking, and reputation graph use on the global web.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Influence, Tech, , , , ,

China Youth Shows Promise as Social Media Pioneers

Yang Lan vs Gong Li 杨澜 vs 巩利

Image by hto2008 via Flickr

Yang Lan, China’s Oprah, makes a compelling case for the rise of the social media class in China. She says that the Chinese social media environment is a study in media freedom and cultural pressure, where young Chinese are constantly seeking new self-expression in a global media climate and representing something authentically Chinese to the world.

This is not the most thorough talk on China’s cultural and social issues. But watch it if you want some idea of the force multiplier of young people using and sharing freely available media.

Filed under: Influence, Tech, , , , ,

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