In 2004, Andrew Baron was an obscure presidential campaigner for Democrat John Edwards, working on Internet streaming video campaign spots when he began to notice a change in how users were reacting. Instead of complaining about dropped connections, stop-and-start pictures and slow downloads, they started commenting on what Edwards was saying. Baron realized -- he says now he thinks he was a little ahead of the market -- that Internet broadband adoption in the United States was finally making full-motion video a viable medium for conveying political -- and other messages.
Why not, thought Baron, start a daily, three-minute, edgy, capsule summary of undiscovered news and insight that would be streamed over the Internet? After the 2004 campaign, Rocketboom was born and a year or so later it claims over 300,000 unique daily users. The Rocketboom story has been told in several other accounts, but here is Baron's account in his own words, in an MP3 audio interview April 9, 2006 with The Media Giraffe Project which focuses on his motivation and prospects for sustainability.
The 37-minute interview is broken into two downloadable segments:
In the first, about 14 minutes, Baron talks about his evolution from Bates College undergraduate to technology worker with IBM and other firms in Texas, to the fusing of interests in technology, theater and art in Brookyn, to Democratic political worker and Rocketboom founder with now business partner, Amanda Congdon. He talks about how the duo finds and selects stories, Rocketboom as "journalism"(or not) and how the creative process functions as would a musical band:
In the second, about 23 minutes, Baron talks about the Rocketboom business opportunity and plummeting bandwith costs, th five revenue legs of advertising, sponsorship, subscription, merchandising and licensing; how mainstream media companies, shocked by changes in the music industry, are moving fast on Internet video; about who owns Rocketboom and why they don't need a business visionary to grow it; the decision to refuse venture-capital money, and details of how advertising is working: