Crowdfunded content, five-year digital strategy plans and making more money from digital talent. Meet Dan Porter, Head of Digital at WME/IMG

In May, William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners completed their acquisition of IMG Worldwide for an estimated US$2.4billion. Whatever digital developments are likely to roll out at any of IMG’s fashion assets as the result of this new marriage with WME and Silver Lake, one person who is likely to be at the vanguard is Dan Porter.

Dan Porter

After a decade in education, Porter entered the tech sector in the late 1990s, helming online ticketing system TicketWeb and leading its sale to TicketMaster in 2000. As the CEO of gaming developer OMGPOP, he oversaw the development of three No #1 iPhone mobile apps and led the sale of OMGPOP to Zynga in March 2012 for US$180million. Porter joined WME in September 2013.

What

Head of Digital, WME/IMG

Where

New York City, U.S.

When

Monday, July 28, 2014


Change is brewing at New York Fashion Week, the biggest fashion week on the biannual, four-city ready-to-wear runway show caravan that travels from NY to London, Milan and Paris each February and September.

Last week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced it had acquired The Fashion Calendar, the fashion show/event scheduler that was founded by Ruth Finley back in 1945 and logs the shows and presentations of participating designers and PRs for a membership fee.

Unlike its London, Milan and Paris counterparts, no one central organisation officially coordinates New York Fashion Week. Given the unruly – many call it “democratic” – nature of the event, The Fashion Calendar is in fact the only real field guide. And indeed, many refer to it as New York Fashion Week’s official “schedule”.

Only problem – absolutely anyone can show during NYFW, which hosts over 350 shows a season, with up to five or six designers often jammed into the same time slots.

The acquisition will be finalised on October 1 – after the close of New York’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 season.

The CFDA is promising to “streamline” the event.

Right now, it kind of starts at the edges. But I think every kind of innovation starts at the edges. So if you don’t play at the edges, you kind of get swept up when it becomes more mainstream.

 

Originally designed as a “clearing house” to avoid schedule conflict at a time when there was no New York Fashion Week, just “Press Week” and trunk shows in stores, The Fashion Calendar stands today as a testament to the behemoth that New York Fashion Week has become, simply by being its principal system of record. Don’t shoot Finley.

Plenty of outlets publish their own NYFW show calendars – including New York Magazinemodemonline.com and now even the CFDA, which launched its NYFWList mobile app and desktop tool in the leadup to February’s FW14-15 show season.

But all are getting their information from Finley, who calls herself “the master planner of all New York’s fashion events”. At last month’s CFDA Awards, the CFDA presented her with the CFDA Board of Directors Tribute (Finley takes the microphone at 6’39”).

NYFWList is not New York Fashion Week’s first step into digital.

In 2010, web-based event-planning and inventory-tracking system Fashion GPS became the official tech partner of the IMG-owned and operated Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week’s central runway show event at Lincoln Center.

An extremely well-organised show program, MBFW nevertheless represents less than a third of shows on around town during the week. And it does not include a number of the week’s biggest shows, notably Marc Jacobs, who has never shown “on schedule”.

IMG, meanwhile, is undergoing its own transformation.

In May, William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners completed their acquisition of IMG Worldwide for an estimated US$2.4billion.

WME is the Hollywood literary and talent agency co-headed up by Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel, the power agent upon whom Jeremy Piven’s larger-than-life character of Ari Gold in HBO comedy Entourage is based.

WME already reps some of the biggest names in film, television, music and literature, from Quentin Tarantino to Martin Scorsese, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

A Silicon Valley-based private equity firm, Silver Lake calls itself the global leader in technology investing, with US$23billion in combined assets under management. In 2012, it acquired a 31percent stake in WME (now reportedly raised to 50percent as the result of the IMG acquisition).

The WME/Silver Lake alliance has seen a rapid expansion of WME’s digital talent roster, including not just talent representation, but digital platform investment.

According to WME’s 2014 Digital Talent lookbook – a copy of which was sent to FELLT – WME now represents nearly 100 names in digital, including not just bloggers (around 30), but highly-subscribed YouTubers, content brands, writers/directors, actors and hosts. Some of the bigger names include ViceGeek & SundryThe Onion, Felicia Day, Bryanboy and The Gregory Brothers.

In other words, WME’s digital roster dwarfs that of IMG, which only began representing digital talent in the last 18 months and whose relatively small digital lineup to date has tended to be dominated by one genre of player – the personal style blogger. The Australian division only recently added YouTube talent, Sarah Ellen Robertson.

IMG of course brings to the table, through its sport, modelling, fashion and media production divisions, some of the world’s biggest sports stars and sporting events (The British Open Golf Championship, Wimbledon), modelling names (Gisele Bunchen, Miranda Kerr, Lara Stone) and 18 international fashion weeks and events that the company either owns or manages sponsorship for, including New York, Sydney, Toronto, Berlin fashion weeks.

Whatever digital developments are likely to roll out at any of IMG’s fashion assets as the result of this new marriage with WME and Silver Lake, one person who is likely to be at the vanguard is Dan Porter.

Porter joined WME in September as the new head of digital and is now heads up digital development at the newly merged WME/IMG.

After spending nearly a decade in education, Porter entered the emerging tech sector in the late 1990s, helming the first online ticketing system TicketWeb and leading its sale to TicketMaster in 2000.

As the CEO of gaming developer Iminlikewithyou, later rebranded as OMGPOP, he oversaw the development of three No #1 iPhone mobile apps, notably the Pictionary-like social drawing game Draw Something which became the fastest-growing mobile app ever at the time of launch in early 2012, with 50million downloads in the first 50 days. Porter led the sale of OMGPOP to Zynga in March 2012 for US$180million.

Porter is also the founder of NYC startup resource Inside Startups and a board member of career accelerator program Venture For America.

FELLT chatted with Porter last week down the line from New York.

Patty Huntington

You’ve been with WME since September, then the IMG acquisition was announced in December, closing in May. What kind of overview are you able to give me at this early stage about the company’s digital strategy moving forward and any specific areas that may have been flagged for development?

Dan Porter

The company has a huge diverse line of businesses, the merged company. And I think for us, especially on the digital side, we’re very conscious of just the rapid pace of change and what’s coming next. And I think you can look to signature other industries. Obviously the music industry has seen a tremendous amount of change. And I think what we really focus on in digital is, if you look five years into the future and we’re, like, ‘What are all the risks to our business?’ and ‘How could we be disintermediated’ or ‘Where could people be spending their time otherwise?’ And then we kind of try to work backwards from there. We see that the way that content is funded is totally changing. We will invest time and effort in understanding the crowdfunding space and see what needs to be done there. We see that content is being distributed directly to consumers. We will either make an investment in that space or we’ll spend time looking at that. You’ve got a lot of change, just because the change in digital is so rapid. So for us it’s always about getting ahead of the curve and understanding basically how the consumer thinks and what’s changing in their lives and never kind of resting.

So what kind of WME involvement are you talking about RE: crowdfunding?

There are traditional ways of financing content and those are always going to exist. But any number of the talent that we work with, they might have smaller projects, they might want to resuscitate a project that didn’t go somewhere else. They might want control. The vast majority of our clients are going to do what they’ve always done. We represent a lot of digital content creators, for example. We funded a web series for one of our content creators that’s basically all about tabletop gaming [Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day’s TableTop. Day is repped by WME]. It’s kind of niche. There’s a hardcore audience. And we raised over $1.4million on Indiegogo, the most ever raised for a web series, to get that off the ground. I’m not saying the next superhero movie is going to be funded this way. Right now, it kind of starts at the edges. But I think every kind of innovation starts at the edges. So if you don’t play at the edges, you kind of get swept up when it becomes more mainstream. So we’re active in all types of things, just to understand. And it’s usually going to be clients doing smaller projects. But the better we are at it, the more we know what works and where we’ll build our executional knowledge, the more we’ll be in the right place at the right time, if the way content is funded changes. If the way content is distributed changes.

So you consulted on Tabletop’s Indiegogo campaign?

The key is that… one of the reasons why people don’t pursue that path is because there’s a lot of risk. You can put something up, nobody funds it, nobody’s interested in it. So for us, it’s understanding all of the mechanics of it. How do you describe it? How often do you update? What kind of rewards do you need? It’s really getting granular in all the things that we touch. Crowdfunding, social, we’re looking at new ways to make more money for digital talent, like touring…. virtual reality. Anything that is coming down the line, we want to be first in line to understand how it impacts our business. And I think that’s very different. Other people are willing to wait and see. But we’re willing to wade in so we can always be ahead.

We funded a web series for one of our content creators… And we raised over $1.4million on Indiegogo, the most ever raised for a web series, to get that off the ground.

 

Had you had much to do with fashion prior to the IMG acquisition?

Before I did not have a lot to do with the fashion space. So I’ve been rapidly learning. I attended Fashion Week and have just really tried to understand from all the people at IMG, kind of what the opportunities are ahead and how I can help bring all the knowledge and just learning that I have just from experience from the tech side and the startup side to help in any way possible.

Had you ever been to a fashion week prior to New York Fashion Week in February?

I had never been before.

What were your initial thoughts on the fashion sector and the uptake of technology in fashion?

Obviously the one area that a lot of people are interested in is in the wearables space and the hardware space. And I think we saw a first generation of devices that in some ways were very functional and all about kind of tracking what you do. They’re basically the next generation of pedometers, tracking your steps and doing all of those other things. And the people who want to use those are pretty athletic. But if you talk to a lot of people who are more fashion-influenced, they’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t necessarily want to wear one of those’ or ‘I’m not sure what the benefit is’. So we’ve taken the tack of looking at a wide variety of wearable technology and trying to basically find the opportunities for the fashion designers we work with and other people to get involved, so that you get this blend of kind of fashion and technology. And I think one of the interesting things is, you’re seeing a second generation of wearable technology that is not focussed on activity-tracking. It’s not focussed on how many steps you took and everything else like that. Because honestly, while that stuff is interesting, it’s like all self improvement things, the dropoff is fairly high. At first it’s really cool and by day three, you might be less interested. And by the way, if you took a lot of steps you kind of know you took a lot of steps. But these are wearable devices that are doing other things. For example, they’re tied to notifications on your phone. So say if I keep my phone in my pocket or you keep your phone in your purse and I’m in a meeting and it buzzes and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, is that my wife?’ or ‘Is that one of my kids?’ or ‘Is that somebody I work with?’, but it’s really impolite to take it out. We’re seeing different wearable technology that’s masquerading as rings and bracelets and necklaces. And it’s giving you a slight buzz or a slight colour. So I could set the colour blue, so if my wife calls, it does that. So I know I got a text or call from her. And I can say in the meeting, ‘Hey I think that’s from my wife, do you mind if I grab that?’ Versus, it’s a news alert from CNN. And so now you’re getting into functional ways that you extend the devices that people use. And then beyond that I think you’re getting into a third tier, where a lot of these sensors are going directly into the garments. So again, that’s starting out in the fitness space. You can wear an athletic shirt that has sensors embedded. This happens with high level sports teams. And it’s telling you literally when you’re lifting weights or when you’re doing yoga pose, you can look on your phone and you can see, ‘Wow, I’m only activating the muscles on the right side, not the left side’. And so you can adjust your behaviour accordingly. And again, it’s something that starts out in fitness, but it’s really giving you insight into how your body works. And it’s moving from there to things that will let you know potentially if you’re overheated or you’re poorly hydrated. And these things are going to grow from being incredibly visible to becoming more and more invisible. So if they’re a ring or a bracelet or sewn into your garment, you’re not walking around with a bulky bracelet, they’re really getting integrated into the pattern of your life. And so for us, for example, we work with Rebecca Minkoff. There are a couple of designers who are very, very interested and experimental. And so we’re looking at that.

What I didn’t cover is the stuff in the fashion industry… the tracking of all the couture that’s sent around for Fashion Week, the ability for people at fashion shows to go and to get information pushed at them immediately. And they’re great, they’re just Business Process Technology that accelerates every business. And then you get into the final area, which is obviously we’re in this kind of mass of social media consumption, where information travels so much faster and so much broader. And so whereas before I wouldn’t see a design for six months, now I see it two seconds after it came out. I was at Fashion Week and every single person was taking pictures. I took pictures. I felt like I was missing out if I didn’t take pictures. And that’s going on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. So it’s really trying to understand what’s the impact of the net on the fashion show? How do we harness that to give greater voice to the people who are participating? How do we harness that to learn more about the people who are coming? How do we harness that to learn more about the people at home who may never come to a fashion week, but now we know that they’re following us on Pinterest and they’re engaged in this? There’s no easy answer. They’re all kind of strategies. I think we’re going to see an opportunity to engage a broader and broader group of people in fashion. And I think we’re also going to see… If you say that level one was the ‘queens of fashion’, the Conde Nasts and the Hearsts and then you had your fashion bloggers…. Now you have people who are not even fashion bloggers, but may have 5000 followers on Instagram. And yet they’re taking information from a lot of places and it’s so dispersed that if you don’t figure out how to harness that and stay on top of it, you’re missing an incredible asset.

What we focus on in digital is, if you look five years into the future and we’re, like, ‘What are all the risks to our business?’ and ‘How could we be disintermediated’ or ‘Where could people be spending their time otherwise?’ And then we kind of try to work backwards from there.

 

Is any new technology being rolled out for New York Fashion Week?

I can’t say that there’s anything specific. I can say obviously, we’re always focussed on the use of social. We’re focussed on streaming. I can’t say we’re doing this, but we’re always looking at things like beacons, which can send information to your phone. And all kinds of stuff like that. Whatever is happening in retail and anywhere else, we’re messing around with it. But I think that we need to make sure that it’s ready and that it’s a positive experience. There is no doubt that every generation of Fashion Week is going to change. But I can’t give you any hard examples of some crazy new thing. Most things, honestly, they’re very incremental. The way we use social. They just change, little by little, over time and as we get more comfortable.

You don’t have a background in it, which is interesting.

No, I’m not a computer programmer.

And yet you developed three number 1 apps (also ‘Draw Something 2’ and ‘What’s The Phrase’.) Where did you work between Teach for America and your first tech gig at TicketWeb? 

I worked at Teach For America and then I ran another educational non profit called Cities in Schools. I did that for nine or ten years. And I did two years in finance, which I didn’t enjoy, but it taught me a lot about money as a product and then I got involved in media and the whole interweb thing. TicketWeb was the first startup I was involved in. We sold the first tickets over the internet. Things were very different. It took us a lot longer to develop applications back then. We really understood that there was a part of the market that was not served by traditional ticketing systems. And those were small to medium-sized clubs. Because at that time, there was very limited internet. You would go into clubs and hook up a DSL line and hook up a computer and show them how you could manage inventory. Stuff that is like very Stone Age compared to now. But we did a couple of things right and we really, to be honest, only focussed on San Francisco and once we had achieved a critical mass in San Francisco, it became much easier for us to roll out to other cities, because of our word of mouth. And we just grew and locked up that market. When I started, I think there were maybe like five of us and when we sold the company there were about 70.

How did you make the transition into tech?

I asked a lot of questions. I’m a pretty good learner. Both my parents are college professors. I was interested. I think at that time, in the late Nineties, the amazing thing about the very first internet boom is, when it started, everyone was equal. Whether you were  20 or 30, whether you had experience or not. Nobody had experience. And so for somebody who had spent almost nine years of my life in educational non-profits, who wanted to do something else, there’s no better chance than something that’s brand new where all of a sudden you’re on equal footing. Plus you might have a little advantage over some younger folks. You’ve been in a work environment and I don’t know, I just paid attention and I taught myself some rudimentary programming, just to make sure I understood how it worked. And I really tried to… balance… as I think all the people who are talented in tech do… this idea of kind of what the user wants from the product. I’m a very product- focussed person. And I spend a lot of time playing with all the products that I build and I try to ask myself ‘How could they be simpler?’, ‘How could the user do it in a different way?’ And I guess that’s something that I’m OK at. Being a teacher, I was OK at explaining things. Just a lot of listening and paying attention.

We’re looking at new ways to make more money for digital talent, like touring…. virtual reality. Anything that is coming down the line, we want to be first in line to understand how it impacts our business.

 

Do you think your teaching background was the key to the success of Draw Something?

I think the key to the success of Draw Something was, number one, that it was the third iteration of a game that we had made. I’m a very incremental iteration kind of person. I do a little bit and I see how it goes. And I do a little bit and I see how it goes. And in that case, I could tell you everything that was wrong with the first two versions of the game that were on the web. And once I knew what was wrong with them, I absolutely knew how to fix them. And I had information. I had data. I knew that we had a competitive head-to-head game. That if you lost in that game, then you were much less likely to ever come back to our site. I just kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to lose half the people, because there’s got to be a loser. How do I build something that doesn’t have winning and losing?’ And it’s like obsessive thinking about those things and then looking for examples outside of your industry. And in that case, for me, it was watching my son play Catch with his friend and realising, ‘Oh my gosh, Catch is like this competitive-collaborative thing, where you’re working with someone else to reach a goal of catching it 100 times in a row’. And that’s basically the idea that I applied to the game.

So I think honestly, when I look at fashion, especially around the content of Fashion Week and the live streaming of it, I am very influenced by Twitch TV [the live-streaming video platform focussed on e-sports and video gaming, which Google reportedly acquired last week for US$1billion] and what they’ve done around the live streaming of gaming. They’ve done all these incredible innovations. Some of the games have nine different feeds, eight different languages. There’s a beginner feed. There’s different webcasts, there’s commenting. Because video games are almost like a natural part of technology. I can’t help but look at that and go ‘Wow, can we apply stuff like this to sports, to fashion?’. Because I think at the end of the day, just taking content and throwing it up, people are going to like that because they want access. But computers are a much different kind of stream than the television is. You’ve got to take advantage of the different types of things.

So I’m always looking at different industries and trying to understand where the opportunities are. I think a lot of what we’re seeing [with] the digital talent that we represent, a tremendous number of people who are very big on YouTube and Vine etc. And as is well documented in the press, not everybody makes a huge living off YouTube, because there’s a high revenue split and the advertising dollars are not there like they are in television. So we look at music and we’re, like, ‘Can we start doing a live tour?’ We look at the analytics and we think we know where their audiences are, so we don’t even have to guess where to go. And we’ve been booking a number of successful tours where these kids who are YouTube stars are going out on the road and making money the old-fashioned way and doing really well. So I think it’s like, there’s digital to analogue and analogue to digital and you’re just constantly matching them all up

I think what’s so interesting about digital talent – and I think this is going to impact the way that we look at fashion and sports – is that everyone assumes that building an audience on YouTube or being a digital talent is like being a farm team, to eventually cross over into television. That it’s like a way to find the next generation of television stars or something like that. And I think that it’s really not always true. I think what you’re seeing on these digital platforms is that people are creating whole new media. They’re expanding the amount of media that’s consumed. They don’t necessarily need to cross over into television and build hugely successful audiences in those media. Television is an industry that’s all about format. So if you’re on television, your format might have used to have been instructional cooking and now they might be competition shows. And the great thing about digital is that they’re creating tonnes of new formats. The most followed channels on YouTube are all video game channels. Those are things that you will never ever see on tv. But if tens of millions of people are interested, how do we use digital to really understand what new formats we can take our content in fashion and sport in and put them out there?

Well the advertisers still think that television is more valuable.

So advertisers do think that television is more valuable. I think advertising is an industry that is slower to change and I think that everybody is always going to be happy to make a commercial. That being said, it’s going to change. It’s just going to take time. And I think that we’re starting to see a rapid acceleration of advertisers moving into social, like kind of the first level of social. They want to a tv ad and they say, ‘Hey, follow me on the social media’. It’s not too interesting. The second level is, they make some content and then they pay people to talk about it: ‘Hey check out this cool ad from so and so’. I think the third level, where we’re moving now, which is the most interesting, is they are literally engaging the creators and the social media stars in the creation of content from the very beginning. And once those campaigns are less about using social as just a distribution channel and more about bringing them [the creators] in from the creative [side], you’re going to see things that are more natural, more creative, more different. And I think you’re starting to see in fashion. You see it on Instagram with the fashion bloggers, that it’s really moving product. When you’re engaging these people and they’re putting affiliate links and these other things and they’re talking about these products in an authentic way – because what social captures which tv commercials can never do, is this real sense of real people and real authenticity – I think you’ll see visible dollars from that and then the money starts to shift.

But how ‘authentic’ is it really when they’re being paid to talk up a product? The term ‘brand journalism’ is being bandied around at the moment as if it’s some kind of new holy grail of social media marketing – a step beyond native advertising. At a tech conference recently in Australia, a Tourism Australia rep made the point that, moving forward, they will only use journalists to create content, not marketers. It’s not really journalism if journalists are being paid by marketers to write about their products. It might be better-written content, but it’s not journalism.

There’s two things I would say. First of all, you are absolutely right, they are not creating journalism, they’re creating content. And that is different. Journalism is fundamentally about obviously reporting on the world around us. But what I’m saying is that brands realise that people don’t want to necessarily hear their message about why their soda or beer is better, but they are consuming a lot of content. And so what you’re seeing is the brands going to people on Instagram and Vine and YouTube and fashion bloggers and saying ‘Hey, let’s come up with a campaign together’. And all the time, it’s being created by those people themselves. We’re an investor in a company called Niche. It’s a platform of 3,800 creators and it’s basically a tech platform where brands can go out and find those creators and put messages with them. So when Godzilla came out, they worked with the creators and the creators said ‘Let’s get the 20 or 30 biggest people and we’re going to say, ‘Hey, show us your Roar Face to this week of Godzilla’. And they made funny faces of them roaring. And then all their fans basically submitted back to them and said ‘Here’s a picture of mine’. So all the time, you had people doing something that was goofy, it was fun. They understood that it was about Godzilla. It wasn’t that they were replacing tv ads and other stuff. It’s just amplifying it. And that’s really different to just saying ‘Hey, go tell all your fans to go see Godzilla this weekend’.

How do you see the startup space at the moment compared to what it was when you first became involved?

Certainly, there’s more capital available than ever. The tools to create have radically changed. The amount of people and technology that I needed to build TicketWeb 15 years ago, I could do with two people today. And it’s fun, it’s attractive. But you’re seeing a lot of people start things and in some ways it’s great, because the tools are closer to people’s fingers. On the other hand, people only have so much attention and so many hours in the day to look at different websites and use different apps and stuff. So people always wonder, ‘Why do things like Snapchat get these really high valuations?’ Part of it is because it is very Darwinian. There are thousands of games submitted to the App Store every single day. And so people who can somehow get traction, that is an incredibly valuable thing. To get somebody to add you to their tabs on their browser, to get somebody to put you on their phone, it’s really hard to do. But I think one of the other things that we’re seeing that’s so interesting, is that they have a very interesting process. You’re very focussed on developing code, you have certain practices which are about doing these sprints of like two to three weeks or building features. You share code repositories. And I think to some extent, you’re starting to see them in other industries. We’re investing in a company called Splice. In the music industry, people are still emailing giant music files back and forth to each other, when they collaborate, when they do other things. Whereas with software, people build software repositories, people like GitHub. So in Splice, it’s like ‘Why is there so GitHub for music?’ ‘Why is there no way that we can come to this common repository and contribute and track changes and do all different sorts of complete software processes applied to music?’

I think you’ll see in fashion, in manufacturing… Look at the woman [Brandi Temple] in North Carolina, who started out by putting stuff on Facebook and only making it when enough people wanted it. Lolly Wolly Doodle. She basically started this business that’s now pretty substantial by using technology to aggregate little bits of demand to make a couple of things, to see what people like, to double down the stuff they like. It’s very back and forth. It’s like a constant dialogue. When I make an app, I release it and I’m like, ‘Nobody likes it this part’, so I jettison that part and I build another part. And that’s very different than saying, ‘I’m going to build a fashion line and I hope people like it, because I’m going to make a lot of it and I’m going to ship it’. That [shift in thinking] I think is really big. And part of what crowdfunding really is at the end of the day, it’s kind of pre-determined demand. And so you’re able to go on the market and if nobody likes it, they don’t like it and you just saved yourself making a warehouse full of product that people don’t like.

Other people are willing to wait and see. But we’re willing to wade in so we can always be ahead.

 

Zack Danger Brown is currently taking the piss out of crowdfunding, by raising $52,341 to make some potato salad

I think what it really shows is that obviously people have a sense of humour. The internet is filled with cats and potato salad and other things. I can show you reviews of products on Amazon, like the review of the paper clip, which are nothing but hilarious. So I think that’s all that says. I think there has been several billion dollars raised on those platforms and I think you’re going to see major brands go out and do it, not even because they always need the money, but because they want to know that their kind of pre-orders are there.

It’s like the new stock market. Going public in a different way.

Well, a lot of them are not selling shares directly. They’re letting people participate. We for the most part have not participated as much in equity crowdfunding platforms, where people buy a piece of the company. We’re more focussed on where people are supporting a musician or a writer or somebody they feel really passionate about.

Where do you think fashion sits on the tech curve – behind it or ahead of it?

I think in some areas, like in social and visual media, fashion is very ahead of the curve. Fashion is a large segment on Pinterest and otherwise and I think that it’s fashion folks and fashion bloggers who are making money on Instagram, before anyone else is. I still think that you’ve got a business that is traditionally about big glossy magazines. I think that there a lot of things in the business that are still probably the way that they used to be. I think even just the whole process of how stuff is made and otherwise. It has traditionally been a less sexy area and one of the main reasons is that there are less acquirers. If I make something in tech, I know maybe I can sell to Facebook and maybe I can sell to Google and they can spend a lot of money to buy me. And I’m an internet entrepreneur and that’s my dream. If I build a big audience or if I do something successful in fashion, it’s fuzzier about what my exit is and where my kind of big money opportunity is as an entrepreneur. Who are the Googles and the Facebooks of fashion, who are doing these huge deals and buying companies? You have to have that ecosystem to drive innovation that way.