It’s been a while since we’ve said much here, but I can assure it’s not for lack of activity. We’ve been busy building the new infrastructure of Shelby TV — your hub for videos that matter to you, your friends, and the world around you.
But with spring in full swing, there are a few things worth mentioning, so here’s what’s been up!
Starting today, we’re sharing new videos you’ll love on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Fueling these updates is our most recent addition to the team: Edon Ophir, who comes to us by way of Waze and FashionTV. Edon is great — passionate and thoughtful — and is here to serve as your Community Manager. Any and all questions, concerns, or suggestions, Edon is your guy.
Also joining the team is James Aviaz, our resident Australian and Marketing Specialist, who joins us from Songtrust, by way of Uber. I’ve known James for a while personally, I love his passion for great online content, and I am super excited to work with him as he focuses on refining the Shelby TV story and how to tell that to the world.
So, what more can you expect from us in the months to come?
Firstly, video that matters to you. Shelby TV is still the best way to build your personal channel of video, but occasionally we’ll share some of the standout vids. For instance, have you seen “This Is Water“ yet? If not, do yourself a favor and watch now.
Secondly, we spend a lot of time thinking about the video ecosystem and its rapid changes. If you’re interested in the future of TV, stay tuned to this space.
Finally, and most importantly, we’ll keep you posted on Shelby TV itself. Product updates, sneak peeks at new features, and opportunities to make a direct impact on Shelby TV. After all, it’s you who powers Shelby TV and the future of video.
Twitter | Facebook | Google+
House of Cards has gotten a ton of attention lately for a few reasons:
- It’s an awesome show (though I haven’t seen it yet)
- All episodes were delivered at the same time (to satisfy binge viewers)
- It’s another major step for Netflix in delivering unique content to keep viewers locked into their model
Why is this model smart?
Content providers can use exclusive content to be valuable & differentiate themselves from competitors. Netflix has already done this with Lilyhammer. They’ve also continued tapping into ”binge viewing” behavior in an organized way. Although it’s unclear what the biggest benefits of that behavior will be quite yet, they’re learning something valuable by being a first mover here.
People want access to content without restrictions and aside from being the only place to access it, Netflix’s distribution models is working for consumers with a “watch where you want, when you want” mindset.
What are the downsides of this model?
It’s really expensive and only works for top-quality content. Because its so expensive to do it this way (and therefore the costs of failure are high), it only works for top caliber content and therefore isn’t something that will be the only way things are done. It’s why “pilots” exist in TV - see if the audience likes it and then sink more money into it. Episodic content that follows this model also has a benefit of giving viewers a reason to come back to a service. In that sense I think we’ll see these models mix.
Piracy is still going to be a big issue. If you don’t subscribe to Netflix or the service, there’s no way to get the content except pirating it. That’s part of the reason Game of Thrones was pirated a ton (and consequently was so successful). Many of the dynamics in this post on the music industry could also apply to video content. We still haven’t seen a producer of content fully embrace the piracy engine to positive effect yet.
What does this all mean for the people playing this “game of thrones” in the content landscape?
The implications of all of this are good for startups - Americans watch over 5 hours a day of content and not all of it is that “top notch” stuff like House of Cards or Game of Thrones. Startups don’t need to unseat that “top value” content quite yet - they can let this game of thrones happen and focus more on the Torso of TV (read Suster’s post if you haven’t) and create a ton of value around providing meaningful context and discovery for the rest of the video landscape.
As we announced a little while ago, we’ve been working with Chips Ahoy! as a part of Mondelez International’s Mobile Futures program. It’s been super fun to work with the team behind a brand we’ve loved since we were kids, and it’s even better to see that brand dive into working with startups and video in totally new ways. Today we’re excited to announce that Chips Ahoy! now has their very own .TV network just in time for the Sweet Sixteen: ChipsAhoy.tv.
When we were brainstorming ideas for this project with the Chips Ahoy! team, we knew March Madness was coming up and that our favorite thing to do with cookies was “dunk,” but it turns out that sister Mondelez brand, Oreo, has a bit of a “dunkopoly” on the that term. Lauren from the Chips Ahoy! team sent us a ton of Chips Ahoy! cookies, we fell in love with the really sweet Chewy Gooey Chocofudge and The Sweetest Bracket was born!
Chips Ahoy! tapped a few of the hot basketball campuses across the nation and asked the question “What makes your bracket the Sweetest Bracket?” Some of the students’ answers are pretty fun - we’re excited to show off the results on ChipsAhoy.tv. Check out one of our favorite videos here:
Despite repeated questions on whether or not we’ll be shepherding farm animals around again this year, I’m relieved to announce that no, Shelby will not be walking around with goats, cows, llamas, or any other such livestock.**
While last year’s Project G.O.A.T.S. was a lot of fun, we simply couldn’t get the goats again this year. Seems they got a contract appearing in Taylor Swift videos and are living large. Bummer.
What we have done instead is simple. With a little math, we realized there are more people who don’t go to SXSW, than do. So we powered up a bunch of great SXSW video at sxsw.shelby.tv for you to all enjoy at home. It’s a great way to lean back and see what’s happening in Austin.
Want to contribute? Just tweet a video with the hashtag #SXSW, mention @Shelby, and it’ll show up on this .TV!
We also hand-picked some good stuff to fill specific channels about Interactive, Film, and Music.
Go check it out at http://sxsw.shelby.tv
**P.S. - We totally kicked off the goat meme of 2013.
While we’re not shy on the web here at Shelby, we’re sometimes pretty coy about what we’re up to and who the hell is behind all these tubes. After all, who has time to build a team page when there’s a whole industry to disrupt?
Alas, we’re proud to finally show off a simple team page that is true to Shelby-form with plenty of personality.
More importantly, we’re excited to announce the addition of another excellent engineer in Keren Pinkas.
Keren describes herself as “Tiny. Redhead. Vegetarian. Beatlefan. Geek.” but I’ll add that Keren is super talented and an amazing addition to our growing engineering team. Keren is already tackling our iOS app with Arthur, and thinking through the future of TV. Her passion for iOS is tangible and her professionalism is stellar, and we can’t wait to share her work with you. Stay tuned!
P.S. - Want to work with us? We’re hiring.
Last night at the NYTM, Dan, Henry, and I got on stage to launch some cool products that demonstrate how we envision the future of video, both of which put individuals in control of their experience.
When we first told Fred about Shelby.tv, he immediately asked if someday he could have FredWilson.tv. So we are really excited to finally launch FredWilson.tv. His .tv is a public URL for anyone to see, it’s powered by Shelby, and it pulls all the video he shares on AVC.com, as well as shares to Tumblr and Twitter, into one leanback “TV” experience. If you want to learn about entrepreneurship, venture capital, or startups in general, FredWilson.tv is a great channel to watch.
Fred wrote more about it on his blog this morning which I encourage you to read as well. Thanks Fred. Psyched to finally deliver FredWilson.tv!
Once we started working on .tv’s, we realized we had the ability to create a TV experience out of any webpage with video.** So Henry built a great proof of concept at Shelby.tv/experience. Here are a couple great examples.
The Periodic Table of Videos is a great blog full of video, but the viewing experience is crap. See it for yourself here: http://periodicvideos.blogspot.com/ Now, go to Experience and hit “Launch” to see how Shelby gives you a “TV” experience for all that great content.
Here’s another example, this time from the awesome community at Reddit. Here, a bunch of Redditors are sharing favorite videos from Hulu. It looks like this.
Throw that into Shelby.tv/Experience and you’ve got a seamless, lean-back channel of great video.
This is just a proof of concept, but Shelby.tv/Experience is a great demonstration of how we think about video and where we’re going with Shelby. Try out http://Shelby.tv/experience and http://fredwilson.tv and let us know what you think.
**Technical disclaimer: “Experience” currently only works with static pages, not dynamically loaded pages like YouTube.
Yesterday, I tweeted out the following and I wanted to take a minute to expand on the impact of our written values on cultural fit when hiring, as well as the value mentioned, “Be human.”
pro tip: when hiring, having clear core values allows you to quickly assess inbound candidates for cultural fit. @shelby #1 = “Be Human”
Our core values - there are eight of them - help define the way we work and live. If you hung out with us for a little while, you’d probably overhear us saying things like “JFBI” or “Be human.” Those are just the sticky little idioms we use day to day, but behind each one is more depth and understanding of a particular value.
They help us stick to our beliefs. They act as guiding lights when making tough decisions. They make it easy to assess potential partners, or in this case, a potential teammates.
My tweet yesterday, referred to any of the numerous inbound emails I get from job-seekers who are just spraying and praying with their resume. You know what they look like: “To whom it may concern” “Dear hiring manager” “Hey!”… They take no time to get to know or demonstrate knowledge of the person they’re emailing (me), nor our company. This approach essentially begins the relationship as a transaction, and Shelby’s the ATM. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for people who view their career as a “job” or worse, “just a paycheck.”
The best candidates, the people who stand out from the crowd, the people who belong on this team, are the ones who naturally embrace “being human.” Here’s how we define “Be human” at Shelby:
We are all people, with real lives, real passions, and real needs. We are not just “employees” and our users are not just “eyeballs.” So, trust and empathy shine in everything we do - be it the way we listen, the way we pitch, or the way we build.
It sounds so silly sometimes - “You guys need to write down a note to act like a human being?” - but think about how many interactions you have in a given day that are completely inhuman - the lifeless retail transactions, shooting the messenger at customer service, the animalistic race of a commute by car or subway…
By writing it down like this, it cements a human approach in the company culture so that we constantly remember it and hopefully never stray from it as so many companies do with growth. And since growth is what’s expected of us - accelerated growth in particular - it is powerful for us to have a belief system in place through which we can make decisions about who else will join us in building this great and lasting company.
Animated GIF from #ShelbySummit2013 for our team page.
Apparently Mike and Frasher didn’t get the point of an animated GIF.
The Shelby Summit 2013.
Last week, we held the first annual Shelby Summit — a two day event in which we took the entire team* up North a couple hours to a house in the woods with no wifi/phone service. We revisited our core values, laid out our strategy for 2013, set big goals, both personally and professionally, and had a lot of laughs along the way.
Planning the Summit came together quickly, as Dan and I realized that January is already off to a flying start and if we didn’t take a minute to slow down, it’ll be the second quarter before we knew it. Luckily, our team is small enough that we execute fast and our man Frasher is an ace on AirB’nB, so we found a big old house that was off the grid and booked it.
Prior to leaving, I asked the team to do two things.
Most of the team got to the house Wednesday night (the rest came up Thursday AM), and I kicked off the day with some opening remarks, ground rules, and the goal of the Summit: “Get everyone at Shelby aligned and excited for 2013, with clear goals as a product, company, brand, and as individuals.”
We then jumped into a discussion of our core values that we wrote together this past summer. For any startups considering this type of exercise, I highly recommend putting in the time early on, then revisiting them months later to see what holds up and what doesn’t. Based upon our discussion, one core value subsumed another, others evolved to better reflect who we are, but otherwise our values held strong and have directly impacted the way we work since writing them down. Further, having this discussion at the start of the Summit gave us a vocabulary with which to address everything else.
After a quick lunch, we headed out for a hike around the Ashokan Reservoir. We lucked out with beautiful weather, and had some fun tossing snowballs around.
The main dish of our Summit was next, with a few hours spent diving deep into our plans for the upcoming year. While Dan and I have a great direction for this, it’s imperative that everyone understands the challenges ahead and commits to the goals we all set as a company. This led to some amazing feedback for us as founders, and I am extremely fortunate to work with this team - passionate people who want to raise the bar. (I know all startups might talk this talk, but this team walks the walk).
Now for some serious laughs. To prepare dinner, Dan and I assigned everyone to an odd-ball couple - people who don’t work together much or are generally opposites in personality - and gave each team responsibility for a course. No one was to collaborate, so it was a true pot-luck.
All I can say, is this team can cook. Lots of pride went into the preparations and everyone enjoyed it, especially Chris and Vincent’s appetizers. [It’s also worth noting that I haven’t laughed that hard, for that long, in a while. My face hurt from laughing so much. This team is hilarious].
We cleaned up our act and hung by the fire for a couple of great games that will remain nameless (so as not to give away the keys to winning for future hires), before settling down for a discussion about goal setting. This involved explaining the S.M.A.R.T framework “Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Timely” which we then all applied to our individual goals together the next morning.
Having everyone share their goals out loud was a perfect capstone for the Summit. We now all know what it is we want to achieve as individuals, and how that will make us better as a company now, and in the future. I won’t list out our personal or company goals here, but if you stay tuned, they should be apparent in everything we do this year.
Here’s to our team and to 2013. Let’s do this!
[Sometimes selfies are hard to do.]
*One teammate couldn’t make it due to some vacation time planned well in advance. He was with us in spirit.
At Shelby, we are working diligently to provide the best way for you to find and watch video. A big part of that is making your search for content not only relevant, but usable.
When you do a search for a video, do you get video in return? No. Instead, you are given web pages with lists of links. Shelby is here to give you the seamless video experience that you want through our very own Shelby Search.
In an initiative we call #OnThisDay, we will share the search results for specific events that happened “on this day” in history in a stream of video on Shelby for anyone to watch.
For example, #OnThisDay in 1643, Isaac Newton was born. To celebrate our homeboy’s birthday, we are dedicating our debut search query to Isaac and his contributions to physics.
Check it out for yourself, and feel free to try a search of your own. Who knows what you’ll find next!
Can you say “coooookie?”
We are excited to announce that we are teaming up with one of the world’s most beloved brands - Chips Ahoy! - as part of the Mobile Futures Program run by Mondelez.
Quick bit about Mobile Futures: Mondelez is partnering their major brands with startup companies to create and launch mobile pilots in just 90 days and Shelby is one of a handful of startups selected out of over 120 applicants.
That means Shelby will be working closely with Chips Ahoy! to engage fans with their brand through social video discovery. The impressive part of the program is the speed with which Mondelez is moving and the entrepreneurial spirit they are fostering. That kind of momentum and energy is fantastic and will make this pilot a lot of fun.
It is great to see their team is also pumped. “The Chips Ahoy! team is thrilled to begin working with Shelby.tv as we look to enhance how we engage with our consumers through mobile and particularly social TV.” said Senior Brand Manager, Leslie Walker [via PR Newswire].
Stay tuned for some awesome Chips Ahoy! action on Shelby!
Another new guy at Shelby? You bet! Welcome Ian Perry to the team. He may be the rookie, but he’s no stranger to startups. Read on, check him out on Shelby - iperry.shelby.tv - and follow @iperry.
Hey, my name is Ian. I’m a senior at Cornell University studying information science and entrepreneurship. I’m the Foursquare campus ambassador at Cornell and I work with groups and departments across campus, such as University Communications, to help them integrate Foursquare into their social media plans. This past semester, I started the Cornell Social Media Club with the goal of helping students harness the power of social media in both their social and professional lives. I’m from the Philadelphia area, and in my spare time, I enjoy watching soccer, playing FIFA, skiing, and golfing.
I’ve worked with a few startups in the past, and am very excited to be at Shelby for the winter. I’m pumped to be part of such an awesome team that is reshaping television. To be part of something that is changing an entire industry is a unique and exciting opportunity. Everyone at Shelby is very passionate about what they do and comes from a different background, which makes for a really exciting environment and great company culture. The team is building an amazing product, and I look forward to helping the product grow. Shelby is unlike anywhere I’ve worked in the past, and I’m really definitely going to make the most of the opportunity to work here. While at Shelby, I’ll be working with two other awesome interns, Brendan and Frasher, to help bring Shelby to universities. It’s a great project, and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can along the way.
I’m also looking forward to being part of the New York City tech startup scene. It’s such an exciting time to be here, and I plan on taking full advantage of all that the city has to offer. I’m especially looking forward to attending my first NY Tech Meetup and a class at General Assembly. I’ve never lived in a big city before, and I know that this winter will help me get a better idea of where I want to live after graduation.
We’re excited to officially welcome Frasher Ulaj to the team. Frasher’s been helping out remotely for a while, but it’s nice to have him in house full-time for the winter break. We asked Frasher to introduce himself. Read on, check him out on Shelby frash.shelby.tv and follow @frash.
I’m Frasher, a Junior at Babson College. Over the past few months, I’ve been hanging around the Shelby team working on some research figuring out what is going on the “video space” and the “future of television.” Most of what I’ve found is that the time has come for viewers to control what to watch. It’s why Netflix and Hulu have been succeeding for the most part.
With people having varying schedules from one person to the next, the uniform “TV schedule” isn’t as effective as it used to be. And it’s important to keep in mind the power of video. The way we consume stories through videos connects us stronger than through other mediums. Think about the videos of the crisis in Syria you watched and how those affected you. Seeing is different from hearing or reading. It means more. Shelby enhances this experience by adding a personal connection, too (If you’re unfamiliar, Shelby takes the videos your friends share across Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and creates a personalized stream based on who shares what).
Now that Shelby.tv is in a beta, it’s time to get this thing out there. And I’ve signed up to work with Brendan and Ian to make sure people, sports teams, major brands, and anybody in between uses Shelby to consume, explore and share video. Get ready, because Shelby.tv team is reinventing video.
Reinvent video? That’s impossible and irrational!
But really, it’s perfectly possible. Many television shows are seeing short lived series lives. Television advertising spending has levelled off and even fallen in some cases. Now is the time to look forward and change the way that people interact with video.
After being part of several conversations with Reece and the Shelby team, it’s clear that this team sees this as more than a goal, but a mission. As a college kid unsure of his future, looking at my e-mail and seeing an article to the team that points to the changing of the video industry has me look forward to the unkown. The way this team is committed to changing the viewing habits of people excites me to join a team that’s taking on such a mission. With passion and excitement in everyday work comes success.
Over the next few months, Brendan, Ian and myself will begin to get Shelby out there and create a community. Sure, most will just say “if it’s a good product, it’ll catch on.” And that statement may hold some truth, but Shelby.tv has several tools that hold so much power and potential (ranging from hashtag rolls to a video radar). We are going to work with people to introduce the whole Shelby.tv ARSENAL! These tools will provide a wholesome and engaging video experience. Soon, we’ll all be taking advantage.
“Reinventing video.” It sounds like a crazy goal. But, I am excited to be part of it. Like Steve Jobs said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
It’s Election Day!
This past few weeks, we’ve seen a bunch of great video about the election shared on Shelby. Today, we’ve taken all this coverage and wrapped it up into our new Elections roll at election2012.shelby.tv.
You’ll find video from the left, right, and everywhere in between. Whether you’re interested in healthy discourse or some good ol’ political satire, we think it’s worth watching. The coolest thing about it is that it’s entirely powered by community and constantly being updated throughout the day as more and more people are sharing and watching video.
Check it out at election2012.shelby.tv and please don’t forget to exercise your right to vote today!