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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

AC Lion Celebrates 1 Year in Their New Space

Tuesday, June 3rd marked the one year anniversary of AC Lion’s move to 253 west 35th street.  The change welcomed a new and spacious office space for the company to utilize and enjoy.  This improved work space has reflected an especially productive and successful year for AC Lion.  The company is especially proud to say that this week’s profits represent double of that of any previous week.  Hence, there was much reason for celebration.

The AC Lion team gathered around a “Happy 1st year” banner to listen to a few words from CEO Alan Cutter and to step back and consider what had been achieved.  Cutter optimistically spoke of the alluring culture of the new office space and its facilitation of happy employees that are motivated to get the job done.  Cutter further urged his staff to stay on pace and keep pursuing goals for the company.

After everyone signed the anniversary banner, including the recently hired interns, a lavish piñata was brought out to end the celebration with a bang.  A few swings were taken with minimal damage.  Quite appropriately, the piñata was burst open with an impressive blow by the CEO himself.  Alan smiled as candy poured out onto the floor.  A few employees couldn’t resist diving in, getting on their hands and knees to gather the chocolate.

Such a scene speaks to the fun yet driven attitude that characterizes AC Lion.  253 west and its surrounding area are truly up and coming.  Two major companies are due to move into the building and attractive restaurants continue to emerge on the city streets.   Taking this into account as well the great strides the company has taken in this monumental year, a bright future undoubtedly lies ahead for AC Lion.

AC Lion Teams Up with AIPAC as Things Get “Dot Complicated!”

Figure 1AC Randi Zuckerberg with AC Lion staff

April 1, 2014 (New York) Dot Commers came together with Facebook’s ex-CMO and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, Randi Zuckerberg, as AC Lion and AIPAC celebrated her newest book, “Dot Complicated” on Monday night. The night was a much-deserved celebration of the ever-growing success of Israeli tech companies in America, and the NY and Israeli tech community turned out in force.

Star Jones and Allan Houston headlined the VIP reception, in support of the AIPAC Technology Division, which focuses on strengthening relations between the US and Israel. Ms. Jones had just returned from an AIPAC sponsored mission to Israel, where she was baptized on her birthday. Many in the audience found her reflections on her recent first visit to Israel motivational and inspirational.

Close to 300 guests from the professional digital space heard Randi Zuckerberg. Her most recent book, “Dot Complicated,” explains how to take time off from the technology world in our day and age. As people’s professional and personal lives overlap through technology. Ms. Zuckerberg is also currently performing in Rock of Ages on Broadway.

AC Lion and AIPAC were able to create a meeting place of Israeli emerging media technology in New York. As the digital marketplace continues its explosive growth, AC Lion has been at the forefront of these changes, working with thought leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs that move markets. “AC Lion has an incubator space to facilitate growths in start-ups, many of whom have some Israel based development or technology,” says Bonnie Zaben, COO of AC Lion, which has been accelerating the growth of emerging media companies since 1996. In teaming up with AIPAC, the awareness has grown and AC Lion is able to be represented in a stronger light within this technology space.

ABOUT ACLION
Founded in 1996, AC LION is a leading executive search firm specializing in building sales and marketing teams within the digital media (agencies, publishers, networks, search, 3rd party technology/software), emerging platforms (mobile, social, gaming, video and converging media), e-commerce/customer acquisition, and tech industries. Over the past fifteen years, we have developed a strong reputation in the marketplace by helping the industries’ best companies maintain their competitive edge by sourcing the best talent, negotiating over $100 million in compensation. Lionseye Group, our retained division, helps growing companies with C-suite and other senior roles. We specialize in Human Capital Placement and Consulting /Advisory Services to high growth VC Backed and Established Organizations. Visit http://www.aclion.com for more information.

The Late-Night Show and Keeping Up With Digital Advertising

The Late-Night Show and Keeping Up With Digital Advertising

How will the new direction of the Late-Night Show affect their digital advertising? Our CEO gives his analysis in his latest ClickZ article.

“People Analytics”: Big Data Hits Hiring

We’ve been hearing a lot these days about how Big Data will change business.  Its impact on the marketing and media world is being felt throughout the industry. Data collection and predictive analytics are being used for everything from hyper-local targeting to drafting baseball players.  That’s old news.

What’s new is the impact of Big Data on hiring and recruiting.   For most media companies, human capital is its biggest expense—and its most competitive asset. Estimates put the human capital costs at the US at a trillion dollars a year.  “People Analytics” holds that making the best possible personnel decisions are among the most important issues a company faces.  I’m not just talking about headcount here but hiring, evaluation, promotion, retention and corporate culture.   In today’s competitive market, your managers need to be making the best possible decisions on their human capital deployment.   Every decision in your company—including R&D, finance, technology—is made by an employee.   It’s not just PowerPoints or pie charts but people making these decisions. People Analytics are seen as the way to help inform that decision making process by using data and algorithms.

For many, the term HR conjures up 20th century practices, of bureaucracy, ironclad procedures, the place you learn about benefits and legal compliance.  HR was seen as old-school and risk-adverse.  This is not the image of innovators in business.

From the technology side, the HR market is exploding with new tech and SaaS products promoting the latest trend in data analysis.  The past few years have seen major tech players—IBM, Oracle, SAP—move beyond attendance and payroll software.   The same data collection and analysis principles we use in our professional endeavors are now hitting HR.  Small firms are touting everything from video interviews to video games as predictive tools.   A recent article in the New York Times knocked “Knack” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/magazine/your-next-job-application-could-involve-a-video-game.html?_r=0) which uses it “Wasabi Waiter” game to assess an applicant’s multi-tasking and decision making skills.  It’s one of many new startups purporting to use video games as a hiring tool.

Google and Apple have been seen as leaders in People Analytics.  Their “People Operations” department, aka Human Resources, has taken the evidence based decision model and applied it to all aspects of employee hiring, training, evaluation and retention.   Google’s approach is “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics.”  Initial results are positive but time will tell.

Big data has influenced job specifications. It’s an easy jump from measuring current employee’s success to using that as the criteria for your next hire.  Quite compelling, isn’t it?  Reinforces the idea that hiring is scientific, like the previous fads of skills tests, psychometrics, and personality tests.      These technologies share a common approach:  that analyzing the past successes and failures will predict success in the future.  Some have questioned that correlation, pointing to the subjective bias that has been found in many supposedly objective tests.  We all know that what gets measured gets done—and choosing what to measure is in itself a statement.  The research on People Analytics is just enfolding now, and the ultimate model has not yet been proven conclusively.

One bit of ‘collateral damage’ from the People Analytics model: some applicants who have gone through such data-driven interview processes have been turned off by the process. The interviews can feel mechanical, like taking a computerized test.   For jobs that involve soft skills, like sales and some marketing, the personal touch is seen as the competitive edge.   Top employees want to be more than a cog in the wheel.  For now, human are still better at computers in detecting the interpersonal components, the soft skills.

A current TV commercial depicts an applicant showing off his school socks, as he realizes the interviewer went to the same school.    A nice edge up in on the old school hiring approach.  In the People Analytics approach, it’s more about whether alumni of that particular school have performed well for that company in the past.

People Analytics has propelled HR to the forefront of today’s management and marketplace.  HR used to be seen as a cost center.  These days, it’s the strategic heart of the company—and data driven decision making is taking its place at the table.  No one can afford a bad hire.

AC Lion’s Notable Highlights in 2013

  • Launched Retained Division: Launched Lionseye, (http://lionseyegroup.com/) our Retained Search Division. Under the direction of Alan Cutter and Giles Van Praagh, Lionseye specializes in recruiting Senior Leadership, C Suite Executive, and Board of Directors roles within Emerging Technology and Digital Media companies. Recent searches include CEO for a disruptive Data Platform, CFO for a leading video localization platform, Head of Marketing for a $1BN entertainment company and VP of Sales for a leading news and commentary publisher.
  • Partnerships /Stronger Foothold in Start-up Scene: Expanded and strengthened our work in the NY’s booming start up scene.  We partnered with PluggedIN NYC, WorldWide Investment Network, and other colocation and incubators, to mentor early stage companies and help strengthen their sales and marketing efforts.   We have specifically carved out a strong niche helping internationally based startups gain a foothold in the US media marketplace.
  • Expanded Product Management Recruitment: Hired Rick Aronstein (http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickaronstein) a 20 year Product veteran out of About.com and Martha Stewart to propel product executive search efforts.  His deep expertise in the digital world allows us to do an even deeper dive on client hiring needs and candidate assessments.
  • Big Data Analytics and Ad Operations: Doubled the size of our Ad operations and Analytics group (including former AM and ad ops professionals) and worked on senior and mid-level roles such as VP of Ad Ops, and by expanding positions to include data scientists and analysts for both the publisher and agency side.
  • New Office Space: AC Lion completed construction and moved into a 6000 square foot state of the art space in the heart of Manhattan, with great views.  All are welcome to visit!
  • Analysis of Media HR Trends: We are regular contributors to ClickZ on HR in the media world.  One of  our more popular columns dealt with how programmatic is changing the role of digital media sales people( http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2304203/the-changing-role-of-digital-media-sales-people)

Brilliant parody by the Lumascape creator

A brilliant parody by the Lumascape creator of the Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad. At AC Lion, we’re huge fans of Lumascapes–and fans of good humor. Way to go, Luma Partners!

Ad Tech’s Most Interesting Man?

Farewell from Intern Gil Kaplun

I have seen things grow. My youngest cousin Jeremy was born when I was 12 years old. He is now eight years old and I remember when he started crawling, walking, and talking. I have watched my basketball team grow from a middle of the pack team, to a potential contender, to a team that won its final eight games in a row en route to a championship. When it comes to people and basketball teams, I can tell you how they will grow and what to expect. After spending my summer at AC Lion, learning from people like Alan Cutter, Mike Adler, and Giles Van Praagh, I have developed a strong understanding of startup growth and venture capital.

The progress of a startup company is extremely dynamic and exciting to follow. Once someone has an idea and makes the decision to try and turn it into a company, you need money to get started. In most cases, they will turn to family and friends to get their angel funding. An entrepreneur will either take on debt or give out percentages of equity in exchange for capital. Debt can come in the form of a loan or a convertible note. In the case of a convertible note, an investor will receive equity if they have not been repaid at the loan’s maturity date. This is an important milestone because you will have your first company valuation. If you choose to issue equity, value your company at $1 million, and need $100,000 in angel funding, then your company valuation after receiving funding will be $1.1 million, and you will have given away 1/11 of the equity of your company.

All startups need to have an exit strategy. Either they will keep going through rounds of funding until they go public, or they will try to find a niche in an already developed market and work towards a merger or acquisition. Facebook held its IPO on May 18, 2012, the biggest ever for a technology company. Mark Zuckerberg adeptly navigated his company from a Harvard dorm room to an IPO, resisting the temptation of selling to both Viacom and Yahoo. Facebook has acquired numerous companies, most notably, Instagram for $1.01 billion. As Instagram’s user base exploded, Facebook quickly moved to acquire the photo-sharing platform. Facebook’s path to an IPO was not as smooth as most assume. In Facebook’s 2007 Series C round of funding, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% stake for $240 million, giving Facebook a valuation of $15 billion. In Facebook’ 2009 Series D round, Digital Sky Technologies bought a 2% stake for $200 million, dropping Facebook’s valuation down to $10 billion. A decreased valuation hurts the position of everyone with a stake in the company. Following their Series D round, Facebook’s stakeholders watched their holdings drop to 2/3 of their prior value. Facebook has since rebounded nicely, however a less developed company can go under following a decreased valuation. A decreased valuation is one of the many ways that a startup can fail. An article published on Business Insider last June captures nearly all of the paths to failure for a young company. The exit strategies, or lack thereof, these companies planned to carry out simply failed, as is the case with most startups.

Tremor Video and Yume are two smaller scale companies, prominent in the digital media space, which recently went public. Yume’s shares first began trading on the NYSE on August 7, 2013. They were strategically priced at $9, well below the expected range of $12-$14. This came in response to Tremor Video’s disappointing first month since going public. Tremor Video held their IPO on June 27, 2013 and priced each share at $10. Less than 2 weeks later, share prices had dropped as low as $6.81. Shareholders are anxiously anticipating Tremor Video’s announcement of their Q2 earnings. This will allow accurate for predictions of thee company’s outlook. Yume, hoping to avoid similar concerns, saw their stock price close their first day right where it started. So far so good for Yume; they hope their growing profitability will lead to large returns for investors.

Yume and Tremor Video are part of the extreme minority of companies that are fortunate enough to file an S-1. A startup realizing its exit strategy is just like winning a championship in an 18+ Men’s basketball league at your Jewish community center. That is the goal, and you need to grow before you can get there.

As I write this final paragraph, I am just an hour away from the end of my summer internship with AC Lion. It has been a great ride, giving me exposure to the digital media world that I was always close to, but was never a part of. At AC Lion, I was a part of something. I grew close with the interns, working on various projects together. I learned a lot from my bosses/mentors Alex Yee and David Carona aka Doc Knowledge. I owe them a lot and look forward to keeping in touch with everyone at AC Lion.

Sh*t Not To Say During That Big Job Interview

Sh*t Not To Say During That Big Job Interview

Ariel Lopez • Aug 8, 9:32am

The employment process is often much like dating. You spend time searching through tons of prospects in hopes of finding the right “fit.” It’s often very time consuming, nerve wracking, and it may take a few duds before you find success. The first interview with a company can remind you of a first date: you spend days preparing for the big moment, hoping that you say all of the right things and do your best to bring your A game.

Of course, as a job seeker, you want to make sure you leave the right impression, but many people forget that an interview is meant to be interactive. The purpose behind interviewing – like dating – is to give both parties the opportunity to feel each other out. You have to be engaged, attentive and actually offer value if you expect to get a call back. As with a bad date, one false move or bad response could immediately eliminate all hopes of securing your dream job.

Here are a few things to avoid:

Never ask about something you could have easily looked up

Asking what the company does, who the founders are, or general questions about the role you’re interviewing for can put you out of the game – fast! Look at the company website and spend time studying what they do and where they’re going in the future. I often suggest looking into competitors, as well, just to get a feel of the company’s positioning in the marketplace. Also review the job description! That is an easy way to gage what area the company needs support in, and it can give you a guide as to how you can provide value. Always highlight how you can provide the solution to their problems.

Never ask about time off, lunch breaks, or holiday schedules

You haven’t gotten the job yet, so none of this matters! If you ask about any of this on the first interview, it’s basically suggesting that you don’t really care about the job; you just want to know about the perks. These questions are only appropriate later on in the process (like if you get are expecting an offer), after the company has shown genuine interest in bringing you on board.

Never ask about drug tests or background checks

Very simply put, don’t be an idiot. If you ever initiate a conversation about this, you’re screaming, “I have something to hide, and I want to cover it up before it’s too late.” I’ve never heard of someone being hired after asking about a screening process.

Never ask about compensation

Inquiring about how much the job pays during the initial interview translates to the interviewer asking you to get the hell out of his office. Of course, compensation matters.

You want to make sure the job can support your comfortable lifestyle. However, it should NEVER be brought up on the first interview. It’s best to do your research to see if it’s in the range of what you’re looking for.  Look up reviews to see what other people at the company make. You can also research the specific position to gain a better understanding of what’s fair in the market for the role at hand.

Most importantly, be confident, and be yourself! Don’t do anything strangely out of character, keep your head up and try to keep your nerves controlled. Also, bring out as much of your personality as possible. Remember, different companies garner unique cultures. If you don’t seem like a good fit for the company’s goals and environment, it can hurt your chances. Proper preparation, good questions, a bit of humor and great body language can get you very far.

Good luck!

YouTube Preview Image

Photo courtesy NBC Suits

Tips and Tricks to a Great Video Interview

Oh, and this interview will be done by video. You have a webcam, don’t you?

Does that statement bring visions of bad YouTube videos and Marco Rubio’s water glass flying in front of your eyes?

The use of video interviewing is growing rapidly. It’s a convenient and cost-effective choice for organizations looking to streamline the talent acquisition process. Great for HR, but how do you make it work for you?

It’s totally different from a phone screen or in-person interview. And if you don’t recognize the differences, it can come back to haunt you. First, the different types:

The video screen. Some companies are using standardized video interview services as an entry-round screening tool. In this approach, the exact same questions are asked to every candidate, whose answers are then scored and reviewed. The candidate generally has 30 seconds to review the question and a preset response time. Usually the questions are computer-delivered: in other words, you’re not talking to a live human being. I call this the video screen – think a one-sided screen test, not a conversation. Such tests are usually compiled into libraries for future reference.

The video interview. A true video interview will be just what the name implies – you and another person, having a Q&A/conversation. The only difference is that you are doing this by Skype or webcam, not face-to-face. Here you are having a real conversation, the more natural give-and-take. While the interviewer may have some preset questions (all good interviewers do), the response time will be more open. Getting real-time feedback from the interviewer in the form of verbal and visual cues can be invaluable.

The video resume. This is a way to present yourself. It augments (or in some cases, supersedes) a paper resume. You totally call the shots here – the content, the visuals, and the format. It’s like a visual elevator pitch. Think of a dating site video – this is your way to separate yourself from the pack. My company started using these way back in 2003 and 2004. For some people it really helped seal the deal.

Some pointers for making the best of your video interview:

  1. Make sure the technology works. Sounds obvious, but sometimes the little things come back to haunt you. It won’t help you if the other person is twiddling her thumbs as you fiddle with the mic, asking “Can you hear me now?” Be prepared, as there’s no tech department, no AV guy for you to call – you have to make it work.
  2. Set the scene, visually. Place the camera so it focuses just on you – ideally a tight head/shoulders/desk shot. Avoid things behind you that will distract the viewer (anything moving, traffic, bright lights, kids, and pets). And check out the lighting in advance – your face should be clearly visible and not in shadow.
  3. Choose your clothing wisely. No, a suit is not always the right answer. But for a video interview, where someone could be seeing you on a small smartphone screen or a large-screen TV, choose solid, conservative colors (except bright white). You seldom see small stripes or busy patterns, which may pixelate when you move. For good examples, check out what the news announcer is wearing – easy on the eyes.
  4. Make eye contact.That usually means looking at the camera, not down at the desk or table. And not awkwardly reaching for an off-camera water bottle. Using notes? Great preparation but don’t let it show, as it may cause you to look away from the camera. The top of your head is not the lasting image you want them to have of you.
  5. Monitor yourself. If you can, keep that picture-in-picture of yourself on the screen. Are you sitting very far forward in your chair? In a video format, that can sometimes seem too assertive. Is your body language showing interest? You’d be amazed at what you see.
  6. Monitor your interviewer. Like in an in-person interview, you get to see the other person’s non-verbal clues. Use them! A good trick to get their attention if it’s wandered – address them by name.
  7. Let’s go to the videotape! Do a dry run of the complete tech and visual setup a day or two in advance. Wait 24 hours and then watch it with open eyes. Have a friend or mentor offer feedback. Like a baseball player analyzing his swing, you’ll notice the little hitches that make a world of difference.

A video interview is a real interview. And like a “real” interview, blow a question, show up late, be unprepared, and your application will get tossed to the bottom of the barrel. And given that this video interview can be reviewed and rated and shared throughout the organization, endlessly, it can be even more important than your typical phone screen.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression – and that is even more important if your embarrassing first impression winds up on YouTube.

Social Media On TV: Tweeting With Your Shows!

Social Media and TV

Earlier this morning I attended PluggedIn Ventures Roundtable:“Second Screens & Social TV” and it couldn’t have been better. I jotted a few notes and here’s a quick summary:

Social TV, a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content is truly taking off and is the way of the future. While some have doubts there are already strong trends showing it will take over in the very near future (think of the hashtags in the corner of a show, by tweeting with that hashtag you not only can join in on relevant conversations, but you are also providing easy data points).

Second Screens and Social TV Roundtable at Plugged In Ventures

Rich Ullman moderating the convo.

Currently, there are about 18 million unique social TV viewers and growing – social TV generates referrals and gives the advertisers the opportunity to hone in on a target market; according to Oliver Young of Blue Fin Labs, “Ads for social TV are meant to interact with the show, which create the organic word of mouth for advertisers.” There is nothing better than a word of mouth referral. From a consumer’s standpoint, I would much rather receive ads that discuss fantasy football than potpourri – it’s the same idea how Google sends you ads based on your Gmail conversations.

Additionally, social TV benefits the networks and shows directly. For the first time ever, shows can figure out (almost instantaneously) where their content fails or succeeds. WWE Raw actually experimented with something similar with a “click to vote” idea. Essentially they asked the people in the arena to pick match-ups for later on in the evening; sure enough there was an overwhelming response (I know, how could you pick who fights who if wrestling is real – this is a whole different and important conversation that will hopefully be discussed at the next roundtable).  Giving your audience what they want is the smartest and simplest way to keep them coming back for more, a.k.a.: retention. A prime example of a successful social TV campaign is the show “The Walking Dead;” their social presence is unbelievable (they actually promote Twitter chats for the show, during the show!) and while it may not be the reason it’s the most tuned into show, it most definitely attracts viewers because of it – I know this because I am one of the many that began watching due to its social traction.

On a very similar note, look at Old Spice (while some might consider them an outlier I see them as trailblazers), they took an intimate product and made it sexy and cool. This was done through their social TV campaigns and by making “cooler ads” – a simple yet true comment from the roundtable. One of the reasons why Old Spice exploded is because they themselves, as well as their ads, are relatable and interactive.

One interesting issue that was slightly broached was live TV – Twitter is a real time tool (about 60% of the time) and Tivo (or DVR) being the most amazing creation since television itself, takes us out of that real time element. A quote that was thrown out and stands true for just about anything, “People want the path of least resistance” and with television that translates into no commercials.  I would much rather watch a Chicago Bears game in an hour and a half instead of the 3 hours it takes for the live broadcast. That being said, according to David Markowitz of SecondScreen Networks, “Social TV will be good for advertisers over time. It forces the viewer to watch TV live to get the full effect.” This I firmly agree with, while I may strongly oppose commercials I am all for live friendly banter during a Chicago Bears game.

So Will Twitter ignite more real time TV viewers? I would bet on yes. People are already being active and seem to enjoy it; according to this Nielsen study a third of active Twitter users tweeted about TV related content and those numbers are growing.

Tweeting with TV

Nielsen study on Tweeting with TV

Lastly, with all this talk about Twitter, one might wonder where the other social media powerhouse (Facebook) comes in – it doesn’t.  At least not until Facebook opens their data will they be able to compete with Twitter in the social TV world – to quote David Beck of Univision, “Facebook has to open up their firehouse to combat Twitter and their reach with TV.”

Bottom line: Social TV is a forward thinking venture that will ultimately prove majorly successful (and profitable) for the masses very soon; it also doesn’t hurt that Social TV was listed as one of the 10 most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review in 2010.

Thanks to Eli Mandelbuam of PluggedIn Ventures for putting everything together; props to Rich Ullman for doing a fantastic job as the moderator and thank you to an impressive panel – it was an amazing conversation to be a fly on the wall for – looking forward to the next one!