Passion: Plan, Project, Profit

I love talking about passions. I could talk about passions all day with people. The twinkle in their eye, the beams illuminating from their face, the energy in their voice gives me life. When someone is passionate, they light up a room and I love seeing that quality in people.

Last week, Bryant Ott from the White and Blue Review came to talk to our entrepreneurial media class about his passion project.

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Homepage of the White and Blue Review

Ott immediately started the conversation stating, “I’m a total Creighton nerd.” He grew up going to all of the basketball games with his dad and spent much of his time in college with his buddies at different games and matches. Creighton sports encompasses Ott’s passion, I could tell by the way his face lit up when speaking about it.

When Ott graduated from Creighton he began writing a blog with creative content and reviews of the basketball games. He sent it out to his friends that left Omaha to pursue other jobs. What started as a way to stay connected and stay busy during his job hunt, turned into something much bigger.

 

Being an entrepreneur involves agile development. This is basically continuous development and the ability to shift focus and attack a new opportunity. The White and Blue Review started as a blog about Creighton basketball and has since expanded to all Creighton sports. Ott saw the opportunity and took a chance. 

Every start-up is different but what I like about this one is that the sole purpose is not to make tons and tons of money. Ott never expected this to be something that was profitable. All of the founding members have other jobs and just do this on the side because they enjoy it.

I was also intrigued by the wide variety of people in involved in the start-up from writers, to lawyers, to accountants, etc. If you’re passionate about something and you have an idea, there’s a spot for you.

Plan B, C, D, and E.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

-John Lennon

I always thought I had a plan coming into college. I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, recent high school graduate with the world as her oyster.  Big dreams, big hair, and big plans defined my life and I was busy planning every aspect of what the future would hold. Confident52003212_cdaed75ca3_m in my plan, I had a very clear direction for my life and nothing or no one would stand in the way.

I would have never guessed in a million years that I would be where I am today. I didn’t plan for this. I didn’t plan to fall in love with the profession I did. I didn’t plan to become who I am so proud to be today.

Things ebb and flow in business plans just as they do in life. Involving yourself in the entrepreneurial world is just asking for a series of changed plans, and that’s not a bad thing.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

-Mike Tyson

In a May 2013 article from the Harvard Business Review, Steve Blank discusses three things he learned after watching decades of start-ups follow a typical business model.

  1. Business plans rarely survive first contact with customers.
  2. Dreaming up five year plans is almost always a waste of time.
  3. Start-ups that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, iterating on, and improving their initial ideas.

This absolutely resonates with me. It is a waste of time dreaming up detailed plans for the future before receiving feedback from customers. Like I said, plans change and it is absolutely imperative that an entrepreneur is okay with that or else the business will not survive.

The lean method Blank discusses makes sense. A business model canvas seems much more intuitive and beneficial for today’s changing media landscape and that to me, is exciting.

Niche News

Niche news outlets are becoming the latest trendy thing. Sites like the Seattle Transit Blog create an channel of local news on niche topics that readers are interested in. Blogs like this are designed to “fill a void in the community.” There is an entire list of them here from Michele McClellan of the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The thing about localized news is that if it’s not relevant to you, that’s that. I looked through Michele’s list for a long time trying to find a site that peaked my interest but I’m not a Brooklyn parent, a New Jersey foodie, or a Texas wine lover. So, I immediately began filtering through sites that could be relevant to my life. As a native of Washington, the Seattle Transit Blog was calling my name.

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The content of the blog hits nearly 50,000 people each month. With a “well-educated, engaged audience consisting of well-informed Seattle-area citizens, transit riders & enthusiasts, as well as many government officials and local media,” this blog delivers new content daily. Even on the weekends.

“It is a must-read for anyone who cares about living, working, and getting around in the Puget Sound.” -STB

Seattle Transit Blog even has a community page called “Page 2” open to anyone who has something to say about transit or urban issues. Members of the community generally post once a week. This creates a public forum where comments are encouraged.

The design of the blog is professional. All writing, photography, and video is presented in a way that is pleasing to the eye. STB is a non-profit organization with a very small paid staff. Most contributors are volunteers from all walks of life, occupations, and perspectives. It is evident that the people writing and reading this site are incredibly passionate.

The site generates revenue from donations as well as advertising and sponsorships. They
offer advertising for $200/week or $40/day. Clearly-labeled sponsored posts run in their feed however limited to once screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-10-34-47-pmper week for $300. Since STB prides itself on serving the greater community, discounts are given to advertisers of political campaigns and local activism issues. Perfect for the average Seattleite, if you ask me. 

The founders of STB found a pain-point in the community and created a local solution. This is the future of modern news.