Case Study: How to Think Small and Scalable to Quickly Establish a Pop-Up Global Black Media Operation

reporter One thing African-Americans are realizing more and more is that we need our own media to represent black people with dignity and respect with productive fact-based information. Brothas and sistas see over and over how mainstream media want to showcase these highly educated articulate black intellectuals and “thought leaders” who are out of touch with the real black community but love to be seen and run their mouth about the black community from an ivory tower. And we see over and over how mainstream media want to present some backwater bigoted hick with no education to just talk bad about black people and the black community using code words and they call it Fox News and conservative talk radio. Even worse, we give “black” people like Cathy Hughes and Bob Johnson our race-based support to operate black media channels and these characters lost their damn mind using their black media operations to show degrading and non-serious images of black people like everything has to be a laugh track or affiliated with sex and drama all the damn time. And how many of you brothas and sistas reading this got ignorant black Facebook friends working broke ass jobs be posting in your Facebook news feed timeline about some reality show drama featuring negative black women fighting each other or have attitudes with each other? And then we got these black radio shows where they want to crack jokes every morning – okay, you guys get point that we need a real black media that can represent the middle of the road real black person in America unfiltered. The Flaw and Failure of Existing Black Media blackfam The reason why black media resort to playing degrading songs about black women and promoting sex to the black community is because these black media operations want to get ratings and claim to corporate advertisers that their media has a demographic of a working middle class black family of four listening to a radio station that plays music degrading black women all day long. If you think of the black media and the failure of black media and the garbage quality black media has been reduced to, you will notice business model inefficiency. What you notice is current black media do not try to invest in the black community to build up solid organic revenue and instead chase corporate advertisers. This is extremely important for you to understand before reading anything further because if you do not understand this, you will screw up and make the same mistake other black media have done since the 1970s. You see Atlanta Black Star for example – they write up these black and proud BS articles and yall be liking those articles and then you see how they went about their growth – you see corporate advertisers all up on the Atlanta Black Star web site now. See, over and over again, you realize these black media models are looking for corporate advertiser dollars and not interested in generating revenue through the black community who they claim to serve with their media programming. Black Enterprise, Essence, BET and the rest of that ish are chasing corporate advertiser dollars as handout and subsidies. And that is where the black media business model is messed up at but there is one bigger flaw and this is the secret sauce you need to understand the ingredients. The flaw of black media is black media have to keep feeding the daily beast. If you do not understand this term "feeding the daily beast", that means Radio One has to keep a radio station up and running 7 days a week during waking hours to entertain African-Americans. That means their morning show host need new jokes and materials to make black women driving to their jobs keep laughing out loud while in traffic. That means Essence and some of these blogs like Clutch always have to put out some new article on their blog every damn day. That means a black television series have to write a new script to renew their season over and over. That is where a black media operation has to keep putting out bullshit because of the daily demand of their audience who may not even consume the bullshit they putting out. You don’t see Dream and Hustle putting out a blog everyday, I ran into this thick light-skinned country girl who had a brotha whipped..man that ass tho..see for a minute I was like should I write this black empowerment article and she texting me and ask me what I’m doing and I reply like missing you baby and ask if she want to come over and chill and then I’m was like f*ck empowering black people tonight, I want to hug all up on this chick. And the upcoming Hustle Space magazine, I explained all of this clearly that I have a 12 volume edition similar to an encyclopedia format that is updated like software versioning – Black Enterprise magazine need to feed the daily beast and keep making up new shit everyday and every month. That is the flaw. If you want to think of something similar, think of the electric company that produce electricity - an inefficient power plant has to keep producing electricity even if no one use it and the same with mobile cell towers, they have to output a radio transmission even at 4am at night with few people using it even though the cell tower peak power around 5pm. An efficient operation is smart enough to turn on and off with demand and only respond to demand and does not stay up and running. See, these dinosaur black media models have to stay up and running - your black media does not have to be this way and you launch only when there is a demand and shut down when the demand goes away - that is how you going to win by creating a pop-up black media solution. The Pop-Up Black Media as a Solution Media Solution Your technology solution is to create a black media operation that operates on-demand and as-needed to cover breaking news and special coverage. Your black media need to provide coverage, spread awareness and raise money to fund the media operation and that is it. You do not need a 24/7 news organization and you do not need to spend money to produce cute programming shit to feed a daily beast which causing other black media operations to go broke. You have a staff that you hire on an hourly basis and work on call and you have a system in place to setup the pop-up studio, provide the live stream or pre-recorded stream and you have reporters with experience who can report on the field and create a segment that you distribute on videos and through social media. And when the story is over, you shut it all down and hibernate like a grizzly bear. That is your pop-up black media solution. The way you create a pop-up media operation is why we writing this article – you will need to think like an entrepreneurial enterprise information architect and hustle-minded strategist. See, you can run out there and buy some media servers for $100K and cameras that are $25K and graphics and programming equipment running you another $250K and your black ass is broke before you launch and all you got is a great idea and expensive equipment you cannot afford to maintain due to the cost of your operation. If you look at the diagram above, these are your components but you can only use some of the components for now and add more components as you grow - you need to understand this concept for the purpose of this article. All you really need right now is a “pre-recorded segment” that is a minute long and you create a bunch of these short videos to distribute with your logo. Let’s look at EuroNews pre-recorded segments as a case study: Notice the video is not of what is being reported but the point is being made and this video is under a minute. This is how you focus on just putting out professional news reporting and you can start at this level. Also you can just have interesting incidents and just record them and have them submitted to you such as this one and it is about a minute and a half also: You distribute your pre-recorded segments on YouTube, Smart TVs like Samsung and set top boxes like Roku and game consoles like XBox as an app that viewers can subscribe to and these videos can be distributed and hosted on a cloud location or a small server. This will get you a startup goal of being available on multiple channels and spreading awareness as you grow your operations. See, the point here is learning how to think small and scalable where you can start at a small level and still compete with the big dogs as you scale up and add more components. That is the mentality of how you need to create enterprise solutions in the black community. The Art of Scalable Technology Solutions from Bootstrapping to Enterprise Level strategy When I talk on Dream and Hustle about starting your hustle on a $5/month GoDaddy site, I bet people be laughing but those same people be laughing will never show their face. The reason why is because if you are enterprise thinking, you know you have all the technology at the $5/month level to get yourself out there and scale up to a bigger web server or web hosting plan once your business takes off. What you want to think and carry yourself as an entrepreneur is to be scalable – this is where you can start small but make incremental steps to increase the capacity and processing as demand grows. Think about the cat who rents an office space so they can have a corporate address and pretend they important showing up at the office space and no one comes and visit them. See, they spent too much money at that moment where there is no demand for people to come visit that entrepreneur who is probably just sending emails. That cat could have just worked from home and met clients at a Starbucks over coffee or in the waiting area of an airport lounge or hotel lobby. So you have to always think small first and most black people want to front like they big and important too much and that is the big mistake of black entrepreneurs – you being smart come into this game cheap and humble and low-level and just blow up from there by adding components as demand grows. The best journey of entrepreneurship is you creating a scalable path that let you grow with grace from a cheap solution to an enterprise level solution. Square that process credit cards is a scalable solution that was good enough for a bunch of merchants in one region as a beta test and then they scaled it out to users all over. First it was on an iPhone and now Square is on iPads and Android devices. Then they moved to Square Register and now I believe they have a program to do bridge lending for inventory purchases. That is scalable growth. You saw Redbox probably in Wal-Mart first and now they scaled up Redbox to be everywhere including outside and on college campuses and so on. The same with car sharing apps where they were only in a few cities but now scaled up all over the world. You live in the 21st century where entrepreneurial solutions can start from the bottom and now you here. When you are thinking of creating solutions for the hood and using technology, here are the concepts and approach you want to keep in mind: $5/month GoDaddy Hosting. We have tested the $5/month GoDaddy hosting and the SQL Server options are powerful which include transactions and merge statement in the stored procedures. And the site can be used to hold a lot of data like media files that can be served as a web service, even for a mobile app. ASP.NET MVC Driven with HTML5. This is actually just as good as a mobile app and the only real difference is the UI as your code and database should be hosted on a server instead of embedded in the app itself for productivity solutions. So when it comes to the UI, HTML5 is touch enabled, you can create shortcut icons on the mobile device screen like an app and your HTML5 web site is responsive to work on desktops as well as mobile devices – you should always start your application using HTML5 as mobile app development is expensive and costly and most black people talking about they build apps, their shit is generic as hell and mediocre and that’s real talk. Cloud Services. Look beyond the word "cloud" and look at the kind of services being offered. For example the queue service for clouds is great because you can use that where cats type a twitter message and you queue it up to be filtered to display on an overhead screen in a public area. Or you have the media streaming service that can stream media on demand. And you also have processing that can do things like host UPC product information for items being sold in the hood. A lot of billion dollar startups hosted their images on cloud services like Amazon for example at a much cheaper cost and scalable also. Social Media. Look at ways to make your solution sharing through social media networks. Learn how the API works and how to manipulate the API to do thinks like allow people to share images and upload images to share with friends. Learn how to distribute coupon codes and videos and track the feedback. Prepaid Transactions. Instead of charging for every use or fee, focus on subscription models where you charge a person once a year or once a month or a fix amount of credits to use within the digital solution you are offering. This allow you to be flexible on changing your payment providers instead of having a checkout page of a 3rd party who may be funky with your money for some strange reason. When you think of these solutions, you realize that you can startup a technology solution and empire very cheap and practical nowadays. You don't need Venture Capital funding or even bother to chase that crap. Then you should also see these technologies help you grow your hustle over time as the demand grow. You can start all kind of businesses on a $5/month GoDaddy site that you can transform from HTML5 to a mobile app UI and you can create a copy of the web site in a different language or work for a different location. You can design the database to create a cube empire that does not support one shop, but multiple locations and multiple businesses and vendors like we demonstrated before which can scale up. Also create a membership service for a Laundromat that works all over the world. And in this example, we going to look at how you create a pop-up black media solution for the black community. Setting Up a Pop-Up Black Media Operation in the Hood studio When you put everything I mention above together, you should realize all you have to do to launch hustles is to focus on scalability where you start small but grow through increments and add-on components. This knowledge of the game is the difference between techie black folks who want to be like Ed Dunn and the 3rd Strategic Institute but cannot be like Ed Dunn and the 3rd Strategic Institute because these blerds refuse to think like me and my crew and fail to realize our experience and skills shaped us to mature to this approach to tech startups. Let me say it one more time - the current problem is black folks want to come out looking important and impressive and spend too much money upfront trying to front an image and they fail hard, real hard as a result. To launch a pop-up media you should first focus on finding a place to create a news studio to do reporting. I recommend Atlanta, Georgia USA and Los Angeles, California USA and London, United Kingdom as your headquarters because these areas simply have talent and strategically located to reach most of the world. There should also be existing places that may have studio rental space where they have the green screen and cameras already setup and rent by the hour. Now this is how you got to approach it – you need to raise funding first because money talks when you discuss business to hire laid off news anchors and reporters to work on the story on a temp contract. You pay them per segment to cover the story and when the money runs out or not there, you cut your losses and close down the pop-up black media operation but you will come back when the money right. See, this allow you to fail and keep your brand as you shut down operations and pop-up again. You just maintain the logo and design so people know when you are back in business. But if you get it right, when a story breaks out like a Hurricane Katrina or Ferguson, you spring all your people in action to report and make pre-recorded segments then you distribute throughout the channels online and you make sure the videos are shared in social media and you license them to other media outlets. Then in real-time you raise funds from the community as your commercial breaks in lieu of corporate advertisers. What you is doing is using your time and money of the operation wisely to only operate when a black media worthy event occur and shut down if there is no needs or no revenue coming in that can sustain - like a solar power plant. For the live programming for discussions and interviewers, you can get street cred pundits on who will real talk about what we can do regarding the situation in the black community and you also can talk to cats on the streets who give their real opinion about what’s going on unfiltered. Then you go on a counter attack showing how mainstream media is not allowing black people to speak. You go after the reporting on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and talk about how they not representing. Then you attack other black media outlets for promoting coon ass black media instead of educating and empowering the people to avoid future incidents like Hurricane Katrina or Ferguson. But what you do is create programming that empowers black people and you bring in lawyers and politicians who work in the black community directly who know the law and the process and bring in the ACLU to explain rights. That will get you instant street credibility among the real blacks who will support your pop-up black media operation. Now for advertising – I strongly recommend while the pop-up operation is down, you simply sell ad spots that will appear when you launch the pop-up and this is probably your serious advantage. You can use your existing media servers to just serve ads to the media consumer during the downtime. For example, a black-owned vegetarian restaurant here in Atlanta can offer nationwide a special for out of towners to visit Atlanta over the weekend and eat for 20% off. That ad space can be sold right now and then when the pop-up occur, play the video of the ads during breaks. See, what you doing is soliciting ads while the black media is on idle and then when a pop-up event occur, you already got ads bought and paid for by the local black community through donations and local sponsors. jumbotron Your core strategy of a pop-up black media solution should be to setup IPTV jumbotrons in the hood commercial shopping areas to show your broadcast as breaking news in commercial areas. When your pop-up black media is going through downtime, use the jumbotron to show slideshow ads and video ads of local business. This is how you generate revenue and support the local black community with a marketing vehicle at the same time. You also create a way to drive traffic to black commercial zones. This is a practice in Asia that we can bring to our hoods here in America. Also setup IPTV in barber shops and other waiting areas to run ads - those are your commercial viewing areas in the diagram at the top of this article. Then when it is time to run breaking news, you are already embedded deep in the black community and your pop-up black media spring into action and provide around the clock coverage on jumbotrons, mobile devices and commercial areas giving you wide access and spread coverage. This gives you instant credibility in the black community as a news media and you already trump the other fake black media characters who are not even in the black community except promoting negative images of black people for ratings and peddling mobile phone signups. And you also get your revenue from local black business and use your jumbotron and IPTV to run ads for local black business – the black community merchant class and working class will support you way more than any of these other black media organizations and will no longer support these other black media organizations that are too busy chasing corporate advertisers when they see your pop-up black media doing business and recycling economics with the local black community. The whole point of this article is to start thinking outside the box in your enterprise solutions and start small and scale up. There is no need to run a 24/7 black media channel in the 21st century and that is stupid and black media who does this always have to resort to feeding the daily beast and devolve into programming negative black media to keep ratings to appeal to corporate advertisers. Your pop-up black media works on demand, can use the cloud, can use HTML5 and works directly with the black community and embedded in the black community and your organic growth will over the long term be more profitable than any of the existing black media outlets. Learn to think small, cheap and incorporate scalability into your hustle from day one on how you plan to grow which is through incremental strategies. Focus on customers from day one instead of trying to get VC funding and lending capital like these other cornballs who go broke real fast. All of the real opportunities for black entrepreneurs exist right now and we can do it within our communities and deal directly with our people and serve our community only without outside influence. Let’s start thinking enterprise, starting small and hustling up to big things and when we say we are black entrepreneurs, we also make a point that we are black entrepreneurs that support black business and the black community.

15 thoughts on “Case Study: How to Think Small and Scalable to Quickly Establish a Pop-Up Global Black Media Operation

  1. Thanks for the article Ed, I strongly believe that starting out using Godaddy to begin my business models opened up a lot of options especially being on a budget. This is a great learning experience for myself by doing all it takes to make change and get mine to empower ppl around me as well. I am extremely excited to get my first business model off ground based on your advice and guidance in making shit happen and not talking about it. Separating myself from ppl and zoning in on figuring out the technology and how to run my business like a boss has come a long way in just continuing to read, and re-read and learn patterns and practices to help me which I had NO CLUE of before. To not even try to implement the valuable information that Dream and Hustle has given over the last few years I have been actively following would have still kept me in the mindset of many ppl who lack the desire to want to win for themselves and communities.

    1. Shawn i saw that askimet intercepted your message and i just found it doing manual digging.

      yes it is cheaper and better to use html5 than a mobile app. A real mobile app can cost over a million dollar to develop and maintain.

      Anybody who claim they have a mobile app and do not this level of investment usually have a mediorce product that could have been done in html5

  2. This ties in to the discussion in the comments section of your
    Sista-to-Sista Modeling Case Study: Edwige À-La-Mode post. Blackandkillingit.com is pretty much a “feed the daily beast operation”. Its 24/7 and inefficient.
    There is no “real” black media company focusing on black beauty. Sista to Sista black beauty, not that King Magazine ish. How should a pop up media operation be established for sista to sista beauty/fashion?

    1. Rick,

      It’s kinda there on the magazine racks but I’m going to give you a hint – there is one black media company focusing on black beauty as a pop-up and you need to start moving right now if you have to go there. Well, actually, you may not.

      If you look at the magazine racks, you will see in spring the wedding magazines – these are pop-up magazines. Then you see holiday shopping/fashion magazines later around October November. When Nelson Mandela died or Michael Jackson died or President Obama was first elected, there were temporary magazines on those racks. Life magazine does this all the time with one-time runs and it would not surprise me if these magazines were extremely profitable.

      The pop-up operation for black beauty is the urban model calendar and you can work on doing snaps to collect pictures and choose who you want to appear in the calendar. Now to take it a step further, you can do snaps on themes and then choose who you want in a pop-up magazine. For example, sistas dressed up in the Black | White collection can be a theme and the magazine you put out is one time. And like Hustle Space, it is not month to month feeding the daily beast – you can have a Black | White newer version release next year the same way Sports Illustrated do the swimsuit edition but you have more themes to throw on the magazine rack.

      You can do a sliding month calendar on the Black | White collection that is the next month, it does have to be the 2015 year, just say 12 month calendar and using a printer to make the magazine and push it out.

  3. Great information and on time reminder for all, who are in business or thinking of starting one. Really, this post can serve as a good road map for putting this requirement into perspective, “how to think small and scalable,” not getting overwhelmed in processes (staying focused on what’s best for the growth & goals of the business) and staying humble while grinding like crazy to make it all come together. Great works, Ed. Thank you for this post.

    P.S.
    Ed, I would like to see some feedback regarding a pop up media operation for “Sista to Sista Black beauty/fashion,” as mentioned in the post above. The closest I’ve seen is the Africa Chanel. A few Sista’s are profiled, showcasing their travel, clothing/ accessories lines, foods segment, lifestyles, host tours of their towns & more. Creating their own paths to markets within Africa as well as global markets, all starting off very small & scalable. Most of the programs are featured as separate shows yet packaged together for a seamless flow of information & entertainment. Love it!

  4. Ed I checked out the magazine rack and came across Todays Black Woman Style Report http://www.todaysblackwoman.com and Hype Hair http://www.hypehair.com

    Todays Black Woman Style does a great job of highlighting specific products and Hype Hair does a great job of highlighting specific themes (curly hair/natural hair themes).

    I’m brainstorming a pop up Sista to Sista Beauty Media Operation and here’s what I have so far:

    A Black & White edition covering Dec and Jan for formal celebrations. Sista to Sista snaps that feature formal wear to Christmas parties, New Years parties, etc. Dec the magazine edition, Jan the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    A Hollywood edition covering Feb and Mar for glamour wear. Sista to Sista snaps that feature gowns and glamour wear released during the same time as the Oscars. Feb the magazine edition, Mar the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    A Wedding edition covering Apr and May for spring weddings. Sista to Sista snaps that feature Wedding Gowns and Wedding attire. Apr the magazine edition, May the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    A Swimsuit edition covering Jun and Jul. Sista to Sista snaps that feature new swimsuit wear for the summer. Jun the magazine edition, Jul the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    A Back to School edition covering Aug and Sep for returning students. Sista to Sista snaps that feature the hottest fall wear for college and high school students. Aug the magazine edition, Sept the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    And last but not least, a Winter Holiday edition covering Oct and Nov for winter fashion. Sista to Sista snaps that feature winter wear. Winter coats, scarfs, gloves, etc. Oct the magazine edition, Nov the 12 month calendar edition collected from snaps which follow the theme.

    What are your thoughts? I’d love any feedback. How should the magazine, calendar, website and social media all be connected?

  5. Ed,

    Just checking out the site for the first time. Glad to see what’s going on here. I had the same ideas in mind, and have previously as a media entrepreneur / director. WHat i deal with continuously is small-mindedness, folks afraid of bigger ideas and used to the routines used by big business to maintain big business.

    I tell folks you have to get your name out there, put in work and stand seriously on what you want to express, fuck what a competitor is doing its irrelevant, both artistically and factually that shit makes no difference! I’m loving the media model too because Jon Stewart and Steve Carell already set the mold for getting news out to younger audiences via comedy.

    Do it in short bursts, serialize it, do whats current and necessary, only speak on what speaks to you. They have the 24 hour bullshit stations to parrot nonsense anyway. We need a smart, irreverent and honest media voice, as many as possible that speak to our interests.

    One thing I’m sure you know about “black” people is that they are slow to change, and many will resist the more controversial viewpoints about the nature of their situation in AMerica. A negro being nostalgic about their plight in Amerikka is like a lobster yearning for the hammer and the boiling pot. I’ll never understand it.

    Well I’ll be studying this case study you are a very bright industrious brother, will be using this to show some of my friends in media how to just jump out there without fear of being “too little” or not being heard by conventional blacks. Conventional blacks is a dead subject. That slave wants to be beat by massa just to take a day off from work and cry about it. Hotep

  6. Ed, I have a question…

    Can you use HTML5 for a mobile video app? Will that work? Basically I am looking at video feed from the HTML5…

    1. Not all mobile browsers use the same code to handle HTML5, me and my team is researching this and if push come to shove, we will resort to using a mobile app wrapper to stream video.

      But HTML5 uses video and YouTube uses HTML5 to replace flash on modern browsers.

  7. Ed,

    Great! I will research further too-I am looking to do a media model that will only be used when needed as you stated before…It will not be the mainstream media that we all are used to. Thanks!

  8. Ed, when you are saying breaking news…are you meaning news that directly affects the black community (i.e. another shooing of an unarmed black male teen) or are news such as (i.e. Obama OKs the bombing of…)? I am trying to grasp the concept of giving the black community media that they will use and need. I understand the advertising model that you have-I think this is great!
    I have read this article over 40 times. I am really trying to retain what I need to do and how I need to do it.

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