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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Full Sail Worth It?: "Swan Song" Course Reflection

Okay, so here’s the break down of my coursework from Full Sail. Noted the program just changed, but as Alumni you can always audit a course to keep up.

           I.     Media Literacy and Research Methodologies

I knew how to do Academic research, but as far as business is concerned information that is vital for change may not be on the academic databases before a person can make a great decision on that new piece of information.

Twitter: For business reasons, this really made sense, but I needed this class to learn how it was effective for business purposes. Twitter is a quick message system that send messages to your team and can be used as a public relations service.  

Linkedin: I had tried it before, but again did not know how it could be used to find jobs or get people on board a team to develop a project.

Diigo: This helped to link to groups that were finding different types of links that were focused on specific research focuses from topics related to the energy crisis to Japanese Anime.

Blogs: These helped me to start to develop an understanding of web presence. Blogs would continue to be a topic of discussion through the rest of the academic year. 

Continued development of media literacy means to look out for websites that can help get a person closer to their goals. In this regard, sites to look out for are “Google +” and “Klout” because these two new service could change social networking in the coming years.

         II.     Executive Leadership

This was a great class that talked about the use and abuse of power. Unlike other leadership courses I had before, we studied the book the “48 Laws of Power” to look at the historical mistakes and successes of people such as Tesla, and how in our cotemporary society people can rise to power by getting others to reach their potential.

This class helped me develop and realize my leadership abilities. By working with people who work with or under me, we can get a desired shared goal by amplifying our skills. Given my time working with Diane Hyppolite, my assistant, and others, I have full confidence that whatever the job is I can build a team with the right people to get it done.

        III.     Project and Team Management

The overall goal here was to create timelines to reach realistic goals when dealing with a team. If that meant to create a project or event, the process was very similar. The most important assignment in this class was the idea of putting together an event. This involved developing a budget, a team, an event then getting funding for that event. After those steps, the final step was working with others in that budget. Unfortunately, this class only gave the skills to run an event team under a budget, pitch an event, and develop a sleek event business plan. The rest of the classes I needed came further in the program in regards to starting a business.

       IV.     Business Storytelling and Brand Development

This class real developed Guy Kawasaki’s ideal of make “meaning” or “mantra over mission statement”. In other words, how do you get people to understand what your brand does?  Full Sail’s adopted the solution was to develop a brand’s story, a narrative that conveyed the history and reason why a brand should be supported.

Similar to inception, I learned in this class was not just how to sell an idea or concept but to get people to come to the decision why they should support an idea or concept. This skill I use almost every day with the business I am developing, and with others who need help developing their own ideas or concepts.

         V.     Entertainment Business Finance

An extension of Project and Team Management, This class got into the more meat and potatoes of business planning when it came to money. The Pro-Forma assignment help define costs, profits, and responsible spending. Now I can use Excel to create spreadsheets that show a proposed budget and how that money will be spent.

       VI.     Negotiation and Deal-Making

With reading on psychology of deal making from Harvard, Role-play assignments had us take different roles with different interests. These interests represented clients based on case studies who had psychological and practical fears. For example, in one assignment, I played a new director trying to get a former movie star who feared her age was factor and so demanded more money than what she was currently worth; moreover, she had gotten negative media attention related to drug chargers that caused her career to stop. At the same time, I had to get her on board within a proposed production budget. 

The compromise that was made was helping the former movie star with her social networking in correlation to the film’s release. This compromise would help her get positive press for TV show appearances and bolster support for the independent film documentary. In other assignments, the role was switched and I was the talent who feared something, but wanted something else. These role-plays help me understand peoples need and wants, and how to create a deal that best represented all parties. 

In application, this really helped me consider how to empathize and negotiate with people who could have irrational and rational fears caked into wanting something I could offer. However, I find myself getting people to realize the benefits of working with us, and they usually agree. When we actually get results we confirm it was a smart decision and build trust with our strategic partners, sponsors, fans, etc.

      VII.     Product and Artist Management

Unlike “Project and Team Management”, this dealt with a specific event for a single product or artist. The major difference is that unlike an event, something or someone would be the highlight of the entire show. This was about developing a philosophy for real world situations. For example, a new starting out artist’s manager could demand a bigger cut of the ticket and music sales, but later as the artist becomes more successful the manager could ask for less of a percentage based on a larger profit margin. In this example, charging a starving artist more seems cruel, but the manager needs the money to be able to operate. Still it would make sense to most people to charge the successful artist more, but if the manager is not greedy, he can operate on a smaller percentage because the artist’s profit is higher.

Explaining the above example to a client before representing them is exactly what the class was about and a skill I picked up. I find these situations come up every so often with the business I started when it comes to contracts, taxes, and explaining why we charge X for something and Y for another.

    VIII.     Advanced Entertainment Law

I was no novice to trademarks and patents, but this class gave me a great free resource to look up case studies and lead me to find the actually document that describes natural trademarks in today’s internet. Now, if someone asks me about natural trademark on the net, I can point them to a government site and document, explaining the documents, and cite a case as an example.

Key resources from project:
Lanham (Trademark) Act (15 U.S.C.) Index (n.d.) BitLaw. Retrieved on April 19th, 2011 from

Marcus (2008) Natural Answers Inc v. Smithkline Beecham Corporation

       IX.     Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution

This class gave me the ability to develop traditional and non-traditional plans to market and sell different types of works. This added to my knowledge from such podcasts as “Webcomics Weekly” that explored similar topics related to free to paid content marketing.

         X.     Digital Marketing

Search engine optimality, social networking, email newsletters, and press releases were key concepts in relation to marketing budgets; however, “Conversions” was really the focus to this class because it helped create realistic goals to what wanted to be accomplish through the varying forms of internet media. For example, we learned to breakdown the cost of a digital marketing campaign and then measure how effective that campaign was in a certain time frame. The basic conversion was leads to sales, then other conversion could breakdown ways to measure these various successes such as emails to leads and so forth.

I now have the ability to develop an Internet marketing camping and correspond with a team to pull data to make decisions and implement a dynamic online marketing campaign based on trends. Also, I now can develop reports for clients, peers, or employers to make decisions on the success and fails of the campaign.

       XI.     Business Plan Development
This class started a reflection process and review of the ten courses and how in combination they could help us create a business plan. It helped developed the first half of a business plan draft. It developed a three-year budget plan in accordance to all the needs a business would need to be successful such as marketing and so forth.

In the class, I was able to consider weaknesses in my plan that needed to be addressed before showing it to investors.

     XII.     Final Project: Business Plan
A follow up to the Business Plan Development class, this class finalized a business plan draft, and covered applications of what we learned and how this applied to the jobs market. Other supplement topics of choice were personal finance and seeking investors. The course was a reflection and affirmation of the entire Full Sail Master of Science Program. 

As a follow-up, I was realized the weaknesses in my plan needed more focus on the fine tuning the market research, developing more leads, and finalizing planned payouts to investors. 

Full Sail Blog What Going Green really Means

What Going Green really Means

A trend is as powerful as nature; left on check we get the build up to the 2008 crash. The worse thing is people often as a mass have hard time accepting a trend, or is to careful to see is and has become reality. The few that realize what is really going on take different actions: some try to control it, some profit from it, and some just accept it and go as if they don’t want to know (End of Suburbia, 2004 and Collapse, 2009). In any case, if you accept my analysis of our energy will effect the economy as it relates to entertainment, the I promise you will be in a better place to decide which of three categories you want to lean towards.

Many experts believe that peak oil has already happened, probably around 2006 (End of Suburbia). This means that our economy won’t be able to grow, it will shrink. We will go through more recessions, and the 2000-2006 Bush endorsed deregulations, and war in the Iraq were efforts to control the situation (Collapse).

People may have forgotten the plot of "Mad Max the Road Warrior", where it states an energy crisis caused the eventual collapse of the civilized governments. That movie was a 1980’s flick, but what really is scary is the source material.

Even Jimmy Carter warned about the situation.

However, Ronald Reagan's answers were more favored and won him the oval office over carter reflections and reactions to the situation.

Reagan just wanted to burn more oil and secure more oil, which was a short term solve (End of Suburbia). His plan worked for the first year to bring the USA out off recession, but it was a short term plan (I Want Your Money, 2010).

If we except this argument that the trend is we are past peak oil, then we will be entering phase 2 of collapse. The major cities will do better economically as the smaller cities and towns will start to hurt more. Supporting the thesis of Collapse, go to craigslist and check census data, and anyone can see that there are lot more jobs in major cities with lower rates of unemployment that there are in small towns in most states. If this is the case, then focuses on major cities will be a profitability venture for any business because people will have money and can spend on it in these zones.

The media does not focus much on the energy crisis we are in because it’s not a pretty picture; however, the positive aspects of knowing what phase we are in, is that can see what going green really means. For entertainment this can be increased movie ticket sales because instead of people being able to leave their city for a vacation they more than will opt to stay home and save money. Thus, recording artists can go on tour and probably make more money because people will be less likely to travel out of state to go to shows. I have been hearing remarks also from gamers in the 20 to 40 age range who spend their vacation time just playing video games like World of Warcraft. 

What Going Green really means today to me is that major cities will need entertainment that is local whither it’s physical or digital. Plan then to localize businesses within these areas. Here’s a freebie, “LARP” in Denver is huge only in the Denver area.  I would say the rest but I am in one those no-disclosure agreements.

Oh and here's a version of "End of Suburbia", enjoy:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fulls Post Week 3 for BDP

"What Leadership Style Fits Your Company?"

Start by answering the following questions:

1. Where’s the company going in the next five to 10 years?

2. What kind of a leader can take us there?

3. What are the important skill sets of that leader?

4. Who in the next generation has those skills?
5. If we’re objective, is the best leader for the company in the family or do we      need to look outside the family?

6. What’s our road map for the succession process?

I posted the top article's questions because I think most of us fail to ask how these three types of leadership inter-connect and are used over time. When considering the class that talked about leadership styles we agreed that not one type of leadership style answers all our needs or fits every given situation.

When considering starting a start-up we have to realize that the leadership structure differs in comparison to a major cooperation. Consider, today’s common success story starts first with leadership that needs to be “Delegative” because every ones input is needed to make the company a success; moreover, these first people on board have to process skills, talents, and a shared decision to help a start-up grow. These initial people become the heads of new departments often or leave for projects as the company grows. The next step is "Participative" because now a democratize model to represent each departments input has to be made, but a CEO has to have the final say to carry out the shared vision.

The finally phase is "Authoritarian", because decisions have to be made quickly in order to carry them out in a big organization. In this sense, a start-up becomes so big that higher ups have to make these decisions fast in order to take effect over hundreds of employees and over thousands of consumers. I have heard many entrepreneurs sell out their shares and move to another start-up because they do not like this type of management structure. The major fall back, is when a company gets this big and uses this style of leadership, new ideas are a lot harder to develop and produce; not to mention, it is a lot harder to get a large percent of the profits when a company can automatically make claim to what you make (i.e. look up the founder of AMD chips and why he left Intel).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Full Sail Business Website Reviews

Alternative Funding sites from Full Sails MS in Business Entertainment Program…

“…these disadvantages don't mean that these teenagers can't be competent workers, superlative contributors, and successful learners. It doesn't mean that these teenagers are any less valuable to the St. Louis Science Center or society as a whole than others. But it does mean that they need different scaffolds and support mechanisms to succeed.”


I cited this quote because a common word kept popping up called “underserved people.” This idea seems to relate to people of low social economic abilities. Some of these institutions’ seems to be applying this term to those the find financing for.

Conference Opportunity Finance Network Conference November 14-17 2011 Minneapolis Hilton, MN.

From their about page…
“OFN’s Core Purpose & Vision
OFN exists to align capital with social, economic, and political justice. This is OFN’s purpose. OFN will pursue this purpose for as long as it takes to achieve. When capital and justice are aligned, all people will have the resources and opportunities to act in the best interests of their communities, themselves, and future generations. This is OFN’s vision.”

“Knowledge Sharing Knowledge Sharing delivers knowledge sharing services, including our Annual Conference (the premier opportunity finance industry event attracting more than 700 attendees); regional meetings; consulting services; publications; informal technical assistance; and Member Staying Connected conference calls.”

I say this is a 4 out of 5. I am not much for the overall design interface because it does not seem to clearly show what this organization can do. It seems to have great sample documents for business planning. The Who Are you button seems confusing unless you fall under member, investor, or donor. Plus after clicking many links to look into joining the group, it is unclear how to join or actually get funds. I bumped up the rating because the conference seems to be a place where all these answers could be found.

From their about page…

“Mission: AEO supports the development of strong and effective U.S. microenterprise initiatives to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing, and expanding businesses.

“Vision: Every individual in the U.S. has access to resources and services for creating wealth, assets and healthy communities.”

I love the “For Entrepreneur option” clearly labels in the top over bars. The “Find an AEO Member in Your Community” leads to a quick survey that can help you find members that rank from banking instruction to consultants. I am also very excited because that they clearly have a easy way to join the organization, but still unclear how they actually help businesses even tough They seem to have great initiatives relate to things like “Green Tech”.

Their events are webinars which I really like.

However, There don’t seem to be many AEO members in states I want to try and develop a business. Plus, I was really interesting in the find a mentor page, but depressed with the coming soon part. Not to mention, I do not see their fees for membership.

I give this a 4 out of 5,

From their about page…
“The CDFI Coalition is the unified national voice of community development financial institutions. Our mission is to encourage fair access to financial resources for America's underserved people and communities.”

This CDFI seems to be a more political group of business and community leaders working towards maintaining rights and laws that protect people of low economic backgrounds from losing rights and access to resources that can make them financially independent.

Given their successful grant awards the program seems to do what is set out to do

Memberships dues are also clearly shown with a free newsletter. So overall I give this site a 4 out of 5.

5 reason I feel this site is pretty awesome…
# 1, use of social media such as twitter.

# 2, program like the American Dream Match Fund, and how to join them.

# 3 success stories in way they help.

#4 An amazing newsroom.

# 5 Jobs

5 out of 5

From their about page…

"CDVCA promotes the field by combining advocacy, education, communications, and best-practice dissemination through conferences and workshops. CDVCA makes its expertise available to CDVC funds by providing consulting services and technical assistance."

The good…

1. Events and a Conference
2. Workshops and Training
3. Ways to get Funding
4. Have clear membership page.
5. “Fund and Consulting Services”

The Bad…

1. Interface makes it hard to navigate between text and information.
2. Hard to find success stories related to funds.

4 out of 5

NCIF Social Performance Metrics is an amazing tool to look at lending trends.
They do have a conference However, it seems this institution seems more about helping keep business open through their funds.

So 2 out of 5 if you are looking for start-up funds, but 4 out of 5 if you are a an established business looking for money.

2 out of 5, issues with loading screens. Unclear to how their information helps because the design interfered with my ability to access their network. It’s clear they use credit unions to help people, but I am having a hard time seeing the interest or how these credit unions could help in financing an business Their news about credit union seems valid, but I having hard time shifting through all the information.

Useses social media to develop it’s contenct over servie like twitter and Youtube. However, the video seemsed uncaler about what EDA really does.

Promoting Rural Small Business Development”

From About Page:
“A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA's mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.”

They seem to offer some interesting tools and services; for example,
Economic Development Project Evaluation Tool which helps run the likelihood of a plans success. However, you have to have a certain version of Microsoft Office to run the program that allows for macros to run to run it. Sigh my MAC version of Office 2008 wont’ run it.

Also their does not seem to be a clean cut path to grant money related to stating a business, but more in investing in programs that can certain jobs quickly such as building roads. Even though it has use of social networks, the un clarity of the site leads me to a 2 out of 5 rating.

This seems mainly to be about Native American funding. So I am not going to rate this because I don’t feel it something everyone has access too. There are tones of great workshops and information to be had, but again I am Native American enough.

Sigh, this site represents a subsidiary of the last institutions. I feel if I understood the needs of Native Americans more, and came up with a good idea to develop these site could be very helpful. The papers and research are really good for looking at small community living as far as developing a small economy that is self sustaining. I guess I could use the research to propose “green” programs for non-Native Americans.