A start-up expires … Figuring out what’s next

By Steve Outing

I’ve always been a believer in transparency when it comes to journalism and to doing business. So I’m going to be open and transparent about what’s going on with me.

This week, we (my business partner, our board and me) decided to close my start-up company, the Enthusiast Group, at the end of November.

We tried to pioneer using a combination of grassroots media (aka, consumer generated content) and social networking as applied to niche sports, creating narrow communities of enthusiasts who we believed wanted a place to connect with each other. The idea worked to the extent of creating that at a nice level of activity on a couple of sites (less so on some of the newer ones), and we have lots of users who love what we do and are deeply loyal to the sites. Alas, we couldn’t grow them fast enough to turn into sustainable businesses before we ran out of money.

(We did also develop a new business model as social media platform provider, but when revenues from that grew too slowly as well — well, 2 strikes and you’re out in this game.)

I don’t think our initial concept is unworkable. Rather, I think that if a media (or brand) company with a sizable targeted audience of enthusiasts takes over our sites and uses them to complement their legacy business, they’ll succeed where we as a small start-up failed.

So if you know of a company that would be a good fit to acquire any of the sites — www.yourclimbing.com, www.yourmtb.com, www.yourrunning.com, www.yourcycling.com and www.yourhorsesports.com — I’d appreciate a referral.

On a personal note, this means a transition for me. I’m looking for the next cool thing to get involved in.

I’m pretty excited about what’s going on in the media business these days, so although I’m definitely bummed about the Enthusiast Group expiring, I’m looking forward to the next thing. I’m just not sure what that is yet.

Also, the Enthusiast Group experience has taught me a lot about social media/grassroots media. (I used to call it “citizen journalism” but stopped using that term.) As I get the time, I’ll be writing about that. I think I have some things to share that will benefit others playing in the social media space.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!