Dear Geeky Universe…
They say that you don’t usually get what you want unless you ask for it.
I’d say you could take that axiom and add “or unless you build it yourself” on the end of it and you’ll get the psychology that makes technology startups and entrepreneurs tick.
You don’t get what you want unless you ask for it or build it yourself.
I’m not an entrepreneur, however, so that second part is not really my bailiwick. I used to try and ‘build it myself’ but then I realized that I’m the sort who has dozens of unfinished projects cluttering up my basement, my garage, and my hard-drive. I have ideas but they seldom get past the initial architecting phase.
Ten years after I took the top end off of my 1968 Triumph T100C as part of its restoration process, I realized that the top was still off of it, covered in dust, and unlikely to spontaneously restore itself… so I sold it to someone who was a “doer” and I’m sure it is much happier being on the road these days since he restored it.
So the bike is on the road again… Where is this going?
My point in giving the above example is that I’m the sort who would rather see something done right than to profit from it myself. If I’m not going to do it, it shouldn’t just sit in my garage being a great “wouldn’t that have been something?” idea.
So I’m going to put this out there in the hopes that someone who is a ‘doer’ sees it and realizes where it can go and builds it so I can use it. If they also happen to make a zillion dollars? Well, yeah, buy me dinner some night and let me in on your beta.
What I need/want/wish someone would build and why
There are a lot of systems that come close out there – but none that actually addresses this need in full.
Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to help Erin Kotecki Vest (also known as Queen of Spain from her very popular blog and @QueenofSpain on Twitter) by trying to facilitate the first couple episodes of her fledgling web show.
Now Erin has years of broadcast experience and is very good at doing what she does. She’s a great interviewer and host – and both guests and audiences have a great time whenever she’s interacting with them. That said, any web show is only as good as its platform. If the show crashes every 5 minutes, loses guests, dies of lag… that’s all anyone remembers about it.
What I’ve been trying to do is help with the moderating, the technical issues, the general ‘stuff a production assistant does’ in most broadcast fields. But we’ve discovered that none of the services presently available for doing this actually have all the functionality that would make the show sail along smoothly.
Last night, after crashing one time too many on Stickam.com, Erin’s show moved to the Yahoo!Live platform (still in beta) and after the past couple of weeks of frustration – we started discussing what we needed and trying to figure out who might provide it. We looked at ustream, at non-webpage solutions like ooVoo and Skype, and a handful of other things people messaged me with. All of which are great at what they are doing, but none of which currently offers all the things we were looking for.
What we keep talking about is a service that allows Erin (or anyone) to broadcast a produced, realtime, webcam show with guests that allows for audience participation. Features we need:
- Main video feed – this larger window is for the show host
- Additional video feed windows – these smaller windows allow the host to pull video &/or audio feeds from the guests – preferably 4 or more – with individual volume controls and controlled access.
- Chat room – real-time chatroom that allows for large numbers of text interactions
- Dual Moderator capabilities – both host and ‘producer’ should be able to moderate fully – with the ability to enable feeds, boot people from chat room, enable recording, and open/close room. Additionally text in chat window should be differently formatted for moderator & host.
- Recording – the ability to record the entirety of the show – not just the host window, but also the other feeds & chat – for future playback.
- Private messaging – separate window chat messaging which can be turned on/off/blocked by chatters (so that host/guests don’t get PMd by random chat room folks)
- Audio Line between Host & ‘producer’ – so that producer can speak with host, but not necessarily heard in general broadcast.
- Stability – if the host gets disconnected, the room needs to persist unless the producer also gets disconnected so that audience is not lost if there are connectivity issues.
- Webpage/URL permanence and video hosting – the problem with a lot of solutions is that they require software downloads on the part of the audience. This has to function like a ‘web television’ show. Post a link, click on it during broadcast time, see the video and join the chat. Also, saved sessions need to be accessible from the show’s main page.
That’s the “must-haves” the “nice to haves but can be implemented down the road” include:
- Calendar scheduling – it’s a nice thing, but not needed immediately.
- Scripted Text – for both the host and the producer, the ability to post things to the chat room that are pre-scripted so that messages can be repeated easily.
- Question Queues – it would be fabulous to have the chat room be able to click on an “Ask a question” button that queues up the text questions in order and is viewable by host & producer but can be ‘passed’ or ‘deleted’ as well.
- Custom ‘Homepage’ Design – obviously, people like to ‘brand’ their shows… down the road that would be a premium service. In fact, many of the ‘nice to haves’ could be premium options.
Why build it and What do you get out of it?
Okay honestly, it’s not that hard to see that Bloggers picked up podcasting, and podcasters are now experimenting with Video shows. And I don’t mean Video podcasts that are edited and slick and professional. I mean live shows that are interactive, dynamic, and unpredictable. But just because it’s live doesn’t mean it should look like it was done in someones garage.
Video Podcasts are the 60 minutes of the Internet – the news magazine format. What we’re talking about here are Live Shows – the Oprahs and Merv Griffins of tomorrow.
But it’s one of those “if you build it they will come” propositions. If you’ve got the platform that makes it easy, manageable, and smooth – you’ll also get the names… and their audiences.
The monetizing is obvious – because you’ve already got the room for advertising in the webpage format… you can also create the premium options – and professional accounts.
Are you still with me?
If you are can you help me out here? Either be the guy with the vision and the ability to implement it – or be the guy that funds it – or be the guy that is dying to code it. And if you aren’t any of those guys? Could you be the guy that helps me get this out there? Because it will seriously make the experience better for the rest of us.
For all of the potential hosts, producers, guests, and audience members – can we maybe shoot for the moon?
I know I’d be willing to take the time to pound out details and beta it if I can be of any help. But I want first shot at playing with it! After all I’m putting it out there and asking nicely.
Dear Geeky Universe – can I have a turnkey professional webcam interactive talkshow solution – please?
~ by Lucretia on April 28, 2008.