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EntrepreneurSHIP and The Boat that ROCK! May 15, 2010

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EntrepreneurSHIP and The Boat that ROCK!

Since September 2009, I have entered to a “Ship” of Entrepreneur at Kingston University, United Kingdom. It is far away from Thailand, my home country that I have been live for more than 30 years. Why do I have to come to the country that has boring foods and boring weather? – Many of the friends asked me before I decided to come here. “I have a dream”- I answered. London is my dream capital for the music, culture and creativity. I have a dream that one day I will come to London to feel the real “British Music Experiences”. Also, London is a creative city and The UK is the most successful and influential country for the “Creative Economy” (UK Trade and Investment, 2009), the subject that I had researched for more than 2 years before decided to choose Kingston University as an entrepreneur “ship” to convey me to my destination.

“I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me”

I Have A Dream by ABBA

Album:  Voulez-Vous (1979)

Everybody has a dream, destination or goal. Whatever it’s called, its mean “where do you want to be, to have, or to do?” in the future whether it is a long or short term. For me, my goal is to learn a business because it enables me to apply management skills to my own business and various fields of creative industry, which I’ll be involved in the future, which are; firstly, to go back to the music and media business and apply knowledge and skills to improve the performance of the relevant organization. Secondly, in the next 5 years, I’ll be managing my family’s business, which will comprise a variety of activities such as marketing of health products, management of a spa and retreat center as well as real estate. Therefore, I believed that this course will be useful to all business activities I intend to do because most of them are related to the creative economy. Having the country and the course to be studied, I have decided to locate myself as a master student at Kingston University because, firstly, my priority location is the town is close to London and the town is beautiful. Secondly, the creative economy course at Kingston University has more than 20 specialist courses related to the creative economy compare to other universities in London (Kingston University, 2010). Hence, I assumed that this course might popular and the university might be specialized in this subject. Subsequently, I have applied for the Managing in the Creative Economy MA which is based on a business subject, and I wished I could enjoy learning how to manage a business in creative industries rather than studying a general business.

In the Managing in the Creative Economy MA program, apart from general business module and the core module which are based on theories. “The Creative Economy” module is different. It is based on practice, in other words, “learning by doing”. This is a “truly” practicing and hard-working module as we have started the course with making prototype and conducting a marketing survey in the Uni. One month later, we have to form a real “company” to sell products or services as an objective of the course aim to develop entrepreneurial management behaviours, skills and attributes through running up a business. Not only we have to compete with other MACErs, this business program also gave a chance to students to compete with other students in London by applying Young Enterprise[1] and Bright Ideas Awards[2]. Once we have known a module’s objectives, we had about two weeks to form a company based on our interests, passions and goal. It was difficult because at that time we’ve just known each other’s behaviours well enough; we had only the same interest which is “Music”. However, we have entered in the new “ship” of music lovers which I would like to name it as “The Boat That rocks” or an official name for the MACE class is “Mango Media”.

“It was a long road to glory
[All]
Battle for territory
Just to be called the masters of the ceremony
Marathon
Decathalon
Word-play
Mega-bomb
Metabolism
With the rhythm
Keep it goin’ on”


Long Road to Glory by Jurassic 5

Jurassic 5 EP (1998)

Of course, it is a long read to glory for us since a majority of a team have no experiences in business before. In the first semester, our boat had six members; each member has special expertise in music industry. Steffen is a rapper and a sound engineer, Amna is a scriptwriter, promoter and choreographer, Astrid’s experienced in graphic design, film editing and web design; Yvette’s experienced marketing and management and also does her part for the music industry as a Singer/Songwriter, Andreea’s also experienced in marketing as well as music industry, and me, I am experienced music and media business. – These are skills and expertises we had so far, and we had to allocate our resources to match with our goal. At the first 2 months, we confused with each role and responsibility, and we hadn’t identified customer’s need to match with our capabilities and experiences. Our initial service at that time was a graphic design company which was too broad, and it wasn’t fitted to our skills. However, when we made personas, which are the way to represent the different user types (Norman, nas which was a music-related business. Furthermore, once we have condupersonas,rimary research at the music campus, we have realized what they needs and the idea of “human-centered design”[3].

Prototype was the last thinneedhave done before the business has closed down because we made it in March by an order of our tutor! , thus we could not make any profits because there was not enough time to develop and produce the product. Again, although in a trade fair there were potential customers interested in our product, we were unable to answer them how much would it costs. This is the reality, these are what we have mothem. How much at’s wroncosts? us?…There must be something wrong within this boat!

“There ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you
No wind, no rain
My love is alive”

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

EP Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967)

Along the way to success since we have started a business, there were a number of mountains to be climbed up.

Firstly, since we have only seven months to run a business, one of major challenges for us to archive a goal is time. Firstly, as we are all a full-time student, our Mango Media have turned to be a part-time business. Loads of each special module’s assignments and the differences of our schedule caused us to have only one or two day a week for a meeting. Secondly, in each design unit requires a lot of time. For example, if customers required the whole package of press kits in both digital and printed format. They have to wait for long because the number of works and our resources doesn’t match for each other.

Secondly, the fact that we have only one graphic designer, we were unable to produce more than one job at the same time. This, it took a lot of time for each product to develop until to a final stage. In addition, it caused unequally of contribution in the team since the main production depended on Astrid only.

Thirdly, lack of information of the market, until at this stage, I think we have known a little of what the market needs because we have done a little for the market survey. We might face risks if we don’t have enough information.

Another key challenge pricing, we were unable to determining price quotes for potential clients. Since lacked of pricing knowledge for a design service and product, we know only our costs for raw materials, but we could not quote for a whole package.

Next, too much freedom in a team led to many problems. First, even though we have regular times for a meeting, most of us are always late. Second, since we are all friends, it was difficult to order team members. For example, sometimes when we were not concentrating in a meeting, I couldn’t order them due to, we are friends, and I don’t want to act like I was their ‘boss’.

Lastly, Ineffective decision making caused many problems. For instance, it took times and there was no longer any conclusion for more than three weeks when we were indentifying what we kind of business we want to do. Similar to the problems of late prototyping since no one have made a decision when we have to do it.

“Cause there’s a wall
In your heart
That no one can get through
And it’s cold and it’s dark
And you don’t have a clue
But this wall it will fall
If it’s the last thing I do
I’ll get through this wall in your heart”

Wall In your Heart by Shelby Lynne

Love, Shelby  (2002)

There must be a way to get through his heart. In a case of Mango Media, these are solutions to solve the problems.

For the problem of lacking information, we have to do more and in-depth market research; therefore, we will be able to respond to their needs by developing our product to fit them. Maybe the results might reveal that neither USB press kits nor a printed one that they want, and we might need to start it from scratch again. It sounds bad but it is worth than producing a product that no one wants. Furthermore, through a research, we will be able to indentify our hidden costs for each item.

About pricing, we would have been able to secure more clients quicker if we had a knowledge and ability to set a price by ourselves. Therefore, a research should be conducted find a production cost, hidden cost and design costs in the market.

In terms of resources, we need to allocate our member’s job equally. Also, each member’s strengths need to be identified in order to match with each task.

Lastly, we need someone to be a group leader, someone who responsible for administrative tasks,         to manage time, people and budget, and to make an important decision. Flat organization sometimes is not good for our team. Even though freedom is good for creative people, they need to be control in some cases (Whatmore, 1999).

“Step 1: We can have lots of fun
Step 2: There’s so much we can do
Step 3: It’s just you and me
Step 4: I can give you more
Step 5: Don’t you know that the time has arrived
(AH!)

(step by step)”

Step By Step

New Kids on the Block

Step By Step (1990)

If we decided to run Mango Media as a real business after the module has finished, we have to take these actions step by step in order to reach the goal.

Step 1: We have to do more and in-depth market research to make sure that the products that we offer is really respond customers’ need.  Moreover, this research will help us to set our product’s price.

Step 2: Once we have been re-identified what the market needs, we have to identify and manage each member’s capability role to be matched with the requirements. If our skills to produce are not possessed in-house,            we have to make a decision, whether to outsource from freelancers or to stop the project and make a decision again.

Step 3: If the project continues, we need to set up marketing strategies that suit to our capability to operate and our resources.

Step 4: We have to improve the way we work by; firstly, find a leader to be responsible for administrative tasks,             to manage time, people and budget, and to make an important decision.

“The changing of sunlight to moonlight
Reflections of my
life
Oh how they fill my eyes

The greetings of people in trouble
Reflections of my
life
Oh how they fill my eyes”

Reflections of My Life by the Marmalade

EP Reflections of My Life (1969)

Finally, this Entrepreneur “ship” has brought me to the shore of a real world business. When I left the ship, not only my luggage that I’ve brought, but creative, entrepreneurial management behaviours, skills and attributes are the most valuable things in my brain that I will be able to exploit it in the near future. Firstly, diversity, different perspective in group working can bring benefits to teamwork. By sharing ideas which a member who is in a different background, team’s strength can be added with an idea that they lacked of. Also, challenging in working with multinational students might be useful to me in future business because an impact of globalization. Secondly, design thinking skills, through empathic research methods, brainstorming, and prototyping, this human-centred method provides a designer a deeper understanding of the users and learns what their motivations in order to uncover hidden needs. Thirdly, learning by doing, is an effective learning technique that applied business theory into practice. All in all, my journey that has not stopped yet, there will be a bigger,  a tougher  waiting for me in the near future, good bye MACE’s ship!

References

IDEO (2008) Human-Centred Design Toolkit. Available at:

http://www.ideo.com/work/item/human-centered-design-toolkit/ (Accessed: 13 May 2010)

Kingston Entrepreneurs (2009) Bright Ideas Comnpetition 2009/2010. Available at: http://kingstonentrepreneurs.co.uk/bright-ideas-competition-20092010/ (Accessed: 13 May 2010)

Kingston University (2010) Postgraduate courses in Creative Industries and the Creative Economy. Available at: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/subject-areas/48/creative-industries-and-the-creative-economy/ (Accessed: 13 May 2010)

Norman, D. (2004) Ad-Hoc Personas & Empathetic Focus. Available at:http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/personas_empath.html (Accessed: 13 May 2010)

UK Trade and Investment (2009) UK Creative Industries [Online]. Available at:

https://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ukti/fileDownload/UKTI_Creative_Industries_brochure_FSC.pdf?cid=437255 (Accessed: 13 May 2010)

Whatmore, J. (1999) Releasing Creativity: How leaders develop creative potential in their team? Kogan Page: London.

Young Enterprise London (2010) Event http://www.yelondon.com/news.aspa


[1] For more information please log on http://www.yelondon.com/news.aspa

[2] For more information please log on http://www.westfocus.org.uk/entrepreneurship/Home_3.aspx

[3] For more information please log on http://www.ideo.com/work/item/human-centered-design-toolkit/

Introducing Mango Media @ the trade fair April 29, 2010

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As I remembered, our objective for the trade fair was to branding our business to the public. Everything  from our outfits, table clothes and drink ….it represented Mango!. Even though we hadn’t won the awards, we had two customers who interested in our business and we might contact them in the near future if we will be continuing our business.

Also, I have seen other BA students businesses. The one that won the prize was very interesting in term of ideas and how they actually made it to sell in Amazon.com (and how they bravely invested to have their book published).

I have learnt that we cannot think that we are perfect or better than others, we have to think like there are  always someone who are better than us, so we are always improve ourselves to compete them.

My contribution for Mango Media: week of 22-26 Feb and 1-5 March March 4, 2010

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22-26 February: Doing a prototype of Canice & Stiffla (Steffen’s project). My job was to sketch an album cover and the song list (the tornado), worked with Astrid, our graphic designer. Moreover, I went with Steffen to find the new printing shop around Kingston because there was a problem with the shop that we have contacted before (Service mind problem).

1-5 March: As we have to produce a 60 second vdo advert, I have sketched three storyboards for today’s meeting(3 March). One of my sketch has developed from the idea if “Cover Flow” from the iTunes program. The idea is how can one’s cover album(Indie Artists) can stand out from millions of the artists who try to do the same thing.

The Apprentice Challenge Week 1: Grass Root Music Television March 4, 2010

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After I have read Corrine’s post in MACE’s blog. I realized why we didn’t get the chocolate on last Friday, still…we should at least have had a can of sprite. What we have missed on that day?

The fact that all of us have so many experiences in music  and media industries, so it  has motivated us to do this pitch. Especially me, who have worked in MTV for more than 8 years, (I think) I know everything in this industry and I must..as least I could have helped our team to win or at least to save our reputation as a media company.

About the GRMTV, the station for unsigned artists, this project is very hard to succeed in my opinion because of the traditional media are going to die. Similar to MTV, it’s not a golden era of Television anymore, especially in the Internet era when Youtube has dominated all kind of moving pictures in the cyberspace. Moreover, indie channel is not a new thing, and there are so many media try to do the same thing like GRMTV tries to do. Therefore, if they really want to do this business, the hardest part could be to create an awareness to the public and to create marketing strategy..and here we go “The Apprentice challenge” might help them to get some ideas from our MACE students.

After we have presented to the “clients”, I have enjoyed other group pitching with different ideas and perspectives, some group were good at presenting, some group came up with good marketing ideas such as competition, party, festival, event etc. Some have presented a proper and a well-structured strategic planning. But what impressed me was the group that went to interview people in the town – These may be are the reasons that we need to improve for the next apprentice challenge plus the reason that Corrine already mentioned in the blog.

My contribution for this lazy week. February 19, 2010

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This week for me has been a lazy week for me, on Tuesday’s meeting me and Steffen discussed about his band’s stuff for prototyping and we tired to select his stuff for the press kit. On a gray Thursday, I searched and contacted new suppliers for USB flip card to find a cheapest price in the UK market and to find supplier that accept more than one design in the same order. What is more?, I have skeatch some prototypes of the press kit as below:

This week’s contribution in group work. February 11, 2010

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My contribution in our Mango Media for this week is structuring website contents for Astrid to design and interface. I have spent 1-2 hours  to develop it from our business and feasibility report and our competitors’ site. The rough content  is showed below: (Andreea has some comments in red)

    Mango Media Site Map
    1. About us
    • Mango Media is a young-innovative media company who provides a consulting service as well as digital press kits for music artists who seek industry standard promotion. The inspiration for the idea comes from our common background and passion for music. Since our team consists of emerging artists we identified the need for new, innovative and also highly illustrative promotion methods. (love it!)
    1. Our services
        1. The service includes
  1. Artist logo design, cover design. (imaging- conceptualizing the image)
  2. Artist biography, press content (creative writing).
  3. Artist consulting, promotion strategy.
        1. The tangible product includes the actual press kit in digital or printed format. In some cases the content will we interactive, operating on a Flash platform.
            1. Print press kit : our full packages includes:
    1. a professionally designed cover with your logo or photo,
    2. a cover letter of introduction,
    3. Band or Artist biography,
    4. a professional 8 x 10 black and white glossy promotional photo,
    5. media feature articles and press releases, album reviews and quote sheet,
    6. your full length extended play, or professionally recorded demo CD, an industry CD-one sheet,
    7. A business card and professionally labeled envelope.
    8. The supplies needed are heavy stock paper, portfolio cover, large envelope, address labels, business cards, and your 8 x 10 glossy photo. Now here’s how to go about putting the print press kit together.
    9. A short demo CD with cover.
            1. Wallet Flash credit card-sized USB memory

It is an eye-catching, durable, promotional gadget. A new way to present an artist’s image and musical vision. The Electronic Press Kit Card (EPK Card) includes discography, biography, album cover, band galleries and demo songs. It is an ingenious item that serves many purposes: to store information and act as a mobile presentation that is easily accessible (just open the wallet, and it’s there, plug in any computer, runs on all operating systems), handy, light and big enough not to lose easily, plus the logo and background image will make the artist easily recognizable.

            1. USB flash EPK.

We can customize the USB shape so as to imprint artist symbols and characters or something related to he artist that fans would appreciate.

    1. Portfolio
    1. Clients (This link could be our clients’ work eg. uploaded songs, clips etc..with a short description of them)
    • I love everything so far and will complete the clients section shortly!
    1. Contact
    • Eg. “If you are interested in our services, please send an email with links to any of your myspace/facebook/twitter pages and a bit of information about you to: Info.mangomedia.@googlemail.com

Natural Born Leader or Programmed Leader? February 11, 2010

Posted by isaraobba in January 2010.
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What if we have our country's leader like these?

The picture above showed two famous robots were able to conduct  a symphony orchestra. Whereas leadership can programmed into the robot. What about a human? Can leadership be taught? or Do we have to born again with a leadership instinct?

From the first week of semester two, we have learned concepts, theories and kinds of leadership through group acting and presentation. These methods of teaching, at first,  it seemed  to me that why didn’t we have a proper lecture?, why do we have to play a drama and how it’s related to the leadership? However, at the end, I realized that it’s not only the way to present our understanding of varied characteristic of leadership, but it’s the way to show and learn about creative leadership since we were given a “creative” task and therefore we had varied characteristic of creative leadership in each group. For last week’s creative leadership program, Piers’ workshop demonstrated an issue of creative leadership by simplified it to various activities. For example, it was an effective way to learn about hierarchy in a group work by giving cards which were a symbolic of  hierarchy to students to act as a position they were given in the cards.

Next week we will have Piers’ class again and I think I will develop some ideas for the assignment. Right now I believed that leadership “skills” can be developed but not everyone can be programmed to be a leader.

Reality killed the creative star. November 25, 2009

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Hi all,

Since last two weeks our class have moved from “creative” to “economy” side. Young Enterprise  representatives have explained about the concept of  ‘learning by doing’.  I agree with this idea because this is one of the way to gain skills and knowledge by practicing in the real world. However, when they told us about limitations, regulations, finances  and so on, it seems like  the creativity of  me  was decreasing. This could be a reason of too many constraints we have to take them in to our account when doing a real business. However, I would rather learn to do a business “properly” than focusing too much on creativity because in the near future there is more chance for me to do an ordinary business.

Last week we have learn how to pricing, an important part of “reality” in business. Hamper basket was a good example of “hidden costs” in pricing because apart from a product, pricing also involved costs of packing, inventory, delivery, transportation, labor, paperwork, e-financial services, insurance and taxation. Each item is not costs much but when they added up together, it costs a lot, and these costs will make you loss if you have not list down all these hidden costs; moreover, unexpected situations can cause you much if you are unaware of them. For these reason, financial role-playing and scenario could be an activity to reduce risk and create financial strategy for your products.

 

Looking forward to see “Hidden Santa” on 11th December.

Isara

Now that’s what i call “classmate”! November 8, 2009

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now 05

It was very impressive on yesterday’s class seeing other classmate  present prototype and progression of their team. There are some interesting points from this session to note .

  • An issue of overlapping business could be solved by turning to co-operative business.
  • It usually takes around 5 months to develop a complex web program.
  • It is recommended to research a cost of copyright between adding value to a product and selling without a brand.
  • Solving a problem of Sleeping at an airport is really challenging.
  • Stress from the university’s life can be reduced by one-simple good ideas Team 1’s project 🙂

For our group, we have tried to fuse our passions into a product/service through the weekly assignments, but we couldn’t identify the needs. Until yesterday, I realized that having seen ourselves from through others’ eyes is the way to find what we really want to do and passionate about instead of doing things that we are not into it. Thank you for all constructive comments from our “classmate” and Corrine which keep us back on the right track again.

 


Reflection 30 October 2009 November 5, 2009

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Last week I have learned and experienced different methods of prototyping, each way has different approaches which can be applied to designer, creative team even business owner to discover insights user’s needs. Many example of innovative products and project I have seen in the class have proved that prototyping method is very useful for designers.

Even though your business is product or service, it is worth to learn these kinds of prototyping for an unexpected situation in the future of your business. In my case, we are in the process of narrowing down our business whether service or product, whether what we love or what their have to. Sooner or later, one of these prototyping methods will be used in our design process.