Could we charge extra for baggage?
I am sitting in the conference room of a giant publishing company that we have been working with for some time.
They understand the concept of video on the web, and of webcasting in general, but the ‘bean counters’ are having a hard time with the ‘monetizing’ of the online video content. They can see that this is the future. What they don’t see is immediate revenues. It’s a serious problem.
In 1903, the Wright Brothers flew the first heavier-than-air craft.*
It was yet another world-changing moment driven by a new technology.
It is, however, fortunate that the bean counters were not yet there. If they were, they might have had serious problems about continuing to invest in the airplane.
“The only way we can monetize this” says RR Snidely, VP for Finance at Bicycles R Us, is to charge for the trips. Our market research tells us that people will pay as much as $100 for a trip from NY to Miami. Now, we’ve run the numbers for our ROI and we need about 250 trips a month to cover costs plus meet cost of money profit targets for our investment. Orville, are you with me?”
Orville looks up, interrupted from working on his lift-to-drag ratios. “What?” he says.
“So, looking at this picture, Orville, and I just can’t hep but ask, where do the passengers sit? Cause it looks like your brother, Wilbert, is laying on the wing. Is that right?
“WilBUR” says Orville.
“Now Orville, I don’t mean to denigrate the great achievement you guys have done, but do you really think anyone is going to pay $100 to lay on the wing?”
“Dont know…” says Orville, working on flap shapes.
“And it doesn’t look like you could fit more than say, five people on each wing….”
“Maybe two on top” says Orville.
“OK. Two on top. Yeah. Maybe we can create a kind of ‘upper class’. Charge more. Maybe $150! Good! Now, what about food. Could you serve food. We could charge for it…”
“Kinda hard”, says Orville.
“Hmmm” says the business guy. “What about baggage? How many bags could each person take with them”.
“Well, weight is a problem” says Orville.
“Hmm. You know, most people going to Miami are gonna want to bring stuff – you know, bathing suits, flip flops… that could be a problem”….
long awkward pause….
“Yeah”. Well, let’s talk about the plane. How’s the beta test going?”
“Wilbur flew again yesterday” says Orville.
“Great”, says RR. “How did it go”?
“Flew 105 feet” says Orville.
There is a long.. long pause.
“105 feet?” says RR. “hmmm”
“Yep” says Orville.
Another long pause. RR pushes back from the desk.
“Well, I gotta tell you Orville. If you gotta stop every 105 feet, its gonna take a long time to fly from NY to Miami. I just don’t see how we can possibly monetize this thing. I think you guys better get back to the bicycle making. That, after all, is our core business. This was an interesting experiment, but I am going to recommend to the board that we cut the funding for this airplane thing. Sorry boys, it’s interesting, but it’s just not a business.”
*A New Zealander, it seems, actually flew the world’s first heavier than air craft. See comments below for details.