It's that time of year again, time for the Allen & Co's annual media industry confab in Sun Valley, Idaho. Occasionally described as a "summer camp for billionaires," the Herb Allen-hosted event is expected to atrract more than 250 media chiefs, tech moguls, financiers, Hollywood agents, and politicians, as well as the odd sports star or two. (LeBron James will be putting in an appearance this year.) Mostly, however, it will be populated by the sort of people who make it a point to show up every year, people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Barry Diller, Sumner Redstone, and Rupert Murdoch, all of whom will undoubtedly be photographed over the coming days taking part in one of the many leisure activities arranged for attendees, like rafting, yoga, chess, bridge (a particular fave of Buffett and Gates), and biking (see Diller, left).
Gazillionaire Netscape founder Jim Clark is getting married for a fourth time — and the bride wore very little. Her name is Kristy Hinze, an Australian swimsuit model who has been dating Clark for some time. Hinze is 28, Clark is 64.Hinze, the host of Project Runway Australia, was first spotted on Clark's $100 million megayacht, the Athena, two years ago, while Clark was wrapping up a $125 million divorce settlement with ex-wife Nancy Rutter, a former Forbes reporter, PEHub notes. Small world: Hinze will be YouTube founder Chad Hurley's stepmother-in-law. He's married to Clark's daughter Kathy.
Queen visits YouTube! No, we're not talking about Ben Ling's new assignment at Google. Her Royal Highness visited Google's London offices, where she was met by YouTube founder Chad Hurley for this staged photo opportunity. Does she broadcast herself on the video site? Well, no, the Queen has people to do that for her, on her own Royal Channel. Can you suggest a better caption for the photo? Suggest it in the headlines. The best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: "Does this turtelneck make me look thin?" by ThatKid. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AP)
The dirty secret of YouTube's Chad Hurley: Despite selling an online-video startup whose slogan is "Broadcast Yourself" to Google for $1.65 billion, he's still desperately uncomfortable in front of a camera. Google PR's media training has only turned the millionaire's awkward mannerisms into a hilariously stiff folksiness: "Having the opportunity to sit down with some press, communicate to them the deals we've been working on, meet with partners." Is he consciously imitating our tongue-tied president? Or rather, Will Ferrell's Saturday Night Live version of Dubya? No: I think he's just doing a bad impression of Chad Hurley.
CEO Eric Schmidt botched Google's $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube. Under his misguided traffic-first strategy, the online-video site has seen off would-be rivals, but failed to grow a business. When he decided, rather late, to make revenue a priority, he wasted time looking for a magical new ad format. (The one result of this effort, YouTube's InVideo ads, which are overlaid over a video as it plays, seems to be a complete failure.) Now, YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley admits there is no "silver bullet." YouTube has abandoned one of its shibboleths — that viewers are turned off by "preroll" ads which play before a clip — and is experimenting with a number of moneymaking schemes.There's more than a hint of desperation around YouTube's scramble. And that's as it should be. Google, in its early days, scrambled around for a business model; at one point, it thought it might do enterprise software, which is how it ended up with Schmidt, a former computer scientist, as a CEO. Mistakes happen. And that's the point: YouTube needs to make mistakes, lots of them, fast. Google's advertising business is, for now, gushing cash, giving YouTube some room to maneuver. But shareholders are not infinitely patient. The more ways YouTube tries to make money, the better the odds it will happen on something that works. It needs to carefully measure what's working, and tweak its efforts. This kind of mind-numbing lather-rinse-repeat gruntwork is actually something Google is good at; feed its engineers data, and they'll come up with an algorithm for success. What Google can't afford to do is waste time chasing some impossibly elegant solution which springs, full-grown, like Minerva from the skull of Google god-king Eric Schmidt.
If capitalism is supposed to reward great ideas, then how come it's often hard to believe some of these entrepreneurs ever became as successful as they did? After YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley suggested text will be replaced by video in ten years, the only explanation there could possibly be is luck, according to a lovably grumpy rant by FaceMelter:
"In ten years, we believe that online video broadcasting will be the most ubiquitous and accessible form of communication." It's on the Official Google Blog, so take YouTube founder Chad Hurley's claim as a company statement. I envy Google's ability to have it both ways on just about any topic.Hurley claims his own site's "exponential growth" means video is becoming the dominant means of communication — not just for news and entertainment, but for everyday communication between individual people. He ignores the real-world evidence that people vastly prefer text-based communications — email, IM, phone texting — rather than the video tools built into nearly all new computers and most phones. Because he's rich and works for Google, Hurley's claim will be widely quoted today, and conveniently forgotten in ten years. Here's what no one will ask him: Chad, why did you post your world-is-changing claim in text, instead of uploading a video? (Photo by AP/Danny Moloshok)
Nonsense. How typically self-important of Internet users, to think that Viacom cares about the dozens of South Park videos they watched. Viacom is not being disingenuous in saying it never meant to violate Internet users' privacy, I've come to believe.
On the heels of extending the time and size limit for uploaded videos from partners, YouTube has announced that as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival tomorrow it will be launching the "Screening Room," a place for independent filmmakers to upload and sell shorts and feature-length material. The site will allow direct sales of both digital downloads and DVDs. I asked viral video producer Tim Street, best known for French Maid TV, if there were further details, but he says that while YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley is also at the Henry Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, he's yet to take the stage. Update: Hurley's pressing the flesh, but otherwise providing no details, while the party has moved upstairs to look down on the rest of Hollywood from above.
Mike Homer, the former Netscape executive suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, has inspired a YouTube channel for the "Defeat Dementia" campaign, an effort to educate the public about neurodegenerative diseases. Angel investor Ron Conway, Google advisor Bill Campbell, and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley organized the collaboration between the online-video site and UCSF, where Homer is being treated. [AllThingsD]
Max Levchin, the cofounder of PayPal and the CEO of Slide, measures nearly everything, down to the optimum price to pay for an engagement ring. If he needs a metric for self-importance, Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, Sarah Lacy's new book about Web 2.0, provides one. He occupies 78 out of 294 pages, more than anyone else. Here are the index pages for "F" through "M":
His patron saints are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. He wears Robert Marc spectacles his publicist picked out for him, and last summer, when he rented a Villa next to Jade Jagger's, Nicole Richie called him a "dork loser." He's the "Nerdling" from The Official Filthy Rich Handbook by Christopher Tennant, due out in June. An excerpt, below.
Metacafe cofounders Arik Czerniak and Ofer Adler — neither involved with the company's day-to-day operations — will walk away from the company with $2.5 million each, according to TheMarker. If $5 million seems like a lot, remember that YouTube cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen each cleared $326.2 million selling out to Google and that Czerniak and Adler might have turned down a $200 million to $700 million offer from Yahoo. All of which makes it even more fun to watch the video embedded below, recorded just weeks after Google purchased YouTube, where Czerniak tries to convince Bambi Francisco that Metacafe is "the largest, most popular video site."
YouTube cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen partied in Las Vegas over weekend, taking to the VIP sections at Caesar's Palace and the Luxor, a nerdspotter tells us. At Caesar's Hurley, Chen and a crew of about 25 YouTubers — early employees, we hear — lounged around Club Pure, taking in a Pussycat Dolls show (an example in the clip below). Our tipster tells us the group partied not like rock stars, but "cool nerds." Anyone have a visual explanation of what that looks like? Send in your cameraphone spy clips of Chen & Co., or better yet, post them to YouTube.
63-year-old Netscape cofounder Jim Clark began dating 27-year-old Australian swimsuit model Kristy Hinze almost three years ago, she told Australian Women's Weekly . They kept the relationship quiet until now, a few months before she begins hosting the Australian version of Project Runway. Along with Netscape, Clark founded Silicon Graphics and Healtheon. Clark's latest venture, a condo project in Miami, was an unqualified bust. But it hasn't damaged Clark's net worth, reported to be around $1.1 billion.
Senator Clinton polls higher than Senator Obama in Santa Clara County, 43 percent to 27 percent, a Clinton campaign staffer told the Wall Street Journal. But we know what really counts in Silicon Valley: money. And when it comes to raising cash, Barack Obama's winning over the tech crowd. He raised about $500,000 just last weekend at a breakfast in Atherton. Wondering who was there? Here's a list of known Silicon Valley supporters for each candidate.