Wednesday, June 6, 2018

OTT is not just Streamed TV

While both over-the-top (OTT) platforms -- the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu -- and traditional television offer similar content their respective business models are radically different. Whether you're coming at it from a viewer's perspective or a producer's perspective the way these seemingly similar yet actually very different systems operate is significant.


“My main thing is that we’re in the consumer satisfaction business,”said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in an interview with Variety last year. And this wasn’t just a glib mission statement from the C-suite. Rather, it was an encapsulation of the quantum leap the industry formerly known as television is making, from a world of a broadcast-based, advertising-supported business models to the more direct to consumer routes made possible by subscription-based OTT platforms offering on demand streams of movies and TV shows old, new, and custom-produced for the service.


OTT vs. TV at a glance

·       OTT platforms have real time individual-level audience data, so unlike broadcasters that work with weekly or monthly averages, they use and deploy big data analytics for everything from recommendations to program creation.

·       With more data, OTT platforms can take more risks.

·       OTT platforms live on recurring revenue from subscribing customers, not advertising deals.

·       The OTT customer is not a passive couch potato, but an active consumer who may go elsewhere if they’re not getting what they want.



At the 2018 Prime Time conference, a get together of creators, producers, broadcasters, and platforms held annually in Ottawa, one of the most vigorously discussed topics, in both panels and hallways, was adapting content creation strategies for the burgeoning OTT marketplace. Few things have shaken up the television and film landscape like Netflix et al have, with their global reach, their advertising-free formats, their existence outside of the cable bundle, and their array of on-demand programming have become nothing short of obsessions for viewers around the world. Prior to their existence 'bingeing' was something we did with a family-sized bag of Doritos or a pint of Haagen Dazs. Arguably, it still is, but now we combine high salt and/or high fat bingeing with hour after hour of series about drug lords, cult leaders, politicians, and royalty.

OTT is direct to consumer channel, TV is not

At Prime Time a variety of points of view were offered to help frame the key differences between the mediums, one of which was that conventional television is a B2B business, as opposed to OTT, which is a B2C business.

Admittedly that’s a lot of acronyms in one place so let’s break them down.

B2B, or business-to-business, is a way of doing business in which products and services are sold to other companies, vs. end users. Think, for example of ad agencies, a classic B2B scenario.

Marketers wanting to sell their product, say, a new breakfast cereal, turn to agencies to help them craft the creative campaign and also to buy the media space such as television, print, or radio where the ads will run, and through which consumers become aware of the new offering. Trusted relationships form the basis of most B2B transactions, sales cycles tend to be long, and cost mark ups happen at various links in the supply chain. Traditional broadcast TV and film have B2B written all over them. Producers sell to broadcasters and/or distributors, sometimes with agents, managers, and lawyers involved, each of whom receive a percentage or flat fee for their involvement.

Now contrast the B2B model with B2C, or business-to-consumer pipelines, which are a hallmark of business done on the internet. Many intermediaries are cut out of the supply chain, and the manufacturer can also be the merchant. Think of eCommerce sites or Amazon vs. physical retail, or, in the world of music think of Spotify and Apple Music vs. radio. Or, to return to the focus of this article, think of Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu vs. terrestrial broadcasters and cable companies. And yes, the platforms themselves are intermediaries, and yes ‘pure’ B2C in film and TV would look more like a purchase from the iTunes store, but there is some room for elasticity with these definitions.

The point of distinction to note is that transmission of programming by way of OTT platforms provides a direct channel of communication between the platform and the viewer. Not only that, but granular consumption data is available with OTT -- e.g. every stop, start, and pause – compared to the broad brush strokes of largely undifferentiated audiences that Nielsen ratings have historically provided.

And that's why OTT companies can take more risks

How does this more direct to consumer channel affect producers? During the Prime Time panel New Forms of Content, which explored both new form factors for content and new channels for its distribution, Cream Productions President Kate Harrison pointed out that “ [OTT streamers], not being advertising-based like broadcasters, can take more risks." Not needing to be concerned with content being 'advertiser-friendly' is certainly a big point of distinction between OTT and TV, but there's even more going on at the level of the new architectures of the industry. In his article Why did Amazon build a studio rather than buy one? Jeffrey Cole of USC Annenberg's Center for the Digital Future takes a closer look at the changes in the entertainment industry as tech companies start putting their tent pegs in the market. To answer the question posed in the article's title --  Why did Amazon build a studio rather than buy one? -- Cole offers the following insights, which demonstrate how the emerging new rules of production and distribution freed up both Amazon and a new generation of creators.

  • "Amazon understood that they could create a new playbook for entertainment as they did in retail and for the book business The company recognized that there was a tremendous pool of creative and business talent that would flock to the large budgets, creative freedom and new rules as one of the world’s biggest companies moved into entertainment. Quickly, they saw they could rent whatever studio space they needed (why own it?) with their content partners."
  • "Streaming meant no network sales force to sell advertising and no worldwide distribution team to book content into theaters. Netflix already showed how easy it was to compete with major networks and studios. OTT meant no local stations or movie theaters to deal with...Funding was one thing Amazon had plenty of, and large Hollywood budgets were small in Amazonian terms...All this talent was attracted to the new rules of entertainment: Amazon didn’t have to cater to advertisers and therefore could be freer than almost all television. This gave them the freedom to appeal to underserved parts of the television audience such as the very young and those over 50."

Click here for the full article by USC's Jeffrey Cole.

OTT as an eCommerce business

OTT also has impacts outside of the creative production side of the business, and these came to the fore in the panel Four Vantage Points On The Future. Jay Gardner, Shaw’s VP of Product Development, noted that OTT has turned many in the content business into distributors as well. “And it’s a hard business. You have to worry about rights, tech support, back office billing, and customer service.” John Penney, EVP of Business Development and Partnerships at 20thCentury Fox put an even finer point on things. “The business model of OTT is just not comparable to broadcast”, he said. “OTT is an eCommerce business that uses content to bring in recurring revenue.”

As with eCommerce businesses, the focus with OTT is on digital platforms that are customer-centric, vs. the broadcaster-centric, schedule-driven world of broadcast TV. The couch potato of the broadcast world, whose time on the sofa could be engineered with lead-in programming and programming bundles such as ‘Must See TV’ and the Thursday night lineup, has given way to an empowered viewer with the freedom to watch shows on demand, on a schedule determined only by them, and on the device(s) of their choosing.

The once almighty broadcast network no longer loads the schedule on behalf of the viewer. Furthermore, the data-rich nature of OTT platforms ensures that success or failure are swiftly determined by the people who actually consume the programming, as opposed to network executives' best guesses.


For more on the industry changes in play with the shift from TV to OTT see Chapter 3 “New Channels and New Platforms“, in the White Paper I recently wrote called Adjust Your Thinking.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Long Tail in 2018: Niches Meet Streaming and Social Media

You may have heard the business principle which states that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the clients.

Economists refer to it as the Pareto Principle, or Power Law, but for most of us it’s the phenomenon that underlies the long tail theory popularized in 2004 by Chris Anderson in an influential article in Wired Magazine and developed into a full-length book two years later. Anderson looked at some of the most innovative companies of the time, such as Amazon and Apple, and observed how—despite the long talked about 80/20 rule—businesses were being built by selling fewer units of a larger selection of inventory. This flew in the face of the industry’s conventional economics, which emphasized mass markets and scale as the only way to develop and maintain a sustainable operation.

The 21st century Internet-enabled market, contended Anderson, was a 'market of multitudes', where items that didn’t sell in large volumes did not have to slough off and disintegrate, but instead could find a new life further down the 'tail' of smaller, more specialized markets. Writers, producers, musicians, and artists working outside of the mainstream mega-hit business saw long-tail economics as a beacon of hope for content that didn’t necessarily appeal to the masses.

When Anderson popularized the theory, its underpinning was the Internet’s new unlimited shelf space. A dozen years later, with the advent of streaming and social platforms, the long tail is further defined by the move to media on demand, recommendation engines as well as online comments, likes and shares. In this new environment, one’s market for a niche offering can live anywhere in the world.

The topic of how the creative community can use the long tail to its advantage was put to a panel of producers at Canadian Screen Week recently held in Toronto. The streaming and social-fuelled long tail brings with it challenges, but also new opportunities.

Finding a broadcaster, securing financing, and making a project is a sequence familiar to producers, and one that has worked for many years. Now, however, the network and the producer may not have the same goals. While the network is going to be interested in either advertising or subscriptions, depending on its business model, the producer is interested in views and quality of engagement.

High quality if not fanatical engagement is nothing new to Sam Dunn, co-founder of Banger Films, the Toronto-based studio that zeroed in on the genre of heavy metal music documentaries over a dozen years ago. Dunn describes this niche as “so big, but nobody knows it exists.” To this end, Banger’s early productions took a deep and international perspective on the eardrum-pounding subculture with films such as Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Global Metal and followed that up with artist-specific projects on Iron Maiden, Rush, and Alice Cooper.



At the nerve centre of anything Banger Films does is a community of hardcore fans, who live and breathe the genre and are generally underserved by mainstream outlets. This is the thinking behind some of Banger Films’ recent branching out to other genres such as hip hop, with their acclaimed Netflix series Hip-Hop Evolution, and the world of gaming enthusiasts on YouTube with Gaming Show (In My Parents’ Garage).

In spite of the studio’s global success with niche programming, Dunn confesses that “I wish our tail was longer, but we were slow to embrace digital and social. We sold a lot of DVDs on our first few films so, for us, it’s been a game of catch up.” Moving away from a cash cow that’s working isn’t an easy shift for producers", and Dunn explained how the studio’s digital strategy is now very conscious about leveraging the long tail.

“We have Banger TV, a metal-specific YouTube channel, and we ask the audience what they want to see daily. And metal heads are very opinionated… The whole thing has been a challenge as the major music networks like Much, MTV, and VH1 became not about music. So we had to get to know new people, like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon. You’ve got to be friends with everyone, because it’s a fragmented market.”

Content targeted at niches changes various aspects of the audiovisual business, from production to distribution to marketing. Mark Bishop of Marble Media, the company behind the tween-oriented medieval-themed game show Splatalot, sees a host of advantages made possible by digital and social platforms. “We’re in over 120 countries with Splatalot and, when we’re selling to other territories, we post full episodes online, which we can do because we hold the rights. We can then see where the audience is, understand it through data, monetize online, and then take those numbers to a broadcaster.”


Other ways today’s long tail differs from yesterday’s is where the value is generated and the role played by the crowd in marketing campaigns. David Miller of entertainment marketing firm Agency71 noted: “Your theatrical release is your marketing campaign for what you do on digital and social.” In other words, cinema screenings are now seen as something that builds credibility and in turn serves marketing and promotional purposes for everything that follows, as opposed to the final destination it once was. Miller continued: “And now you need to think about things like what the thumbnail for this film will look like once it’s on iTunes.”

Speaking to a situation Mongrel Media encountered recently with one of their releases, Jessica LaGrassa revealed how the audience knew best.“We thought it was a horror film, and we marketed it that way. Then the community told us no, it wasn’t, so we had to pivot. We changed the artwork on the poster and positioned it as a thriller. We can make these changes within hours and getting it right means being able to generate digital revenue.”

But digital and social aren’t magic, nor are they free, contrary to what some may think. “You have to invest in people time,” Marble Media’s Bishop reminded the group. “Constant community engagement is an investment. Plus, you have to spend dollars to target and promote on social and digital platforms. But, if you do it right, when the time comes for your next film, the community is there.”

This post originally appeared on the CMF's Trends Blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

When TV and film go global. And digital. And then everything changes.

The TV and film industries: Little change for decades then a deluge of change. Which brings us to this update on some pieces I put together recently on how writers and producers are dealing with turbulence being the new industry norm.

Why such choppy waters? Because, as discussed here, in the TV industry very little changed for several decades.


But now everyone in the audiovisual industry knows major change is afoot—from falling licence fees to competition from OTT providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, to the growing role of data and analytics to personalized recommendations pushing programming to viewers. And that isn’t even a comprehensive list, but what is indisputable is that the monopoly on attention long held by broadcasters and networks is being challenged, and the challenge is coming from many different directions. For the full article on some of the ways broadcasters and producers are navigating their way through the digital and streaming transformation click here.

One of the biggest challenges for traditional broadcasters is the massive amount of investment going into content licensing and production on the part of the streaming only services. The biggest investor by far is Netflix, which is said to be spending $8 billion on content acquisition in 2018, a number that includes the underwriting of about 700 original shows globally.

Here in Canada the big topic is the $500 million over 5 years the company has pledged to production north of the 49th parallel. Some Canadian productions on Netflix have become among the most popular on the service worldwide. Yes I'm looking at you Anne with an E.


And of course producers want to know how to make the approach to the platform that has over 120 million subscribers and is seen in close to 200 countries. See the article on pitching to Netflix here.

And what about TV, once thought of as the small screen in our living room, in contrast to the big screen at cinemas. It isn't going away, of course, but it too is going global in its scope. There's a whole TV-as-a-franchise world out there, in the form of things like those bake-off, celebrity dancing, chef tantrum-throwing, and millionaire-making quiz shows. 

Create once, sell many times. So goes the saying from the playbooks of entrepreneurs everywhere, and now the saying is in bold face type for TV creators.

They're called 'TV formats', and whether they involve singing, selling, cooking, shopping, renovating or any number of potentially competitive activities, they have galvanized an industry once centred around drama, comedy, and news and information programming.

What began as a small slice of the TV landscape has, since the early 2000s, has become a multibillion dollar annual market, with a reach that extends to hundreds of countries worldwide. The full article on the higher risk but high reward world of TV format creation and production can be seen here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

YouTubing: Not What It Used To Be

A quick follow up on the post from earlier this week on earnings in the creative economy in these days of a new breed of celebrities who ply their craft online and build their following from the ground up. We tend to hear a lot about social media influencers making thousands per tweet, stars of Instagram with major brand deals, and of course professional YouTubers pulling in the big dollar, often without leaving their room.


As is the case in most marketplaces, especially those with low barriers to entry such as digital entertainment, a few make a lot and most don't earn much. Increasingly the way to make it on YouTube, which is the focus of this post, is for creators to use their online fame as a jumping off point, for activities such as books, personal appearances, merchandise, sponsorships, and product endorsement.

Because the revenue coming in solely from advertising running against the videos,  even for those with millions of views per month, is simply not enough. The CPMs (the amount that advertisers pay to reach 1000 viewers) for online ads have been declining on YouTube for most creators, a combination of a huge amount of inventory on the supply side (i.e. the 400+ hours of video being posted every minute to the site), as well as companies' concerns about brand-safe content moving many advertisers to premium YouTube inventory that tends to be produced by well-known creators and is generally considered family-friendly.

For the average YouTuber the squeeze is being felt on both sides, then: Competition from all the new creators wanting to get in on the action, and a flight to safety by the brands and companies with the biggest digital advertising budgets, such as P&G.

A study conducted recently by Professor Mathias Bartl of Germany's Offenburg University illustrates just how challenging it has become to make a living on YouTube alone. Bartl's analysis showed that even if you're in the top 3% of creators on the platform, and that means the bottom end of the tier averages about 1.4 million views per month, your net income from advertising (after YouTube takes its 45% cut) would be just under $17,000. (And at the highest end, where the likes of Smosh, Lilly Singh, and a bunch of game commentators whose names you don't know if you're over the age of 22, yearly incomes can run from $10 - $20 million, with ad revenue often being just one component.)

Click to enlarge
                                         
Not only that, but as you can see in the chart above the percentage of videos getting the lion's share of the views on YouTube has gone from about 40% in the early days of the site to about 3% more recently. And finally, for some additional context, there are roughly 16,000 channels on YouTube that receive in the neighbourhood of 1.5 million views or more per month, and that's out of a pool of millions of channels. Being in the top 3% is seriously hard work. Where you really need to be in order to make a living on YouTube is in the realm of the 2000 or so channels with 1 million subscribers. That seems to be the new level of success required for 'big enough'.


Related Posts:

Online Creators and Cash: Some Numbers From The Creative Economy
The Industry of YouTube: A 2017 Snapshot


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Online Creators and Cash: Some numbers from the Creative Economy

It’s a time of unprecedented choice. For everything from types of yogurt to entertainment. And as far as the latter goes this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the inverse was. There were only so many channels on TV, so many theaters in a city, so many slots on a radio station playlist. In other words, limitations were the defining characteristic of the marketplace.

Now nobody is keeping your writing, your music, your videos, your podcasts, or your handcrafted designs out of the purview of a global audience. The problem used to be getting a green light so you could get your work on the air, in a store, or otherwise in front of people. That's now the easy part, with the hard part being getting anyone to know or care that your work is available on Etsy, Soundcloud, Vimeo, YouTube, Patreon, and the like.

So what does this climate of ease of upload and/or availability of content or goods mean for creators? It's now been a decade or more since most of the ‘super platforms’ for content and commerce came onto the scene. In the early days people spoke of a radical inclusivity and democratization of creative processes and markets made possible by digital connectivity and networks. More recently there has been work done on what's being termed the 'degradation' of cultural creators and their creations, suggesting that despite the availability of inexpensive tools and low cost or free platforms, the inequalities and hierarchies of the corporate world are being reproduced online.

It is against this background that a study described as "the first rigorous quantitative analysis of America's new creative economy" has been conducted, estimating the income earned by creators across activities such as blogging, photography, music, self-published books, and handmade objects, with a focus on independent vs. celebrities generating revenue online, e.g. people with last names like Jenner or Kardashian.

Where the income earned by creators comes from:
  • Revenue share of advertising
  • Subscriptions
  • Affiliate marketing (commissions for referrals)
  • Sales of products made by the creators (e.g. on Amazon, Etsy, eBay)


Also note the following regarding the study: Income from activities such as influencer marketing, in which the ‘star’ from YouTube, Instagram, etc. paid to promote other products and/or services, are not included and revenue numbers for sellers on eBay are for self-made/handmade items only.

The top line numbers are as follows:

Source:
http://www.recreatecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ReCreate-Creative-Economy-Study-Report.pdf


I ran the numbers to come up with averages, as opposed to aggregate figures. Even though averages can be misleading, because just one outlying high earner can disproportionately skew the average higher. Think of being in a room full of people and calculating the average salary of people in that room. Then think of that room if a few CEOs, let alone Warren Buffett, is standing in it.  So yes, averages aren't ideal, because they don't tell us how many people are making, e.g. more than a living wage, but I’m working with what I have, and here are those averages, and note that they’re for full year 2016.

Click to enlarge

Based on this cursory analysis it looks like you shouldn't expect to make much money anywhere except possibly on Twitch these days. And for those who may not be aware Twitch is a live streaming platform, acquired by Amazon in late 2015 for close to $1 billion dollars, which is dominated by live game play and commentary, but also has some oddities like streams of a guy Ubering drunk college kids around

Not included in the study was Patreon, a donate-what-you-want subscription service for creators across a wide range of products and services. While there are a lot of people making a little money on Patreon, and a little is better than nothing, it turns out only about 2% of active creators on the platform are making what could be considered any sort of a living. On the other hand Patreon paid out more than $150 million to creators last year, dollars that otherwise would have been more difficult for individual makers to access.

So whether or not any of the reported numbers are good news or bad news isn't really the question. It is the new reality for creators, for whom new options exist outside of the old system of limited channels, genres, and form factors.

To access the full report, entitled "Unlocking the Gate: America's New Creative Economy", click here.


Related Post:

Monday, January 15, 2018

War of The Words: The Role of Social Media in Political Conflict

This blog does not generally concern itself with military matters but when things military cross over with things media, that’s when I take to the light artillery, i.e. the laptop keyboard. And so today you get some thoughts on a podcast I just finished listening to, on a new form of warfare. It’s the one made possible by and magnified by social media platforms.

And yes, defeating the enemy by winning them over ideologically was always one form of warfare, but now, argues David Patrikarakos, author of War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty First Century, the ability to shape narratives, and to spread them, is taking place in distinctly tactical ways, most of which were not possible prior to the era of digital networked media.


This is because there are billions of people on social media, each with the ability to deliver, edit, and/or distribute information. But the issue at hand is more than just one of of scale, i.e. moving from a limited set of broadcasters and newspapers to thousands or millions of communicative channels. It’s also the fact that what is ‘official’, ‘journalistic’, or ‘accurate’ moves through the same channels as the deceptive and misleading. Welcome to the marketplace of opinions.

Early in the podcast Patrikarakos makes a key point: That in war as we once knew it propaganda operations supported military operations on the ground. Now, he says, it’s the other way around. Military operations are supporting propaganda operations. He says he noticed this while covering the recent war between Russia and the Ukraine. Wherever he went, he heard propaganda repeated to him, often verbatim, and almost always with a heightened level of conviction.

Isis, says Patrikarakos, is also a phenomenon of social media. In fact he refers to it as "a social media terror organization." "If they had emerged even ten years ago, it would have taken them 20 years to reach one quarter of the people they were able to reach."

It’s been about 10 years since the promise of participatory media became a reality. Think back to the arrival of content-sharing platforms such as Flickr and MySpace and YouTube. What's interesting to think about now is how they all seemed like toys at the time. Pastimes where we could spend hours on end doing who knows exactly what. 

The addictiveness of the activities was undeniable, and now here we are 10 years later. Most of us assumed that more cameras, more voices, and more opinions would mean more truth, or at least more checks and balances on claims. But even those with a very limited knowledge of physics (e.g. me) know enough that for every force there is an equal and opposing force. And not everyone uses their powers for good.


To hear the full interview with author David Patrikarakos on the WhoWhatWhy podcast click here.



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Best of the blog 2017

It was a media year full of apologies and, often times, of subjectivity over objectivity. Of post truth and alternative facts. It was also another year in which there was an oversupply of content, and business models in both the analog and digital worlds were called into question. We also saw things go from moments to movements. Some things came as a surprise, such as raccoons and squirrels showing up in places they were not expected. Others came as no surprise.  
(Ed. Note: That last one is a NYT link, so if you're saving your NYT clicks...)

Have we shifted to new norms for a new era? Time will have to decide that one.

In this tiny corner of the mediascape, i.e. this blog, I have run the numbers for the year, as is my annual custom, and here are the top 5 most popular posts of the year, in reverse order.

#5 From LOLcats to Rated Dogs


Coming in at number 5, and accounting 7% for all page views for the year it's the story of North Carolina college student Matt Nelson, and the media empire he started by, yes, rating dogs on the internet.

                                                  


And you thought the internet ran on cats. That's so five years ago. Read the story of the We Rate Dogs phenomenon here.

#4 The Internet is Worth How Much???


Occupying fourth place, and representing 12% of the page views for 2017, is the post that asks and answers the question: What is the value of the internet to the U.S. economy? 

It also provides a look into what it is I do for a living, which is not always easy to explain.  Find out how on earth such a figure is arrived at by checking out the full post here.

# 3 The Internet: Where hundreds of millions of users does not equal a business model



At number 3, with 13% of all page views for the year in its corner, and continuing with the theme of internet economics is this post. It calls into question the widely held belief that the internet's enabling of the digitization of media products, coupled with low cost mass distribution, equals a goldmine. Particularly when you can sell digital advertising again 'eyeballs', to use industry parlance, use freemium business models in which some pay but most don't, or take engagement metrics to the bank, so to speak. Those measure such things as the amount of time people spend on your app, site, or service, the comments they leave, and whether or not they click 'like' or 'share'. While this has been the road to billions for Facebook they are the outlier. Read the full post on bewildering digital business models here.

#2 Taking on the Fake News Industrial Complex


With just a handful more page views than the #3 title holder is this post, which introduces you to Misinfocon, an event that went deep into the world of misinformation and disinformation pedlars, bringing together journalists, technologists, software developers, academics, advocates, investors, a counterintelligence expert working for the Department of Defense, and even a bona fide fake news site creator at MIT’s Media Lab earlier this year. Get the whole story here.

                             


#1 The Digital Future & How It Happened


And the big winner, at #1, with 14% of all page views for the year it's this post, based on a conference keynote given back in January by Jeffrey Cole of USC Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future. The gist of the talk was about how and why disruption, that oft used, if not, over-used term, happens, even though hindsight often makes things look so obvious.



Why didn't Blockbuster buy Netflix for a song when they had the chance? How and why did capital and infrastructure intensive businesses such as the hotel industry and the cab industry get blindsided by the likes of AirBnB and Uber? Read the full post for some insights into why things happen the way they do, particularly in the world of technology-based businesses.

And now I'll take a moment to thank you for reading and sharing the blog posts this year. It continues to be a labour of love, five long years into this exercise. Where things go with it in 2018 are yet to be seen but for now I thank you for joining me in this journey of publicly thinking through what I see as some of the most interesting puzzles of our time.