This morning I had the most spectacular of meetings with two partners of a VC firm.
They are one of the world's biggest funds and have financed some BIG Internet Companies.
I hail their scope and size.
In my case, when we started talking about Games2win and what my partner and I see it becoming:
- I talked extensively about how we see the future of Content as APPS.
- I believe that APPS now have their own identity, their own mortality, their own community (if they get popular) and also their own business model.
Examples - the business of an app like Angry Birds is very unique from the business of say, a Talking Tom (Angry Birds does Toys, Movies, etc. beyond just paid downloads)
Credit - Angry Birds
THE VC had a very very interesting and different view point.
The more experienced person said, "Alok, why aren't you building the ANGRY BIRDS of India? There are 65k new smartphones being added in India everyday and people are increasingly playing APPS".
"Why not FOCUS on India, build a few kick ass games that do really well and make them MEGA BRANDS?"
That question stumped me!
I mean, Sholay or Ramayan or Hum Log were one-off cases of luck, timing and of course creativity that came magically together. Could this be replicated BY MONEY?
Credit - Sholay
- I argued with the VC that there are 1 million APPS in the world now (Android + iOs put together), but the games we can remember are Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Fruit Ninja, Talking Tom, and...????
4-10 games have become HITS in a population of 1 million games??
- My second argument was based on what I have been reading and experiencing - that unlike BIG CONSOLE games that took 2-3 years to make and probably 20-50 million dollars to fund, the small, snacky, mobile game formats take a few days to create and cost virtually nothing to make (if you are indeed building these games in small garages like a hobby developer).
Hence lots of good to great games are flooding the system.
If the VELOCITY OF CREATIVITY IS SO HIGH - there is little scope of REPEAT Angry Birds appearing!
- Look at the consumers' mindsets today.
My daughters keep downloading, playing and FORGETTING apps as if it's a fashion to do so!
They are so USED to great quality all the time (the top games on iTunes change often), they don't have ANY BRAND LOYALTY left.
So, with disloyal consumers, how will a great Creative Brand get built?
And even if it does, it will be 1 more ANGRY BIRDS of the next 1 million apps to come into the system. That's not a business, that's LUCK!
- I also asked him why would an one off wonder be valued? I mean, check out the most valuable LISTED Games companies in the world - Shanda, Nexon, Zynga, etc. etc. - these are all PLATFORM plays that have lots of GREAT GAMES on their platforms that are monetized across zillions of users.
These companies are very valuable for their audience, their network, their cross border promotional triggers etc. - not for an ONE HIT GAME.
But the VC had 2 clear points of views:
- Platforms are competitive and may not be sustainable for long periods of time.
- Companies like Disney create GREAT BRANDS and that will be long term value.
They want to find the next DISNEY OF INDIAN GAMES. NOT THE NEXT ZYNGA OF INDIA.
Well, my meeting ended obviously without any chance of raising money from them, but it did make me question many things and hence this post and a question to end:
Will 100 million Dollars in funding without strings attached, be able to create another SHOLAY, another ANGRY BIRDS?
My gut tells me NO - but would love to hear your thoughts!!!
Special thanks to Asha for editing!!
I think u hilariously missed the point!
the IDEA was amazing - money made it happen.
I ask - when the money is amazing - can ideas happen?
Look at ADAG - thrown lots of money at B'Wood.
Look at TV18 and the Films Business - what happened?
Check out all the money that gets drained in B'wood - where do you see the hits?
Was Kolaveri born from Money?
Can u OWN Leonardo Da Vinci?
yeah. but i'm told 'you haven't built a sholay. an angry birds'. build one for us! here - take 10 million us$
So with all your creativity and 10 million us $, why cant you build the next angry bird?
If money is a problem, clearly you can negotiate with the vc.
If the problem is your heart doesnt want to do it, you wont do it.
Given you're a genius in creativity and have all the money you need at your disposal.. the willingness to pursue it is the only hindrance.
I think Money can not create Ideas...
Necessity creates Idea, And to give life to that idea one need Passion and Hunger, There are many examples where Money did not played a big role.
- Steve Jobs did not had money but his passion and hunger for creative ..brought him money.
- Dhirubhai Ambani did not had money, but had Idea, passion and hunger to create an business empire.
- Sachin Tendulkar did not had money, but had passion and huger to Play cricket for India.
Even if we try to put all the money to create next Dhirubhai or Sachin, its not possible
Same with Gaming/Films, Angry Bird/Sholay no one can create it again, even the creator of Angry Bird and Sholay could not create another hit game/film
i have a firm belief that once the goal of your company is defined by a revolutionary thought/process/idea then money simply becomes a means to put it into action. it acts as a magnifying glass, wherein you can reach out more. experiment more. hire better talent & build a better product/service.
creative always will remain the heart of any company. if you don't have creative (and by that i mean an idea/belief in a revolutionary new way of doing things, NOT JUST dudes in shorts smoking up all day& talking arbit ideas) people at the helm, you don't have soul. and money cannot fill this gap. you can do things bigger with money, but you most certainly won't be able to do it better.
case in point: spaghetti westerns which million prefer as compared to hollywood blockbusters with over inflated budgets. or minecraft, hundreds of indie games on the xbox & PS3 as opposed to mega-budget games on the same platforms.
to conclude: ideas needs money needs ideas.
My belief ... platforms are difficult to sustain for long periods with the ever changing economics in the mobile world....unless driven very well. Also, any amount of funding can't create a good idea. But even a decent idea that is well funded can create the next big thing.
I agree with Kinnari's view.
Though money will definitely not result in an idea but it takes away the worry of worrying about your survival in the short term and focus all your top resources on the big picture.
Kinnari - I disagree.
Platform are very difficult to get off the ground, but easier to sustain it. It's easier because communities get built around the platform. Once the community is built - then it's the community which fuels (and not just sustains) the platform.
Imagine, if there are 100s of 1000s of developers using Appucino to power their games - won't Appucino more than just sustain?
The challenge really is - how do you get those initial bunch who put their faith onto your platform!
My view point was with respect to technology, a platform needs to innovative itself at a very fast pace so as not to be redundant.
Our view point is also correct when we talk of platform's adaptability....getting people to use it. One will always have an edge if the platform is really good & not otherwise.
Between the two, i weigh the technology aspect heavier. As technologically scaling the platform is like painting a picture....ones gotta be "technologically creative". V/s the adaptability issue which all the platforms face when they come to market..its more a business issue.
I Agree Kinnari - Technology sustainability demands high degree of continuous innovation. But if you have built a committed set of early adopters, then they start feeding innovation to a great degree
I completely agree with Alok sir.....
Firstly Money does not guarantee success , its a myth ... Ambani's funding reliance retail from their pockets for 3 consecutive years ... what happened did it beat future group... nope ... its running in losses....
Yes can another angry bird or sholay be made... yes ... i think youngsters of tomorrow are way more talented , i think alok sir will agree... but money is only going to the deciding factor NO WAYS!!!.....
ANGRY BIRDS - well Alok sir ,,, i think its already quite indian " my reply to that VC u met today ... its a gulel concept , only the stone got replaced by a bird and apples on the tree by planks .... its Indian in a rodinhood way according to me.. :p.....
"if every thing is perfect in an idea or an enterprise , say concept scalability potential , implementation skills etc etc and money is only restricting it to hit the market ... damn rite money helps.... but if you are looking at covering all these loop holes by plumbing in tons n tons of more money ..... suggestion : STOP , you are never getting that money back"....