Today we've closed a financing round with our co-lead, Brightspark Ventures into B5 media. At first, I really wanted to just sit back and let the rocks fly and blogosphere go nuts with the who/what/why and the zillions of opinions.
The Rick Segal, newbie venture capitalist disclaimer:
I"m about to invest a bunch of money for these reasons and I could be wrong.
First, blogging is not the end game. Online Bulletin Boards, Journals, Newgroups, etc, have all been around for years and there is nothing inherently new about people expressing opinions, telling stories, sharing recipes, etc. It is not, in my view, about the act of blogging.
What is different today are the habits of a generation coming right up my proverbial tailpipe. They share a passion for information, the sharing of information, and most importantly the critical examination of information as a community. We've seen famous people busted for saying/doing dumb things, amazing ideas get accepted lighting fast, and unknown issues become major mainstream causes virtually overnight.
With all of this comes information overload and, of course, with information overload comes opportunities on a number of fronts.
The most obvious is authority. Today for example, Mike Arrington enjoys some great respect and authority when people think about technology and opinions on start up companies. I, along with 1000s of others, enjoy Techcrunch. Mike's enterprise continues to grow value. I believe that the markets and the focus of b5's increasing blogger ranks will continue to grow their respective authority and thus increase the networks value.
There are opportunities for new authorities on topics of all kinds to emerge and b5 is a great platform to bring those authorities to market.
The next opportunity is a chance to execute on Doc Searl's vision/theory of the intention economy. Doc and I have talked about this for years with Doc writing about this topic often. The general thinking on Doc's thesis applied here is fairly simple. When I sign up for a blog about a specific topic, there is an intent by me to obtain that knowledge. With that knowledge comes the ability to focus economic offers that may be of interest to me. I own a Volvo, read a Volvo blog, and find offers (ads if you will) about things about/for/related to Volvo of interest and not necessarily noise. I love digital photography, listen to smart people and do read the ads when I'm immersed in that hobby.
All of this translates into an opportunity to grow a business that is about the intention economy. While many will dismiss this as just blather about making money with ads, I believe there is more to it and b5 represents a good opportunity (and great team) to test out/play out some of these ideas.
These are early days and Jeremy's team at b5 have some excellent momentum with which to grow, experiment, learn and tune a great business in this 'new media' space.
Finally, there is Shel Israel. Shel has been working behind the scenes with Jeremy and I on the whole topic of the global neighborhood. I'm delighted Shel is going to continue to work with the company in expanding roles over the coming months. Shel's general expertise (and passion) about blogging combined with decades of experience in media, offer b5 a unique perspective and valuable cache of wisdom that we can apply while building the global neighborhoods. There is a super smart person in Dublin Ireland that has forgotten more than I know about my Nikon D200 camera. That person, blogging, becomes valuable to me and all the other Nikon Digital buffs. The global neighborhood is about finding her and b5 is about building that structure to have the voice heard, possibly become an authority and hopefully add value to the over all b5 network.
Lots and lots of people are going to go, yeah right, bunch of VC lemmings chasing flavor of the month, pissing away gobs of cash on another me too blogger pile. In the words of Seth Godin, I can only respond; so?
Slightly more seriously, it is early days. We've found a very, very passionate team of young entrepreneurs and a super partner in Brightspark who want to collectively explore these opportunities. I expect the rocks, expect the armchair quarterbacking and expect, well, expect what goes on in the blogosphere.
But before you pick up that rock or fire off that rant, how about a well done for Jeremy, Duncan, Darren, Shai for working hard to build a business, actually have revenue (!), and showing the passion, excitement, and drive that, in the end, will matter the most. Well done, folks, well done.
The mud pit is now open. :-)