Good ideas are important, but without a strong business model—one that draws in users and generates cash flow—a company will never survive. In a counter-intuitive move, many companies are finding that a freemium strategy, in which a company offers a significant service free of charge, can provide the structure for success.
This session focuses on the good, bad and ugly of the freemium model, examined by the executives of three growing companies that use this pricing strategy. Why go freemium? Where do you draw the “free” line? And how do you convert free users to paying customers?
Chris Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, a position he took in 2001. Since then he has led the magazine to five National Magazine Award nominations, winning the prestigious top prize for General Excellence in 2005, a year in which he was also named Editor of the Year by Advertising Age magazine. He is the author of New York Times bestselling book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, which was published in 2006, and runs a blog on the subject at www.thelongtail.com.
Previously, he was at The Economist, where he served as U.S. Business Editor, Asia Business Editor (based in Hong Kong), and Technology Editor. He started The Economist’s Internet coverage in 1994 and directed its initial web strategy. Mr. Anderson’s media career began at the two premier science journals, Nature and Science, where he served in several editorial capacities. Prior to that he worked as a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s meson physics facility and served as research assistant to the Chief Scientist of the Department of Transportation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from George Washington University and studied Quantum Mechanics and Science Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
Anderson is an officer of the Young Presidents’ Association and a regular speaker and participant at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Christopher Dean, Skype’s CSO, has 20 years of experience in business and corporate development, strategy consulting and advising startups. He specializes in deals to grow revenue, create new distribution channels and develop and launch new products.
Christopher has led several business development and strategy teams that have defined and prioritized strategic partner targets and identified, negotiated and closed partnerships. He was most recently the co-founder of Texada Capital and responsible for new business development. Earlier, he spent four years as the senior vice president of marketing and business development at Face Time communications, a leading vendor of security, management and control solutions for enterprise-oriented instant messaging.
Christopher also was an executive in business development at Epoch Partners, SmartAge.com, Worlds, Inc. and a consultant at Regis McKenna, Inc. He has consulted with Apple, Adobe Systems, IBM, Oracle, and Placeware, prior to its sale to Microsoft.
He has a B.A. in Economics from Vassar College and a MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
As CEO of Animoto, Brad leads the charge in driving Animoto to be the global standard for consumers and businesses to automatically create professional-looking video from images, video clips and music. Prior to co-founding Animoto in 2006, Brad spent eight years with Onyx Software where he saw the company grow from a 17-person start-up to an 800-person public company and eventually through an acquisition. At Onyx, Brad managed Sales Operations and the Professional Services team and customer base in the western US. Brad graduated from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Oakland, CA.
Joe Kennedy joined Pandora in 2004 following a five-year stint at E-LOAN, where he was President and Chief Operating Officer. From 1995 to 1999, he was the Vice President of Sales, Service and Marketing for Saturn Corporation, which he grew to over $4 billion in revenue and established as the top brand for customer satisfaction in the auto industry. Joe joined the initial start-up team at Saturn, four months after its founding, as a marketing manager and held positions of increasing marketing responsibility over the course of his 11-year tenure there.
Joe holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, where he dabbled in music theory and learned to compose his own Gregorian chants. He is Pandora’s resident pop music junkie. Current favorites include Counting Crows, G.B. Leighton, Sarah McLachlan, Juanes and Kelly Clarkson. Joe has also been playing the piano for more than 30 years, most of which has been spent attempting to master Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
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