Mar 31, 2012

"How do i get a reality show" you ask?

If you've ever asked yourself "how do i get a reality show", perhaps you should be asking Ryan Seacrest.

It was Ryan Seacrest who was behind the wildly popular reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and while not behind the Jersey Shore, Ryan Seacrest's latest reality show on the Bravo Network has been dubbed a Persian version of Jersey Shore", and the comparison is spot on!

My girlfriend came out to the kitchen, Shahs of Sunset was on in the background, and when one of the characters of the show declared her sympathy with the poor in saying she "feels bad for people who don't fly private", conversation quickly turned to the TV, where she refused to believe it wasn't Jersey Shore, she kept laughing and pointing at the scantily clad characters doing the typical Jersey shore style fist pumping around the pool to house music. It took my pointing out the Shahs of Sunset and Bravo Network logo at the bottom left of the screen to get her to believe. I laughed to myself thinking that the cast of the Shahs of Sunset would recoil in disgust at the comparison, but what's really funny is that the cast of the Jersey Shore would be equally disgusted!

I like being like everyone else!
How could characters so similar to each other in their own strange way take such offense at a comparison? Probably because each show features their own sad gaggle of hyper-prejudiced, wildly insecure, and xenophobic trolls. I'm guessing that's the Bravo Network and Ryan Seacrest formula: they scout out serious freaks who should themselves be highly sensitive to prejudice, but instead are about as ruthlessly prejudice as you could get. That certainly makes for an outrageous reality show, you want to yell out at the TV, after all, on the Shahs of Sunset you have a gay guy, a fat girl, a fat dude, and a haggard older lady. How in the world could a group so different and unique act so prejudice toward the rest of the world? Well, that's the attention getter: t he cast of the reality show Shahs of Sunset look down their noses at everyone around them with pity, or more likely with disgust, as though they're the only normal ones in the room, one of them pointing out "there are two things I hate, ants, and ugly people". LOL! It makes for an outrageous reality show, but is in fact a really sad commentary on what happens to people when they stick to their own, stay overprotected, revel in bigotry, and never themselves ask perhaps the toughest question of all: namely, "could it be possible that we are the biggest freaks in the room?".

So if Ryan Seacrest and The Bravo Network were to honestly answer your question how do I get a reality show, they'd say be like the weirdos on Shahs of Sunset. Be ignorant to the point of hilarity, ignore your own issues and inadequacies but be expert at locating what you find unattractive about others. Oh, and it'd be an extra bonus if you could make an entire class look like a bunch of reprehensible buffoons by exemplifying and exaggerating every stereotype ever leveled against it, whether Italian American, Persian, Rich, fit, gay, or a housewife, the uglier you could portray a class, the better.

So for those without access to Ryan Seacrest or an "in" at the Bravo Network, that still want to know "how do i get a reality show", now you know.  The question is, do you really want what it takes to be on one?

Mar 26, 2012

Newest Social Network is giving its shares away to first users.

Could the next Facebook be built by giving the company away? 

The new ultra-viral invite-only thinks so, and its CEO is betting the company on it!  To get an invitation to join, and claim your name in its URL (this helps your name's SEO rank), then click here:

Nick Oba,'s founder, really believes in users.  In fact, this serial entrepreneur, whose user-content driven online magazine failed to takeoff in 2010, decided to up the ante with his next company, and this time, instead of catering to the venture capital crowd chock full of some of the richest in the world to build support for his upstart, he's instead betting the company on a novel system to get the company the mass it needs: he's giving the company away to its early users, for free.

The logic goes something like this: and other social networks like it spend upwards of $20 per user in marketing fees alone.  Nick Oba believes that if the Zurker platform is great, and and its users had just the extra incentive to pass word along after giving it the thumbs up, then Zurker can skip the Seed and Angel round of investing entirely.  Typically social networks like Zurker give away most of their company selling stock to early investors in order to raise the millions of dollars typically needed; money that's used to build a large enough user-base.  Once that base is built, it's usually leveraged to attract even more venture investors and cash (where then the company needs to sell even more shares, albeit typically for a far higher price per share).  

Zurker's bold plan will instead offer that first big chunk of the company to its users in the form of "vShares", each share representing a contract of ownership interest in the underlying company.  This, in Zurker's CEO's mind, will give its users enough incentive to keep perpetuating word about the company, allowing Zurker to reach the critical mass of users it needs to raise big money cheaper, and altogether bypassing the need to raise cash at what is typically the most expensive time: the very beginning.

According the the numbers published on Zurker's site, valuations of these initial 1,000,000 "founders shares", once they reach just 500,000 users, could be equivalent to $10 per share.  The numbers get even more interesting however when you compare the potential values of Zurker to companies like Myspace (in which case Zurker vShares would worth roughly $580/share), or, which would value vShares at roughly $800.

If allowed to fantasize, what would the valuation of Zurker be if it were the next Facebook?  Try roughly $50,000 per share!

So what happened?  

Well, as of the last week in March 2012, we still have to wait and see.  The company is presently in it's "Alpha stage, pre-issuance"; which means as soon as the full one million vShares purposed for users have been given away, then "Zurker will be restructured as a public corporation and vShares will become real shares" Zurker explains on its vShares page.  A copy of the vShares page can also be found below. 

If that weren't bold enough, Zurker has gone so far as to create a system that grants full access to the company's books.  This is available to vShares stakeholders and the public alike on Zurker's "Open Books" page.

Zurker's CEO, Nick Oba, is implementing a very bold and innovative idea whose time may have come.  If he's right, then that could mean the obscene fortunes made by New York and Silicon Valley in their dominance over Seed and Angel Financing stages (of once fledgling companies like Google and Facebook) are in decline.  And if Nick Oba is right, then Zurker will likely soon have about a million owners with many reasons to be glad he is.

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