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Mindshare L.A Case Analysis

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Madeline Larson

ENT 5902

Professor Tom Lumpkin

25 March, 2019

Mindshare L.A Case Analysis

        As Los Angeles’s indie culture and technology industry continue to boom, Douglass Campbell seemed to have a million-dollar idea. Combining interactive learning with a party atmosphere created a unique environment for the “counter-culture” to mix learning and fun. But why did this revamped TED talk experience that saw overnight national popularity barely create enough revenue to stay afloat? Douglass Campbell, a passionate creator who seems to hold the dominant-relevant skills necessary to launch an organization of events, seems to be the perfect man for the job. He combines his experience in the market working for TED talks with his contrasting background of European boarding school and attending a Liberal Arts university with his high energy and creative nature to create an experience so new that it started to grow too fast for its own good. Mindshare L.A. might be the idea of the century, but it does not have the business structure or the capital needed to grow into a successful businesses. And at the root of these two issues is the lack of planning at the genesis of Mindshare L.A. and Campbell’s loss of focus on growing revenue. 

        Without the structure and legitimacy of Mindshare L.A that should have been addressed during opportunity recognition, Campbell’s business venture was never going to create the revenue needed to stay afloat. During the opportunity discovery phase Campbell’s unique experiences at boarding school and a liberal university would lead one to believe he possesses the special set of skills and background to start mindshare. He possesses the creative character needed to launch a series of events that has diverse topics meant for people outside the social norm. And Campbell and Adam Medford’s inspiration of the Ted Talks led them to capitalize on their passion for learning and diversity of ideas, leading to the incubation and insight step of opportunity discovery. But the lack of steps made in the opportunity formation stage is where the major holes lie in Campbell’s business plan. This formation process is meant to evaluate the business venture for feasibility and operations and logistics planning. All things that were lightly done if at all in the formation of Mindshare L.A. The Evaluation step should have been used to decide if the concept was workable and if Douglass Campbell is the right man to achieve and grow this opportunity into a viable business. 

It is safe to say that the Mindshare L.A opportunity was attractive in the marketplace and there was definitely the demand and popularity needed to grow the business venture. It was also an achievable opportunity- with the right business plan set in place Mindshare had more than ample opportunity to flourish. Campbell was set on developing a mission statement and that this statement would be the most important part of the planning process. And while keeping authenticity is important, without the operations and logistics planning there will never be a business at all. Mindshare L.A. did not have enough capital to build the business that Campbell wanted, and from its first event Mindshare relied solely on operating revenue to stay alive. Future opportunities and growth were two major components never talked about in the formation of Mindshare- Campbell and Mefford should have discussed things like what was going to happen when the audience got too big for the venue, instead of waiting until it happened to deal with the problem. Furthermore, instead of making decisions about raising capital and laying out possible financial situations before they happened, Campbell lead a whack-a-mole type business that dealt with issues only as they came about. This kind of business structure might keep the company alive from week to week, but will never keep Mindshare profitable for enough time to yield the profit it needs in the long run. 

        The second major anchor that kept Mindshare L.A. from reaching its true potential was Douglass Campbell himself. Once mindshare grew too big without the proper planning, Campbell failed to run the business like an executive and was close-minded in facing the financial and operational realities of growing a business. Although he possessed the creative qualities needed to be an entrepreneur, he was too focused on keeping authenticity and losing legitimacy to realize that if he did not focus on operating revenues the business will never grow. Campbell thought like small business entrepreneur, only thinking about the creative aspect of the company. On multiple occasions, Campbell acknowledged the fact that mindshare needed structure and capital- but at every opportunity made an excuse. He lost multiple business partners that did hold the entrepreneurial and business capabilities to launch Mindshare because he refused to compromise or make changes for the good of the business. Even after the bust that was Mindshare 50 and being shot down by multiple corporate sponsors, every solution that was given to him Campbell had too many boxes to check and put too many limitations on change. Campbell claimed he had accepted the fact that revenues needed to grow, but at what cost?



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