STARTUP WEEKEND: Eric Brotto: Startups are more than gizmos

Eric Brotto is an account director at Smile Machine, and the facilitator of Startup Weekend London, which is challenging teams to come up with new startups business in just 54 hours. It takes place at Google Campus from 12-14 July.

Eric Brotto

“For the decades leading up to the explosion of the World Wide Web, advertisers could trust that the mediums through which they delivered messages were stable.

Times have changed

Creatives correctly relied on print, radio and television as ways to communicate to consumers, and so the focus was on content. Any time spent deliberating how this content should be delivered would have been seen as nonsensical.

Obviously, times have changed. The way advertisers interact with consumers is now constantly evolving, as disruptive technologies create opportunities. Second screens and the App Store being two major examples of this.

We all know that to stay relevant, agencies need to adapt to the ever-evolving digital world. But is this enough anymore? By the time you eventually catch up to these technologies, they are already becoming redundant.

Startups are at the forefront of this high-paced world of disruption. The entrepreneurs that create and run these companies have a mission to discover society’s most pressing needs, and then to find solutions to these needs.

Sometimes, this is by using existing digital offerings in innovative ways, but most of the time it is by taking advantage of technologies that are on the cusp of dramatically changing our society.

Tech and personal data leading revolution

New technologies offer a myriad of opportunities to solve problems we didn’t even know we had yet. For instance, geo-tracking is becoming so precise that we can now track a person’s location within a room. What is the implication of this for retail spaces?

Likewise, personal data is becoming so detailed as to allow companies like Google to predict your next move. The Google Now app will give you directions to your next meeting, before you have even looked them up. And it will be adjusted for traffic and tube delays. How can we use this same sort of approach to improve customer’s interactions with brands?

There are an infinite number of examples like these, but to think that all startups can offer adland is an insight to new gizmos would be erroneous. Their methodical approach to creating successful products can also be a model from which to draw inspiration.

A startup is essentially a calculated gamble on the validity of a solution. An entrepreneur takes risk (via time and money) to invest in a product they believe answers a true need. As so much is riding on this “bet”, they will do their utmost to not waste time working on a product that has no future.

There are many methods to doing this, but most have a process of authenticating solutions before putting too many resources into them. In this way, even if one startup venture is a flop, there is still enough equity left to invest in other ideas until you find the one that works. Figuring how to stop wasting time on bad ideas is something everyone could get help with.”

Find out more about Startup Weekend here (new window)

Read more from the Campaign Startup Weekend: Creatives Edition blog

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