From Boomers To Zoomers: How To Build Billion-Dollar Businesses For The Changing Face Of Aging

From Boomers To Zoomers: How To Build Billion-Dollar Businesses For The Changing Face Of Aging

Unique Expectations

The lifestyle and aging expectations of boomers are different than any previous generation. According to the American Medical Association, boomers prefer to age in place, maintain an active lifestyle, keep working in the careers they love and engage with younger generations. And since they still control 70% of disposable income in the United States alone, they can pay their way into new products and solutions.

Boomers desire homes and shopping centers that are designed for decreased mobility and aging bodies, but that still offer plenty of opportunities. They seek employment where they can use their skills and wisdom on a schedule that works for them. Many are doing what they can to avoid bogging their children down with the rituals of caregiving and death.

Require Unique Solutions

No other generation shares the expectations of the boomers. Herein lies the most important fact: Boomer expectations of aging will drive a transformation of the $7.6 trillion longevity market. This begs the question for any entrepreneur: What are the best opportunities to pursue?

One avenue to explore is the confluence of artificial intelligence and connected devices. While we’ve had wearable devices for years, clunky and unfriendly user experience has often stymied adoption. That’s finally changing. While tech companies can build tech solutions for caregiving, more ambitious entrepreneurs have other plans. From apps that help people monitor medical conditions and track their heart rate during sleep to new products that can help lessen the financial burden of major conditions, entrepreneurs are finding ways to redefine retirment, financial investment and insurance.

Strategies To Serve Boomers

Tapping into the boomer market is easier than many others because of one simple fact: despite losing ground to millenials, it’s still one of the largest demographic groups in the United States. The opportunities that exist today are more focused on user experience than novel technology — plus, boomers love taking part in testing and providing opinionated feedback.

Entrepreneurs can start by using existing technologies to enhance the user experience of products and services that boomers use right now but will struggle with as they age due to mobility and health issues.

For example, startups working on self-driving car technology could deliver friendlier automobile experiences that allow Boomers to remain in control of the wheel while lessening the burden on their bodies from driving.

Yet another example is the homes in Margaritaville development I saw with my boomer parents. With purpose-built countertops that pull back for easy wheelchair access and bathrooms that can accommodate caregivers, the homes are designed for aging in place but still feature furnishings and finishes no different than what you would find in a hotel room. Maintaining independence, freedom and control matter more than anything else to boomers.

Next, entrepreneurs should get their products tested as fast as possible by their target demographic. Many boomers enjoy trying new products and services, especially when products are marketed with a lifestyle message. Hold focus groups and recruit a small batch of users online. Then, request feedback early, before building the full scope of the product to ensure there’s an audience that wants it.

The strategy has worked for Voyage, a company that manufactures self-driving vehicles with a focus on people who are mobility impaired. Rather than release their product to a national market, they are now testing early iterations of their product at a lifestyle retirement community in Central Florida. Voyage is gaining valuable user feedback and input that will shape the product before an anticipated national launch.

Boomers Matter

Entrepreneurs can capitalize on boomers’ significant disposable income by providing them with lifestyle solutions that address their desire to age gracefully and with greater independence than previous generations. While not every entrepreneur will create the boomer juggernaut that is the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville empire, with targeted positioning and market focus, the transformation of boomers to “Zoomers” will enable most entrepreneurs to be successful.

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From Boomers to Zoomers: How to build a billion dollar business for the changing face of aging

Source: By Alex Gold

The Streaming Wars Are Going To Be Brutal: Here's How To Survive

The Streaming Wars Are Going To Be Brutal: Here's How To Survive

It was just after midnight when I landed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, late last year. After a nine-hour flight, I just wanted to go to my hotel and sleep. Exiting the plane, my phone started to go off wildly — DramaFever, WarnerBros.’ streaming service centered on Korean Drama,  was shutting down .

But it’s not just DramaFever. Over the last year, some of the larger streaming services like Alpha, Filmstruck, and YahooView have all shut down. I believe we are in the early stages of a streaming media war. Unfortunately, we are going to see many more battlefield casualties — including some of America’s top brand names — before it’s over.

The challenge for incumbents and new entrants isn’t about entertaining audiences. Consumers absolutely love streaming video. Rather, the challenge is that consumers are not changing how much they are willing to spend on streaming subscriptions when compared to traditional terrestrial and cable television. On average, consumers spend about $35 a month on streaming services compared to more than $100 a month for cable subscriptions.

Although streaming pricing should increase as cord-cutting itself does, even if consumers are willing to pay a bit more to have a collection of streaming subscriptions, there’s still just not enough room for every entrant to the market.

What if cutthroat competition doesn’t scare you? Here’s how to claim your niche:

Grab A Highly Engaged Market 

Successful streaming services have superfans: a core group of extraordinarily dedicated, engaged and often lifelong fans. By first focusing on a dedicated niche market, such as sports or nature programming, streaming platforms can collect the resources and clout they need to scale.

Take Curiosity Stream, founded by Ex-Discovery Channel Chairman John Hendricks. CuriosityStream showcases real-world, nature-focused and education-driven content to a core base of engaged fans. The platform offers a mix of subscription types that range from $3 to $12 to engage fans at the highest level to those who are more casual. With over 2 million members, it’s clear that this entrant understood the value of pursuing an engaged fanbase.

More importantly, CuriosityStream also iterated and tested different types of content before greenlighting its most expensive tentpole series. Aside from other streaming entrants, this is a lesson for entrepreneurs generally: Test everything using a metrics-driven process.

Another example is MLBAM. After hitting home runs with and MLB Radio, MLBAM partnered with the NHL, PGA Tour and more to launch 120 Sports, a sports streaming video service.

One sport that has extraordinarily dedicated and passionate fans — but has yet to create a streaming platform — is NASCAR. NASCAR’s fanbase is extraordinarily passionate, maybe even more so than those in any other sport. In fact, their engagement intensity on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter after a race is more akin to the fervor of Tik Tok and YouTube influencer fans than any other professional league.

Go Where Your Consumers Are

Because I’m a millennial without a cable subscription, I can’t watch my favorite Showtime series, Billions. Showtime, like many networks and cable providers, requires consumers to subscribe to traditional cable providers in order to gain access to any online streaming content. Content providers that take such a “walled” approach shoot themselves in the foot, a mistake that often leads new entrants to the market to an early demise.

Never stop would-be customers from paying you for your service. Today’s most successful platforms are accessible to consumers through every outlet imaginable: Apple TV, Roku, mobile applications, social media and more. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different financial models to scale, including a mixed revenue base of advertisers and subscribers.

Try Advertising-Supported Models

Although a mixed model may be the future, there’s a reason broadcast television has stuck around for so long: Viewers don’t like to pay. Cater to them without shutting yourself off to customers who prefer a premium experience.

Iflix, which serves emerging markets like Southeast Asia and Africa, understands that it needs to provide Netflix-like service at a fraction of the cost. If iFlix users watch advertisements, then part of the platform is open and free. But if they want to see an in-demand series, then they pay a monthly subscription fee. Here in the United States, Spotify and YouTube operate the same way.

Advertising dollars are difficult to generate without a subscriber base, though. First, go where your customers are, then use a freemium approach to acquire new ones. Over time, you’ll lessen your reliance on increasingly scarce subscription dollars.

Be Aware Of Your Real Competition

With streaming services, the competition is steeper than you think. Netflix founder Reed Hastings believes that the company does not compete with other entertainment programmers as much as it competes with the likes of Fortnite — or even sleep.

Yes, sleep. Streaming services now have to compete with games, social platforms, apps and every other activity under the sun. Oh, and by the way, he says Netflix is winning.

This points to a key insight: Streaming services are competing to monopolize as much of their users’ time as possible. To make headway, streaming service entrants need to understand that they are competing with other types of entertainment applications, gaming, socializing, work and activities that also seek to both monopolize and even monetize people’s time. If your strategy is focused on competing with a new series on a different streaming service, then it may be time to reevaluate.

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The Streaming Wars Are Going To Be Brutal: Here’s How To Survive

Source: By Alex Gold

Improve Your Odds of Getting Funded by Matching Your Pitch to the VC’s Investment Pattern

Improve Your Odds of Getting Funded by Matching Your Pitch to the VC’s Investment Pattern

It’s the often unseen trigger — that invisible ‘something’ — that gets them to bite. Seek it, use it, close the deal.

It was an unusually warm February afternoon, and my co-founder and I were sitting outside the Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, pitching an angel investor, but something just was not clicking. Although our revenue growth was strong, our team was stellar, and our market was the perfect opportunity to generate the winner-take-all, monopolistic business that investors seem to love, the investor just wasn’t having it.

“I still worry — really worry, actually — about your guys’ ability to execute this. I can’t put my finger on it. But I feel it.” Suddenly knowing that (obviously) this investor was not going to bite, I started to realize that beyond perfect decks and personal impressions, there is something more to master in your pitch.

The problem was “pattern matching.” We weren’t aware of it.

The impression you make throughout your pitch is important, certainly, but there’s another aspect to an investor’s interest. Many investors choose their ventures based on predetermined factors. This is pattern matching, and understanding how it factors into the decision can help you make it work for you.

Pattern matching is the habit of an investor to evaluate opportunities based on what has worked before. If a Mark Zuckerberg-style social media entrepreneur walks into a boardroom, an investor may see the look and overall style of the person making the presentation and immediately recognize it as a good fit. This judgment may not even be conscious.

Before your next pitch, it’s important to find ways to make pattern matching work for you. Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success.

Research is essential.

Research is always recommended when you’re planning to step in front of an investor, but pattern matching means you need to start that research before you get the invitation to pitch. In addition to standard research suggestions, take a close look at every investor’s portfolio and choose those that are likely to be interested in what you’re offering.

One of the best resources for looking into potential investors is Crunchbase, which gives you insight into what an investor has previously backed, including the amount spent on each investment. If you aren’t sure which investors to pitch, you can also use this tool to identify companies similar to yours and find backers that might be interested in what you have to offer.

Present data.

Maybe you couldn’t pass as Brian Chesky’s twin, but you have a great idea that will disrupt the on-demand accommodations industry. You can still demonstrate to investors that your product will match the performance of similar companies in the space.

Make sure you frontload your presentation with plenty of data that compares your brand to others, directly addressing the similarities investors are seeking in your presentation.

You can also use data to inform your storytelling, winning pattern-matching investors over. Kick off your presentation with a story about a product similar to yours, then follow up with data that shows the similarities between what you’re trying to do and what that successful company did. The investors will immediately see a correlation, and you’ll be more likely to complete the presentation on a win.

Don’t fake it.

In the end, the best thing entrepreneurs can do is to be true to themselves, before, during and after the presentation. Pretending to be something you aren’t to wow a specific investor won’t help if your pitch doesn’t match what your company represents. You’ll probably find if you can get a yes based on that pitch, the investor will require you to make changes that turn your company into something outside of your vision.

The theory behind being yourself is that it will attract the perfect investor to move your business forward. You’ll save yourself time, though, if you follow earlier advice to thoroughly research potential investors and narrow your list down to those with portfolios and interests that are a close match for your business.

Accept the pros and the cons.

There are issues inherent to pattern matching; many of them have been widely recognized. Pattern matching limits diversity and locks investors into a portfolio full of similar companies. If they continue to follow the same pattern, they may, in fact, miss out on new industries that could bring much bigger rewards than if they continued to play it safe.

Once you’ve accepted the pluses and minuses of pattern matching, you can make it work for you. You may be able to leverage your company’s uniqueness by building momentum on a crowdfunding campaign initially, for instance, then taking that large audience to an investor. Another winning strategy could be looking for investors who might specifically be interested in diversifying and embracing your differences, rather than trying to follow the crowd.

Because pattern matching will likely continue to be part of investment decisions, there are things entrepreneurs can do to play to this basic instinct. Careful research can make a big difference in not only identifying ideal investors but also connecting with them during a pitch meeting in a way competitors can’t.

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Improve Your Odds of Getting Funded by Matching Your Pitch to the VC’s Investment Pattern

Source: Published on 2018-04-02 By Alex Gold