Kellogg Tech Conference Focuses On Monetization

April 25, 2010

12:15 pm

Kellogg Tech Conf at Northwestern

This past week we headed just north of Chicago, Illinois to the Northwestern University campus for the Kellogg Technology Conference which carried the theme “monetize me.” The event focused on the latest technology trends and asked the question, how do you monetize it? The conference was well attended by students, alumni and more all looking to learn a little bit more about making some money in the current technologically driven business landscape.

Social Networking & Platform Monetization – Speakers: Suneel Gupta, VP of Product Development for Groupon, David Hegarty, Chief Hollrr of, Steve Olechowski, Product Manager of Google-AdSense, and Matt Peterson, Head of Consumer Content Services for Samsung Telecommunications America.

Adam Ostrow from Mashable

Adam Ostrow from Mashable

  • The key is to build an audience, then monetize.
  • New entrepreneurs need to try and see what does and does not work. One should pivot from the concepts that don’t work.
  • With advertising, you need to make the ad useful for users in a social context. Make the ad something they can share with their community.

“We talk about building the audience, but not about activating the audience.” – Suneel Gupta, VP of Product Development at Groupon

Steve Olechowski of Google Adsense

Steve Olechowski of Google Adsense by way of Feedburner

A successful social media platform is based on acting as a distraction, boosting one’s ego and making connections. That’s where Foursquare works: it’s a distraction from where we are, the badges fulfill our egos, and we find out who else visits where we go.

Social Networking and Platform Monetization Panel

Social Networking and Platform Monetization Panel

***Hollrr focuses on products and believes that if you know what your friends think, you can remove advertising. It’s about word of mouth (WOM).

Kellogg Mug in front of the Social Gaming Panel

Monetization Through Social Gaming and Virtual Goods – Speakers: Larry Keeley, President & Co-Founder of Doblin, Min Kim to VP of Marketing at Nexon America, Woodrow Levin, Founder and CEO of BringIt, Rohan Oommen, Senior Director of Xbox LIVE, Microsoft and Adam Prewett and Executive Producer of Playdom.

Key take aways:

  • With players getting over 10,000 hours of games before they are in 12th grade we are living in a world of gaming.
  • There is a good enough problem in the gaming industry where only two percent of gamers are monetized. We need to figure out how to monetize the 98%.

Adam Prewett of Playdom said about game pricing:

“If players are hooked, double the price. They will pay more. We want to make sure they spend thousands of dollars not hundreds of dollars. If game pricing is too expensive the users will rally, then just lower and they will think you listened to them and they will be happy.”

Min Kim explained that gaming marketplace is currently still early in its evolution:

“We are at the Atari of Social Games. Three years from now it may be tough to break into the marketplace.”

While Woody Levin explained the difficulties in breaking into the market today:

“Good indie social game developers are getting gobbled up so it is in some ways stifling innovation.”

Jeff Russakow of Yahoo

Jeff Russakow of Yahoo!

Pre-Lunch Keynote – Yahoo’s Customer Advocacy EVP Jeff Russakow spoke about online advertising. He noted that the monetization models are diversifying as online advertising is accelerating. Russakow pointed out that online ad spend is growing rapidly and that the barriers to online ads are breaking down as a result of a decline is marketing conservatism, an increase in online expertise, an abundance of ad formats, and a better understanding of ROI models. Russakow noted these evolving trends and emphasized that now advertising is no longer about the reach, but rather the conversations. The public wants the customization and Yahoo, in addition to other media companies, can address the community’s desires.

“People don’t mind ads if they are great ads.”

Digital Marketing In An Online World – Speakers: Daniel Honigman, Social Media Manager of Sears Home Electronics, Jim Meyer, CEO and Co-Founder of Mindset Media, Mike Samson, Founder of crowdSPRING, and Sean Rad, Founder and CEO of

Mike Samson speaks to the Panel at Kellogg

Digital Marketing in an Online World Panel at Kellogg Tech Conference

This panel addressed the fact that social media is exposing consumer information that wasn’t available before. The brilliance of social media is that it has selective communities for which to reach out to. Advertising has always been based on a guess of what people want, and now the leap of faith that the advertisers are taking can be segmented so that it’s less risky. Because of the transparency of social media, customers can be involved. Further, one needs to remember that while the technology is optimizing the distribution, the actual content will define the level of success.

Mike Samson of crowdSPRING Hand Signals at Kellogg Tech Conf

Mike Samson of crowdSPRING at Kellogg Tech Conf

Danny Sullivan Explains Real-Time Search

Danny Sullivan explains real-time search

Real-Time Search: Tech Mainstay or Next to Fade Away? – Speakers: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land, Dylan Casey, Search Product Manager at Google, Simon Heseltine, Senior Marketing Manager at AOL, Tobias Peggs, President of OneRiot and Stefan Weitz, Director of Search at Microsoft.

This panel address the ever changing real-time search landscape taking a look at all the various real-time search products. They also took a look at how these real-time search products could be used to promote content. They even hit the chalkboard to map out the current landscape. Search guru Danny Sullivan kept the panel conversation forging ahead as each panelist shared their own unique real-time search perspective.

Tobias Peggs of OneRiot

Tobias Peggs of OneRiot

Focused on monetization Tobias Peggs from OneRiot shared their strategy to offer real-time recommendations as advertisements in a similar fashion to what the blog search Surphace (formerly Sphere) delivers to publishers across the Web.

Danny Sullivan, Simon Heseltine and Dylan Casey on Real-Time Search Panel

Danny Sullivan, Simon Heseltine and Dylan Casey on real-time search panel

Editor’s Note: TECH cocktail was a media partner to the 2010 Kellogg Technology Conference. This article, including the photos, was a collaborative effort between Frank Gruber and Samantha Strauss as they both attended the conference and covered different sessions.

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Samantha has been a long time contributor to Tech Cocktail, and runs SLS Consulting, a marketing and partnerships practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow Samantha at @sfsam22.

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