But I am not allowed to show the crowd
What happens when romance has gone
I must hide my feels singing through my tears
While the music plays on
So as some people have learned, I am moving Martell Broadcasting Systems, Inc. to Los Angeles.
Why? I supposed everyone deserves an explanation of some kind.
First you must understand. I am the founder of a startup that is raising money. No matter how much I might like to say certain things, I cannot. There’s politics involved in this game. In the past I’ve done a few personal heart to hearts with folks about the realities of running this company, and it’s rarely been interpreted correctly. There are some out there who interpret any problems as being a sign of weakness. They don’t seem to accept there isn’t a company that doesn’t have some kind of drama going on, some kind of scandal, some kind of irritating aggravation. Companies may be legal entities, but they are ran and operated by people. As much as we like to think we can transcend it, in the end we’re only as perfect as a human can be.
As far as thick skin goes, I think I have some of the toughest. But if someone I trust knifes me in the back, I’m going to bleed; especially so when a couple folks I trust do it at the exact same time.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been in a pretty damn dark place this past month. I’ve been suffering from an emotional and spiritual dryness I couldn’t shake. It didn’t help that at the same time, a prominent member of the YouTube community committed suicide which struck a serious chord with me, as he and I share a lot of similarities.
I’ve also been mentally beating the crap out of myself. Despite my absolute best effort, half the goals I set for last year were missed. Yeah, yeah sure; we got one contract. The embeddable Station widget is done. But I should have achieved those things eight months ago.
I can and am pissed at a lot of people for the things they did that wholly derailed the best of planning, but at the top of that list of folks I’m angry at is me. I cannot control how others do or don’t do what they should be doing. I can only control the decisions I make in response to others. Hindsight lets me see there are different ways, but it does me no good in the present.
But in a way, it’s good these things happened. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect, and re-examine the steps I’ve taken. I’ve accepted I’m not getting what my startup needs in Austin. The city is best serving different kinds of startups than my own, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.
I absolutely love the Tech Ranch Austin community. I’ve met so many people there I consider to be a kindred spirit, and who I often want to spill my guts to, because I think they’ll get it. But I can’t, because it’s just not the way this game is played.
Again. I am moving the company to Los Angeles because Austin isn’t giving us what we need to be successful. The infrastructure for internet television companies is missing, and regardless of my efforts to unite the community into creating that infrastructure, people just don’t budge the way they ought to. There are many folks who want it, but I have come to believe they also want it to be super easy. They are waiting for someone else to break dirt, and the sad thing is there are a few people who have. But those pioneers don’t get the support they need, because the definition of “breaking dirt” keeps getting raised.
I’m done trying to appease people who want an easy path to victory, and believe if a path is hard it’s not worth walking.
I believe in two kinds of entrepreneurs;
- Those who build innovative companies (those who build entirely new markets).
- Those who build early adopter / early majority companies (those who take advantage of new markets whose lines haven’t been firmly established).
There are some people who think they are first-movers, but they really aren’t. The overwhelming majority of funded startups I’ve seen in Austin are the second category; and that’s fine, actually. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s certainly easier to justify the madness of making a new venture when someone has already proven it can work, and all you need but do is mimicry and tweak a few things in their formula.
But I’m the first kind of entrepreneur. I could claim I want the first mover advantage, but the truth is I want adventure. For me there is nothing more adventurous than doing what nobody has ever done before.
Is it ego that makes me think this way? I dunno. I doubt it. But these are the years of my life, so I’ll devote them toward whatever cause I devoutly believe is worth spending them on.
I’ve had some people tell me my problem is I give the impression I’m smarter than other people. That’s not it.
I have a vision that is wholly unique to me, and I know it. It’s not about intelligence. It’s about trying to build the world as I know it can be, and want it to be.
I know the world is this big, enormous place. I know the internet is a digital kind of world, and it’s an even greater place. But the current-gen philosophies for sorting and displaying information make it seem like the world is very small; because it cuts out the niche, because not enough people are back-linking or upvoting the niche.
I mean really; who honestly believes PewDiePie‘s content is the best stuff on YouTube? No offense to him, but in 5 years people aren’t going to be thinking his let’s play videos were significant to society and culture.
What I see and what many don’t, is that PewDiePie’s videos are the kind of content best rewarded by the system YouTube uses to sort and display videos. A different system of organizing and displaying video would have different results.
I am trying to make a different system that will give the results I want the world to see.
If you really get my vision for Martell TV, you’ll understand my real design is a method to share the world as it is without overwhelming the user. There is truth in film; a kind of truth that is hard to replace with other kinds of media. It’s a special kind of art-form, and it needs a distribution method that works for communities both small and large, both mass, niche and uber-ultra-niche.
But it’s fine if you don’t get it. It’s honestly not important. All you need to do is understand if Martell TV’s final form allows a TV Station to be created by anyone and able to serve any community anywhere in the world, then my ultimate goal for it is realized. I’ve been paying attention to the trends demonstrated by things like Facebook, YouTube and Vine; I believe my system is the natural progression. It is what the zeitgeist is clamoring for. Someone else will do it if I don’t, but I want to share in the adventure of making it happen.
IF I had $500K you’d see what I’m talking about in a few months. But the universe is telling me this dream of mine is so important I’m going to have to fight like hell for it. So to Los Angeles I go, where I believe I have a higher chance of winning. This is the best decision I can make right now.
I am not a religious person. I believe that everything that is good or bad in this world is because people made it so. I spent the early parts of my life marching to the beat of others’ drums. I want to spend the rest of my life marching to my own.
So I’ll come back to Austin later, when I have the reputation others cannot ignore. I still believe Austin has the potential to become an epicenter for the entertainment industry but there aren’t enough people willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to make it happen on a grand scale. I’ll come back when I find those missing allies.
I know that I owe a huge debt to the folks I’ve met in the Austin startup scene. I wouldn’t have made all the progress I have if they hadn’t been part of my life. I intend to repay that debt once I’ve finished what I’ve started.