On SNAKK Media, Derek Handley and Kiwi Entrepreneur Success


The Snakk Media AGM, appropriately held in the Sir Paul Reeves Building of AUT in Auckland last night, appeared to be a classic event, with typical investors, asking typical questions. However, in my opinion, it wasn’t, it was a meeting in a room made up of some of the finest minds in marketing and leading edge mobile technology.

SNAKK AGM

SNAKK AGM

I was very proud to see entrepreneur, Derek Handley, on the stage surrounded by other Kiwi business leaders and visionaries including Tim Alpe, Max Flanigan and GM, Andrew Jacobs who I met for the first time last night.

I’m sure the media will cover the story, but here’s my take; on a tangent. I have always believed in Derek, his family and team from the day I met them, many years ago as they were preparing to found The Hyperfactory. They were the classic start up and I admired their passion and enjoyed their company, because they were driven and they were passionate about the same things I was, and still am. I love the company of positive, can do, will do people.

Snakk has allowed Kiwi investors to invest in a company that may never do a huge amount of business in New Zealand, which is really exciting, because it is not an opportunity that comes up often. As was pointed out, 2 years ago mobile digital advertising spend in New Zealand and the UK was 1% of the total spend. Today in New Zealand (where I have been trying to educate agencies on location based marketing and Augmented Reality, the percentage remains at 1% and in the UK is now 23%. In Australia they have the third fastest growth in the world (sic) of smartphone and tablet users, so it is appropriate for their head office to be in Sydney.

There was a lot of discussion about the threat to live TV with so many people now streaming to their mobiles and time shifting. Snakk didn’t mention all the technologies, but I am confident that they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves so that people like me who watch a reasonable amount of TV, while using my iPad or mobile, and MySky, will also be able to receive the messages I want. 

Here’s where I get excited. I want, and assume you will too, my TV. When it comes to advertising, I’m a marketer, but I don’t generally like watching ads. I guess the main reason is because most of them are not relevant to me, or at least not relevant to me at that time. I want them when I am open to buy.

So here are some of the things that I wanted to hear (and did either directly or between the lines):

  • Profile. I want ads that match my profile. Having them appear on my third screen (my mobile or tablet) in conjunction with what I am watching, based on my interests is something I might welcome. If there is an interaction between my device and the TV program, then it may not matter if I am watching live or time-shifted, depending on my:
  • Context. A lot of the future of mobile advertising comes down to an app on my device knowing things about me. What I am interested in, where I eat, drink, play, get entertained. What I am interested in at certain times of the day or day of the week. Market food to me at a time I am likely to be considering a meal. Then of course there is:
  • Location. If my mobile knows where I am, there is so much more you can do. If I like coffee, I’m walking downtown and there is a cafe that wants my business, let them send me an offer together with a reward of free WiFi.

On another tangent, the awesome podcast from Asif Khan and Rob Woodbridge of the Location Based Marketing Association: This Week In Location Based Marketing mentioned that where a geofence is used for guerilla based mobile marketing, they get a 12% click through rate. Just to explain, imagine you walk into Burger King and your mobile bleeps you a notification offering you a free upsize if you go to McDonalds up the road and buy a Big Mac combo.

This is where people started to get excited and concerned about privacy and I need to mention the MAC, pun intended. Effectively it is possible for apps to learn about you and your behavior without having your personal details. Effectively they track your mobile, not YOU. It’s not quite that simple and that is why in the early days of The Hyperfactory (I didn’t actually work there, I suppose you could have called me a Hyperfactory groupie) we started to set up a Mobile Marketing Association, with the view of self regulating to ensure the Government didn’t over regulate. The key was around allowing people to know what information was held about them and giving them the right to revoke access to it.

This blog is getting way too long, so I’ll finish with a few quick thoughts on Foursquare. I wish I had paid more attention to Derek having shared an office with Foursquare, I think I made a mental note to talk to him about that, but I didn’t. Maybe I still will.

The question was asked as to whether Foursquare was viable and the general answer from the panel was, not really. Derek was more retrospect and pointed out that the issue in New Zealand has always been one of scale. In New York City scale isn’t a problem, the population is over 8 million people. They can afford to have sales people in NYC and its easy to segment them.

In New Zealand there are actually a reasonable number of users, but Foursquare hasn’t really been interested in them because we are too small. I briefly became a Foursquare Ambassador and saw big opportunities for proximity based marketing. I saw a business model for myself with Foursquare, but they would not allow me (or anyone) to manage multiple businesses on behalf of customers. Each account had to be managed individually and for New Zealand that was a fatal flaw.

For those who think Foursquare is out, have a read of this story from Fast Company.

Did you go last night? What did you think? I think this is going to be a very successful global company and look forward to being involved somehow, if only only the sideline. I have watched and met many successful people over the years through my business network and Derek Handley is a Kiwi that remains underrated imho despite all he has achieved to date. In my opinion the shares are well undervalued right now. I’d recommend at least buying a few.

Footnote: I do not own any shares in Snakk Media. I do not work for Snakk Media in any capacity. I would seriously consider both though:)

Congratulations to Julie Landry, Vaughn Davis and the team for an excellent event.

Mobile Marketing and LBS


So a couple of night’s ago I was at the NZ Wireless and Broadband’s Forum’s Wireless Wednesday. I was there to pre announce a Location Based Services application development competition. If you have read my Bio, you will be aware that I was a founding member of this organisation in New Zealand and the first elected President. I still remember the day we were working on a name for our monthly get togethers and I came up with Wireless Wednesday. Well the name has stuck and Steve Simms, the current president said that there have now been around 163 of them!

I haven’t been to the Forum for a while because it wasn’t relevant to my current activities, but with this upcoming competition and a new focus on bringing LBS into the real world, things are going to change.

What was really cool for me is that it is around 10 years since the Wireless Data Forum (as we were called then) launched it’s first developers competition for wireless and mobile applications. Even more so was the coincidence that this week’s excellent presentation was made by Ghanum Taylor of The Hyperfactory. The Hyperfactory won that first competition all those years ago. At the time they were an enthusiastic family group, Derek and Geoffrey Handley and a few other people who were equally passionate about the potential of mobile cellular technology.

These guys never wavered from their passion and commitment and I think it is worth a mention that passion imho is the single most important factor in their rise to success. They worked tirelessly and dragged the advertising and direct marketing industries, kicking and screaming into the future.

Just like many other technologies I enjoy, the market has slipped into the mass adopter phase without anyone noticing. If you saw a txt to win coupon on a product, you would simply txt the coupon number to a short code today and think nothing of it. LBS marketing is coming big time.

I’m not going to talk about their campaigns, because they can do it far better than I. Just go to their website and it is full of video’s and campaign success stories.

I didn’t start this blog as a kudos story for The Hyperfactory, but I do think that they can take some credit for helping to change the face of tomorrow’s advertising world. Check out a few of these names and I’ll wager (their first application concept was designed to allow people to bet against each other at sporting events via their mobiles) that you have seen or participated in one of their mobile campaigns:

  • Coca Cola
  • Nivea
  • Adidas
  • Vodafone
  • Motorola
  • Tylenol
  • Kellogs
  • Jim Beam, and the list goes on.

I’m not big on advertising. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to TVC’s at all, with rare exceptions like the Vodafone commercial where the guy folds up his life and puts it in his pocket (I really like the song and the dobro guitar) or the new Ford adverstisement where all the instruments in the orchestra are made of car parts.

In general, I hardly ever read print ads. I read a book during the TV commercials and these days rarely listen to broadcast radio as I am educating and updating myself in podcasts. Advertising is creeping surrepticiously into podcasts, in fact there are companies specialising in ads for podcats, but they tend to be well targetted which means that I am probably interested in the products, or I can fast forward my iPod anyway.

Anyway, watch this space for news about an exciting new competition in New Zealand for LBS Applications.

While this blog is starting to get a good following, I would love to get more readers and encouraging me to keep writing. If you feel that my blog is interesting I would be very grateful if you would vote for me in the category of best blog at the NetGuide Web Awards. Note that the form starts each site with www whereas my blog doesn’t and is of course https://luigicappel.wordpress.com.

Thanks so much for your support