The business strategy of the international investment holding SDVentures is based on the social discovery idea of creating and developing various social networks. Those are not only dating sites but also diverse online services providing people the possibility to communicate with each other. So how does social networks perform and why they are so appealing to business?
The inborn human interest to communicate is the essence of the notion social network; probably many of us haven’t even thought about that. The term was introduced by James Barnes a sociologist from the Manchester school in 1954 meaning interaction and communication among people already at the time when people didn’t used words to express themselves. Campfires could be considered the first social networks as they served as a signal of danger. Later on messenger pidgeons, letters, telegraphs and telephones were used for such purpose but in the 80s when the internet started, 15 years later appeared the first social network, a website Classmates.com still busy joining 40 million users in the USA and Canada.
Social networks, messengers, multimedia data exchange services – the whole social media industry were estimated at 25 billion dollars in 2015 and its total number of visitors are 1,8 billion. Those are the people who spend very much time online every day, maybe even more than in real life. Is a bad or a good thing? It seems that replacing real life communication with the virtual one leads to a very superficial relationship. They are more fragile and countless besides often turn out to be very shallow. Though it is very unlikely that virtual communication would replace the real one because social life in the internet can be a very good extra to the real life communication. Using social networks you can easily find old friends and make new ones, meet people with similar interests and business partners. Dating online seems to be easier and not so confusing as in the real life but it helps overcome only the first shyness, later people still have meet each other in real life.
“DMITRY VOLKOV WANTS TO PLACE THE LATVIAN ARTISTS’ MADE INSTALLATION TALK TO ME ALSO IN OTHER COMPANY OFFICES”
Social networks allow not only to follow other peoples’ lives – see their files, watch other users’ videos and photos, post comments and share news but you can also create your own avatar, a whole new profile. Very often a person’s virtual avatar is much more positive than his real life. In the virtual life you look more happier and popular with bigger opportunities. A person carries out part of the expectations he hasn’t fulfilled in the real life. But one must be careful with that. If the virtual life radically differs from the real one then maintaining this false profile takes a lot of effort. In this case, instruments that help bring the person to reality are necessary. One of those is art.
On November 4 in Riga, at the SDVentures business opening an exhibition Superconduction took place where the representatives of the company demonstrated a way to combine social discovery and art. One of such displays was work of art Talk To Me made by a group of Latvian artists. The main object of the installation was a plant and it was possible to talk with it. A person writes a phrase on the computer and the information being transmitted to the lemon-tree. During the time installation was exhibited, it received thousands of messages. All the messages addressed to the lemon-tree were positive and very honest. A conversation with a plant – a genuine conversation to yourself. It proved that a person tired of maintaining a false virtual personality in the conversation with the silent plant finds a deep soulful peace. Surprisingly, but for many it may be a moment to meet his or her true self.
“Social networks and technologies we work with provide a lot of benefits. They join people all around the world. And the installation with the plant is, in a way, a remedy against the overall tendency to make your ego bigger every day. I want to place this installation also in other our offices all over the world,” says SDVentures cofounder Dmitry Volkov.
Business opportunities in social networks
Social environments offer huge business opportunities. It is the place where an entrepreneur can create products at once suitable for several markets. It is like a platform with numerous users ready not only to use services and products but also together with businesses create them. And for that reason it is the most perspective field, therefore, SDVentures decided to focus on social discovery.
Social discovery services can be subdivided into various segments – social media, P2P commerce and online services like dating, gaming and assistance for travellers. Best example projects that are realized in the field of social discovery are eBay, Airbnb, Uber, TripAdvisor, Lending-Club, Tinder, Dating.Com and others. Today social discovery world market value is estimated at 100 billion euros and according to the forecasts all the segments in the field are expected to grow considerably and increase in turnover within the next ten years.
When speaking about trends, as one of the main ones which boosted the development of the field, is mentioned content consumption via mobile devices. 60% of time a person is spending in social media, he is using smartphone or tablet. Also users’ increased interest in video content must be noted as 92% people share videos watched in social networks and among search engines Youtube ranks in second place.
Social discovery market is very competitive, financial investments success in these services mainly depend on the business model efficiency and its implementation quality.