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Building A Market Place For Video Content Production: Five Questions With HireHive Founder, Dee Deng.

I first met Eugene Dee Deng, a visionary leader with infectious humour and focus at a new venture pitching competition. Dee founded HireHive which is a marketplace where owners can rent high quality, under-utilised video and film production equipment to people wanting to create video. Using technology to help both equipment owners and content producers drive economic growth is interesting, particularly in context of the opportunity. There are claims that by 2017 over 70% of internet traffic will be video and that over 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it.

Im really glad that this is the opening question, Phil. Even though it’s a fairly deep one — mainly because so much of my military experience permeates into my life as a founder.

I feel like a bit of context is required before I can properly answer this question — I’ve actually lived a “military” life since I was 13, when I was first inducted into my high school military band back in Singapore, the SJIMB (which back then, had a reputation of having one of the most militant programs in the country). I then went on to lead the SJIMB as its Drum Major in my senior year.

I then went onto serve my National Service (mandatory for all Singaporean males once they hit 18) with the Civil Defense Force, more specifically, in the fire department as a Section Leader and Academy Instructor.

I think that living and working in a “military” setting truly makes you understand, amongst many other values, the meaning of leading as a follower and following as a leader — which then necessitates the ability to forego pride and ego.

When those values get transferred to my current life as a startup founder, I find myself running teams (and building our company culture) with these same philosophies. The few ones that come to mind immediately are:

  • Understanding what your role plays in the scheme of things (hierarchical structures),
  • Placing the goals of the startup before your more self-centered needs (brotherhood),
  • Analyzing and understanding the landscape and strategizing before executing (recon, plan-of-attack, etc), and
  • Finally, embracing that things never go to plan and a high level of agility and fast+slow thinking is required on-the-fly (applying acuity, reflex and listening to gut-feel).

Oh boy, I’ll try to keep my passion from overspilling into a long spiel.

It’s not exactly breaking news that we’re currently seeing an explosion and massive disruption in video across every single facet — from consumption through to production and distribution.

In fact, I go through this in our startup pitch as well.

HH

In terms of video and content marketing for businesses alone, let’s just say that if it was a company, it would be blowing up right now.

And as for YouTube video alone, there is 300 hours of video uploaded per minute. This statistic still blows my mind each and every time I cite it.

Where HireHive comes in, is on the production side of things — where we believe there is the biggest pain-point on a personal level.

On the one side, freelance technicians and owner operators have to live with the massive overheads of owning expensive equipment that constantly needs to be upgraded and updated, and currently, the only means of recouping those costs is by working more hours.

Meanwhile, brands and production companies (the very same ones that contribute to this 300 hour per minute YouTube frenzy) don’t have any simple, quick nor elegant solution to find and hire great film & video technicians, their equipment, or both!

We’re working to address that exact problem, and this is only the beginning.

Yes indeed, I am very much a fan of Adam Lisagor’s work with Sandwich Video — mainly because of these few factors:

  1. He capitalized on an opportunity when it presented itself to him;
  2. His on-camera personality works amazingly for his niche and;
  3. Nobody can dispute his (and his team’s) creative talents with bringing Sandwich’s videos to life.

Full disclosure, my part in that was more of a co-producer / facilitator; with the amazing guys at Changer Studios doing most of the heavy lifting. That being said, I think that there were a few factors behind AirShr’s launch video success at telling the AirShr story:

1. From the very beginning, there was already an alignment between the business objective and the video (concept, creative, etc), and very importantly, the AirShr leadership team gave a healthy amount of respect to the pre-production process — which allowed time and space for the creative to really explore without making them feel like “the suits” were breathing down their necks,

2. The frequency and quality of communication was also amazing on this project, which helped tremendously (I’m sure it’s safe to say that we’ve all had experiences where “I say. You do.” is the norm, and thankfully, this project was nowhere close to being like that),

3. From our end, I think having the ability to ask the right questions around the Airshr story, brand, company and customers was also crucial in getting the video right, and

4. Finally (and I think this applies to all videos and creative works), the largest contributing factor to AirShr’s video working well is that you and your team appreciate the cost behind making a “good video”, and how some corners simply can’t be cut (this is usually where most others fall flat).

It’s absolutely true that great videos (like anything else that has a high inherent value) have a high price tag attached to them. However most companies, for some reason, think of video in isolation, instead of thinking about how each video feeds into their overall marketing and business strategy. Following that, many companies are also hesitant to adopt short form, low-fi video — and therefore assume that ALL video is expensive. Even videos and video marketing strategies can be MVP’ed.

In light of that, my three tips would be:

  1. Before shooting a single frame, understand how video fits into your marketing strategy;
  2. Begin with your customer in mind, front-and-center,
  3. Work with what you have — a smartphone camera or webcam and a decent microphone (yes, even the mic on your iPhone ear buds are good enough) can go a long way as long as your content is compelling, provides value to your audience and resonates with them.
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I write about what I see building companies. Currently growing dropbio.com

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