Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Otessa Ghadar, Founder and Director at DC Web Fest:
What does your company do?
Founded in 2013, the DC Web Fest is at the forefront of emerging art and technology, with a focus on policy and IP implications. We serve to entertain, educate and promote the rise of new media by highlighting the best of the indie spirit in all forms of digital content. Through ground breaking web series, virtual reality experiences, podcasts, apps, and video games, we believe storytelling should be celebrated in all its ever changing forms. Located in Washington, DC and now in our sixth year, we continue to draw an international audience, adding to the diversity of voices in the new media landscape.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I'm the Founder and Director of the DC Web Fest and of 20/20 Productions. As a digital storyteller I use writing, filmmaking, photography, and technology to share narratives and build communities. I would say apart from overseeing the festival and production company, my favorite role is connecting with people. My work is intersectional and nuanced, and the messages from people who have connected with my work and felt less alone are deeply meaningful. (Sadly, like others, I have also received death threats from extremists, but the positive connections are the ones that truly resonate and make the internet a safe space). Closing the empathy gap is key to me, whether as a creator or professor. I also enjoy building an emerging global coalition with other web festivals. This passion and belief gives me the confidence to deliver keynotes, and my time as a Google Next Gen Policy Leader infuses my work with consideration for how we will impact the future.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
2017 was an incredible year for new media and for DC Web Fest. We have seen the mass adoption of digital storytelling across the world as people tuned into more web series, pod casts and spent more hours in games then ever before and they do so directly from their laptops and mobile devices. However we see changes to FCC regulations that protect a free and open internet as a major threat to this new way of life. At the same time we are seeing some of the biggest media mergers such as Disney and 20th Century Fox in what could become a creative monopoly that has lasting impact.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
To be even more fearless. At the time, I knew soon we'd be consuming media in a brand new way, yet I was affected by professors and peers who were skeptical about leaving behind the traditional approach to filmmaking. If I could talk to my younger self, I'd instill fearlessness simply by describing the media landscape as it is today. I would say that amazing storytellers reach audiences in the tens of millions without relying on broadcast, that those storytellers are more diverse than they have ever been before, that there is an explosion of female entrepreneurs who support each other and collaborate freely, and that there are social media movements such as the #MeToo campaign that will completely change the landscape of sexual harassment in an industry once considered too entrenched in old ways to evolve. I would say that it is the greatest time to be a storyteller.