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Harry Potter and Viral Marketing

Thursday, 23 August 2007

The release of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and fifth Harry Potter’s film has gained $700 million in its first month and more than 11.5 million books was sold only on August 3 in the United States. Rowling is the one who get bigger profits from this and reportedly richer than the Queen of England.

In spite of innovations in communication and technology that enabled mass distribution of in the days leading up to its official release July 21, Potter mania may have exposed a weakness in the already struggling publishing industry. For example, take the sale price for a hard cover first-edition of the Deathly Hallows, the most anticipated book in the seven-book series. Although the book lists for $34.99, the major chains discounted the book heavily, down to about $17, forcing independents with higher cost structures to follow suit or not carry the one book millions were desperate to buy. How can a book be a huge success and yet not make the bookstores any money?

The success of the Harry Potter franchise is a vivid example of how innovations spread, a phenomenon that was first studied by Everett Rogers in the 1940s in Sheth’s sociology classic, The Diffusion of Innovations, the book that gave marketers such essential terminology as “early adopters.”

Rogers noted that innovations spread not just through word of mouth, but because the tool or product turns out to be better than what had been available before, something he believes to be the case for Harry Potter. “The idea, product or service must have several differential advantages relative to existing offerings including value, compatibility and communicability. Harry Potter met all of them,” he says.

Indeed several factors were at play to create the marketing and distribution magic. The Internet had an impact on the spread of Potter mania. Scholastic, Rowling’s U.S. publisher, has spent only $3.6 million promoting all seven of the books, according to Nielsen BookScan statistics. The rest of the momentum is a result of word of mouth – and instant messaging. Viral communication has played an important role in building and sustaining the buzz around Harry Potter.

Online sites such as The Leaky Cauldron (The-leaky-cauldron.org) have played a role in linking Potter fans together, spreading news about upcoming events, such as new books and movie releases. Some marketing gurus have also pointed to Rowling’s decision to allow fans to post their own Harry Potter stories on line as a key way in which she helped maintain interest in her characters between publications or movies.Despite the cozy, old-English quality of the magical boarding school saga, the book’s strong sales have been driven by some of the latest trends in publishing – the growth of the large, market-dominating booksellers, such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com in the U.S., or Amazon.co.uk and Waterstone’s in the United Kingdom—and the rise of e-commerce, has made it relatively easy for them to deliver many books at once.

More fundamental to the success of Harry Potter books is that it launched a new niche, a young adult novel written for and about Millennials, persons born since 1982, says Andrea Hershatter, associate dean and director of the BBA program and a senior lecturer in organization and management at Goizueta. “J.K. Rowling created a nuanced, complex story about a magical Millennial, written for Millennials, at a time when there was not much fresh literature that was particular interesting for ‘tweens,” explains Hershatter.

Harry is a Millennial both by age and characteristics, Hershatter says. “Although he was not raised by helicopter parents, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Mrs. Weasley and Sirius fill the hovering role nicely for him. Harry actively seeks the guidance and approval of his elders, greatly values family and friends, thrives in a team setting (Quidditch, Dumbledore's Army) and cares deeply about Hogwart's institutional traditions. Within the realm of his precarious world he has been protected to the extent it was possible, and certainly, he has been raised to believe the future of the wizarding world is on his shoulders—which, in fact, it is,” she says.

With seven books and more than 335 million copies sold, the reader may be the ultimate winner. For all the business reasons behind the series’ success, Hershatter argues that the most important is the stories themselves. “At the end of the day, the ‘power of the brand’ is that Rowling is truly a uniquely gifted writer and storyteller,” says Hershatter. “She weaves magic, nuance, danger and humor in a way that probably comes along only once a generation.”


Using Public Domain Patent for Innovation Idea

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Since 1800 when system of registered patent begun, there are thousands of innovation had created from all over the world. Many people are unaware that actually we can use those inventions as a source of innovation idea, especially for start up a business. Doesn’t it violate the law? It will depend! There are thousands of patent which has been public domain so that we can used it for innovation idea.

Based on Paris Convention, patent granted has validity of 20 years for usual patent, 10 years for simple patent, and 10 years for industrial design. In this internet age, information can be reached easily. There are many site that provide information about those patent. The coolest things is that we can download those patents which is expired or public domain for free. Check some of this site :

  • European Patent Office : http://ep.espacenet.com
  • US Patent Office : http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
  • Japan Patent Office : http://www.ipdl.ncipi.go.jp/homepge.ipdl
  • China Patent Office : http://www.sipo.gov.cn/sipoEnglish/zljs/default.htm
  • WIPO-PBB : http://www.wipo.int/ipdl/en/search/pct
  • Cambia-Biotech Australia : http://www.cambiaip.org
  • Thomson Group (membership paid) : http://www.delphion.com

Use the key word for patent of the products that you looking for. Soon after you get the invention you are looking for, then check the validity ot the patent to avoid law matter.

Be smart ! Use the concept or idea behind the registered patent you are looking for and then improve those ideas. Put some additional features toward those registered patent or combine with customer’s trend recently in the market. Don’t be shy or feel shame to do that. Even great inventor would use previous invention to create a bigger invention. You’ll get surprised that even big multinational companies like Sony, Toshiba, etc would like to search for registered patent database. They need those inventions as a means or stimulate the idea for creating innovation.

Start your research to find the latest trend of the market’s needed, the customers looking for. And then search for public domain patent which relevant with the current market and make some modification of those registered patent. Do that, and I bet you’ll become success innovator!


Lesson from Thomas Alva Edison

Monday, 6 August 2007

Name of Englishman Joseph Swan would not so familiar in most of people in the world. But not with Thomas Alva Edison. Most of people in this planet would agree that bulb is invented by him. Only few people know that actually, Joseph Swan had invented bulb a few month before Thomas Alva Edison introducing his invention. How could it happened ? What makes most of people in this earth thinks that Thomas Alva Edison is the inventor of bulb ?

The different would lies in their strategy, the approach to be used to introduce that invention. Thomas Alva Edison realized that a bulb is a breakthrough, a radical invention! A new things that only work if it is sustained with another complex system, starting from electricity generator to it’s installations. A very complex system that needed. To make this invention would be accepted by communities, he knew that this bulb lamp has to change or to beat gas lamp installation which already settled, where most of people at that time had already convenience with that system. So, he though that it would be impossible to change that system in a short time. How Thomas Alva Edison overcome this matter ?

Thomas Alva Edison firstly introduce his invention and convince a billionare, JP Morgan to try his invention in his house. When JP Morgan find that this invention is a breakthrough, he gave Thomas a fund to develop electricity system which sustain his invention while at the same time, more people were getting interested to try his invention to be installed at their house.

What we learn from this? Even a great invention or innovation need a time to break a settled system, and it is not easy to apply or introduce that innovation. Entrepreneur can learn from that story. Entrepreneur will faced such situation like that where we have to launch our product or services. Then what we can do ? don’t give up, cause there are some strategies that we can choose to minimize the risk of failure.

First strategy is building our own hub just like what Thomas did. But this strategy is not so easy to be implemented because it took big cost. As long as the existence hub or the existence system has a little weakness and the new hub or system doesn’t offer bigger advantage, then it would be difficult to be success to implemented. For example is the failure of Fair Market Network which want to compete eBay eventhough Fair Market Network cooperate with MSN, Excite, and more than 100 auction onlite sites.

Second strategy is infecting the existence system (settled system). This strategy applied where new innovation would not change the user’s habit. This strategy would be best for “viral” innovation, that is innovation which would spread widely in short term. The best example is Hotmail. Realizing the power of Yahoo mail, Hotmail try to compete Yahoo by giving free email account since 1996 and only in 8 month, there are 12 millions Hotmail’s users with marketing cost of $50,000. very smart strategy of Hotmail by using the popularity of internet at that time. Each person receiving email from Hotmail user, would be offered with free email account at Hotmail with a simple and fast procedure!

Third strategy is complementary positioning. By placing our innovation as complementary product, it would reduce the risk. Customers mostly love a complementary product because it would sustain the existence system where they’ve already convenience with those system. For example, PDA from Palm was success because they positioning it as a complementary of Personal Computer. It is different with PDA from Apple which failed because they tried to compete directly with Personal Computer.

Nothing is the best. It’s all depend on the kind of innovation and the market place where you are going to enter. Depend on you as innovator and as entrepreneur in how you see your prospective consumers or your market!


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