I like to lunch. I do it a lot, mostly, because I love to eat. #Foodie. Today, I was lunching with my friend Trent. Trent and I talk daily about everything from how much better 90’s video games were to what companies are doing wrong or right and how they could improve for the sake of their users. He is easily my first point of contact when talking about mobile apps. Today our conversation circled around who has the power in a company and the difference between customers and end-users which in many cases aren’t the same people.
I have been telling Trent about Socialcam for the past couple weeks and have had a hard time selling him on this free app. If you aren’t familiar with Socialcam, you should be – mostly because they were JUST ACQUIRED TODAY and the blogosphere and news media is all over it as an example of why the bubble of Instagram acquisition for $1 Billion is popping and the tech world is drowning in over valuated companies. I am going to go the other direction. SOCIALCAM WAS STOLEN. Stolen for a mere $60 Million and Autodesk was smart enough to notice what Google and Facebook should have, and they are going to cash in long term.
It is easy to call Socialcam the Instagram of video because it’s convenient – but its not that, and anyone who is telling you that is looking purely at what Socialcam’s features are and is not looking at the content. Socialcam is doing for video what Twitter did for Text Messaging and in my opinion within a couple years could rival how we consume video from YouTube which will force YouTube to shift its model. What Autodesk noticed is the same thing I have been noticing since I started using it. My Facebook Friends who I follow – don’t post anything – a HIGH percentage of them just have the app because they watch videos. The people (read: BRANDS) who fill up my feed over and over again are Oprah’s OWN, the Brooklyn Nets, New York Jets, and Tequila Avion (yes, the one from Entourage). My feed is filled with their videos. You might ask why I am following them as someone who is a Denver sports fan and also doesn’t drink alcohol and occasionally watches Oprah, because well, she’s Oprah. The real reason, one little word:
These brands are actually engaging and building relationships with their fans, viewers, and consumers outside of traditional venues. They are taking questions from people and answering them. Providing exclusive content, behind the scenes insights and interviews and hyping a new mixed drink recipies. They are putting their front line on the front line. I am not seeing PR professionals or even all that professional of videos – I am seeing real people raw, uncut, and really authentic. This makes me want to talk to these brands, follow these teams, and buy their products – just because they are real. More importantly, I am telling you their story. Here is an example of what I am talking about from Ken Austin, the founder of Tequila Avion.
You might be thinking:
"But Dustin, they are giving away free alcohol if you sign up and send them your information"
Not only will they taking a winner, but also they will promote that person and their recipe. What if you were a bartender in a new dive bar in town who happened to be paying attention to this and did make the best drinks in town. I’ll tell you what, you just made a name for yourself because you were paying attention and engaging with a company like Tequila Avion who has more of a commitment to you as a customer than just making great Tequila.
Do you see how this conversation of a Socialcam acquisition shifted real quickly to the value its users can provide to each other and not the cost or valuation?
Socialcam quietly built one of the most valuable tools for any brand to be as authentic as possible. These types of engagements are actually happening less often than you think and the brands and people who are using Socialcam to step out and make a difference beyond engagement in person, on twitter, on Facebook – they are the ones who will continue to win over and over. As a result – everyone who was smart enough to jump on to Socialcam and begin engaging is going to win too.
As a side note, Socialcam’s team operates the SAME way. Every time I ran into a problem or had a question, I tweeted them and not only did I get responses, I got personal emails immediately. This showed me that I mattered as a person to them and they cared about my feedback and my experience enough to take the initiative to engage until I was completely satisfied. Great job Socialcam!
Great job paying attention Autodesk! Congratulations to Socialcam! I cannot wait to see what they are able to enable their users to do with the cash to back up this amazing company who is enabling brands to develop more authentic relationships with their users and fans.