The Means of Production

There has never been a better time to start a blog, launch your podcast, or find your voice online. Powerful forces are driving this openness and freedom. Once dominant media outlets are being unbundled, barriers are being blasted away. There is an opening of the means of distribution.

It started in 1995, when Craigslist planted seeds that would grow like weeds to choke the classified advertising departments of nearly all newspapers. It has continued with YouTube throwing off the chains of network-controlled television production, offering a pop culture audience to just about anybody with a video camera and a Millennial sense of humor. More doors were opened by social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, and platforms like WordPress,Tumblr and Medium. Indie publishing is thriving with CreateSpace, Amazon and Lulu. The means of production and expression are wide open. There is even talk of NPR unbundling itself into a network of podcasts. Sound good to you?

Well, there is also chaos and evil.

YouTube is owned by Google, an organization questing after world domination online as much as Uber quests …

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Communications Reimagined

Red Cup Agency has developed a communications practice to serve growth companies. We build online narratives using podcasts, blogs, whitepapers, ebooks and guest posts.

Every agency has to have its big idea. Red Cup believes in reconfiguring communications to blend editorial development with aspects of traditional PR. Growth companies thrive on networks. We build networks on the right channels for you. 

To get this started, you have to do some deep thinking about why you do what you do. You have to be connected with your WHY. It is the driver to building a culture around what you do. Simon Sinek first wrote and talked about this, and his book is worth a read. Our founder and communications director Lee Schneider wrote a book that outlines the philosophy of Red Cup – it is titled Be More Popular: Culture Building for Startups. It’s on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook.  His other books include a detailed chronicle of the Los Angeles startup scene and a new book about the mind of the angel investor. His TechSmart Podcast featured business leaders in conversation. The Cult/Tech Podcast is in production now.  If you’re ready to talk a look at our services, jump here.

Ask the Right Questions

Everyone will tell you that online, you have to make some noise. That’s good – we like noise. The only way your public noise will turn into useful information, however, is if you have a story to tell. Stories build loyalty and connection. Stories that do the best work come from a deep place. If you can articulate the WHY of what you’re doing, you have something powerful to share with the world, a story that deeply resonates. When you discover a community of like-minded, passionate people, that’s the ah-ha moment. It demands your next step. What’s that? 

Let’s Build a Culture Together

View a client list.

Check out some case studies. 

Startups Are Always Crazy

I’ve spent the last few months talking with startup founders here in Santa Monica and worldwide. I’ve learned that startups are always crazy. Everything is always changing. A state of emergency, if not panic, is what’s happening every day.

What everybody needs, and isn’t necessarily getting, is a steady hand. A way forward. A sense of what to focus on and how to prioritize.

Look, focus is challenging, even in calm times.  But when you are pivoting this way and that, seeking customers, trying to find out what works as fast as you can and yes, fail as fast as you can so that you can succeed – let’s just say that things get a little crazy.

The solution? There really isn’t one that fits all startups. But I do have some thoughts about it. A go-to-market plan with achievable deadlines is smart. Most of you do one of those. But you also need an achievable communications plan. That often gets pushed off until it is too late.  I think what happens is that everyone freezes up because they don’t …

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What Can a Media Influencer Do to the FCC or Amazon?

Looks like The FCC has come down with a case of influencer-enza earlier this week. After media influencer John Oliver called for viewers to post comments on the FCC.gov site to protest proposed (bad) changes to the Internet, the site crashed, came back up, and crashed again. Twenty-two-thousand comments were posted over two days this week, with a total of 64,000 comments.  The flood probably happened because of Oliver, and probably also because of a similar call to action on reddit. (Redditors call this the ‘hug of death,’ when so many of them visit a site that the site goes down.)

Louder voices online.

Amazon also felt the power of an influencer. The company is in the hot seat because of a bad decision to drop the hammer on Hachette, one of its publishers. There’s a contract dispute going on between the two companies, and Amazon is applying pressure by slowing shipments of Hachette titles, making them harder to locate on the site, and resorting to other hardball tactics.

Amazon’s bad behavior is working.

Sales of Hachette titles have slowed …

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Magazines and YouTube, Story and Image

This post originally appeared in Medium.

Written by Lee Schneider

Seeking long form journalism, do we gaze into an iPad to find the future, or do we browse YouTube?

Walk along Hudson Street in New York. Look at magazines and publishing houses. Their death is announced daily. But for something that is dead, magazines keep mysteriously filling newsstands and mailboxes. Books turn up everywhere, even made of paper, even in libraries. Look at long form content. Everybody talks about the supremacy of 140 characters, but Longreads thrives, Atavist is healthy, and Amazon’s Kindle Singles is a lively home for reportage, humor and novellas.

Come along to Silicon Beach in Los Angeles. Look at metastasizing production houses sprouting along the streets of Santa Monica and Venice where I work, all laboring to make viral YouTube videos. Since each viral video is viral for a different reason, all previous speculations explode.

YouTube Channels, cheap, fast and out of control, laughable at times, scary at others, might prove to be the killer of the word, or at …

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