Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Milk & Media Studios

What do Werner Herzog, the NBA, and The Dark Knight have in common? Well, besides being awesome: Milk & Media Studios!

The seeds for the film financing and production studio were planted when NBA star Elton Brand (yup, this guy) and film maker Harry Knapp worked together on a Werner Herzog movie, Rescue Dawn. If I’m to continue with this cheesy metaphor, the idea blossomed after they helped produce The Dark Knight with one another.

The two are self-professed web aficionados/addicts. Unlike many Hollywood media companies, Harry and Elton specifically aim to incorporate the web– as opposed to fighting it tooth and nail– into their business model.  As of now, they are actively looking to invest in awesome web concepts.  In fact, at one point, they even inquired about acquiring crowdSPRING.

Harry goes on to talk about breaking into the tough media business:

What made you use crowdSPRING? 

As one of the first crowdSPRING users, we were intrigued by the crowdsourcing movement and instantly wanted to support it.  In fact, we inquired with Ross about buying crowdSPRING at one point. Luckily we have enough Photoshop skills to articulate our vision and communicate with designers. However, even if you’re a total rookie, you will get plenty of great designs from crowdSPRING. It’s important to value your new venture against the award your offering.  If you’re building a million dollar company, don’t offer $500 for a logo you will be using for the next 10 years.

What are some industry specific challenges you faced?  

In the web business, one quickly learns that there are designers and there are programmers, most don’t do both well.  Designer rarely think about algorithms and programmers rarely think about pretty things.

This is especially true if you plan to code your website overseas.  Our experience has been mixed at best but one thing that seems universal is the disconnect on design. Users are interested in user experience; hire a designer who can articulate a vision and theory behind the work.

What was your biggest learning curve/experience?

What is my core concept?

Less is more.  Keep it Simple.  Do one thing well. Users don’t want to think- they want to do. If you waste your time trying to include a million features on a website rather than a core concept the concept will be antiquated before you get it done.

What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?

MySpace developer Brad Greenspan pitching us a live video platform.  We were like star struck kids in the same room as a rock star. Being rookies, it was interesting to get an inside perspective on the workings of web space. Of course, we are still chasing our first success, but we are a bit more savvy at this point.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?

– Trust our imagination and embrace the failure.

– The more time you spend trying to duplicate the success of other the less time you have to develop the big fat genius idea in your head.

– Chasing trends and formulas are a dead end road and ultimately unfulfilling. Be original.

– Live or die on your own imagination.

How do you see your company growing in the future?

Milk & Media wants to be a place great ideas come to grow.  We are working to create a super creative environment that attracts thinkers with wild imaginations. We have started to think more about concepts with a social good component so that we can utilize our relationships in the entertainment business alongside whatever media platform we are building. But most importantly, we are open-minded.  We are interested in smart people, smart ideas and smart work.

Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.  

Trust your imagination, ignore the noise.

Milk & Media’s call for a new logo received 61 entries.

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