Highlights from Our Creator Meet & Greet in LA

Earlier this week we invited a group of our LA-based creators to swing by our new office in West Hollywood and get to know some of the VidMob team. We feasted on hearty barbeque and sipped on cocktails, as we learned more about the talented people that make up our community.

We were blown away by the enthusiasm and above-and-beyond dedication of our creators. Their excitement and passion for what we’re building, their insights for how to grow the platform, and their down-for-anything hustle meant so much to hear in person. We’re so lucky to have them on our team!

It was also great to see both old and new faces alike—from those that have been with us from the very start and those who’ve recently joined the ranks. Providing an opportunity for our creators to meet in person and get to know one another was a fantastic way to not only learn more about the similarities and differences, but also to foster our growing creator community.

Even VidMob West’s office pup, Burt, got in on the action.

Many thanks to all who attended! We feel so lucky and energized after meeting with our community. We learned a great deal by getting everyone together to share their stories, discuss how they use the platform, and get to know one another. We can’t wait to announce some of the exciting updates we have coming your way as a result of this event, and we look forward to hosting our next meet-and-greet!

Stay tuned for our next creator mixer, which will be held at our headquarters in NYC. Want to attend? Reach out to us at support@vidmob.com to get on the invite list and receive event updates. 

But Who Cares…

An Old Dinner

All the guests arrived on time. The whole team was there—all the developers, who had labored for years to build an innovative product, and their new CEO, who had recently purchased the company and flown in from out of town for the night.

The food was delicious, cooked to perfection and coupled with precision, with a mix of made-to-order cocktails and paired wines. In short, everything went off without a hitch. But then again, is there any surprise in that? After all, what’s a small dinner at your home with its handful of critical path items, a few dependent tasks, and a semi-flexible delivery hour?

For a team that regularly handles infinitely more challenging coordination problems with hundreds of tasks per week, all with interlocking dependencies, getting a well-cooked steak on the table in time to keep your team from knifing each other didn’t even require a JIRA task. And as the team lead and his wife reminisced after all of the dishes were done and the guests had all gone home, all they could think about was how perfect this night had been. The signs were definitely positive. Maybe this new management would actually work out.

The following morning, the team arrived in the office still basking in the hopeful glow of a night gone right. Sitting at the top of the company’s internal blog, they found an article posted by the CEO. Expecting it to be some sort of public thank you, one by one they all began to read. And one by one, their jaws dropped. It started out all right. The opening sentences were all about how the meal was great, and how it was clear throughout the evening that the team cared about each other, got along well, and generally operated like a family. It was the next line, though, that stopped them in their tracks:

“But who cares…”

But who cares, dot dot dot. The CEO went on from there to flip the tone entirely. None of the preceding mattered. He did not care in the least that they enjoyed working together. He did not care that they had forged a positive work environment over years of execution. He did not care about any of this. All that mattered was the work, and the more they liked each other, the harder it was going to be to fire people in the months ahead.

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the company mentioned above lost a significant portion of its development team shortly after that night. The company hasn’t grown in years and likely won’t grow anytime before it shuts its doors for the last time. And when that day comes, the management of the company will have only itself to blame.

The world is changing. And companies that don’t realize the role their employees will play in that are the ones most likely to wake up one day and find that it changed without them.

The Widening Definition of Shareholder

Corporations have porous borders, and the only kind of employee you should ever want is one that has the option to leave at any moment. Even better, multiple options. Because the reality in today’s startup world is that ideas are meaningless.

That’s not to say that a company doesn’t need a good idea. It does. But with the hive brain that results from a fully connected society, you have to assume that most ideas are simultaneously had by dozens of other people. At least a few of them will start the same company as you. And the only way to survive and build a leading company is to out-innovate, out-execute, and out-hustle your competition. The key point, though, is that this cannot be done with anything other than A+ talent in every role in an organization.

And this is where the selfish side of taking care of your employees comes into play. There are countless studies that show that companies with happier employees get more patents awarded, are more productive on a per capita basis, and have lower turnover. Think attracting A+ talent is hard? Try losing them and finding a replacement, thus essentially hiring and training twice for every available position.

But there is also a less selfish side to building the right kind of organization. After two decades of increasing private equity purchases and cost rationalizations in every sector in the economy, many companies no longer see their employees and community members as important shareholders. All decisions are made to optimize for quarterly earnings, leading to less and less stability for workers. Couple this with changing health care policy at the Federal level and an awful lot of folks are feeling less comfortable than they should. Do companies need to operate like this?

Our view at VidMob is that the answer to this question is an emphatic ‘no.’ When we started the company, the long-term goal was to create a million jobs for the creators in our marketplace and, through that, hopefully positively impact people’s lives at scale. But closer to home, we wanted to build a company which was keenly aware of its multiple constituencies and cared for each of them. Our employees, our creators, our clients, our investors, and the communities within which we live and operate—they are all important “shareholders” as far as we’re concerned.

So while we certainly celebrate every big deal we close, and every time a client emails us thanking our service for a job well done, we’re equally excited that VidMob is in a position to offer some of the best health benefits available. That, and with an engineering team of eight people now in the Berkshires, we’re beginning to add real economic value to a community whose industrial heyday has passed—but has a bright future on the horizon.

A New Dinner

We recently had our own dinner in the same setting as the one mentioned above. The same home and hosts. And at least a few of the same people around the table. But the management was different, and with it, so was the way of thinking. We weren’t really celebrating anything in particular, which is often the best reason to celebrate. Perhaps a successful day prioritizing features and making sure we were all in sync in the long-term product roadmap is reason enough.

In the midst of all this, the story of the old CEO and his blog post came up. I couldn’t help but think how desperately we’d be failing in our mission if we ever felt or behaved that way. And while any one company’s ability to impact a society is limited, if thousands of companies all adopt an evolved view of their responsibility to their community, that can make an impact.

So who cares? The short answer is that VidMob does. We care for selfish reasons because we know that it will lead to a better caliber employee and better results for the company. But we also care because we recognize our role in the world around us. And if you care too, give us a call. We’re hiring.

VidMob Celebrates Video at VidCon

VidMob headed out to Anaheim to attend VidCon, the world’s largest video conference. It’s a pretty spectacular event that brings together creators, industry leaders, and communities (thousands of screaming teens) to celebrate…video! For the over-30 set, it can be a daunting experience with mobs of fans, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since N’Sync’s No Strings Attached tour.

VidCon is officially the start of summer for hundreds of thousands of these teens, replete with Ferris wheels, food trucks, and pop-up concerts. ferris-wheel-vidcon-vidmob

VidMob, and most fully grown adults, stuck to the industry panels and keynotes. Here are some highlights from the team:

WHAT TEENS WATCH: From Tubular

The ah-ha and oh-wow moments from Tubular’s presentation:

Teens Don’t “Watch TV” Anymore—They Just “Watch”

What happens when a panel of teens share their views on television? Well, for those younger than 15, the TV-as-device simply isn’t considered when it comes to consuming video. YouTube and Netflix on the other hand? Major players, with teens subscribing to an average of 23 channels on YouTube alone.

Every Moment Is a Video Moment

What happens when a Gen Xer asks a millennial how many hours a day they spend online vs. offline? You get a confused look and a shoulder shrug. What is offline? These teens wouldn’t know because they’re never offline—it’s not a state of being. It’s not a thing. The proof? Over 1 trillion video views per month are now consumed online.

presentation-vidcon-vidmob

YOUTUBE’S VIDCON KEYNOTE

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki delivered an unconventional keynote as a Q&A with comedians Rhett & Link (of Good Mythical Morning). Here’s what stood out:

Tube Shots & Big Views

In between test tube shots of “gross things,” they grilled Susan about VR, YouTube TV, and new original series. Not sure which was more impressive, the stat that “1.5 billion logged-in viewers visit YouTube every month” or that Susan actually drank beetle juice.

The Future of VR Is Here

VR was, not surprisingly, the main highlight from the discussion. Susan announced that YouTube and Daydream have worked together on a new format, VR180. That, and new cameras from LG, Lenovo, and Yi will be on the market soon to let the everyday consumer capture 3D and 180-degree footage. Get ready, because VR is making strides.

Algorithm Advancements

YouTube also announced an algorithm update for video. The new algorithm will dynamically modify video to optimize presentation across desktop and mobile, enhancing the consumption experience no matter where you prefer to view.

A Dozen New Series for YouTube Red Originals

Last, Susan let everyone know that YouTube TV is expanding markets and growing the YouTube Red Originals slate with 12 exciting new series. Woohoo! Another great excuse to indulge in binge-watching.

facebook-future-video-presentation-vidcon-vidmob

FUTURE OF FACEBOOK VIDEO

Video is all the rage on social, and product director Daniel Danker came to VidCon to share his point of view on how Facebook will lead the way. These are the noteworthy takeaways:

The Facebook Video Trifecta

Daniel explained Facebook’s approach to video as a three-pronged framework: Foundation, Community, Storytelling. Plus, the tools to go with it:

1) Foundation – These new tools will include the monetization of ads and branded content, DRM, and data insights—all important features for advertisers trying to gain a deeper understanding of their video fundamentals.

2) Community – Community sits in the center and is the ultimate priority and end goal of Facebook video. As such, these new tools will broadly include chatting with friends, creating pages for groups, and viewing video together (virtually speaking, of course).

3) Storytelling –  Storytelling is all about enhancing the experience of photos and video through better cameras and tools that transport and connect—like their new Creator App, which gives users the simple tools to create videos about your everyday. There are stickers, frames, and pre-canned intro/outro options to stylize your video, too.

Evolving the News Feed: VR & New Series

Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Head of Video, also gave a great talk about how they are pairing video with social functions. The News Feed is becoming more immersive as it has evolved from text to photos to videos. How will Facebook keep that evolution moving? Next up will be VR and Facebook’s move into new originals. They are financing new shows to understand how Facebook can bring communities together through original series. 

vidcon-vidmob-event-entry-sign

INNOVATION SHOWCASE FROM DIGITAL CONTENT STUDIOS

VidMob visited with top new digital-first studios including Vice, Full Screen, New Form, First Look, Jaunt, Mythical, RYOT. The common underlying video theme is a move away from “view count” toward quality and depth of engagement—which poses an exciting opportunity for video creatives to really flex their artistic muscles. Coupled with the bulk of content out there and the challenge these companies now face (i.e. how to help consumers find the best stuff to watch), the goal now is to simply start creating worthwhile content.

Not Like the Rest: Building a Community of Success

quote box
At VidMob, we talk a lot about why we believe in our editors. We believe in them because we believe in the power of people, the power of human creativity, and the power of community. Our editors are not workhorses. They’re not another peg in the wheel. They are our visionaries. They are our Mob! And we want nothing more than for each and every one to succeed—just as much as we want our users to get amazing video each and every time they create a project with VidMob.

That’s why we created our platform. Because, in a world where algorithms and cheap labor tend to win out over quality art and skill, it’s time that someone finally said, “enough, already.” It’s time that finding great work became just as easy for video editors as it is for people to shoot those raw video clips on their phones or GoPros in the first place. It’s time that we create, share, edit, and experience video in a way that benefits all parties involved.

So, here are just some of the ways that we built VidMob to stand out amongst all those “others” out there:

Community: We hope to be more than just a marketplace. We want to see people working together to make amazing things happen with video. That’s why we offer our collaboration feature to our app users—so that everyone can get in on an inspiring project—as well as the ability for satisfied project creators to boast and brag about the editors they loved working with (see MobFeed below).

Non-Traditional Bidding System: While we call it a “bid,” it’s perhaps best to think about our bidding system the same way you would as when buying a house—it’s more of an offer. Like buying a home, we don’t allow our editors to see the bid prices for a particular project. We hope that this will discourage editors from undercutting one another, so that they can feel comfortable charging what their time is worth and still get great jobs. We do, however, allow our editors to see how many bids a project receives, so that they can make a more educated decision on which projects to bid on.

The MobFeed: We built the MobFeed to help foster community interaction. It allows our app users to see what other types of projects get made with VidMob, while at the same time featuring the creative, hard work of our editors. In the MobFeed, app users can favorite editors based on projects they really enjoyed, in order to work with them in the future.

Algorithms for Editors: We use algorithms to bolster our editors, not to replace them. Our algorithms work to optimize the job search and reward our most hard-working editors. So, for those who don’t have enough active jobs? We optimize those editors to appear first in a project creators’ selection of bids. For those who consistently get good ratings, meet deadlines, and reply to app users in a timely manner? They too will get more facetime with project creators.

Building Your Editor Brand: At the expense of sounding like a broken record, we want our editors to succeed! So much so that we’ve specifically built our platform to encourage editors to build their brand with VidMob: tell friends and family on social media, work with your project creators to promote yourself on the MobFeed, and expand your portfolio and skills by working on new and exciting genres of products available only through VidMob.

And we do all this because, at the core, VidMob is a community. A community that works together to strike the balance between giving users a fast, more affordable way to get great video, while at the same time allowing freelance editors to make more money on their own terms. So while we may seem like just another video editing marketplace, we hope you’ll see we’re much, much more.