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Free Ride by Robert Levine
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Justin.tv, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, moral panic, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
“This could become a bigger issue as technology advances and a better viewing environment emerges, which is what we’re going to see with widgets on TV and more robust Internet connectivity to big screens,” Durso says. “So we’re working to confront it aggressively.” Justin.tv has taken significant steps to cooperate with media companies, including creating a system that lets some antipiracy executives access the site to remove infringing content immediately. But other live-streaming sites use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to justify not doing anything to discourage piracy; that means sports leagues need to monitor them in real time—an expensive prospect. Streams can also be found on scores of foreign sites that aren’t subject to U.S. law. And they’re getting easier to find all the time: one of Boxee’s more popular apps is the one for Justin.tv. When Boxee introduced the beta version of its software in December 2009, there wasn’t much like it on the market.
(Viacom’s suit is over YouTube’s actions prior to early 2008.) But what about other companies? Scribd, a site that lets users post documents the way YouTube lets them display videos, can be used to make public information easily available, but it draws considerable traffic for hosting an array of pirated books. Pirated television shows and sports events are a major draw for live-streaming sites like Justin.tv and Ustream, which allow users to stream live video the way YouTube lets them upload short clips. All of these sites have plenty of legitimate uses, but the fact that almost all of them try to strike distribution deals with entertainment companies suggests they need professional content to build a viable business. Since they essentially have the content already—and, depending on the outcome of Viacom’s lawsuit, little incentive to remove it—they can negotiate at a substantial advantage.
Some of the answers were revealing: “Need my live sports!” “I cant live without fox sports [sic],” “If all sports were available online, we absolutely would get rid of satellite.” An ESPN analysis of Nielsen data found zero cord cutting among heavy and medium viewers of sports.23 Unfortunately for the television business, live events can now be pirated as well. For the past few years, sites like Justin.tv and Ustream have been streaming sports games as they happen. Technology-savvy viewers run television signals into their computers, then upload them as live streams to sites that let anyone watch them. From a technical standpoint, these sites work like the live video-chat program Chatroulette, except the video is coming from a television broadcast instead of a Webcam. Like YouTube, these sites don’t make any video available themselves; they just let viewers upload footage of anything they want.
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar
Every Friday that spring, Gebbia and Chesky brought mock-ups of the new design to Michael Seibel at Justin.tv. Seibel and his Justin.tv co-founder, Justin Kan, observed their progress, identified problems, and sent them away to make improvements (the early payment mechanism, they recalled, was a particular mess). Seibel and Kan weren’t paid for this and received no equity in the fledgling startup. It was simply how things worked in Silicon Valley’s cliquish network of founders. “On the East Coast you give money to charity,” Seibel says. “On the West Coast in the startup world, if you want to give back, you help young founders. This is a game where karma matters.” By spending time at Justin.tv, the Airbnb founders got to see what a real tech startup looked like, one with real offices, real employees, and actual venture capital in the bank. (Justin.tv later spun off a video-game service, Twitch.tv, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million.)
Among the throngs that gathered to brave the mid-Atlantic-winter chill, two groups of young entrepreneurs from San Francisco were on the verge of not just watching history but making it. The three founders of a little-known website called Airbedandbreakfast.com decided to attend at the last minute. Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk convinced a friend, Michael Seibel, the CEO of the streaming-video site Justin.tv, to go with them. They were all in their midtwenties and had no tickets to the festivities, or winter clothes, or even a firm grasp of the week’s schedule. But they thought they saw an opportunity. Their company had limped along for over a year with little to show for it. Now, the eyes of the world would be on the nation’s capital and they wanted to take advantage. They found a cheap crash pad in DC, an apartment in a drafty three-floor house near Howard University that, like so many other homes during that desperate time, was in foreclosure.
Along the way, Chesky thanked Tiendung Le for being “open-minded” and agreeing to try the apartment-sharing website. Tiendung Le was surprised by that and recalled it years later. “I was not aware of the fact that I was open-minded. We were students in Austin. We tended to be open to new things.” The next day Chesky left the apartment and decided to stay in Austin to meet one of Gebbia’s former roommates, a man who worked for the video website Justin.tv and had a room at the Hilton. Somehow, there was a miscommunication—Chesky couldn’t find him, and late at night he ended up preparing to sleep in the hotel lobby. But the friend and his colleague, a well-connected entrepreneur named Michael Seibel, finally found him and invited him up to their swank hotel suite. It was there, recovering after his brush with a night of inadvertent homelessness and somehow undeterred by his failure to drum up new business at the conference, that Chesky saw his luck finally start to change.
The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Y Combinator, yield management
Additionally, after the event was over, they heard from a few potential customers who said they were traveling to other places, but not for a conference. Was it still possible to use AirBed & Breakfast? The founders said no. The Godfounder At South by Southwest, Chesky and Gebbia also made a key connection. Their third roommate at Rausch Street, Phil Reyneri, was an employee at a start-up called Justin.tv, and he, too, was there in Austin along with his CEO, a twenty-five-year-old entrepreneur named Michael Seibel. Chesky had decided to stay an extra night, and Seibel let him crash in his hotel room. Chesky told Seibel about their idea, and he liked it. “I was, like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense,’” Seibel recalls. He had used Couchsurfing.com, and while he didn’t foresee AirBed & Breakfast’s becoming a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut upon hearing the idea, he didn’t think it was out of left field either; they were, after all, themselves crammed into a small hotel room during a conference.
He had used Couchsurfing.com, and while he didn’t foresee AirBed & Breakfast’s becoming a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut upon hearing the idea, he didn’t think it was out of left field either; they were, after all, themselves crammed into a small hotel room during a conference. “We were sitting in the home of the problem,” Seibel says. Seibel is now an established entrepreneurial adviser with two major successes under his belt: he and his cofounders sold Twitch (which is what Justin.tv eventually became) to Amazon for $970 million and Socialcam, a video app, to Autodesk for $60 million. But back then he was twenty-five, had only recently become a first-time CEO, and didn’t have much experience. “I wasn’t someone people pitched,” he says. Chesky and Gebbia were the first founders who had ever asked him for advice. But he had just gone through Y Combinator, the prestigious start-up accelerator program cofounded by the entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Graham (Seibel is now CEO of the Y Combinator program).
Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian
Airbnb, barriers to entry, carbon-based life, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Hans Rosling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Occupy movement, Paul Graham, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software is eating the world, Startup school, Tony Hsieh, unpaid internship, Y Combinator
Our friends from the Y Combinator summer class of 2005, Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, sold their company, Kiko.com, for $258,100 (on eBay, of all places) when Google launched their web-based calendar. The Google calendar’s integration was so tight with Gmail that the writing was on the wall for Kiko. The Kiko team, ever the intrepid founders, used the sale as an opportunity to pivot. They repaid their investors and dove into Justin.tv, which is now the world’s leading live streaming video company. In the early stages, surrounding yourself with the right people is infinitely more important than having a good idea. Your relationship with your co-founder(s) is what’s more likely to make or break your company than your idea itself.2 Picking a co-founder is actually quite a bit like marriage, only there’s no sex—though from what I’ve learned from married couples, that’s actually just like marriage.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston
8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Larry Wall, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator
He wound up winning on Saturday and he took the red-eye to Boston that night and arrived for his interview—just him—on Sunday. We met with him for 25 minutes or so and I remember thinking in the first 5 minutes, “This guy is amazing.” All of us were just blown away by Sam. His poise and intelligence, and just the way he was. We knew that there was something special about him. We also had Justin Kan and Emmett Shear of Justin.tv. We originally funded them to make an online calendar called Kiko. They built it that summer and got a little bit of angel funding, but Google Calendar came out soon after and crushed them. So they came to us later on and said, “I think we’re gonna move on from Kiko,” and they started talking to Paul and Robert about new ideas. I remember I walked in and Paul said, “Hey, Jessica, listen to their new idea.