What The EU Is Proposing Is Irresponsible And Not Good For Business
Unless you live in the EU you probably haven’t heard of the proposed EU Copyright Reform Bill. The proposed bill if passed will likely change how fans are able to share live in game content across social media. In short “Article 12” loosely translates to “Only the organizer of a sports event should have the right to publish, share, present, reproduce or record any pieces of said sports event”. That means any fan in attendance of any organized sporting event would not be able to socially “share” a photo or video of any kind even if just a selfie of the actual event taking place. If that wasn’t enough “Article 13” of the bill would allow censorship algorithms to scour the internet landscape looking for and tagging supposed copyright infringed material and prevent the material from ever being posted. You would quickly learn what it would feel like to be ghosted by your favorite social media platforms. These platforms will err on the side of caution and block everything that “may” be an issue to avoid legal disputes.
If this bill passes on September 12th when it is up for a vote there could very well be a costly backlash to the sports organizers that will look to completely 100% control their content. You might as well say good bye to the sports pictures, memes, stories and short user generated content that we have all grown to love. They could go as far as collecting phones at the gate passing you a number like you’re at a night club for coat check, so you won’t be tempted to post copyrighted material. I know that is extreme, but that is where this feels like it’s heading if this bill is passed.
Without user generated content by default the sports organizers will drastically reduce the amount of content being put out into the inter-webs about their sport. There isn’t a price you can put on user generated “free” content marketing that these organizations have enjoyed for years. No organization can possibly put out as much content with reach and exposure then the masses that attend these games can. To be honest these organizations won’t be willing to push boundaries like the average Joe would and you can guarantee a big splash of watered-down content that the organizer wants you to see. Most of the viral content out their in the world is user generated and appreciated and I hope the voters realize they will be doing a disservice to the bottom line by passing this bill.
We haven’t even mentioned what will happen to the little guys of the niche sports world that are looking to gain as many eyeballs as they can to get any type of publicity to grow their sports. You can guarantee it will be much harder to find them out there amongst the inter-webs watered down, but loud chatter. If this bill passes the EU in our opinion has taken the control of copyright too far.
Sep 10, 2018. admin
How Fanoob Came To Be
Well like any good story, we need to start back at the beginning. Really pretty much the beginning of my life. For as long as I can remember my parents had been separated in my eyes. You see my parents divorced when I was 3 years old, so I don’t remember them ever being together as a married couple, but my father (Ron Baumgartner) thankfully made the important decision early on that he was going to be a BIG part of my life no matter what. That meant beyond the court appointed every other weekend visit, he would find other avenues to spend time with his only son. Many of those other avenues revolved around sports such as volunteering to coach my little league baseball and peewee soccer teams. My father wasn’t the most athletic individual, but he was the most loving and caring human being I have ever known. He didn’t play sports growing up like most children, but that didn’t matter because all that he wanted to do was to spend time with his only child (me) no matter what that involved. Unlike my father I excelled in sports and because of my success and with his involvement and support we became true fanatic sports fans together. We created a bond through sports that lasted a lifetime and could never be broken.
Just before I started high school in California my father decided to pursue his dream of moving to Hawaii and starting his own business. At that time, he was in a good place socially and financially in his life to be able to pursue his dreams and he was able to foresee the writing on the wall that his only son was probably going to be more interested in being a teenager than spending every other weekend with his father. I hate to say it, but he was right. In the beginning it was a lot harder for both of us than initially thought, but we made the best of it. Looking back, I can only imagine how tough a decision that must have been for him to pick up and leave his only son behind as he pursued his dreams. But if there is one thing my father always taught me and believed himself is that life is truly to short and don’t let anything hold you back from pursuing your dreams.
Through ups and downs my father was very fortunate to be able to reach his dreams of living in Hawaii while being his own boss along with a successful business that he started and literally built from the ground up. He was a true trail blazer and entrepreneur in his own right. Because he followed his dreams and passions he found a way to live in Hawaii for over 30 years until he decided to move back to California to be closer to me and family in 2013. He realized that he was getting older and it was in his best interest to live out the rest of his days closer to the ones he loved.
During my father’s stint in Hawaii the bond that we created over our early life together around sports never wavered. Even though we were physically apart we were still very connected and quickly found that we were watching the same live sporting events on TV at the same time through our frequent texts to each other. We tried as best we could through text to communicate during these events in real-time as the action was playing out in front of us on our respective television sets, but we found it to be very limiting due to the fact there was no way for us to convey any type of true emotion. It was very frustrating to say the least, but there was no alternative out there.
During one of my fathers visits we got to talking about how difficult it was to share with each other what we were truly feeling during the big moments of these live sporting events we were watching at the same time. We knew there just had to be a better way. After digging around and talking to others we found that we weren’t the only ones with this problem. I then had a deep discussion with my father that went something like this…” Well if I could start a company I would figure out a way to build a solution where we could clearly communicate with each other no matter where we were in a private secured setting around any specific live sporting event we were watching at the same time.” My father looked at me with a piercing stare which we all know parents have that goes through your core to your soul and he said, “well why don’t you?” What a simple direct question, but one I completely struggled with answering. I always dreamed about starting my own company and being my own boss, but never thought I had the know-how, money and not to mention courage in me to do it. I thought long and hard and desperately wanted to come up with an excuse, but just couldn’t because I was literally afraid of failure. My father said, “if you are willing to see it through, work your tail off and give it literally 150% then I will give you the money you need to start the business, but the rest is up to you.” My head was swirling with doubt, excitement and every other emotion you can imagine, but the one thing I didn’t want to live with for the rest of my life was REGRET. I thought what is the worst thing that can happen? That I fail? So, what!? I would rather fail trying than not trying. If my father believes in me enough to give me money to start the business, then I should also believe in myself. After weighing the pros and cons I decided to take my father up on that deal and soon thereafter started working on a solution which later became known as Fanoob.
Being an entrepreneur, let alone a first-time solo entrepreneur, is a very tough thing to do. I knew this would be the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but the potential rewards were bigger than the risks. After the initial excitement of starting my own business began to fade, I thought to myself “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” I had no idea what I was doing, nobody to guide me, but I desperately wanted to succeed to prove to myself and my father that I had the will and drive to build a successful company from the ground up as he previously had done in his life. Oh, and the mistakes I made. Just too many to list here, but my biggest mistake to date is what led me to meeting my Co-Founder Sath Kanchi. So, I guess you could say it was an important mistake and one that I am now glad happened, because Fanoob wouldn’t even exist without Sath. The story of how Sath and I met is a good one and one for a later blog post.
Back in late 2013 when we formed Fanoob the original Xbox One was soon to be released by Microsoft and Microsoft was touting the Xbox One as a game changer in the gaming console space. Not only could you watch live TV through the new gaming console, but you could run TV programing alongside a side loaded 3rd party app. This got me excited. My initial vision for Fanoob was to have the app run alongside the actual live TV content being watched. A true first screen experience. I thought what a perfect platform for Fanoob! Wrong again! For us to be a successful dominant social media platform we needed to have access to not only Millions, but Billions of potential customers. The Xbox One wasn’t the platform that could offer us the kind of exposure we needed to reach the masses, but the mobile smart phone was. But we only realized that after 2 years of hard work developing for the Xbox One platform, and ultimately had to scrap all the work we put into it and pivot to mobile. After joining the Sprout Incubator in Sonoma County and meeting Lance Cottrell (a very successful entrepreneur in the Internet Security space) as our lead mentor, we realized we needed to go mobile first to better our chances of success. We were back to the drawing board once again with our first big pivot under our belt.
Right around this time in 2016 I received the worst news I could possibly receive which is that my father was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer. Not only my father, but my best friend in life had cancer. My heart sunk, but my father was a fighter and he was going to do everything in his power to fight this terrible disease. I just knew he was going to get through it, like he had for any other obstacles in his past throughout his life. During his fight with cancer I did what I had to do, which was to be there for him and with him no matter what he needed. I was only trying to pay him back for all the times he was there to support me. Time is something you can never get back and had to be respected as a commodity and something that deserved to be cherished.
We shortly thereafter teamed up with West Agile Labs in San Francisco to design the iOS Fanoob app. We wanted to work with a local mobile software design firm that had a track record of building successful apps and taking our vision out of our heads and into a beautiful UI/UX friendly application. Four months later we had succeeded and had a working prototype of the Fanoob app. We tested the prototype within our target market (Millennial sports fans with a college degree) and had nothing but great feedback and learnings that came out of the testing. We used the feedback as validation that we were on the right track and on the right path to building something special.
We soon thereafter raised some funds from Family & Friends and outsourced our development to a team of developers in India called DevRabbit that Sath had worked with in the past. In conjunction with building out the iOS Fanoob app, my father’s health started to decline fairly rapidly. The combination of the chemo treatments and the cancer itself was starting to take a foothold and the outlook was not looking good. I have never felt so helpless in my life in watching my father’s health degrade so rapidly where I literally couldn’t do anything to stop it. But I made damn sure I was going to spend all the time with him as possible not just to be there for him, but for me. Many of the days I just sat by his bedside while he slept while I worked on Fanoob, but every moment he was awake I took the opportunity to talk about old stories and our times together.
In April of 2017 my father had finally lost his battle with cancer. Gratefully he went peacefully, and I was able to be by his side along with the rest of his loved ones as he started his next journey. I don’t know if you know what it feels like to lose a parent, but for those that don’t, it’s like a part of you is ripped away and is gone forever that you will never get back. Or at least in my case that is what it felt like. Thanks to the support system I had in place which included my loving wife, my fathers’ partner Tim Lawler, family, friends and business partners, I was able to ultimately get through it, persevere through the storm and continue forward as I only know how which is to come out on top.
It was clear in that moment that my goal in life was to make my father proud and ultimately launch Fanoob in his memory. We were able to achieve that goal exactly a year after my father’s passing in April of 2018. My father unfortunately never got to see the realization of Fanoob, but I know he would be very proud of what we have built and achieved. There is no doubt his influence is forever connected to us as we continue to build a great product and company.
We can only hope that Fanoob brings you the type of joy, excitement and experiences around live events that I know my father and I would have cherished together. Hug the ones you love tight every day, because life is short and most importantly don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams and passions. Through hard work, patience and perseverance can only come good. Never live in the shadow of REGRET, let the rays of hope and life extinguish its ever-casting shadow.
If you, or anybody you know and love have been affected with cancer, please help to eradicate this terrible disease by donating to cancer research. There are so many great organizations and people out there that fight cancer every day and are the true heroes’ in this world. Every little bit helps. Thank you!
Sep 05, 2018. admin