Yesterday I attended the MBA MEC (Media & Entertainment Conference) at Columbia University.
Overall, I thought the conference was very well put together.
Keynote: Peter Cuneo of Marvel
The key note speaker, Peter Cuneo, was the former CEO of Marvel Entertainment. Peter has orchestrated an incredible turnaround at Marvel lifting the stock price from $.80 in 2000 to $29 in 2006. One interesting tidbit is that Marvel has no technology or web strategy (though they want to change this.) Sure enough, for a company that could have an amazingly interactive website, the current website sucks.
Investment Banking Trends in Media:
This was the best panel I attended and I really enjoyed the panel’s consensus that young people with a background in technology/the web can add huge value to banks and financial services. As more deals like Myspace and YouTube come about the panelists think that young people with an understanding of current technology can add vital expertise.
It was clear that ABC lacks a solid strategy. The panel all seemed very proud that their respective companies had ‘mobile website versions’ ‘â€œ are you serious? I had hoped for a discussion on mobile convergence, IMS, the role of service delivery platforms, etc. Instead, ‘multi-platform’ meant arguing about video or email marketing. Adam Rich from Thrillist.com was on the panel and it was nice to see at least one sub-30 presenting.
By far the most disappointing! The entire time I couldn’t help but wish I was instead attending Noah’s Community Next event. First, and I kid you not, ‘community’ was not mentioned ONCE during the entire discussion. Second, the only thing people wanted to discuss about monetization possibilities for web 2.0 was RSS’ are you kidding? McKinsey Consulting’s panel representative believed that Web 2.0 is simply nomenclature justifying investment opportunities in technology that is not new, but pretends to be. I agree with her on that, but I do believe we are in a profoundly new era…if only because people are actually ready for it.
The best speaker of the day was Kevin Ryan, founder of DoubleClick, and CEO of MusicNation and ShopWiki. He also helped but together theLadders.com, a disruptive company to Monster focusing on $100,000+ jobs. I really liked Kevin’s take: the web is full of opportunity for young people looking to start companies. Kevin suggested identifying established markets that can be further segmented and monetized. If anything takes longer than 2-3 minutes, it can be done better.