Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Trend: Social Media Will Get Bigger

Dec 24, 2012

2013 Trend: Social Media Will Get Bigger

Facebook just hit 1 billion users. Brace yourself for the backlash.


This article is part of Inc.'s special report on How (and Where) to Make Money in 2013 (and Beyond). Follow the links at the end of the story for more game-changing trends, bold predictions, and hot markets to watch next year.

Remember everything you've learned about the power of Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media sites to promote your business? It remains true, with one caveat: In 2013, expect to see a backlash to the sheer massiveness of these sites--as well as the emergence of smaller-scale, niche networks. "In 2013, we'll see more users start to expect, if not demand, some tangible benefits in exchange for all the time they spend online and the personal information they're sharing," says's David Mattin.

Adds Howard Tullman, CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, partner at Chicago High Tech Investors, and columnist for "Consumers are starting to understand the value of their information and asking to be compensated, whether with badges, rewards, preferred pricing, or discounts and perks." Tullman's prediction for 2013: "We'll increasingly see new kinds of virtual currencies and services--like Ticketmaster's Facebook app that lets you see where your friends are sitting at an event."

At the same time, the sheer massiveness of Facebook is creating opportunities for smaller-scale, niche networks. People aren't likely to flee Facebook outright, Tullman says, but they will increasingly augment their online social experience by using other networks whose size, privacy, and more customized parameters are better suited to specific tasks and goals.

Some good examples are Path, a free personal-social-network service that limits users to a 150-person circle;, a subscription service that lets users create their own social networks; and NextDoor, a private social network that helps users connect with others in the same geographic area. MindMixer is a sort of virtual town hall that enables communities to define and discuss ideas. Yammer, meanwhile, helps businesses create internal networks.

The emergence of more and varied social networks will present a challenge to businesses accustomed to Facebook and Twitter. For one thing, many people use such networks specifically to avoid the increasingly commercial aspects of Facebook; in that case, you would be smart to start by limiting your presence to participation and listening, rather than selling. Eventually, however, smaller networks could become effective ways to reach specific geographic areas or professional groups, or build communities around a brand. The goal here, says Tullman, is less to attract new customers than to build deeper, longer-lasting, and more lucrative relationships with the ones you have. When you have that, word of mouth will naturally bring in the new business.

New Xmas Art - A Gift from Todd Bodenstein

Monday, December 24, 2012




Fear No Art presents The Dinner Party

A completely new and different kind of show, host Elysabeth Alfano invites three creatives and a celebrity chef to a dinner party.
Over food, wine, chocolate, Twitter and a few impromptu performances, the conversations flow! Filmed live and streaming on Time Out Chicago, buy your tickets and be a part of the party and live filming at the Mayne Stage, as well as enjoy tastings of the chef’s appetizer and entrées, a wine pairing and Vosges Chocolate. Twitter in questions for the stage guests and be eligible to win theatre tickets, dinner for 2 and more!

Guests: Entrepreneur and Art Collector, Howard Tullman, Indie Rocker, Kelly Hogan, Black Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director, Jackie Taylor and chefs from the Trenchermen, Micheal and Patrick Sheerin. The opening act is Jazz Singer Dee Alexander with Scott Hesse. Appetizer and entrée tastings from The Trenchermen are paired with wine from Vin Divino and chocolate by Vosges. 
Don’t miss it! Tickets $30. Advance purchase necessary. No seating past 7:20 pm when food is served.




Saturday, December 22, 2012

New York Times: Thrills and Chills of Marketing a CD-ROM Adventure

Thrills and Chills of Marketing a CD-ROM Adventure

Published: November 27, 1994

LIKE most people in the new business of making and selling CD-ROM software, Howard Tullman was very recently doing something else for a living.

Today the former Chicago lawyer and venture capital investor is waiting for royalties from his first big title, a CD-ROM sequel to the film "Blown Away," which starred Jeff Bridges as an Irish revolutionary turned bomb squad hero and Tommy Lee Jones as a vengeful evil genius.

Industry executives expect the game to be a popular seller this Christmas, the first year there are enough home computers with CD-ROM players to make CD-ROM games the big gift in 1994.

Despite the growing excitement about games like "Blown Away," which reached stores in October and sells for $50 to $60, there is no question that CD-ROM game developers like Mr. Tullman can use help. In this fledgling business, there are no road maps or proven techniques.

"It's a bruising fight," said John W. P. Holt, director of new business at IVI Publishing Inc., a CD-ROM publisher in Minneapolis, which in June won the bidding war to publish the "Blown Away" game.
For the small number of CD-ROM developers lucky enough to get their titles onto store shelves, Christmas 1994 should be a big year. Sales of personal computers for use in homes skyrocketed this year.

Much of the growth has been in entertainment and education software published on CD-ROM disks.

This year, American shoppers are expected to spend $587 million on consumer CD-ROM titles, a diverse category in which prices range from $20 to $200, and include reference works, self-help manuals, education programs and -- the biggest of all -- entertainment. That is up from $137 million in 1993 and is expected to grow to $1.2 billion in 1995, according to the Link Resources Corporation, a research company in New York.

Mr. Tullman, who is president and chief executive of a CD-ROM development company in Chicago called Imagination Pilots, hopes to get a fair share of sales.

The company's first release was a series of children's titles called "Professor Gooseberry & Associates," introduced for Christmas 1993. A CD-ROM based on the children's book "Where's Waldo?" is being developed and will be published by Warner Music Group in April 1995.

As one of his first orders of business in March, Mr. Tullman called on MGM/UA in the hope of gaining the rights to develop CD-ROM software based on some of the company's children's movies. Instead, MGM/UA offered him the rights to "Blown Away" and a co-marketing deal, on the condition that he release a game in time for Christmas.

The deal that Imagination Pilots struck with MGM/UA gave Mr. Tullman a scant seven months to complete the project, including filming the story with a cast of actors that came at much lower cost than the original stars. Mr. Tullman and MGM/UA agreed to split equally the cost of development -- $850,000 to $900,000, Mr. Tullman said.

IN the game, the player must maneuver through 12 environments, racing against time to free hostages and dismantle bombs through a series of puzzles that require both speed and logic.

As soon as he had something to show, Mr. Tullman set out to find a publisher, and soon "Blown Away" was the center of a bidding war.

For its part, IVI Publishing was looking to broaden its product line, and had just opened an office in Seattle dedicated to finding promising new CD-ROM titles.

Mr. Tullman liked IVI Publishing's desire to have a big presence in the game market and the enthusiasm of its new publishing executives, Geoffrey T. Barker and Mr. Holt. In the end, IVI Publishing outbid Electronic Arts, Spectrum Holobyte, GTE Interactive and even Compton's New Media, which was an early favorite of MGM/UA.

When IVI Publishing had something to show, it began courting distributors and retailers like Egghead Software of Seattle, the largest CD-ROM seller, and CompUSA, the Dallas-based superstore chain.

IVI Publishing's success last year with a product called "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" helped it gain a foot in the door at virtually all the important stores, and most big outlets have decided to carry "Blown Away" this Christmas. But such success did not come easily or without considerable expense.

Mr. Barker declined to reveal the exact amount that IVI Publishing and MGM/UA are spending to market "Blown Away." The packaging for such products costs from $30,000 to $50,000; testing for bugs and technical flaws can cost $40,000 or more.

Mr. Tullman guessed it required $800,000 to $1.5 million to have a successful CD-ROM product, often with nearly half of that going to marketing and promotion.

"The buyers don't have a rational plan for what goes on the shelf," said Peter Black, president of Xiphias Software, a small CD-ROM publisher in Santa Monica, Calif., that has struggled since the early days of the CD-ROM industry in the late 1980's.

At Egghead, the process is something of a beauty pageant, where publishers are each given a half-hour to strut their stuff in front of a sales person. At CompUSA, the decision is based more on early reviews and the volume of excitement surrounding the product, according to the company.

The fierce competition is turning the nascent CD-ROM business into something very like the book business, where industry consolidation has led to the decline of the small publishers and independent retailers. Already in the CD-ROM business, power is in the hands of a dozen or so publishers, including the Microsoft Corporation and Broderbund Software, which have the contacts, influence and products to win shelf space.

But the pace of the growth of CD-ROM titles is changing the way software is sold. Today, most CD-ROM programs are sold through traditional software and computer stores, including many independent shops that must work through distributors like Ingram Micro in Santa Ana, Calif., the software industry's largest. For a title to be successful, the publisher must court both distributors and large retail chains.

According to Mr. Holt, 80 to 85 percent of IVI Publishing's sales are through the 10 top retailers. But by this time next year more than half of CD-ROM sales will be made through mass merchants like Wal-Mart and Price-Costco, as well as through bookstores, toy stores and electronic networks.

Video stores, which account for only 4 percent of CD-ROM sales, will also pick up a bigger share, according to Nicholas Donatiello, president of Odyssey Inc., a market research company in San Francisco.

Mr. Tullman's strategy for "Blown Away" represents what many see as the trend in CD-ROM publishing: Rather than take an original idea and develop a program from scratch, licensing the rights to a story or character with a ready-made following is considered a more sensible approach. An example is "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers," a new title from Xiphias.

"I've come to the realization that this is going to be a rights-driven business," Mr. Black said.

OTHER original works have fared better, but the increasingly competitive market is making it more difficult. "Myst," which came out last year and is today the best-selling CD-ROM game yet, remains the industry's proud example of a huge risk that paid off. The program, a fantasy and role-playing game published by Broderbund, was developed by two brothers, Rand and Robyn Miller, who spent heavily on the project and their company, Cyan.

The opportunities for self-publishing are minimal. "A single-title developer has absolutely no access to the channel," Mr. Holt said. Today, Mr. Barker and Mr. Holt are getting 50 to 60 calls a month from developers looking for publishers.

Even with the backing of MGM/ UA, success for "Blown Away" is by no means assured. In the past, CD-ROM software based on movies has not fared well, often because it has focused on the story rather than on the playing of the game.

Despite the ingenuity and marketing behind "Blown Away," there is no telling what will strike the fancy of the game player. "It's a little like trying to pick a hit movie," said Charles H. Finnie, an analyst at Volpe, Welty & Company in San Francisco. "You just never know."



Preview our 2013 speaker lineup

Norm Brodsky

Inc. columnist; founder, CitiStorage; partner, Black Gold Suites; and co-author, The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up

“Street Smarts” columnist and senior contributing editor Norm Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses. In 2008 he sold CitiStorage, a document-archive business based in Brooklyn, New York, for $110 million. Along with Bo Burlingham, Norm has chronicled his entrepreneurial journey in his column in Inc. and in the book The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up. Norm Brodsky is one of the most sought after business-advice experts in the country.


John Mackey

co-founder and co-CEO, Whole Foods Market

John Mackey is co-CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, the co-author of the new book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Conscious Capitalism. John has devoted most of his adult life to selling natural foods and building a better business model. He helped build a $10 billion Fortune 500 company that is now one of the top 20 supermarket companies in America.


Les McKeown, columnist; president and CEO, Predictable Success; author, Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track - and Keeping It There and The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success

Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, a leading advisor on accelerated business growth. He has has started over 40 companies in his own right, and was the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that advised on the creation and growth of hundreds more organizations worldwide.

Les is the author of the WSJ and USA Today Best-seller, “Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track – and Keeping It There” His latest book is “The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success”


Lisa Price

founder and president, Carol’s Daughter; author, Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion

From humble beginnings in her Brooklyn kitchen, Founder of Carol’s Daughter, Inc., Lisa Price transformed her beloved hobby of mixing up fragrances and creams at home into a multi-million dollar beauty empire. Price is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the National Black MBA Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the FFAWN I’m Power – I’m Beauty Award (2010) and a Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever Award (2010). She is also the author of Success Never Smelled So Sweet, a remarkable memoir that chronicles her transformation from a young Black woman deep in debt and burdened by low self-esteem to the president of a multi-million dollar business. Price is an active philanthropist and currently sits on the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), a charity that is dedicated to empowering women and instilling confidence so that they may achieve their dreams through education, empowerment and encouragement.


Baratunde Thurston

co-founder Jack and Jill Politics; founder, Cultivated Wit; author, How To Be Black
Baratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics and served as Director of Digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/technology startup Cultivated Wit. Then-candidate Barack Obama called him “someone I need to know.” Baratunde travels the world speaking and advising and performs standup regularly in NYC. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over 30 years experience being black. He writes the monthly backpage column for Fast Company, and his first book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller.


Howard A. Tullman

president and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy and columnist
Howard is the General Managing Partner for the Chicago High Tech Investors and a member of Mayor Emanuel’s ChicagoNEXT council of technology advisors and Governor Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council as well as an advisor to many technology businesses and an Adjunct Professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Over the last 40 years, in addition to founding more than a dozen high-tech companies, creating thousands of new jobs, and training dozens of talented managers who’ve gone on to lead their own ventures, Howard has created, developed and achieved liquidity in excess of $1 billion for a number of his businesses including CCC Information Services, Imagination Pilots, Coin Dealer Services,, Worldwide Xceed Group, Kendall College, and The Cobalt Group.


Alexa von Tobel

founder and CEO of

Alexa von Tobel is the founder and CEO of, the award-winning financial management and lifestyle website.

Originally from Florida, Alexa received an A.B. in Psychology at Harvard College. Upon graduation, she worked as a trader at Morgan Stanley before leaving to be the Head of Business Development at, a venture backed start-up in NYC. She enrolled in Harvard Business School in 2008 only to take a leave of absence shortly after to launch LearnVest.

Alexa was recently selected as a 2012 Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneur and highlighted as “One of the Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 feature.

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