“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

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Author : jfadmin

Marketers Are Split on How They Define OTT

Marketers are having trouble agreeing on a set definition of over-the-top (OTT) video.

In an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Advertiser Perceptions poll, half of US marketers defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears on any screen (mobile, PC, TV, etc.). And 48% of respondents defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears exclusively on a TV screen.

We define OTT as video that’s delivered over the internet independently of a traditional pay TV service, irrespective of device. We forecast that 61.7% of the US population will use OTT services this year.

Connected TV, by contrast, refers specifically to video watched on a TV set with internet connectivity. The video can be served via smart TV or another device such as a Blu-ray player, game console or set-top box such as Roku or Google Chromecast. Connected TV refers to a device— rather than a service—making it a subset of OTT by these definitions. We forecast that 57.2% of the US population will be connected TV users this year.

IAB’s study shows how marketers use OTT and connected TV interchangeably. Similar to how marketers are split in their definitions of the term “in-housing,” the meaning that marketers assign to OTT varies considerably.

Imprecise jargon adds a communication barrier. For instance, the subset of OTT for live programming is referred to interchangeably as skinny bundles, linear OTT or vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor). The lack of agreed-upon definitions for OTT and its subsets adds another layer of complexity for marketers as they aim to merge their TV and digital video strategies.

While it’s possible that confusion over definitions could impede investment, OTT ad spend is growing quickly. In September 2018, IPG’s research unit Magna Intelligence forecasts that $2 billion would be spent on OTT ads in the US, a 40% year-over-year increase. But in April 2019, Magna revised its figures to show US OTT ad spend grew 54% year over year to $2.7 billion.

Under Magna’s adjusted forecast, US advertisers will spend $3.8 billion on OTT this year and $5.0 billion by 2020.

This article was originally seen on eMarketer.com. Written by Ross Benes.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Startupfest 2019: Thousands of Techies. Infinite Possibilities.

Dates: July 9-12, 2019
Prices: starting from CAD 249
Location: Montréal, Canada
Register: Click here

Startupfest 2019

Small enough to meet who you need to meet, big enough that everybody’s there. More than just world-class content and a global attendee base, Startupfest is known for rethinking the standard event format.

Crowned “a music festival for startups” by Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian, you’ll have tangible opportunities to make the connections you need, in one of the world’s most iconic festival cities.

Over $750,000 worth of prizes and investment up for grabs

Startupfest is An event built for founders. Besides world-class content across 8 stages, the event is designed to offer concrete investments and networking opportunities throughout the entirety of the Tent Village.

  • Garner Attention: Top tier media in attendance
  • Acquire Knowledge: Over 125 speakers across 12 tracks
  • Secure Funding: Prizes and Investment opportunities
  • Build Connections: Over 7,000 attendees from 20+ countries

Introducing the Startupfest 2018 Inclusion Initiative

In 2018, the Inclusion Initiative was launched; a program dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs from underserved, and underrepresented communities to the opportunities they need and deserve.

This year, the Inclusion Initiative is back, with a focus on women in technology. Startupfest, BDC Capital, and all of our partners are pleased to be offering passes to Canadian women working in the technology sector at a 90% discount.

Set in one of the world’s most iconic cities

Montréal is the cultural capital of Canada, and as soon as you get there you’ll understand why. The city has an unbeatable festival vibe, and is second to none in the summertime! It’s also been home to the largest series A round in Canada, and the most VC dollars invested in any Canadian city in 2018.

Interested in attending the Startupfest 2019? Register your participation by following the registration link and taking the suggested steps.

The post Startupfest 2019: Thousands of techies. Infinite possibilities. appeared first on AlphaGamma.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

15 Mind-Blowing Stats About the Future of Advertising

Pictured: KERV Interactive patented video technology

The future of advertising will be personalized, automated, immersive, experiential, and measurable. It won’t feel like advertising.

We have the stats to back it up. 

1. During an Adobe Think Tank panel discussion at Advertising Week 2017, Phil Gaughran, U.S. chief integration officer at agency McGarryBowen, made a bold prediction: By 2022, he said, 80% of the advertising process will be automated, “a threshold that will never be surpassed.” The remaining 20% will comprise such elements as brand value, storytelling, and other more experiential tactics that will always need a human driver.

2. Video is now one of advertisers’ greatest opportunities, with 90% of consumers watching online or mobile video at least weekly. As a result, video advertising spend in 2017 reached $9 billion in the United States in 2017, up from $5.47 billion in 2015. That spend is expected to continue to grow. 

3. There’s no questioning the fact that advertising will become more immersive. A recent study by YouMe found that VR ads, for example, aid in same-day recall for 70% of users.

4. Advertising will also become more personalized. A study by Rocket Fuel found that 80% of Millennials see value in brands engaging them with personalized advertising and offers.

5. Gartner says that by 2019, 20% of user interactions with smartphones will take place via virtual personal assistants. 

6. Also by 2019, eMarketer predicts that 83.6% of U.S. digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically. 

7. A global study from Freeman found that more than one in three CMOs expect to spend 21% to 50% of their 2018 budgets on experiential advertising. 

8. Social media will continue to be an important advertising vehicle for brands. Zenith predicts that social media advertising will be worth $50.2 billion in 2019 and will overtake newspaper advertising by 2020. 

9. By 2020, over a billion people worldwide will regularly access AR and VR content, IDC predicts

10. Juniper Research says digital advertising spend across mobile, wearable, and online devices will exceed $285 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $160 billion in 2016. This will be driven by an average annual growth of 22% in mobile and wearable advertising spend, as brands and retailers continue to invest in mobile consumer engagement. 

11. Advertising technology revenue is set to grow over 300% by 2020—up from $30 billion in 2015 to $100 billion by 2020, according to Technology Business Research

12. As companies continue to make big investments in infrastructure, marketing technology spend will continue to grow. CMOs will drive $32.3 billion in marketing technology spending by the end of 2018. 

13. 5G networks are projected to reach 1 billion subscribers by 2023, accounting for approximately 20% of the global population, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. This will impact the mobile advertising experiences (such as VR streaming and virtual assistants) that brands are able to provide to both prospective and current customers.  

14. BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2018 projects total local advertising revenue in the U.S. will reach $151.2 billion in 2018, up from $143.8 billion in 2017 and representing a growth rate of 5.2%. Traditional media will comprise 64.7% of the revenue, with online/digital securing 35.3%. BIA/Kelsey defines local advertising as all advertising platforms that provide access to local audiences for national, regional, and local marketers.

15. According to eMarketer, digital will represent 51.3% of total U.S. ad spending in by 2021, up from an estimated 40.5% in 2017.

This article was originally seen on Adobe.com and was written by Giselle Abramovich, senior and strategic editor at CMO.com.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

6 Trends for Every Salesperson in 2019

Every profession goes through changes, especially sales.

A certain sales technique may have worked in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work today.

To be a top-performing salesperson today and in the future, you must continuously adapt to both market and social conditions.

There are several new business trends taking place—all of which affect salespeople in every industry. Understand what the trends are and how to maximize them so you can maintain a successful sales career.

6. Your past success will hold you back

People who are in sales long-term tend to be successful.

However, success is your worst enemy. Being at the top and doing well means you’re just trying to keep up and meet demand. You’re not looking at future opportunities because you’re busy reaping the rewards of current ones.

The old saying “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” should be reworked today to state, “If it works, it’s obsolete.”

If you just bought the latest device, odds are that the newer, better version is already in existence and about to be released to the public. We must evolve to stay ahead of rapid obsolescence in business.

5. Technology-driven change will dramatically accelerate  

While it’s human nature to protect the status quo, you have to understand that technology is changing the future, customers’ behavior, and your company’s reality.

If you don’t change, you’ll be out of a job. As a salesperson, you need to embrace change wholeheartedly rather than resist and hold tight to the past.

Spend some time thinking about where these impactful changes are headed. Change causes uncertainty in customers’ minds, so you bring certainty to them when you display confidence in change.

4. Time is increasing in value

Time is becoming more important to people, because we have an aging demographic of Baby Boomers in the United States.

Time gets more valuable as you get older because you have less of it. The world is more complex, with much more for people to do with their time.

With so much going on, everyone is increasingly strapped for time.

As a salesperson, make your customers feel that talking to you is actually saving them time. The list of time wasters is virtually endless, and these hurt your sales and profits.

Prove that you’re a time saver and people will choose you over the competition.

3. We have shifted from the information age to the communication age

Many salespeople rely on static marketing tools like company websites, flyers, and sales letters. These methods are a one-way interface.

The better way is to have your sales messages be dynamic.

For example, you could have a contest that encourages people to go to your site and enter. Instead of just telling people to buy your snack product, you can encourage customers to go online and vote for the next new flavor, getting them involved.

The key is to generate communication, engagement, and involvement through your sales and marketing efforts.

Don’t just hand out information; you want to listen, speak, and create dialogue to capture your prospects’ interest.

2. Solutions to present problems are becoming obsolete faster

Almost every salesperson has been told to be proactive by taking positive action.

Unfortunately, you must wait and see to know if a certain action is positive. Instead, be pre-active to future known events.

You need to look at your customer segment and identify what types of events you are certain they will experience, and focus your actions on what will be happening rather than on what is happening.

Being pre-active also means that you change the way people think. When you put out a new product, it takes a while to catch on because you’re not actively changing the way people think about how the product can be used.

Constantly educate your customers on the value you and your products or services offer.

1. The value you bring today is forgotten faster

Sell the future benefit of what you do. Most salespeople sell the current benefits to customers who already know what they are.

Your goal as a salesperson should be to establish a long-term, problem-solving relationship with customers, not a short-term transaction.

Your most profitable customer is a repeat customer, so help them realize the long-term benefit of your partnership. Show them how the products and services you offer will evolve with their needs by selling the evolution of your products and services.

Sit down with your fellow salespeople to create a list of future benefits that you have for your customers, and then get an idea of where the product and service developers are heading to think of future benefits preemptively.

Sales success for the future

The more you understand and adapt to today’s current business trends, the better your sales will be—today and in the future.

The post 6 trends for every salesperson in 2019 appeared first on AlphaGamma.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

These Are the 20 Best Cities to Start a Business

Austin, Texas

You can start a business just about anywhere, but some locations might lend themselves better to your company’s long-term prospects. Personal finance website WalletHub looked at 100 cities in the U.S. and compared them based on three different categories: business environment, access to resources and business costs.

The top 20 top cities are:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. Miami, FL
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Tampa, FL
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Durham, NC
  8. Raleigh, NC
  9. Atlanta, GA
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Fort Worth, TX
  12. Jacksonville, FL
  13. Houston, TX
  14. St. Petersburg, FL
  15. Dallas, TX
  16. San Antonio, TX
  17. Irving, TX
  18. Laredo, TX
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Irvine, CA

The survey found that number three on the list, Miami, Florida, is home to the most startups per 100,000 residents at 234.72, which is 3.2 times more than in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is the city with the fewest at 74.40 per 100,000 residents.

If cost of living is a top concern, you might consider number 18 on the list, Laredo, Texas, which has the lowest cost-of-living index according to the study. It’s probably not a surprise that tech hub San Francisco has the highest cost-of-living index.

San Francisco has the highest annual rent for office space at $80.22 per square foot, while Toledo, Ohio, has the lowest annual average rent at $11.93 per square foot.

Lincoln, Nebraska, has the most accessible financing while San Bernardino, California, has the least. Detroit, Michigan, has the lowest labor costs with a median annual income of $27,838, which is 4.4 times lower than in Fremont, California, which has the highest labor costs with a median annual income of $122,191.

What were your biggest concerns when starting your business?

This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

5 Tips for Building a Strong, Reliable Relationship with Your Business Partner

Is your partnership built on a strong foundation?

There’ve been many examples of business partnerships that have paid incredible dividends. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Bill Gates and Paul Allen…these are among the most famous business partnerships in recent memory. Each one brought something to the table that the other person needed.

But there are just as many examples of partnerships that have fallen apart due to personal relationship issues. Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were once partners on Facebook, but personal disputes led to a complete dissolution of the relationship.

They’re only the latest of many partnerships to dissolve. What does it take to build a relationship that stands the test of time and makes your business thrive, as opposed to taking away from it?

1. Communication

This is one of the biggest issues that can tear a partnership apart.

Just like any marriage or romantic relationship, making sure that you’re on the same page is absolutely key to a healthy and happy coexistence. Ask anyone who’s had a long marriage and they’ll tell you: you have to make time for each other.

In business, it sets the foundation that determines how well you’ll do over the long haul.

In fact, Mark Moses, founding partner and CEO of CEO Coaching International, went as far as noting this in one of his more recent blog posts, saying, “Even if you’re both showing up to the same weekly meetings, digesting the same numbers, and working towards the same goals, the two of you need to schedule time to talk alone, face-to-face, to discuss the state of the company.”

Continues Moses, “You need to make sure you’re both hearing each other’s ideas, receptive to frustrations, and united in the ultimate vision that brought you two together in the first place … When business partners reach a point where they can’t have these kinds of honest conversations, they have two choices: dissolve the partnership, or get with a coach who can help reopen the lines of communication. Don’t let your pride get in the way of resolvable conflicts.”

There’s nothing more important than keeping your lines of communication open in your partnership. Everything hinges on proper leadership, and if your partnership isn’t in tune, that will flow downhill. Make sure you make time for each other.

2. Clarity of vision

What’s most important to you? What’s most important to your partner?

If they don’t line up, you’re probably going to have trouble.

Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple Computer, eventually left Apple to go back to things that he cared about more. He was more concerned with technology education and his electronic products than the other parts of the business that Jobs handled, and eventually went back to what he liked.

Other founders have had much rockier breakups than the Woz/Jobs partnership, which remained amicable. Zuckerberg and Saverin’s story is one of the worst of the recent ones, ending in lawsuits and mutual dislike.

If the two of you have conflicting goals for the company, it’s not going to work out. That’s where bringing in a coach to facilitate discussion might help, and one or the other might have to leave to start their own venture if it’s bad enough.

Make sure it doesn’t get there.

3. Division of labor

As your company grows, it can be common for partnerships to start to overlap.

If you’re both covering the same areas, it can cause conflicts and make it harder for employees to know who to turn to for guidance and direction. That’s where you two have to have a conversation about what the best division of labor is.

Make sure you’re not stepping on each other’s toes. Maybe one of you is more business-minded and the other’s more in-tune with the actual product. That can mean that the first partner steps into the CEO role, while the other partner is in a different role heading up a segment of the company. Or it might be something where the partnership just doesn’t work the same any more, meaning one partner has to step back or get a buyout.

Whatever the case, you have to have clearly defined roles for each of you so you don’t cover the same ground or make it unclear where direction is coming from.

4. Equal commitment

One of the biggest reasons the Saverin/Zuckerberg partnership split up was a lack of similar commitment from both founders—Zuckerberg felt that Saverin was not pulling his share of the weight.

If you and your partner aren’t pulling the same weight, it’s often an indicator of bad work-life balance or a business that’s no longer a fit for the direction your partner wants to go.

Just like any other part of your partnership, you need to have a discussion about where the company should go, and make sure you have enough time away from the company to stay charged up and ready for the challenges ahead.

5. Trust

Trust between partners is key.

Do you trust your partner to do the right thing—not just the right thing for the business, but the right thing in general? Are you on the same page?

If you don’t have trust in each other, how will your employees, customers or clients have trust in you? With any shared venture that has this much liability that falls on both sets of shoulders, you need to have absolute faith in each other. Make sure you’re communicating that with each other and constantly building that trust.

No matter what your business, building a strong partnership with any business partner is key to your future success. Stay in tune with each other to make sure you’re able to succeed.

The post 5 tips for building a strong, reliable relationship with your business partner appeared first on AlphaGamma.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

15 Bad Work Habits to Ditch This Year

In 2019, focus on making your work life as happy and anxiety-free as it can be. Check out what bad habits to avoid this year, and see if you’re guilty of them yourself.

1. Skipping Breaks and Meals

Sometimes, we get so busy that we tell ourselves there isn’t time to eat lunch or step outside for a breath of fresh air. And that simply isn’t true. Unless you’re on a tight deadline or in the midst of a genuine crisis, you can always find 15 minutes to spare. The key is to be intentional about it. This year, start scheduling breaks on your calendar and stop ignoring your growling stomach.

2. Letting the Sunday Scaries Get You Down

Every Sunday afternoon around four o’clock, do you start thinking about Monday, stressing about what you maybe didn’t get done on Friday and lamenting the five-day workweek? This is normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of telling yourself that Monday is something to dread, you can change up the narrative by being a bit more organized and giving yourself something fun to look forward to at the beginning of each week—like, say, treating yourself to your favorite latte. Set initiatives to motivate you.

3. Winging it on Mondays

In attempt to avoid Sunday evening anxiety and to have an all-around more productive workweek, stop spending Monday mornings getting your bearings and start making a to-do list for yourself every Friday. That way, when you get to your desk after a fun-filled weekend, you can pick up right where you left off.

4. Pushing Through Unproductive Spells

What do you do when you find yourself in an unproductive rut? You can be motivated to perform at a 110 percent level each day, but chances are you’ll come across a day when your brain simply refuses to focus. You can try chaining yourself to your desk in hopes of getting more work done, but usually the mind doesn’t work that way.

When I find myself in an unproductive spell, I find it effective to get up from my desk and take a walk, brew some coffee or run a quick errand. Stepping away from the computer usually helps me to clear my head and return to my desk feeling re-energized.

5. Falling Behind on Expense Reports

Or filling out time sheets. Or TPS reports. Whatever it may be. All those little administrative details can be cumbersome—but they’re still important. Plus, being chronically late drives your co-workers crazy. This change will make keeping track of receipts and billable hours easier and—more importantly—it’ll make you a better co-worker.

6. Saying You’ll Do it Tomorrow

Simply stop procrastinating. It’s easy to put off the tasks we’re dreading until tomorrow—until tomorrow comes. Rather than letting those undesirable projects languish on your to-do list for days on end, promise yourself that you’ll knock them out as soon as possible.

7. Using Way Too Many Exclamation Points!

We want to seem friendly! And want to make our requests sound light and breezy! We don’t want our contacts to think we’re rude! Honestly, it might be an attempt to seem approachable, but don’t go overboard with the exclamation points. Know your audience and decide what works best.

8. Over-Explaining Yourself

Do you find yourself writing fluffy, superfluous introductions for most of the emails you send? This year it’s time to be more direct. If you’re following up on a client invoice or reminding a colleague about an upcoming deadline, you don’t need to explain why. It’s obvious! And you don’t need to apologize for doing your job, either.

9. Working When You’re Sick

At the start of a career or new job, it’s normal to want to demonstrate your outstanding work ethic by pushing through sick days that creep up on you. Trust me, no one wants you dragging your sniffly, contagious self into the office to force yourself to work. Maybe your company allows you the option to work from home, but, regardless, your co-workers will not want to be around your germs.

If you are genuinely ill, you should probably spend more time sleeping and less time on the computer (or at least work from home). Hopefully you have a healthy year ahead, but if you do come down with a nasty cold, let yourself rest.

10. Avoiding Company Events

Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, attending company events is always a good opportunity to get to know your colleagues better. Sometimes, after a busy week, you might want to stay home and avoid social interaction — we’ve all been there.

That’s not a bad thing per se, but if your kneejerk reaction is to find a way to get out of attending a team happy hour or a company party, you’re probably going to miss out on some great relationship-building opportunities. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation, but you won’t regret trying to participate more.

11. Spending Your Entire Paycheck on Coffee and Overpriced Lunches

Preparing lunches and making coffee at home/the office can make a big difference for your paycheck. I love going out to lunch as much as the next person, but those outings add up quickly. Find a day to treat yourself if you need it, but otherwise this will be a very cost-effective tip.

12. Hating Your Workspace

We spend way too much time at our desks not to enjoy our workspaces. Add a little personal touch to your workspace to make you feel more at home. Whatever you need to make yourself thrive in your environment. Set yourself up for success, starting with your workspace setup.

13. Neglecting Your Network

If you’re not actively searching for a new job, do you tend to go a little quiet on your network? No one wants to be the person who only reaches out when they need something. Life is all about relationships. Dedicate time to keeping in contact with current and former colleagues. Check in just to say hello. Engage on LinkedIn. A little social interaction never hurt anyone (even you introverts), and it’s essential for keeping professional relationships strong.

14. Being Too Lazy to Learn

You should never stop learning. It’s easy to get a little complacent when you are comfortable in your work and routine. However, just because you know what you’re doing in your role doesn’t mean that you’ve learned everything you possibly can. Chances are, you’re surrounded by a ton of intelligent co-workers that you could easily learn from.

If you feel that you might be coasting, seek out new ways to challenge yourself. Maybe opt to attend a workshop, take a class, read up on the latest trends in your industry or reach out to a trusted mentor for feedback on how you can step up your game.

True growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself to be better. Don’t be lazy to learn something new because you feel like you won’t be good or understand it. Take things one day at a time. Even the littlest step forward is still progress pushing you in the direction of where you want to go. Don’t second guess yourself. Always learn and grow. You’ve got this.

15. Sticking it Out in the Wrong Job

Hopefully you are very happy in your current role. Being passionate about what you do is a key to success, and I believe everyone has a set of unique talents to be offered. If you find yourself in a job that’s not fulfilling or a job that is taking a major toll on your happiness and overall life, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the situation. Life is short. Find something you love to do.

These habits won’t disappear overnight, but you should feel excited about trying to ditch the behaviors that dampen your overall happiness. Even if you only succeed some of the time, at least you’ll be making improvements.

Cheers to a successful, productive and balanced 2019.

This post was originally seen on The Muse.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

What all Successful Startups Have in Common

KERV Interactive office in Austin, Texas.

This kind of goes without saying, but of course you need a good idea with a clear vision of who your target customers will be.

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out,” Steve Jobs has said.

I’m reminded of the scene in the Steve Jobs movie where he threw away the Walkman and the idea for the iPod was born. The evolution of that good idea has been amazing.

Passionate leadership with a clear, powerful vision that permeates throughout the entire organization.

Belief in the vision and leadership of the company is perhaps the most important thing for any startup. Without it you really don’t have much of a chance at success.

Leadership must be passionate with a “never say die” attitude where creative problem solving prevails over emotionally-driven drama.

W.I.N (What’s Important Now)

Great startups have a clear understanding of priorities and tasks to be completed in the present to make the future vision come true. They never get too far ahead of themselves or too far behind. They focus on results-oriented activities that will incrementally bring the business to the next level.

“The most important things for startups to do is to focus. Because there’s so many things you could be doing. One of them is the most important. You should be doing that. And not any of the others,” said Paul Graham, founding partner of Y Combinator.

A good idea will fall by the wayside if the implementation of said idea is weak.

Company Culture that Creates Productivity

Creating a company from the ground up is one of the most difficult things anybody will ever choose to do. Having a team that will go to the wall for the vision is vitally important for success.

FYI – while fun, having a ping pong table and keg of beer in your break room is not culture. Culture is how employees interact with each other and clients within the business environment. The ping pong table and keg might be a reward for positive results after the business has proven that the culture is deserving and responsible enough for this type of reward.

In the beginning, the team you hire should not have a worker bee, nine-to-five mentality. The company vision and culture should be clearly expressed from the get go, and it should be made clear that you are not looking for employees whose only interest is a pay check and a set number of hours. You are looking for team members that want to achieve greatness and understand the value of hard work, patience and persistence. 

For a positive, productive culture to be created, each team member must have a clear understanding of how their personal goals fit with the vision of the company. This helps to create a positive, productive culture where team members equate company success to personal success.

Company culture must include effective communication, mutual accountability and mutual respect. If these three principles are in practice by all team member you will have a positive culture that is ripe success!

Life is What Happens While You’re Making Plans

There is one absolute in any start up: there will be challenges that require the company to be nimble and flexible. Great startups are quick to adapt to any challenge, and have a clear understanding of how these changes are necessary to obtain the overall vision of the company.

Understanding the Long-term Value of a Customer

As a startup, you are usually taking market share and/or clients away from your competition. Keeping those clients for a lifetime should be your goal.

Client attrition should be tracked frequently, and if the percentage is over five percent (you’re losing five percent of your clients) you need to find out why and fix it ASAP.

“Always deliver more than expected,” said Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

Good luck. Oh yeah, it doesn’t hurt to be a bit lucky as well. Remember, luck is where preparation meets opportunity. You will be surprised at how many new opportunities will come your way if you follow all of the above best practices.

You will be surprised that when you have a clear vision and unshakable belief, good things will just happen. It is amazing how people with a clear vision and unshakeable belief are so lucky.

Why do you think that is?

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

3 Principles That Will Make or Break Your Business

Building and growing a successful business is a very difficult thing to do. The truth is, most businesses will fail within the first three years. It is imperative that the culture of the company creates the best possible environment for success.

The three principles stated below are the same for any size company. It does not matter if you have two employees or 200, theses principles do not change.

However, as you grow your staff, you must be creative to keep these principles alive. Remember, bureaucracy and negativity can damage a business.

It is important to understand that these three principles all work together to create a culture. If you fall short on any one of these, then all three will break down. These principles work together like a well-oiled machine. If you are weak in any area, then the machine will not function at a high level.

Of course, this is based upon the assumption that you have an in-demand product or service that is viable to the market place. In other words, if you’re selling VCRs, I can’t help you.

The three principles below will affect everything you do, and I do mean everything.


When you see these two words you may think, well of course. But, and this is a big but, most people who think they communicate effectively fall short.

The most important part of communication is the art of listening. Great communicators are great listeners. You need to ask yourself and your employees “are you listening/understanding what is being communicated?” When someone is talking to you, are you thinking about what you want to say while they are speaking or are you intently listening, processing and then responding.

The word responding is important. There is a big difference between a reaction and a response.

A reaction usually means the person was not listening and will lead to communication breakdown. A reaction is usually emotional and not based on facts. When you get two or more people not listening and reacting, you now have a passive aggressive environment where productivity and problem solving will not function at a high level.

The only safe assumption when communicating is to assume the person knows nothing.

We live in a very complex business environment where technology is a huge part of business. Individual projects are a huge part of growth. Collective day-to-day emails, phone calls, conference calls and in-person meetings will ultimately determine the rise and or fall of your company.

Effective, detailed over-communication is vital in the new world of business.

When I first presented to the great business icon Red McCombs, the presentation was very simple with, for lack of a better term, “dumbed down basic details.” We came from the perspective that Mr. McCombs knew very little about the internet advertising industry.

I was a bit nervous before the presentation because I thought we might be insulting his intelligence. So, before we started I told him that the presentation was full of simplified detail, and I hoped he would not be offended. I will never forget what he said to me that day. He simply said, “Jon, just present to me like I know nothing about your industry or company. A great author or presenter always assumes the audience knows nothing.”

While I know Mr. McCombs did not invent this philosophy, it has stuck with me to this day because it demands that you never assume somebody knows what you know. When you get very close to anything, it is easy to lose site of the fact that even people in your company may not have the same perspective as you. You must always share all details from your perspective for them to fully and completely understand where you are coming from. There is nothing wrong with over-communication of details from your perspective. It creates accountability for all parties.

FYI – Mr. McCombs knew more than we thought he did, but he was never offended or insulted by our presentation. In fact, he really appreciated the detailed over-communication.

Details have always been important to a business, but now a lack of detailed communication can severely damage a business or project. Especially with a startup.

Principle 2. Mutual Accountability

Of course, accountability in any organization is very important. However mutual accountability is not always practiced within a business.

Accountability is a two-way street. No matter your position in the company all parties must be accountable to each other.

Being the boss doesn’t mean that your words and actions are not accountable to the team you manage. In fact, the more you are accountable to the team, the easier it will be to hold them accountable. This builds trust, loyalty and long-term respect.

When a new employee comes aboard, it is always important to explain that when you say you’re going to do something you are going to do everything in your power to make your words come true. If for some reason, you cannot turn your words in to reality, you will let them know why immediately and come up with a solution. This goes in both directions, you will hold them accountable for doing their job and delivering positive results. In other words, we are both going to do our jobs at a high level and if either of us have an issue we will discuss it in a respectful, solution-driven manner.

Your employees need to know that your door is open for effective communication and mutual accountability.

Principle 3. Mutual Respect

Respect within an organization is earned. While many people may be motivated out of fear of a boss, that is not what I’m referring to. It is important to understand that I’m not referring to fear.

If all a boss offers is fear, then your only motivation is not getting fired. This type of motivation usually does not end up creating productivity. It creates an environment where you do just enough to keep your job, and creates a political environment where individuals jockey for position while the overall company/team fails.

Most bosses are not respected for just being the boss. They are respected for bringing knowledge, judgement, experience and wisdom to the team. They are respected by taking care of the team members that are taking care of the company. This is true respect that will create loyalty and growth.

When talking to someone you do not respect, how productive is that conversation? Do you leave the room thinking negative thoughts pertaining to the task at hand getting done the right way? Of course you do.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about liking a co-worker on a personal level. This is about having respect for a teammate’s talent, productivity, work ethic and how they will help the company and you achieve goals.

I have had many people that I liked very much as a person, but they did not make the cut and vice-versa.

If true mutual respect does not exist among teammates, things will breakdown and you have the wrong team.

How these three principles work together as circular equation.

This is quite easy to understand.

Without mutual accountability, your organization will not have effective communication or mutual respect.

Without effective communication, your organization will not have mutual accountability or mutual respect.

Without mutual respect, your organization will not have mutual accountability or effective communication.

If you have any problem with operations or company culture, you will be able to tie it to one or more of these principles.

When all three of these principles are in place, and are being practiced by all team members, you will have a positive culture of highly productive individuals that work together for a common goal.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

My Business Philosophy for the Last 20 Years (VIDEO)

When Should You Hire?

The fundamental answer to everything you're not good at !! If you run a business watch this video and lmk your 💭

Posted by Gary Vaynerchuk on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

“Hire somebody that can do what you can’t.”

For the last 20 years I’ve been in business, as a CEO and entrepreneur, I have discovered what it takes to build successful companies. In the ever-evolving digital and business markets, it is not realistic to expect that you can be the best in every area of a company.

As a leader, it is important to realize not only your personal strengths and weaknesses, but also those of your team. As Gary Vaynerchuk says in the above video, “the fundamental answer to everything you’re not good at is to hire somebody that is good at it.” This has been my philosophy for as long as I can remember.

You don’t have to be the skill expert across every department within your company, but you should understand the craft well enough to know if your hire is doing a good job.

Building a diverse, dynamic and bright team is something I look for when building a business. Recognizing individual strengths and tailoring internal strategies to match your team’s innate capabilities creates a recipe for a company’s success.

Ego is a giant vulnerability when it comes to hiring and finding people who can do the stuff you’re weak at. The truth is, it is a good idea to hire someone who is better than you.

The moral of the story is: don’t let your own ego hold you back from hiring an all-star team that will help you succeed. Let them do what they do best. Sure, you can be powerful on your own, but forming a team of strong go-getters will make you unstoppable across the board.

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