Steve Wozniak, Apple Computers and Chief Scientist Fusion-io Co-Founder 'Woz', and Alex Amyotov, Founder and CEO of Lookatme.ru, iVillage and FurFur are to open the first plenary session with a moderated Q&A, addressing the topics of entrepreneurship, the future of the Russian technology & media industry, and collaboration between East and West at the first ever international tech and media conference dedicated to Russia
BOSTON, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEA Media announced today that the legendary Wozniak are scheduled to give a roughly one hour Q&A session with the audience, during which he will be joined by Amyotov, a founding member of Russia's leading social and media Web sites, and cultivator of a brand new project dedicated to entrepreneurship in the country. According to Matthew Goldstein, co-founder and principal of IDEA Consulting Inc.: "The presence of Wozniak and Amyotov reflect the essence of the conference, which is set to bring together innovators and investors across borders, barriers, generations, and genres. Both Wozniak and Amyotov are brilliant and extremely successful successful at making a lot of something out of nothing, and changing societies and markets in the process, and it's an accolade to have them join us."
Wozniak and Amyotov, both die-hard entrepreneurs, expressed their excitement in being included in the conference, and affirmed their belief in its broader significance, during telephone calls with IDEA. Both will be releasing individual statements in the coming week.
A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years, Steve Wozniak has helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple's first line of products the Apple I and II and influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry.
Wozniak currently serves as Chief Scientist for Fusion-io and is a published author with the release of his New York Times best-selling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon, in September 2006 by Norton Publishing. His television appearances include reality shows Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, ABC's Dancing with the Stars and The Big Bang Theory.
Amyotov is part of the infamous indie trio, including also Vasily Esmanov and Ekaterina Basilievskaya, who will also be speaking on the conference on the importance of design in online branding and marketing, that launched the unexpectedly popular lookatme.ru, along with iVillage, FurFur.ru, a site geared specifically towards men, an especially unique new music label, and a soon to come project dedicated to entrepreneurship. Although Amyotov holds the title of CEO, according to him, the group operates in tandem and collaborates in an egalitarian fashion on all projects.
"Look At Me was a successful street-style and party reports blog at the time and Vasily thought he could develop a social media site based on that," said Alexey Amyotov, Esmanov's partner and now Look At Me's CEO. "He knew almost every creative person in Moscow and he wanted them to contribute to the site and have their own social network."
With this ambition in mind, Esmanov and Amyotov soon discovered the third member of their team, Basilievskaya, former Publicis Groupe Media Russia employee and now Look At Me's Chief Commercial Officer — and the three, at the time all under the age of 25, started to develop Look At Me as a social media business.
"We understood that to deliver we needed to hire designers and developers, but we had no money," said Amyotov. "We approached a small, very cool and creative web-studio called Nimbler and offered them a share in the future project in return for their skills," he continued. "Then each of us added 5,000 euros of our personal funds to pay initial salaries and buy office equipment — and that's how we basically got started."
Look At Me has also managed to turn a healthy profit. While the site runs standard banner advertising, most of their revenue comes from special advertising projects. The first such project was with Volvo, back in 2008. "We didn't have much traffic back then and we understood that we needed to offer advertisers something highly creative and expensive," said Amyotov. "We decided that, in terms of advertising sales, we should position ourselves as a magazine rather than a website where you pay for clicks," he continued. "We practically started selling image advertising, just like magazines did. It was unusual for digital advertising, but after the first project came out, everyone started to talk about it."
"We do advertising for the brands, which have interestingly included Apple, that value their image. We don't generate traffic," said Amyotov. "What we sell is contact with a unique audience." Indeed, these bespoke advertising projects were so successful, sometimes winning digital advertising awards, that Nimbler stopped working for external clients and merged with Look At Me, becoming its "Special Projects Department."
The site also offers brands a variety of content opportunities. "A brand can sponsor a 'flow' dedicated to some potentially interesting topics," said Katya Basilievskaya. "The only thing that a flow can't be about is the brand itself — the subject is usually connected to something that the brand would like to be associated with," she continued. "For example, Beefeater sponsors reports from London Fashion Week. We also can create branded content — flows with content that is specially tailored for brands and based on crucial brand territories. For instance, Pantene Nature Fusion has a popular flow about eco-inspired design and fashion, while Volkswagen Polo sponsors stories on European city life, written by European city natives or insiders."
But sponsored flows (and banner campaigns) are available only to brands who understand and accept Look At Me's clear "no editorial support" policy. There are other restrictions: no politics or religion, no medicine, no plastic surgery, no gambling, and for cigarettes, no direct advertising. "We never accepted those categories of clients even when we were in desperate need of money," said Basilievskaya. "The audience that we have grown is sensible and we don't want them to see anything tasteless on our website, and that goes for bad ads and obtrusive 'editorial support' too."
"We never pursued money for money," said Amyotov. "If we did, we would think of something else to do — there are a lot of ways to make fast money in Russia. They are just not as exciting."
The EuraMedia Summit, to take place at Boston's luxurious waterfront Seaport Hotel and World Trade Pavilion between June 13-16, 2012, is dedicated to capitalizing on Russia's current tech and media boom, one that is only gaining strength according to companies such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, in order to give broader public access to US investors and businesses seeking access to these markets, as well as providing Russian companies with the ability to promote themselves and expand internationally. The show will include a creative agenda that features sessions on IT, new media, social media, a trade show on media buying and selling across markets, and 'how to'' market entry sessions. The show will also feature a co-branded trade expo, Biopharmology, dedicated to the fields of nano, solar, and biotechnology.
Networking-style events will include a very exclusive VIP awards show, hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and featuring a plethora of A-list Russian and US musical acts who have contributed to breaking borders in the market and a tribute to the leaders and icons, otherwise referred to as the 'New Elite", of Russia. There will also be an eFashion and eLifestyle after-party featuring the hottest new online designers, as well as travel and luxury gurus, Djed by Russia's DJ Feel, among others, and a interactive gaming cruise, featuring a celebrity poker tournament as well as installments of the latest e-gaming installations and newest digital games on the market. Learn more at: http://www.euramedia.com.
Wozniak is represented by New Leaf Speakers and can be reached via VP Seamus Collins at 802-448-2481 or via email at [email protected].
Amyotov can be reached via Lookatme,ru publicity department at 7 (495) 697-44-68 or through the Web [email protected].
For questions about inclusion in EuraMedia, please visit its site at www.euramedia.com or refer to its publicist in your area: