On Monday, I had the privilege of guest lecturing in two entrepreneurship classes at Emory University’s Goizeuta Business School. Here’s video from the first lecture. It’s about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Please pardon the funky camera angle…
And if you’re still awake, here is the video from the first 30 minutes of the 2nd lecture, before the camera ran out of battery life…
During the 2 classes, when I polled the audience, here’s a run down of what they wanted to learn more about:
1. Adwords / Paid Search – How’s it work?
2. Monetizing a site with Ads, is tough, what other ways are there to monetize?
3. How do you come up with good ideas?
4. How to gain technical expertise – e.g. how the internet, search, and websites work?
5. Social Me Me Media! How do you use it to your advantage?
6. How has a background in accounting helped?
7. How to get started with a business. What are the first steps?
8. How can you attract customers and content providers?
9. How much does it cost to make an iPhone app?
10. How to keep content providers happy in the early stages of a business?
Another interesting discovery occurred when I asked the class “How many of you are on Twitter?“, to which only 1 student out of a classroom of around 40, raised their hand. I’m not sure whether this indicates that Twitter has either (A) a lot of room to grow or (B) it’s peaked. I’m inclined to vote for (B). When I asked the class “How many of you are on Facebook?”, the entire room nodded in acknowledgement.
Since the lecture, I’ve had a number of students follow up with me seeking advice. I’m very excited by the opportunity to give back to the community by helping them get their businesses off the ground and on the right track. Thanks to Andrea Hershatter for allowing me the opportunity to speak to her class. I am truly honored to have been a part of their business school experience. It’s the least that I could do to give back the the institution that has help me so much in my own career.
Yesterday we gave birth to our second child, Audioo (pronounced AWW-DEE-YOU) exactly two years to the day from the birth of our first child, AudioMicro, who was born on May 24, 2008 out of a two bedroom apartment in Sherman Oaks, CA. This delivery of this glorious new child (Audioo.com) was a little different from that of our first born (AudioMicro.com), in the sense that the entire delivery process went down live on stage in front of a crowd of over 1,700 people including The Jerky Boys, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York. Watch the live launch here…
The short story here is that AudioMicro, Inc. has acquired Manhattan Beach based Audioo.com and relaunched it as a social destination for the public sharing of voicemails. Think of Audioo as “Blippy for Voicemail”. If you are not familiar with Blippy, it’s the darling of Silicon Valley and place for people to publicly share their credit card transactions. If the public sharing of credit card transactions can get a $46.2 million post money valuation, then the public sharing of voicemail can be an even bigger business! In fact, I’m willing to bet that there is more interesting and entertaining information in voicemail, than there is in both credit card transactions and tweets. Have I lost my mind? Maybe…I guess we’ll find out in due time.
I’m pasting a copy of the press release below and I encourage you to watch the Audioo live launch video above and leave your comments below. To anyone reading this, thanks so much for your support.
I wonder what we’ll name our next child? Got any suggestions?
AudioMicro Acquires Audioo, Launches Outrageous New Voicemail Sharing Service
New Service Provides Hilarious Way to Hear and See What People Are Saying in Voicemail
NEW YORK, TECHCRUNCH DISRUPT, May 24, 2010 – AudioMicro, which offers the world’s largest collection of user-generated royalty free music and sound effects, announced today it has acquired Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Audioo (pronounced AWW-DEE-YOU) and has relaunched the site as an outrageous new voicemail sharing service that enables people to search, browse, and listen-in on other people’s voicemails. The service—now live—publishes users’ voicemails with transcriptions to the Audioo website and to users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. The new Audioo was selected to participate in the “Startup Battlefield” at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, being held May 24-26 in New York. To register for a free Audioo account, visit www.audioo.com.
Audioo is hosting a contest, “Jerkin’ with The Jerky Boys.” All voicemails submitted to Audioo through June 30 will be judged by Johnny Brennan, creator of The Jerky Boys duo and best known for his prank phone calls and other comedic skits. The winner of the funniest voicemail submitted during the contest period will win an Apple iPad. More information about the contest is available at http://audioo.com/#/pages/ipad.
“Audioo users are already sharing every conceivable type of voicemail, including drunk-dial calls, the ramblings of crazy ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, and much more,” said Ryan Born, chief executive officer, AudioMicro and Audioo. “The service has only been up a short while, but some of the voicemails already posted are just insane.”
The Audioo site enables visitors to browse and listen to voicemails by area code, sort voicemails by category, including “Drunk,” “Funny,” and “Sexy,” and share voicemails with others via Twitter and Facebook. Users who submit a voicemail to Audioo receive text transcriptions of uploaded messages. Audioo is ad-supported, free, and open to all major wireless carriers. Users can submit messages through a variety of methods: Google Voice subscribers can upload directly through a Mozilla Firefox add-on, or users can upload voicemails to the Audioo site, email an audio file to Audioo, forward messages from a handset, record a voicemail through a computer’s microphone, or leave a message at 1-405-4-AUDIOO.
AudioMicro will operate Audioo as a separate division, and the entire development team will remain with the company. Audioo President Yuri Baranov will assume the role of chief operating officer for both Audioo and AudioMicro. Audioo founder Ben Padnos will remain a company advisor.
Audioo is “Blippy for Voicemail.” The company is building the largest searchable archive of transcribed voice recordings, including localized real-time streams and trending topics. The Audioo platform allows users to auto-stream, publicly share, and store voicemails from handsets and services, including Google Voice. Audioo has teamed with The Jerky Boys on an iPad giveaway contest dubbed “Jerkin’ with The Jerky Boys” – submit your voicemails, win a freakin’ iPad! To submit, call 1-405-4-AUDIOO (1-405-428-3466) or visit www.audioo.com.
An industry pioneer in licensing music and sound effects through credit-based and subscription packages, AudioMicro offers a discovery and distribution platform for stock audio content. Its collection of stock music, sound effects, free sound effects, and ringtones includes over 300,000 tracks of both crowd-sourced and premium, record- label-owned content. AudioMicro also operates the Audioo voicemail sharing service. The company is venture-backed by DFJ Frontier. For more information, visit www.AudioMicro.com.
About TechCrunch Disrupt
TechCrunch Disrupt (http://disrupt.techcrunch.com), May 24-26 2010, at 570 Washington Street, is TechCrunch’s inaugural conference in New York attracting over 1,500 leading technology innovators and investors and over 150 new startups. The format combines top thought-leader discussions with new product and company launches. Morning executive discussions debate the most timely disruptions in media, advertising and technology. Afternoons host the Startup Battlefield where 25 new companies will launch for the first time on stage, selected to present from more than 500 applications received from around the world. Another 100 early-stage startups will exhibit in Startup Alley. TechCrunch will award a $50,000 grand prize along with other award recognitions at the conclusion of the conference.
TechCrunch (www.techcrunch.com) is a leading technology media network, dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies. Founded in 2005, TechCrunch and its network of websites reach over 8 million unique visitors and more than 25 million page views per month. TechCrunch operates a global network of websites including dedicated properties in Europe and Japan as well as specialized industry websites including MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, and TechCrunchIT. TechCrunch’s CrunchBase, is the leading, open database about start-up companies, people and investors. In addition to Disrupt, TechCrunch hosts other conferences and events, including The Crunchies Awards and various meet-ups worldwide serving as community platforms for industry conversation and collaboration.
I still see the need for land lines – they are superior in terms of quality and far better for actually having a conversation where both parties can hear one another and for folks with home offices and long distance relatives, call quality can be important and using a cell phone exclusively is not an option for many. Land lines are also a little better for your health than mobile phones (or so we think).
But now, it’s time to kill the ridiculous home phone bill without losing the home phone quality. I’ve been thinking about eliminating my home phone bill for 3 years now and this past weekend was the time when I finally did it. Even on Time Warner’s All the Best Package with cable, internet and phone service bundles, you still end up spending $20 a month on a home phone, or $240 per year. Chances are that you already use a digital phone service from your cable provider. If you don’t, then your already wasting an additional $300 a year on an analoge line and taking the steps in this post will then save you over $540 a year. Read on to learn how.
If you have a wireless router in your home, you are already half way to killing your home phone. You just need to take one final step to eliminate your home phone bill forever, without sacrificing the land line quality you are so accustomed to.
The final, bold step is to get a Skype number ($2.99 per month or $36 per year ) and a Skype landline phone. These physical Skype phones run for about $170 (free shipping included) for a nice one and they do not require a computer to function, just a live wireless connection and a router with an available Ethernet port. So now you’re out just $206 for a your first year of Skype home phone loving and just $36 per year thereafter. Compare that to $240 per year for the cheapest home phone service you can find (Even Vonage is $15 per month or $180 per year – Ugh!). Sure – once every 5 years you’ll probably need a new physical Skype phone but that’s not too bad considering you’ll have saved yourself around $1K over that 5 year term.
The final trick is to get a Google Voice number and make it forward to your Skype phone. Give our your Google Voice phone number as your home number for life and you’ll never have to switch home phone numbers again – ever – not even if you move out of the country! With Google Voice, you even get free voice mail and voice mail transcriptions. The hilarious Google voice mail transcriptions are worth the switch alone.
After you’ve made the move, feel free to dig a hole in your backyard and bury your old home phone there. Or, you can save a little more money and drop it off at your local Salvation Army for the charitable tax donation, just be sure to get a receipt.
Saving 5 minutes a day by eliminating a meaningless routine task will add 76 days of free time to your life. 76 days to do whatever you choose. 76 days = 1,824 hours. I just added 76 days of free time to my life. Here’s how you can do it to…
ELIMINATE VOICE MAIL, which on average, wastes around 5 minutes per day, every day. I have not checked my voicemail in over a month now and I feel oh so free. It’s amazing and I encourage you to try it too. Voice mail is a total waste of time. You have to call your own number, enter a PIN number (in the case of Verizon) and then listen to someone else’s voice recording and then react to it. Wouldn’t it be easier if your voice mails were just emailed to you? Or perhaps texted to you? Or both? Well then can be, and for FREE.
Here’s how you can eliminate voice mail from your life forever…
Step 1: Sign up for Ribbit.com. It’s FREE. If they are not accepting new users at the moment, ask me for an invite code. I’ll gladly share one with you (I have at least 3 more that I can share). If you prefer a paid service, you can check out YouMail or PhoneTag (2 LA based companies). YouMail and PhoneTag both run around $5 per month I believe.
Step 2: Let Ribbit hijack your existing voice mail. All you have to do is enter a long funky number into your phone, Ribbit will then call you and take over your voicemail, send you a PIN to enter on the site to confirm, and your voicemail is now officially linked to Ribbit. You can remove it anytime and go back to old school voice mail by just logging into your Ribbit.com account and deactivating the service.
Step 3: (Optional) Upload your contacts to Ribbit.com so the transcriptions will show the name of the contact (not just their phone number) when they are sent to you.
Step 4. Set up a custom voice greeting.
Step 5: Tell Ribbit to both email and text all new voice transcriptions to you when new voice mails arrive. If you want to actually listen to the message, Ribbit gives you a specific phone number to call within each message (just click the number and most smartphones will automatically dial) and you can actually listen if you choose to.
If you follow steps 1 to 5, you will have eliminated the useless act of checking voice mail forever and saved 76 days of your life (5 minutes per day for an entire lifetime). If you need a sign up invite for Ribbit, let me know and I’ll be sure to invite you and move you one step further to a more fully automated life.
UPDATE: Last week I experienced my first Ribbit faux pas where one voice mail message was not emailed / texted to me (my phone was off at the time but the message never did come in). The message was saved out the Ribbit.com site but it was not emailed / texted to me. I guess that’s what I get for using a free service.
Ryan Born is a media entrepreneur best known as the founder of AdRev/AudioMicro Inc., a VC backed rights management and content licensing network, the majority of which was acquired by Zealot Networks in 2014-15 for $20M. AudioMicro Inc. ranked as the USA's #5 fastest growing media company as part of the 2015 Inc. 500 (#162 overall, #5 in LA). Previously, Ryan was an investor in and VP of Finance for WireImage (acquired by Getty Images in '07 for $208M) and an angel investor in NewCondosOnline and InternetMarketingInc. He has been a guest lecturer at Emory University, UCLA, UCSB, Loyola Marymount and various industry conferences and events. Learn More.