It’s hard to argue these days that the world is not going through a fundamental change in the nature of communication. Just as the world transitioned from an oral society to a written society in the wake of Gutenberg’s printing press 500+ years ago, today we are witnessing the dominant medium of communication transition from the written word to video. A few weeks ago, Twitter rolled out their native video player. At the end of last year, Facebook re-prioritized their feed algorithm to favor posts with videos. YouTube’s meteoric ascent continues.
To aid in this transition, an entire technical ecosystem has sprung up to support online video. There are countless solutions for delivery, tracking, advertising integration, annotation, promotion, and nearly all other aspects of the video world. And with every new smartphone cycle, better and better capture technologies are rolled out globally, with penetration previously unrivaled in the history of consumer technology. There are over 2 billion smartphones today, all of which have HD video cameras. And by 2020, recent estimates show that this number will rise to nearly 6 billion. This is a long way from the days of a few million camcorders.
But one aspect of this video revolution remains largely unsolved—the front-end creation point. Nearly 100% of smartphone users have videos in their camera rolls. But surveys show that less than 7% of those people ever edit them. That’s 1.86 billion people today who have taken the time to shoot video, but have gotten stuck after that. By 2020, that number would rise to 5.58 billion. That’s a lot of people who need a service.
Bill Gurley recently wrote a great blog piece about how it was impossible to estimate the size of a new market based on the old one it was replacing IF the new market was fundamentally easier to use and fundamentally cheaper.
When you materially improve an offering, and create new features, functions, experiences, price points, and even enable new use cases, you can materially expand the market in the process. The past can be a poor guide for the future if the future offering is materially different than the past.
At VidMob, we agree with this analysis, and we think it applies directly to what we’re doing for video. Today, it is incredibly hard to get a professionally edited video. Just getting your video from your device to an editor is a difficult task if the video is any longer than 20 seconds. And where do you find the editor? And what if the raw media exists on multiple devices—like yours and your wife’s? Or all of the parents of a high school volleyball team?
Because of this transmission difficulty, and because previous devices didn’t shoot great video, most solutions to-date have tried to match consumers who wanted videos made with end-to-end solutions—storyboarding, shooting, editing, etc. This has resulted in price points that were out of the range of all consumers, all but a few businesses, and convenience barriers that were out of the range of all but a few events—who wants to hire a videographer to come to the park with you while you try to teach your four-year-old how to ride a bike?
VidMob has solved this issue by making it incredibly easy for anyone, with any amount of video on their smartphones to send it to the cloud and let editors all over the world bid on editing it for them. In doing so, we believe that we have “materially improved an offering, created new features, functions, experiences, and price points”, as Bill Gurley wrote about Uber. For Uber, that has resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of jobs—great, high-paying, flexible jobs. There are countless articles on how much Uber drivers enjoy the flexibility of the new arrangement. As with other 1099 economy services, Uber has literally changed the lives of many, many drivers.
But for all of its wonder, Uber is constrained by geography. A driver in Utah cannot give a ride to a person standing in the rain in Boston. VidMob is different. There are no geographic constraints. Our editors can work on projects that originate anywhere in the world. They can work from home while watching Seinfeld re-runs, and then put in some more time while visiting their Grandma in Florida. VidMob offers our editors ultimate flexibility. If we do our job right and build the tools we’re working day and night to build, you’ll be able to work whenever you want, wherever you want, as much as you want, and charge whatever your time is worth.
We do not know how much we’re going to expand this market. But with our eyes on more than 5 billion people who will need these services a few years down the road, and countless companies along the way, we’re pretty sure that we’re going to expand it substantially. And that’s going to mean a lot of jobs.
Are you ready to get to work?