I read a lot of news today about Riya trying to reinvent itself as Like.com today. Of all the coverage, Don Dodge’s summary resonated with me the most.
I think Don uses Riya to summarize of the key takeaways I had from my own experience in venture capital:
The lesson for entrepreneurs is don’t have preconceived notions about how your product/service will be used. Test with lots of different customers to discover where they see value. Remember, it is not about the technology…it is about the problem it solves.
Personally, while I find Riya’s technology truly exciting in its potential, this new direction feels a bit too manufactured, a bit too orchestrated and timely. It rings of smart people figuring out strategy behind closed doors, rather than a true customer-driven request or need.
Metadata tagging of blogs and pictures is hot right now, but tagging of video is just getting started. Is it that hard to believe that in a few years, when studios build the digital versions of their properties for distribution (either BD/HD DVD and/or download versions) that they will tag them with the appropriate commercial content? Wouldn’t it be easier for software on the web or on your TV box to just then link to appropriate interesting items (like boots, dresses, cars, other product placements) to a rev-share storefront for the studio? And wouldn’t the owners of that content want to control that linkage – charge for it, since it’s their property (the movie, the show, the shot) that’s driving the demand?
This is hot technology and it’s incredibly generalized, but in many cases we tend to look for the ultimate solution when a very simple, manual process can hit the business need 80/20. So I’m still not sure this is a business vs. a cool demo.
BTW If you haven’t tried it out, go see the Like.com Alpha site.