0:25 Hey everybody! Welcome to the 1st TWiST of 2013.
2:00 How did the last Live TWiST event go at RocketSpace?
5:45 We’re going to be doing another one a week from today. Go to twistlive2.eventbrite.com to get a ticket
8:40 A big thanks to Sourcebits for sponsoring the show
9:00 Sourcebits built the Instaplayer app
13:00 Check out Instaplayer in the App Store
14:10 Ben Parr, welcome to the show
15:40 How big is the DominateFund?
16:20 Let’s also welcome James Altucher to the show?
17:00 James how is being an Angel investor compared to be an entrepreneur?
12:40 Who wins and who loses with the FTC close of the case against Google?
20:00 Do you think this will make Google behave better?
28:00 Let’s give a big thanks to @Snapterms for sponsoring the program. Visit snapterms.com and enter the coe TWiST to get a free NDA with your order
30:40 Should TechCrunch have ran the article that Apple was planning on acquiring Waze?
32:00 Ben so you think Waze is being offered 3 times its value becuase Apple needs to defend against Google Maps?
34:30 James what do you think about Apple and Waze?
35:10 Do you think Apple should be taking more risks?
39:30 Is Apple successfully attacking Apple from the inside out?
46:20 What would Steve Jobs do if he was alive right now?
50:00 How can Al Jazeera ensure the US distribution of it’s new channel?
57:30 Do you think Avis will ruin Zipcar?
62:10 Facebook is testing their free voice calling app.
65:10 Why doesn’t apple make Android based applications?
66:20 James what do you think about Canonical launching mobile versions of the Ubuntu?
71:05 Ben what do you think about Zynga’s recent shutdowns?
72:00 Should Zynga branch out of gaming?
76:30 How do you rate Sullivan’s chances of making his 12 year old subscription only?
81:50 James, what do you mean there is no future for corporate America?
84:00 How do people know what to watch, if nobody is telling them what to watch?
85:10 How eager are you to see the Steve Jobs biopic?
Distribution provided by CloudSigma. The cloud that adapts to you. Visit CloudSigma.com/This WeekIn, for a free $200 credit.
Today’s episode of ThisWeekIn Startups, is brought to you by, SourceBits. Visit Sourcebits.com. To begin your mobile app development journey.
And, by SnapTerms. Online legal protection made simple. Visit snapterms.com and enter the code TWIST to receive a free NDA with every order.
Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. It is 2013. We have our first episode, of ThisWeekIn Startups. First episode, of the year. Everybody’s favorite, James Altucher, is here. He’s a great blogger and thinker, about startups, the economy, and technology. He’s going to bring it. As, he always does, on the show. And, Ben Parr, is finally on the show. You’ve probably heard, Ben, a serial entrepreneur, now has the Dominate Fund. Another one of these angel funds, gone wild. He’s got a lot to say. He’s going to be investing in a bunch of stuff. It’s very interesting to hear, what he’s got going on. Of course, sassy Kirin Kalia, will read the news. Stick with us.
TWiST title sequence.
Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. It’s 2013. It’s time for the first episode of ThisWeekIn Startups. This is our last year of programming. Yes. Here’s a new announcement. This will be the last year, we’re doing ThisWeekIn Startups. So, enjoy it. We’ve got 100 episodes, or so, left. 2013 Big Announcement: The last year, of the show. It’s not true. I just wanted to see what everybody… I think, Kirin, was like, “Thank, God. Booking the show is, so goddamned hard.” It’s hard, to book the show, isn’t it?
Kirin: It’s hard, because, of your schedule, too, you know.
Jason: Yeah. My schedule gets busier and busier. The number of shows has increased. I just said, “We’re going to keep it to two shows, a week.” The three shows is killing me. I want to narrow it down to two shows, a week. That’s 100 episodes. That’s a lot of Calacanis, for me, frankly. Who are you people that want to hear 100 hours, of me, a year? You’re masochists. Listen, It’s been a great couple of years. I had a great break. I was in, Hawaii, for ten days. Longest vacation of my life.
Kirin: So tough, Hawaii.
Jason: Longest vacation, of my adult life, I realize. I had a couple of business trips, that were over ten days, like to Asia, and stuff like that. But, really, the ten days, it was absolutely wonderful to hang out with my family. I got a little bit of writing in. You had a nice holiday, I take it?
Kirin: I did.
Jason: Where did you go?
Kirin: I went to North Carolina.
Jason: Awesome. Awesome. Somebody else, here, went to North Carolina. I think, Dallas, from Mahalo.com/Inside, went there. Everybody, is asking, what I’m going to do with Inside.com. I will let you know, when I figure it out. Follow, @inside, for now. A couple of other housekeeping… Last month, we’re talking about how to level up the show. How to level up, everything, we’re doing. To level up, you have to focus. So, we’ve done a couple of focus things. One was, we’re not going to try to launch a million ThisWeekIn shows, anymore. We’re narrowing down. We’re just going to focus, on my show. Of course, Kevin Pollak’s doing his show, independently. Although, we’re still supporting it, still, with the studio and things, like that. But, ThisWeekIn Startups, is getting really focused. One of the things we wanted to do was… to help more and meet the fans… so, every month, we’re doing a live show. It’s another crazy, stupid idea, I came up with.
Kirin: More work.
Jason: More work. It’s a stupid idea, but, you know what? The first one went, really, well.
Kirin: It was awesome.
Jason: It was awesome. It’s more work. Another bone-headed idea, from me. It, actually, was quite wonderful, to meet the fans.
Kirin: I also, have to say. Wasn’t it, someone, who suggested this… when, you said, “I need something else, to get excited about.”… and said, “Why don’t you do live show.”
Jason: Yeah. Who was that?
Kirin: Somebody, who tweeted at you.
Jason: Oh. Somebody did? Said, “Do a live show?”
Kirin: I don’t know, who it was.
Jason: Anyway, I was getting, a little bit, bored. I feel like doing something, a little bit, more engaging. So, we did it, last time, with Jeff Clavier. He was such a great interview. I didn’t know what to expect, from Jeff. He’s a french guy. French guys are a little weird.
Kirin: He was open.
Jason: Loic and Jeff Clavier. With french guys, you never know, what you’re going to get. You know? The french are very, je ne sais quoi. You know? Like, it’s kind of hard to… anyway… know, what you’re going to get, there. Boy, did he bring it.
Kirin: He did.
Kirin: Very honest.
Jason: Informative. Educational. I learned a lot. The audience learned a lot. Boy, I’m so proud of my audience. Such, great questions. I have a very smart audience. That’s one of the things, I’m most proud of. You guys are so intelligent. Mainly, from listening to me on the show, for three years. No. You guys are super smart. It’s like a good smart group of people. I’m just shocked, at a live event, people actually formulated a question, that was intelligent, relevant, and not self-promotional.
Kirin: You were very clear, before they asked questions, that you did not want that.
Jason: This, is my favorite event question: “Hi, Marc Andreessen. You’ve had an amazing career. Let me tell you about my, incredibly, boring business idea. Then, will you please validate it, in front of everybody, so I can try to get a meeting with you, after the event?” Or, how about this one: “Hi. I’m an attorney. I’ve been in practice for 15 years. I provide the lowest, most affordable rates. I think, a lot of people need to be worried about, this regulation. I’d just like you to comment on my ability to provide legal services to startups, who are in this very audience.” I mean, it’s just like, “Kill yourself.” That’s the first, “Kill yourself,” of 2013. Don’t be that guy, in the audience, at a conference, who asks a question about yourself. If, you are at a conference, and somebody does that, roll your eyes and be like, “HHHHHhhhhh!” Or, hiss a little bit. “SSSSSsssss!” Be like, “Aaahgg!” Just, let out a little… This is what everybody should do.
Jason: That’s it. Thank you, Kirin. Everybody, at events, from now on…
Jason: When somebody…
Kirin: “What a douche!”
Jason: Just groan like, “Aaaah, douche!” It’s so douchey, to do that. My audience, not douchey at all. They asked very relevant questions. So, we’re going to do it, again, this friday. Next friday. Today is friday. A week, from today. January 11th. Go to: twistlive2.eventbrite.com. Pull up my computer. There, you go. Thank you. Who’s going to be in the fireside chat? Phil Libin. Everybody loves, Evernote. It’s going to be great. I want to thank, my friends, at RocketSpace, for putting on a good show. It was classy. You guys had, the nice tap beer. People liked that. You had the San Pellegrino sodas, with the foil wrappers. So, you know, you get a Diet Coke, like this, or Coke Zero, and you always worry that the can’s been exposed. Some cats ran across it, in the factory and pissed on it. Or, something disgusting, like that.
Kirin: That’s what you think about?
Jason: I think about that. I have OCD, about dirty… the top of cans are dirty and people put their mouths, to it. It’s like, some guy going to the bathroom. Didn’t wash after going to the bathroom. Then, puts your soda, on the thing. Puts his finger, right there. What do you think, is on his finger? It’s disgusting. Not, at RocketSpace. Right now, RocketSpace, is like, “Why did we even sponsor this?” No. They put out cheese and had the little flags, on the cheese.
Kirin: It was lovely.
Jason: It was lovely. They spent the money on the San Pellegrino sodas. I love that. I love that. I love details of excellence. So, we’ve raised the price. It’s going to be very expensive. Look at this. I’m raising prices. We charged $1, per ticket, to go see, Jeff Clavier. Phil… no offense, Jeff. I think, Phil, is going to bring it. We’ve raised the price to $2. That’s right. To $2. To go see this. There are 100 tickets. I think, most of them are gone, already. I’m not tweeting this, on purpose. I want people who watch the show, to get the first shot at the tickets. 4:00pm – 5:00pm, we hang out. We have appetizers and drinks. I’m there. I’m available. I sit there and hangout with everybody.
Kirin: You talk to a lot of people.
Jason: I talk to everybody. These are my fans. I love my fans. By the way, if you’re a fan of the show, don’t do the weird thing, like, just stare at me at an airport. Like, some guy was doing. Staring at me, for a while. Actually, it wasn’t at the airport. It was at the bar, at the hotel. He said, “I know you.” This is after he’s staring, at me, for like… You know how, you can tell, when somebody’s been staring, at you?
Kirin: Of course.
Jason: He says, “I know you. I know you.” Yeah. I go, “Are you in the internet business?” He goes, “Oh, yeah. ThisWeekIn Startups.” I was like, “Yeah.” Just, come up and say, “Hi.” Don’t be creepy. Just, come up and say, “Hi. I watch the show. I love the show.” That’s it. Or, come up and say, “The show sucks.” I don’t care. 5:00pm – 6:00pm, the fireside chat. 6:00pm – 7:00pm, we have the post-event cocktails. Then, at 7:00pm, I try to leave and go to dinner, with my team. All the stragglers come and say, “Can we go to dinner, with you?” I say, “Of course. Sure. Let’s all go to dinner.” So, we might have a straggler dinner, afterwards.
Kirin: We still have to make the last flight, back to L.A..
Jason: We made the last flight. That was good. That was like a military operation. I got home, in time to take my daughter to breakfast, the next day. Hey, Sourcebits. Thanks, a lot, for sponsoring the program. As we promised, if you have Sourcebits build your app, then you get to come on the show and show it. That’s happened, a couple of times, now. Sourcebits, is awesome. You know, they’re building the crowd funding app, that we’re going to use at, the Launch Festival, March 4th, 5th, & 6th. Go to: festival.launch.co or go to: Launch.co and click on “The Festival.” They make great, beautiful, well-designed apps, for iOS. They’re a Sequoia-backed company. They do a great job. They did a great job, for Luis Hervella. Luis, are you there?
Luis: Yes. Hello, Jason. Thank you, for having me, here.
Jason: Of course. Of course. So, tell me, you used Sourcebits to build this lovely app, Instaplayer. Which, I have here. I can pull up my iPad. I see bulldogs and all kinds of stuff, flying around in here. Look at that beautiful bulldog. What is the use case, here, for this Instaplayer, that you made?
Luis: It’s, basically, an animated Instagram wall of photos. It’s great for events, parties, anything in the service industry. You can have it on your iPhone or iPad and transfer it, to the Apple TV. Then, you tell all your guests a specific hashtag. Every single person, that takes a photo using Instagram, they will see, live, how their photo appears on the big screen TV, ant any type of event.
Jason: That’s really clever. Then, you have this InstaRemote, you can transfer your iOS device into a wireless remote. Project your photos on an Apple TV enabled screen and use InstaRemote, to customize the entire social experience. That’s your up-sell. Music is the other up-sell. So, you can buy that for 99¢. So, it like a freemium.
Luis: Yeah. It’s a freemium. You can, also, select locations. We have the FourSquare API, as well.
Jason: This, is a good idea. I can see this, in a bar or a restaurant.
Kirin: It reminds me of Color.
Jason: It is, in a way, like Color.
Kirin: The early version.
Jason: Yeah. What’s really interesting about this, if I had a bar, I would put a huge hash tag there, that said, “#jasonsplace.” Then, anybody who came, would actually see their photos coming up there. It would be a really cool…
Kirin: That would be cool. Yep.
Jason: … thing. You put it, in the front window. People see, everybody’s having a good time, getting drunk. That’s fun. This, is a very good idea. You have people using it for what? Events or for locations, Luis?
Luis: Yeah. That’s what we’re targeting for. Any type of conference, events, conference. We’ve, actually seen people, that don’t have Instagram accounts, when, they see Instaplayer on the Apple TV, they download Instagram, on the spot. They create an account, just to see their photo be printed, live. It’s a great call to action, as well.
Jason: You’re a fan, of the show? Would you describe yourself, as a super fan, of ThisWeek In Startups, or just a fan?
Luis: I’m a big fan. Actually…
Jason: I think, big’s between super and regular fan. Ok. You’re a regular fan. I can accept that, from you.
Luis: Actually, inside Instaplayer… besides Sourcebits, the terms of service that are inside Instaplayer, are done by SnapTerms, as well.
Jason: Hey. That’ s the next advertiser. This is fantastic. This is why, I love my fans. They’re so loyal. You know what? I am so loyal, to my fans. Where, are you based?
Luis: I’m in Mexico City.
Jason: Alright, Luis. Here’s what we’re going to do. You come up to the Launch Festival. I give you some space. You get a bunch of free tickets. You get yourself a projector. Kirin, will find a wall. Get this guy a wall. The hash tag will be #Launch2013. Or, just #2013?
Jason: You do this, at the event. OK?
Luis: I love the idea. Thank you, Jason.
Jason: I can’t pay for your hotel or your flight. That’s where the people try to take it a little too far. They’re like, “You’re rich. Go, get me a flight. Fly me in.” I’ve had people tell me. “I’ll give you a free ticket and a booth.” “Oh, great. You going to fly me in, too?” I’m like, “Of course. I’ll send the Inside.com private jet, to pick you up, Luis.” You’re on your own, Luis.
Jason: Your travel and your hotel, is your own business. Get on AirBnB. Get yourself a couch. Luis, you’re coming to the Launch Conference. You’re going to show this off, there. Maybe, if you have some new features, you can get on the main stage. Somebody, like Don Dodge, will come… or, Bill Lee, or somebody will anoint you, like the genius you are, with the your new features, you can get on stage.
Luis: OK. Thank you.
Jason: What do you do? Just, type in Instaplayer, on…
Luis: On the app store.
Jason: Instaplayer, everybody. Go, check out Instaplayer. Good job. Good job, Luis.
Luis: Thank you, Jason.
Jason: Do you have a favorite guest or episode?
Luis: Yeah. Chris Sacca, is my favorite.
Jason: How come everybody says that? I’m going to have to rephrase this question. “Do you have a favorite episode, after Chris Sacca?”, is the new question.
Luis: Jason Goldberg.
Jason: Ah. Of Fab. He brought it.
Kirin: He really brought it. One of my favorites.
Jason: He brought it. It was brung. Do you know who gets credit for all that? Me, for doing a brilliant interview. No. You know who gets credit for that? Kirin, for, booking amazing guests. And, Brandis, for carrying a sugar ton… God, I almost got my first curse word, of the year. I have no cash on me… a sugar ton of equipment. Man, she is like…
Kirin: She can do everything.
Jason: She’s a warrior, that Brandis. She had lights and things and carrying stuff. She gets up at 6:00am. I like her. She’s a warrior. She’s my kind of people. Alright, Luis, get on with your day. Enjoy, your weekend. I’ll see you at the event.
Luis: OK. I’ll see you, Jason.
Jason: Alright. Ben Parr. James Altucher. Where are my guys at? Ben Parr and I, have become like Path friends, now. Right, Ben?
Ben: We are Path friends. I get to see all of your fun Path posts.
Jason: It’s pretty great, to see my Path posts. Is it not? I’m a good Pather.
Ben: I’d give you a 7 and a half, out of 10. You’ve got some more work to do.
Jason: I’m going to keep working. You also, are a great one. You’re a serial entrepreneur. Some of the projects you’ve worked on, include?
Ben: I have the fund, Dominate Fund. I invest in early stage companies. I am a columnist and commentator for CNET. I’m probably best known for being the former editor of Mashable. I have a few other surprises.
Jason: Great. You’re yet, another… We should come up with a term, for this. Yet, another journalist turned angel.
Kirin: An angelpreneur.
Jason: Yet, another journalist. YAG…
James: A Jangel.
Jason: Whatever, the hell it is. A lot of folks… and famously, you left Mashable, because, you were getting paid too much money?
Ben: I wanted to do things other than write about what other people were doing.
Jason: Right. See, that’s a very diplomatic way of saying. But, the inside story was…
Ben: Exactly that.
Jason: He was getting… He was so valuable, that the founder of Mashable, paid him so much money. Everybody resented, Ben, for getting paid so much money. Is that true?
Jason: See. That’s a yes. Let’s move on. Welcome, to the program.
Ben: I’ve got nothing to say about that.
Jason: How big is the Dominate Fund. Have you closed the fund, yet? Is there a size to it? Does anybody know? What is it?
Ben: I’ll leave it at this. Very soon, there will be some announcements, regarding that. It’ll be a whole bunch, yeah.
Jason: The general solicitation rules, have changed. You can say, if you’re raising a fund, now. That changed, this summer. Anyway. So, you have a fund. You’re getting a fund, or whatever. Congratulations, on that. James Altucher, are you there?
James: Yes. Thanks, for having me on the show, again.
Jason: Wow. James. I feel like… there he is. Thanks, for combing your hair, for the show. Put a little product in. I appreciate that, James.
James: I even shaved, a little bit, before I came on.
Jason: People can’t see. I am, actually… I do this every once in a while. You see that? That’s, actually, a goatee going on there.
James: Oh. Very impressive.
Jason: It’s terrible. I do this, to annoy my wife. She hates when, I have the goatee.
Kirin: I was going to say, now I see it.
Jason: It’s very subtle. In another couple of days, it’ll be really horrific. It drives my wife crazy. James, of course, he’s a commentator. You see him on CNBC. He writes all this great stuff. TechCrunch, other places, he blogs. A serial entrepreneur, who got out of… you just don’t want to be an entrepreneur and build stuff, anymore. Right, James. Just, too painful, for you.
James: I hate it with a passion. I’ve built and sold a couple of companies. I’m invested in about 20 different companies, right now.
Jason: How horrible is it, running a company, honestly? When, you look back on it, compared to being an angel investor and commentator, compare those two things for the audience.
James: Well, you feel a kind of fear, deep down, that you’ve never felt before and you, hopefully, will never feel, again. It’s like this feeling that you could die, if the days’ events don’t work out exactly how you need them to work out. Everything needs to juggle, exactly in place, or else you die. I hate that feeling.
Jason: I agree. It’s like being… See. If, Tyler was here. Rest in peace, Tyler. I don’t know if anybody heard. Over the holiday, Tyler was killed, in a terrible accident, in Sweden. It’s terrible.
Kirin: That’s why he…
Jason: It was a terrible accident. He was at a Rave and he was dancing with 7 women. His head exploded. Rest in peace, Tyler. It’s like a Tyler Insight, here. It’s like Ben Affleck, in Argo. Trying to get out of Iran. That’s what I like about, James. He’s so honest. Entrepreneurship, you have to thread the needle perfectly everyday, or it absolutely comes apart at the seams. It is… most entrepreneurs, do not want to talk about fear, or fear of failure, or whatever. It’s constantly there. Like, I’m walking down this road. That’s a thousand foot drop, on this side. On this side, is a ten foot drop, with spikes. OK. I can either, fall to my death on this side, in a fiery death, or the spikes, to this side. Everyday, it changes. How you could die.
James: The odds are, you do fail. So you, kind of, have to keep going back at it, until, you don’t fail, by accident. Then, you succeed.
Jason: Exactly. OK. There you go, folks. This has been, ThisWeekIn Startups: A Thousand Reasons, Not To Start A Company. No. It is, absolutely, brutal but, it can be thrilling when, you don’t die. Let’s do the first story. Kirin.
Kirin: Alright. I think, our first story should be, “FTC closes it’s investigation of Google.” Google did not break any laws, in regard to its search practices. Google has said, that it will provide all websites the option to keep their content out of Google’s vertical search offerings. While, still having them appear in their general organic results. Also, Google agreed, that it would give online advertisers more flexibility to simultaneously manage ad campaigns, on Google AdWords platforms and on rival ad platforms. Also, they found some, non-competitive behavior, with regards to some of the Motorola patents. They’ve agreed to change their behavior, there. Bottom line: Google wins, MicroSoft loses. Is there anybody else, who wins or loses, in this scenario? I’m curious, if you think, Yelp, Kayak, others, who were kind of peeved about the situation, should respond?
Jason: What do you think, Ben? You’ve covered this stuff.
Ben: For Google, it’s a great result. Anytime, when the FCC doesn’t go after your ass… ohh. I used… yeah. It goes after you. It’s a good result, for them. They made a bunch of concessions. What, I think, Google learned a lot from, when MicroSoft had to deal with the anti-trust issues and made sure they did the lobbying. They spent a good amount of money lobbying, to not have themselves get sued.
Jason: Yeah. I think, it was $25M, last year, they spent on lobbying?
Kirin: That’s what was reporting. Yeah.
Ben: It’s a good amount.
Jason: That’s a big number.
Kirin: They’re also trying to befriend certain regulators and the administration. They, specifically, did not want to repeat that mistake of MicroSoft.
Jason: It does seemed like they’ve learned. James, what’s your take on it?
James: I, sort of, feel like the human race loses, with issues like this. Just, the way this is worded. “The FTC closes its investigation.” I feel like, I’m watching, Homeland. Google is, some sort of, terrorists trying to rape all their users. When, the reality is, this is capitalism. They should just shut down the FTC. Of course, Google wasn’t guilty of anything. Why would Yelp, who’s banging the drums on this, why would they even complain? They’re first on my search results, whenever, I search for restaurants. Like, this whole thing, was a complete non-event. Google had to spend $25M and waste their time. Rather than, improving their products. Fortunately, nothing happened. Which, is what I expected.
Jason: It does feel like… I have a lot of inside information, on this. I was, like, asked to get involved in the anti-Google train. Because, obviously, Mahalo, my startup, was crushed in the SEO stuff. I declined, because, number one: I don’t want my whole career being, me testifying, like sour grapes. I feel like I’m a little bit, better of an entrepreneur than, to sit there like a loser and be like, “Aww. I lost my search ranking. Waaa.” I’d rather fight through it and find another beach to surf in. I do think, Google had some bad behavior and they’re bad communicators. I think, that they’re becoming better communicators. They did do some bad things, James, like, they were scraping the content from Yelp…
Kirin: That’s why, Yelp was pissed.
Jason: …using their review system. Then, pushing Yelp down the page and putting their stuff on top. Now, that was uncouth. They did a lot of bad behavior, after Yelp wouldn’t sell to them. So, it’s particularly, vindictive. In the same way, Steve Jobs, was vindictive when he called people up and said, “I want to buy your company. If, you call anybody else and ask for a competitive offer, my offer is off the table.” Right? Like, savvy, hardcore negotiations. If, you want to be viewed as a bully, in the space… which, when you get big and you’ve won, you can start to look like… it can have very negative ramifications, on you. There, is a self-correcting processes, here. Which is, Google started to look like a bully. Between, Panda, which was unnecessarily harsh. They could have told people, that was coming. They could have not made it as brutal, to people. When, you’re scraping other people’s content, and you’ve moved them down the page, you have to be a bit magnanimous. I think, Google is starting to learn, how to do that. With great power, comes great responsibility. When, you start bullying people, then the government starts taking a look.
James: They should.
Jason: The truth is, anybody, at any point in time, can type in “Bing.” I’ve done that. Bing’s good. Bing’s a great product. In fact, Bing’s got pieces, that are better than Google. So, the market will self-correct. Go ahead, James or Ben.
James: Jason, how much do you think, Google’s changing their behavior is related to the FTC, or just, in general, they wanted to avoid this perception, of them, as a bully.
Jason: I think, that being perceived as a bully… I would say, it’s kind of equal. You don’t want to seem so heavy-handed, that when you go to a party, everybody hates you. Which, I think, is what’s happening to Zuckerberg, now. When, he copied poke… when, they released Poke, I think, people look at that and go, “That’s kind of lame.” Why would I want to work at Facebook, if they’re just going to copy other startups?
Kirin: I think, that’s a good point. You don’t know what Facebook is planning or are working on, right now.
Kirin: Who knows. There could be something, there.
Jason: This also has taken a lot of their time and been a distraction, for their stock price and their executives. So, these investigations take a big toll on senior management.
Kirin: The European Union, hasn’t come out with this.
Jason: Yeah. The European Union’s a finer filter. They might smack them down, pretty hard.
Kirin: They said, this won’t effect their decision-making process.
Jason: Of course, not. The Europeans are like, “We going to do our own thing.” Ben, you have any other thoughts?
Ben: I disagree some, with James. I think, there is a reason why the FTC, did get involved. There were things that Google did which, pushed the lines. You have to make sure that not one company goes over the top. You have to realize, Google does have a tremendous amount of power. You’re right. When, you have a great power, you have a great responsibility. There’s this, kind of, middle line that we have to make sure we tow. I’m, usually, a non-governmentalist, in general. Every once in a while, at least the threat of the fact, that the FTC can come… if, you’re doing something, truly, anti-competitive… keeps things in line. Because, you can go overboard.
Jason: I think, somebody’s gotta address this issue, as well. It’s great, for customer’s, that there’s all these free products, out there. But, there was this idea of, offering products for less cost, than, they’re actually worth, being anti-competitive.
Kirin: Like, Amazon?
Jason: Yeah. It seems to me, that Gmail is a product, that they lose money on. In order, to make money in other places. Is that anti-competitive or it that, just, savvy? I’ve always wondered about that issue.
James: That’s what I mean, Jason. There’s, too many, grey areas, here. Even, the issue of scraping. That’s a copyright issue. It’s not an FTC issue. That’s against the law, if it’s a copyright issue. Again, there’s ways to avoid the grey areas that are outside of the FTC.
Jason: I think, probably, this’ll make Google behave better. If, only because, they just don’t want to have this hanging over their head, constantly. I can’t go into complete details, but, I know that, a lot of things that they want to do, at Google, this was an overhang. They couldn’t make a lot of decisions, until this was clarified. That’s, exactly, what happened to MicroSoft. It becomes this cloud, over your company. You just want to avoid it, at all costs. It doesn’t make… I think, that they needed to do this, because, Google was starting to drift over to this, very, aggressive tactics. This, sort of, made Google realize, “We might be getting too close, to the line.” But, it probably is the right decision. I don’t know, that it should be illegal for Google… If, Google wants to change their entire search engine, eventually, to just give answers let’s say. They turn it into Quora. They say, “You know what? Organic search results, don’t work anymore. When, you search for something, we should give you, our version of a wikipedia page. Which, is what they’re doing, now. We shouldn’t send you to any website. If, you type in, Bob Dylan, we should just give you a whole bunch of Bob Dylan information. Which, was my original vision for Mahalo. They’re doing that, now.
Ben: Remember, Google tried that, with Knol. Knol was a complete failure. Just because, Google is going to do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be destroying you. Even, if it has the power of its search engine, behind it. There’s plenty of examples of Google products that, despite all the advantages that Google has, didn’t pan out.
Jason: Yeah. Comparison shopping is one that has gotten, absolutely, dinged. Cause, they’ve been pulled out of the index. Cause, no indexing, like, search results in results, was one of their positions. Just moving everything down the page, it might come to the point where, when you look at a Google search page, there’s only 2 organic results. The top 80% of the page is Google giving you content.
Kirin: Or ads.
Jason: A YouTube video, ads, local, shopping. Whatever. The first two result are like, “We failed to give you the answer, we’re going to show you two other things.” What if, they buy Quora or they build they’re own Quora and they figure it out, this time. They had Google Answers, for a while. What if they take a second stab at that. The first 3 or 4 results are their version of Quora, answering it. Then, where does organic fit in? It’s up to somebody else to say, “Organic search is better than, Google just giving you an answer.”
Kirin: Then, you start the cycle all over, again?
Jason: Then, everything just implodes. There’s a rip, in the universe. When, we get back, we’re going to talk, a little bit, about Apple and Waze. That’s interesting. Then, the Google inside-out attack on iOS. Before, we do that. Let me just take a break and thank, Snapterms. Everybody knows, Snapterms. We just heard about it, from Luis. Who, is that guy?
Kirin: Do you want this to be like, the SquareSpace one?
Jason: Yeah. $149. Of course, $149, for snapterms. OK. Go to: thiswekinstartups.com/legal, to see ours. They’re funny. Go, to snapterms. Thank @snapterms. You gotta thank the sponsors, on your Twitter account. That means a lot to them. Let’s keep the show going. Thank you, Snapterms.
Kirin: This, was the story that was and wasn’t.
Kirin: Apple: Rumors that it was going to acquire Waze. TechCrunch comes out with a story. It even said in the story, that there were rumors. There were some numbers thrown around. Waze wanted $750M. Apple was willing to do it, at $500M.
Jason: $750M, for Waze?
Kirin: Apple, was willing to pay $500M, but… Then, M.G. Siegler comes out and he says, “Wait. There is no story, here. Apple and Waze talked, like companies talk. There’s nothing going on, here.” Then, this morning more reports. “Oh. By the way, there was a discussion and Waze turned it down.” Frankly, because, they wanted more money but, also…
Jason: More, than $750M, for Waze?
Kirin: All because, they’re trying to build a big company. They want to be independent. They’re kind of doing the DropBox thing. Steve Jobs, you remember, he asked Drew Houston, if he could by DropBox. He said, “No.”
Jason: What do you think, Ben?
Ben: They wanted $1B. I have a lot of friends, at Waze. I love that company, to death.
Jason: That company’s not worth a billion.
Ben: No. It’s not worth a billion, now. The question is, whether or not, it could eventually be. If, that’s the case… I think, it could be… if, that’s the case, then, it might be a smart move to keep it independent. They’re very independent-minded, over at that Israeli company. I really, really think, though, if Apple does have the opportunity, again, it makes sense. Apple needs something to differentiate itself, for maps. Maps, is terrible. Without, something like, a Waze, especially, Waze, they’re never going to win, against Google. Right now, it’s embarrassing how bad Maps is compared to Google’s.
Jason: What you’re saying is, Waze, is being offered 3X as much as, the company’s worth. Or so, I’m guessing, it’s worth $100M or $200M.
Kirin: Their last round valued them at $200M.
Jason: Right. They’re willing to pay, 3X or 4X as much as they’re worth, just to differentiate and stop Google maps, from infecting the iOS ecosystem. Ben.
Ben: I think, the question is, exactly, how much was offered? The answer is, I don’t know.
Jason: Let’s say, they are offering $750M, or something like that.
Ben: If, they offered $750M, they’d be silly, not to take it. I don’t think, they were offered $750M.
Jason: If, they were offered $500M, is the reason that Apple is offering that is because, they’ve been so embarrassed by their map product?
Ben: I think, it’s a big reason. Yeah.
Jason: This is, when, you sell your company… A lot of times, selling your company… I’ve had this discussion with people, I’m invested in. Just, generally, shooting the sugar, with people. The person you want to sell your company to, sometimes, is the person who’s company is failing the most, in that vertical. As an example, when, I sold Weblogs, Inc. to AOL, everybody was like, “You should have sold to Yahoo. You should have sold to NewsCorp.” There, were some opportunities, with some other players. But, AOL needed us the most. Which meant, they were willing to pay the premium. Cause, they needed the assets, more than other people. When, MicroSoft bought Yammer, people were like, “Why didn’t Google buy Yammer?” Google probable thinks, they can build it, themselves. “Why didn’t Salesforce?” Salesforce built chatter. They probably… MicroSoft? They were behind, in the consumer enterprise space. So, if, you’re behind, you’re willing to pay a premium. Waze should have taken the money. If, it is in fact… anything over $400M or $500M. They should, absolutely, take the money.
Kirin: Not, try and build an independent company?
Jason: Of course, not. Because, how defensible is Waze? There’s nothing defensible about it. Dash, was doing what they’re doing. With a physical hardware device, years before they were. Years. I had the product. Rim bought it. Maybe, they think, they have these incredible patents, but, there’s nothing unique about a car sending it’s information back to a server, to say, how fast it’s going. That was done by Dash.
Kirin: They’ve got the fact, that they’ve got 20M people using it.
Jason: Whatever. Look, how quickly, you could get millions of other people using other products. People are, already, using Google maps. All Google maps has to do is turn on, when you’re using it in your car, it sending real-time data. Google, should just add that feature, right now. Then, Waze, is worth zero. This is stupid. What do you think?
James: Think about, what Apple’s biggest acquisition in their history was. It was Next. They bought that for less than $500M. You don’t really see Apple spending money for speculative, VC-hyped acquisitions. Their last, kind of, speculative acquisitions are, Particle and Chomp. We don’t know what the terms were, but, they were, certainly, less than $100M or $50M. I’ve never seen Apple do a, kind of, crazy acquisition on a company, with $1M in revenues. Plus, I don’t think, Waze competes, with Google maps.
Jason: Is that a mistake, James? Shouldn’t Apple be taking more risk, if they’ve got the largest hedge fund, in the world? With, $120B in it. Sitting there with no hope of ever figuring out how to spend it.
James: They probably should take more risk. But then, there’s the question of, what they should take risk on. They don’t want to be a Yahoo. Where, you buy these enormous things, that you then, write down to zero, in almost every single case, years later. They’re taking their time. Why does Apple need to compete with Google maps, even? They’re in the hardware business, for the most part.
Ben: They, absolutely, have to e competitive. The problem is, say if they had never made Apple maps. A year down the line, Google says, “We’re going to yank it, now.” Now, you have iOS, with no mapping product, of any kind, shape, or form and it’s all, totally, completely screwed. Even later on, Google could decide to pull maps. If, Apple doesn’t improve Apple maps, it could force, a switch over to Android, because, maps is such a core, fundamental part of the phone.
Jason: James, what do you think?
James: I’m not sure, Waze competes with Google maps, though. I use Google maps, for all of my GPS-like functionality. When, I’m on the phone. There’s plenty of GPS functionality, you can get from other providers, as well. Google maps doesn’t have a monopoly on it. Apple failed, building their own product. They could probably buy it for a lot cheaper than $750M. Don’t forget. Google maps buys a lot of their data, from the companies that provide the government with mapping data.
Jason: I think, Google is, actually, a client of Waze. I had, Diane Eisner, an old friend of mine, from Waze. We taped some episodes, in their offices. She didn’t say this, exactly, but I have a feeling that Google buys some of that data, for their traffic stuff, and licenses it. But, I have to say, I was addicted to Waze, for a little while. Then, I realized, the fact that I know there’s traffic, it doesn’t normally change my traffic behavior. At least, on my commute. Cause, it’s just always, screwed up here, in L.A. I find myself, like, now, I put on an audio book, from Audible. I don’t really care about the traffic, so much. It’s like, only in an edge case.
Kirin: If, it sucks, it sucks.
Jason: Maybe, if it’s really horrific. Like, maybe, 1 out of 10 times, I’ll open Waze on my way home. 1 out of 10 times. It used to be, I’d have it open all the time. Then, I realized, this is really dangerous. Why am I looking at this thing, instead of, the road? Screw it. I’ll just enjoy my ride home. If it takes me 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it doesn’t really affect my life, that much. I’d rather get into my audio book. Maybe, if people who have longer commutes, it’s more valuable. I think, this might become a case, where they… This might become one of those cases, where Waze actually regrets… if, the numbers are true. We don’t know if the numbers are true. If, the number is true, people might regret it.
Kirin: Is there a company that Apple should buy?
Jason: There’s a zillion companies. I personally believe, is Apple… I believe, this is exactly what happened in the regular operating system business. Which is, MicroSoft said up and down, we’re not going to do application layer. We’re doing the operating system, servers, etc… Then, MicroSoft Word, Lotus 123 gave way to Excel. WordPerfect gave way to Word. I believe Apple and Google and MicroSoft are going to get into a dogfight, for the next 5 years, buying the top 50 apps. With, the exception of, maybe, games. But, even still, MicroSoft has X-Box. They made Halo, to prove the platform out. So, why wouldn’t somebody buy Angry Birds and make it exclusive to their platform? If, Windows wanted to become more dominant, if they bought Angry Birds, for $5B, all the new episodes went there, first. Then went somewhere else, 6 months later. Maybe, that would help drive business.
Kirin: You would buy a Windows Phone?
Jason: I don’t know, that I would buy a Windows Phone. It might be a great ad campaign, to get kids to buy more. If, Start Wars, was exclusively available, yeah. That kind of stuff does actually matter. Apps matter. I think, it’s going to be a race to, who can buy the top 50 apps. Especially, dovetailing into the next story, which, you should do.
Kirin: Which is, Google’s inside out attack of Apple is working. It’s interesting, as a trend piece, looking over what happened last year. In July, we got Chrome for iOS. We got the stand-alone YouTube app, in September. October, was Google search. December, was Google maps. Google’s recruiting iOS developers. Google maps and YouTube are on the top of the app store. Then, of course, noting people like, Liz Gaines. Who, makes a big deal about being neutral, but, sayng, “Look. I’m using Google apps, because, they work better.”
Jason: Yeah. What do you guys think? Is this, infecting them from the inside out, working James Altucher?
James: Yeah. Absolutely. I’m a huge Apple fan. I have every iPad. The mini iPad. Every iPhone. But, I just got the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It’s replaced all my other devices. All of them.
Jason: What? Why is that better than, an iPhone 5?
James: The bigger screen. Now, I can actually surf the web. I can use it as a Kindle. I can watch videos. I can do everything that I can do on my iPad, on the Note 2.
Jason: Is it LTE? Is it LTE? Is it LTE?
James: It’s LTE. On every network, every provider. So, what do you need the iPad or the iPad mini for?
Jason: Do you feel like a dork, having a phone that’s the size of a serving tray? Let me ask that.
James: Say that, again.
Jason: Do you feel like a dork, having a phone that’s the size of a serving tray? That feels like, your going to bring me an omelet, on it.
James: I use bluetooth, so, I’m just wearing the headphones.
Jason: But, look at the size of that phone. Hold that up, a second. Put it in front of your face.
James: Yeah. It’s not so bad.
Jason: In front, of your face. Block your face. Look. The things bigger than his goddamned head. With, the exception of the afro. It’s unbelievable how large that thing is.
James: It’s 5.5″ diagonal. It’s no problem, really.
Jason: Wait. Do you have your iPad mini, there?
James: You don’t have to carry any other device.
Jason: Do you have an iPad mini, with you? Let me see it, next to the iPad mini.
Jason: That phone is too goddamned big. Ben, what do you think? Your an iPhone user, obviously.
Ben: Let’s see. On my phone, I’ve got Gmail. I’ve got Google maps. I have YouTube. I have drive.
Jason: What about Chrome vs. Safari. Which, do you use?
Ben: Let’s see, right here. Oh, look. There’s Chrome.
Jason: This is exactly the pattern, Chrome is… Let’s see.
James: iPad mini and phone.
Jason: Alright. Put the mini, in front of your face. Now, put the Samsung. See, look, they’re basically, the same size. Everything, but afro.
James: This is a phone, though. I can’t make phone calls, with this. This looks stupid. This is a phone.
Ben: You can, with that new Facebook thing.
Jason: Hold up, a second. I’m going to make the phone ringing sound and then, you answer the phone, with each device. BBBRRRR. OK. That looks stupid. Watch this. BBBRRRRR. That, also, looks stupid. Tilt it. Tilt it. Tilt it, a little bit. That thing is huge. Look at the size. You’re telling me, you’re at a restaurant and you take out something that’s the size of a hardcover book and put it to the side of your head?
James: Here’s the thing. Obviously, I don’t care, how I look.
Kirin: That’s pretty clear.
James: But, this fits in my shirt pocket, my pocket, fits in the coat pocket. I don’t need anything else. I don’t even need to shower, for a couple of weeks, if I’ve got this thing.
Jason: I heard, that actually has the best camera. That does have the best camera, right?
James: It has a good camera and the battery last 18 hours, practically. I have never run out of battery.
Jason: That camera is so good, I understand. Hold it up, like, you’re taking a photo. See, I think, Peter Jackson, used that to do the Hobbit. In 48fps. That’s what I heard. It’s like the red camera, now. No. This thing is huge. I was just on vacation and somebody I know, had one of these. Every time they took it out, everybody at the table laughed at them. Are you really going to make a phone call on it? They making a phone call, like this.
James: So, that really make you decide, not to get that phone?
Jason: Absolutely. Being ridiculed? Yes. That’s a perfectly, good reason.
Kirin: Jason, is very aware of how he looks. Let’s be honest.
Jason: Being ridiculed for your phone? Yes.
Ben: This thing…
James: It’s not heavy, like, iPad and an iPhone 5. Now, I just carry this around in my shirt pocket.
Ben: You’re thinking of this thing as a utility. It is a utility, but, for the new generation, all of us, this is also a fashion statement. It’s a fashion statement, when you have this gain thing across your head vs. a smaller sleeker phone. That’s why you don’t see Apple doing phones, that are 15″ wide.
Jason: Yeah. It’s just so dorky. It’s so, so dorky. I don’t think, these big phones are going to take off.
Kirin: If, the right person, the right people started using them, and made them cool. Kids would change their minds.
Jason: No. Because, the right people are going to…
James: Even S3, is good enough.
Jason: You know who has one of those phones? Adeo, from the Funded. He takes it out. He takes out this giant… what is it, the Note? Is there another one that is slightly bigger than the S3? He took out the Note and he makes a phone call on it. I was like… everybody at the table is like this, “Oh. So embarrassing.”It’s like somebody taking out their iPad and making a Skype call, in the middle of dinner, or something. I don’t know. Anyway, this inside out thing is absolutely real. Chrome is spanking Safari. Gmail trounces… The new Gmail app is extraordinary. It trounces the mail app, on Apple.
Kirin: Does Apple just needs to make better software?
Jason: YouTube, trounces the lack of an Apple video competitor, obviously. There’s no alternative. Maps. I’ll be honest, I like Apple maps. The problem with Apple maps, is typically, edge cases. It’s pretty horrific, when things don’t work. You can’t find your place. So, I think, that’s over blown. I don’t know that people are going to be like, Google maps is that much better, than Apple maps, that your mom or your cousin is going to change. But, I do think, the email, Gmail… people are going to use Gmail. This, is why, I think, Apple has, has to, has to lead. As the hardware is starting to get better, on other phones and the software, is starting to get better, on other phones, this means Apple could have a problem. Apple has to go out… They should have bought Sparrow, when they could. They should have bought Waze, when they could. They need to buy this… They need to buy Dolphin browser. They need to open up. Because, it’s starting to get annoying that Chrome is so much more fluid and easier to use. Safari, they’re always locking it down. There’s no plug-in architecture. The flash thing. All these things are chickens coming home to roost, now, with Apple. it’s going to be their Achilles heel. They have to buy the top 50 apps, out there and make a team, internally, that makes all these best of breed apps.
Kirin: The ones they have, have got to get better.
Jason: Look, at the stock one. The stock one is terrible. I have Stocks. Stocks has not changed, in years. Go ahead, Ben. What are you showing us, there?
Ben: I’m showing… You realize, 3 of the top 10 apps, are from fucking Google.
Jason: That’s $10. That was an “F” bomb. Thank you.
Jason: You inaugurated the tip jar. Yum yum. Ten bucks. You’re right. It’s infecting. It’s going to get worse, for Apple. It’s got to be like, if you’re on the Apple canvas and you pull up the top 100 apps. You see, 6 of them are from Google. That’s got to be infuriating. What would, Steve Jobs do, if he was alive, Ben, right now, and he saw that?
Ben: He would get people to build better apps, over at Apple. This is what they must do. They need to make them better. They’re behind. In the beginning, there were no competitors. So, it’s fine what they had. I’ve replaced… we are replacing our calendars, with other apps. They need to fix that.
Jason: What do you think, is this a big deal or not, James Altucher?
James: It’s not just the apps. The problem is, for the first time, the hardware has competitors. Nothing competed with the iPhone, before. Now, there’s actual competitors. Even if you don’t like, the Note, S3, the HTC phones. These are viable competitors.
Jason: Yeah. The HTC phone is supposed to be extraordinary. GDGT gave it a crazy score. It’s only available on one provider, I think. I’m not sure, which one. That new HTC, people are going crazy for.
Kirin: They needed a hit.
Jason: The S2, people are in love with. People that have it, can’t shut up about that stupid thing. Even though, it looks dorky. Think about it, this way. I’m an iPhone user and I start using Google maps. I started using Gmail. I started using Chrome. I get educated, on all that, and if they start fixing… they started to fix the operating system problems in the Android. Like updating and stuff like that. The hardware problems gets much better. Then, you’re going to look at it, like, I can get an iPhone and pay $200 more. Or, I can pay $200 less. I’m using the same apps.
Kirin: Why should I buy that phone?
Jason: The HTC, has a couple more megapixels, a couple more hours of battery life better, it’s $200 less. I think, some people might start making that decision. The apps will be a reason for it. I think, it’s a particularly brilliant strategy, on Google’s part. Keep this in mind. Just two years ago… or, a year ago, we were talking about Google search being disintermediated by apps. I’m going to go to Yelp, instead of, going to Google and searching for a restaurant. This is pretty savvy. They turned off the Zagat app. Which, is stupid. I guess they must be making a new Zagat app. Let’s do the next story.
Kirin: OK. So, we had two interesting acquisitions, this week. One was, Al-Jazeera, buying Current TV. Start with that one. It’s going to be a new channel, Al-Jazeera America. They’re going to invest, significantly, in new programming. Now, Al Gore, of course we know, co-founded Current TV, in 2005. The idea then, was to focus on user-generated content. It never got much traction. They did change direction, about a year, two years ago. Bringing on, some more personalities. Of course, Time Warner, freaked out and said, “We’re going to drop you.” Reuters had a source, saying, “No one wanted to carry Current TV and they want to carry an Al-Jazeera channel, even less. Now, it’s interesting to note: during the Arab Spring, 60% of Al-Jazeera’s english online viewership came from the U.S. There is an audience. The guy, who was the early member of that team, for the Current TV said, “Gore’s initial vision has come true, in ways large and small.”
Jason: This is, Steve Rosenbaum?
Kirin: Steve Rosenbaum.
Jason: Great guy.
Kirin: He says, “How do we find themes, knowledge, and wisdom, in the flood of unfiltered information? I just read this morning, that Al Gore, did go behind the scenes, before this deal got announced to make sure the cable providers, who were running Current, wouldn’t drop it, once they went to Al-Jazeera. He’s Al Gore and he can do that. Was Current, just ahead of its time?
James: I think, this was a reasonable deal. Basically, Al-Jazeera’s paying $15, per potential user, per potential viewer, on the cable systems and they break into America. They’re already broadcasting in the U.K. They have a huge audience, around the world, Al-Jazeera english. They’re not going to be anymore biased than, any other news organization, in the U.S. I think, thank God, Al Gore got out of Current TV, for him. It was a horrible company, other than the fact that he got all these cable deals.
Jason: What do you think, Ben?
Ben: I agree. It makes sense for Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera’s content has been quite good. I’ve been on their several times. I’ve seen it. Current just wasn’t performing, at all. They paid for access. They might keep a few of the people in talent. Really, it’s all about getting that cable access. None of the cable providers, really want to play ball. It seems like, the Time-Warner thing bites, but, they got a good deal, out of it. I think, if they can get a good channel out of it.
Jason: What a disaster, Current TV was. I mean, they did get incredible carriage, on this thing. Which, is amazing. They had such good ideas of allowing crowd sourcing or new voices. Essentially, what YouTube is doing, right now, is what his original vision was. But, he didn’t stick with it. Now, I’ve got to tell you… Go ahead.
James: Sorry, Jason. I think, that underlines how bad cable TV is, in general, though. YouTube is the new cable TV.
Jason: What YouTube needs to do, right now, is buy a cable channel. YouTube should have bought Current, for $400M and just put the best of You”Tube, on there and said, “9:00 is going to be vloggers, 10:00 is going to be action sports, 11:00- 4:00am is going to be video games. 5:00am is going to be yoga and working out. 6:00am is going to be this… I guarantee you, right now. I guarantee you… I’ll make a long bet, with one of these gentlemen, or you. First, sushi lunch, capped out at $200, that YouTube will buy a cable channel, in the next 3 years. Who wants the long bet?
James: I will take the other side of that bet.
Ben: I will also, take that bet.
Jason: Alright. $200 limit. That’s $400 on the books. $200 limit, per person. No. $200 limit overall. Sushi lunch on the books. We need to get a running gambling going. We need to come up with gambling, every episode, the bets.
Kirin; There’s going to be a bet every episode, now?
Jason: Every news episode, there needs to be a bet. The long bet. I want get to, like, $10,000 in sushi lunch bets.
Kirin: So, we need to brief the guests, ahead of time. That they’re going to be asked to gamble, with you.
Jason: Asked to gamble. Yeah.
Jason: It’s a prerequisite. That should really help, when Kara Swisher’s on the show.
Kirin: I’m sure, she’d love that.
Jason: She’d love it. Yeah. No. She wouldn’t do it.
Kirin: Of course not.
James: Jason, what’s the rating on Tosh.0. That’s basically, YouTube videos for the whole show.
Jason: Exactly. Those things are doing incredible. These young people are watching YouTube and they would love to watch it, on their big screen TV, or show their parents, or watch it at a party. People would go to the YouTube channel, just to discover new, interesting stuff. Let’s face it, the stuff Current was doing, was interesting. But, there wasn’t like a filtering system. I would go to it and 1 out of 10 times, it would be interesting. The other 9 out of 10 times, it would be sad. There was that interesting moment. They had to figure out, a better way of curating it. YouTube has figured out curation. Anyway, I think, they’re gong to do it. I think, Current could have been something so unique. I think, this is one of those things of like, some combination of too early and bad execution. You know?
Kirin: Who should they have brought on board, to make it better?
Jason: I think, what they did was, they gave up on the original vision, too soon. Then, they started bringing in this rotating like, Gavin Newsom or Eliot Spitzer. The Young Turks are good. Cenk is good. I like the Young Turks. That’s a very YouTubey kind of show, but Cenk, is good… they have this rotating kind of show. Who is the other guy, they brought in?
Kirin: They had, Jennifer Granholm, former Governor.
Jason: Olbermann was on it?
Ben and James: Keith Olbermann.
Jason: That’s… to me, where, they keep.. OK, we’re going to follow… What was Keith Olbermann on, MSNBC, before that or something?
James: Yeah. So, everyone who was fired from other networks, got on Current TV.
Jason: Yeah. Like, Cenk, was left. Cenk, was on MSNBC. It became like, let’s do… If, you’re chasing the cast-off of MSNBC, I don’t think, that’s going to be a sustainable business. Right?
Kirin: Unless, it’s somebody, who you think, has enough of a following that they would come and watch your channel.
Jason: They should have been going to the internet and pulling people up, from the internet, onto Current. As opposed to, going… Why didn’t they come to us and say, “Can you do, ThisWeekIn Startups, but on TV?” Why didn’t they go to Kevin Rose and say, “Can you do Digg Nation, on that?” Like, if they had done that strategy… “Hey, Leo Laporte, we’ll give you a slot. Hey, this person, we’ll give you a slot. Hey, Tosh.0, we’re going to give you a spot.” That would have been compelling. Use the internet as… This is what somebody will get right. Use the internet, as the farm league. Distill it down, to the best people. Put them on there and be the place of fresh, new faces. You want to get this ground swell of people on the internet. Not, take the people who can’t cut it, on network television, then get them onto the channel.
Ben: I like this, Jason. Let’s start a cable channel.
Jason: If, anybody’s got a cable out there. You know, actually, what I’m looking for?
Jason: I was thinking about it, on my break. I want to sit in, for somebody. Do a week of shows.
Kirin: You want to do a try-out thing?
Jason: I want to do a try-out thing. Just for one week. Just to see, how I like it.
Kirin: Who would let you try out?
Jason: Somebody… Like when, Howard Stern’s off for a week.
Kirin: You might be dreaming, there.
Jason: Whatever. Whoever’s off, for a week. Takes a vacation. On Sirius Radio. Or, a local channel. San Francisco radio. New York. I don’t care, what it is. Just, give me drive time, for a week.
Kirin: You? Drive time for a week? People would kill themselves.
Jason: What do you mean? Kill themselves, they’d be so enamored with the content, that the would be flipping their course. No. I would like to do drive time radio, for a week. Just, for fun. I’ll pay. I’ll pay for the slot.
James: Let’s buy, a half hour of time, on like the Fox Business Chanel, at 2:00 in the morning. We can actually program an hour or two.
Jason: No, no, no. No, no, no. Too lame. Too lame. I want drive time. Somebody, who’s got a connection in Clear… What is it, Clear Wire?
Kirin: Clear Channel.
Jason: Clear Channel. Some Clear Channel, d… I was about to say, Clear Channel “D-bag.” Some Clear Channel senior executive. Someone knows a senior executive, of one of those Clear Channel… or Sirius. Let me have a slot, for just a week. Let’s just see what happens. I guarantee, there will be overwhelming success.
Kirin: What would you talk about?
Jason: I’d talk about everything. I’d talk about whatever. The tragedy in the shooting. gun control. I’ll talk about that. I’ll talk about entrepreneurship. About the stock market. I’ll get people like, Ben and James. I’ll talk about normal topics. I have all these great contributors. Right? So, if I pull, James or Sacca, or whoever, Ben, you pull some of those things in and you talk about something other than technology, as well as, technology. Everything’s circling around that, anyway. Let’s do the next story.
Kirin: Alright. The other acquisition this week, Avis Budget Group acquiring Zip Car, for $500M. Zip car had 760,000 members, 10,000+ vehicles, and 20 metro areas in the U.S., Canada and eastern Europe. Avis, is expected to generate $50M-$70M, in annual synergies, with this deal. Zip Car IPO’d, in April 2011. At the time, it was worth about $1.2B. Cash on hand, at the end of September, Wall Street Journal reported, was about $65M. They borrowed $97M, to finance its cars. The Journal said, “Zip Car, was a great idea. But, not as much as a public company. Sometimes, the small precious thing really is better, in large and indelicate hands. We know Ohm came out, yesterday. He thinks, Avis is going to ruin Zip Car. Do you agree with him?
Jason: Of course, they are.
Kirin: Are there similar companies that fall into this category: Great idea. Bad public company.
Jason: Of course. They’re plenty of people, who have gone public. They’re too small. It doesn’t grow, fast enough.
Kirin; Then more, recent ones.
Jason: Pandora, I guess, people have been very skeptical of.
James: Zynga, Groupon.
Jason: Zynga, Groupon. A lot of these folks, those stories haven’t been told, yet. The question is, do you think, they’ll destroy this? Did they buy it, to destroy it? Is my question, as a cynic.
James: I, personally, think this was one of the best acquisitions, ever. Zip Car, is a dream come true. You just walk outside of your apartment and you use your card, you walk into a car and you drive off. Rather than all the BS, that Avis makes you do: signing contracts, then, you gotta find a car. It’s impossible. So, potentially, Avis can really do this to replace their entire fleet, their entire workforce. Airports, hotels, and so on. I think, it would be a huge win, for Avis, if they don’t destroy the culture.
Ben: I absolutely agree. It was a great acquisition. The price was a good price, for them, because the price had gone down. It’s a great service. I just don’t trust, Avis, at all. I hope, they’re best shot is to keep it an independent subsidiary. I think, they will find a way to muggle it up.
Jason: I think, these things, like Zip Car, were cutting into the profitability of companies, like, Avis and Hertz.
Kirin: Well, it’s competition.
Jason: I think, it’s specifically, cutting into profitability, because, people who live in cities need a car, 2 or 3 times, a year. 4 or 5 times, a year. This, was seriously, making a dent in it. It was also creating additional demand. Cause, if something is so cheap and so easy, you will use it more. The same way Uber, unleashed new demand. The same way AirBnB, created more demand. I think, this created more demand, but, I think, it really took some of that really profitable, found money. Which, is like, these aren’t tourists. These are people who live in the city. You can count on them for a couple of rentals, a month.
Kirin: Sure. I used Zip Car. I had like, 5 or 6 of them, in my neighborhood, in Washington, D.C. It was very convenient. The other side of that was, if you needed a car for a weekend, it still wasn’t the right thing to do. You’d have to go to a traditional place.
Jason: What? It’s just too expensive to do, on the basis?
Kirin: You can do it, for a full day, Then, you’d pay, like, $80 for the day. You, always, had to have it back in one day. So, if you wanted a weekend rental, it still didn’t work. But, it was great for the short trips around town.
Jason: Like what? Under 4 hours?
Kirin: Or, you need to pick somebody up, from the airport.
Jason: What was it, for an hour? $10?
Kirin: It depends on the car. Some of the cars are $7, an hour. Some of them were, as much as, $11 or $12, an hour. That was the other thing: if you just wanted to go ride about, in a BMW, for a couple hours, you could do that. You didn’t have to worry about buying it.
Jason: So, picking somebody up, from the airport, it would normally be a $100 cab ride, or something. You could get a car, for $15 or $20, and go pick them up.
Jason: That’s pretty dope.
Kirin: Especially, if it’s an out of town guest. You don’t want them to haul their luggage, on the metro, and things like that.
Jason: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Interesting. They’ll screw it up. I’m going to agree with everybody. Who wants to bet a sushi lunch, they won’t screw it up?
James: I’m surprised Zip Car was so cheap, really. Out of all the ideas, we were talking about, Zip Car was such a genius idea. Now, it’s gone. I feel a little sad.
Jason: I kind of feel like, they didn’t also… like, it never took off, in L.A., right?
Kirin: My God. When, I moved here, the first thing I said to Zip Car was, “Hey. Can you bring a car, to Venice? That’s the neighborhood, where I live.” They said, “Tell your friends. That’s how we decide, where to put a car.” I said, “I have no friends, here. I just moved, here.”
Kirin: Make me take a half hour bus ride, to UCLA, to get a car, makes no sense.
Jason: I kept hearing that, over and over again. I think that, everybody owning cars, is so out-dated. There’s so many cars. The under-utilization of cars is phenomenal.
Kirin: They could have put them in my neighborhood. I think, people would have used them.
Jason: I think, GetAround, will be the next one. It’ll be interesting to see what these collaborative consumption startups, what the outcome is. AirBnB and GetAround and all this collaborative consumption, I don’t know, if the existing players can understand the gestalt of them, enough, to not ruin the culture. Can you imagine Marriott or Sheraton, or somebody like that, or Star Woods.
Kirin: Owning AirBnB?
Jason: Owning AirBnB.
Kirin: This wouldn’t work.
Jason: That’s, sort of, what we’re seeing, here. Right? Avis, has bought… This, is the equivalent of Marriott buying AirBnB. How terrible would that be, Ben?
Ben: Oh. I’m having nightmares, thinking about that one.
Jason: Yeah. It’s just like, uuhhh. Exactly, what you don’t want. Next story.
Kirin: We all know, Facebook has a messenger app. This week, they started testing, in Canada. The ability to make a call, anywhere you have Wi-fi or a data connection. If, this does go well, they could roll it out, to Android.
Jason: Whoa. Wait, wait, wait. Facebook is going to provide calls, like Skype?
Kirin: Yes. Through, their Facebook Messenger app.
James: Why are testing this out only, in Canada?
Kirin: Because, they like to test in small markets, before they roll something out. They tested the… being able to pay for you ad, in New Zealand.
Jason: Yeah. Canada, The U.S., New Zealand, and like… New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and, Ireland, are becoming the places to test your english language app.
Kirin: Sure. If this works, they can roll it out, more broadly.
Jason: Who cares? Google’s been offering this, for years. Skype’s been around, for years. This is like, who cares…
Kirin: Messenger, is a very popular app. It’s usually, near the top of the Google Play Store and the app store. So, there are…
Jason: Google Messenger?
Kirin: Facebook Messenger.
Jason: Facebook Messenger?
James: But, you know, there’s a lot of issues. Will they offer voicemail? Will they offer call-forwarding? I think, Skype and Google Voice are way ahead on feature sets, here. I don’t know, if Facebook Voice can compete.
Jason: I don’t think, people want to make calls. But, you do have your sort of directory, there. So, a lot of times… Actually, I have never done this. I perceive, that a lot of times, people… you guys can tell me if I’m right… will go to Facebook, to get somebody’s phone number, who they know.
Kirin: I’ve never used it, that way.
Ben: I do that. I do that. I do that.
Jason: It seems like, that’s pretty accurate information. I think, that’s probably what they’re playing off is, that Facebook, you generally have your phone number, in there. So, it’d be like one click, to do it. Young people don’t care about the phone anymore. Young people don’t talk on the phone.
Ben: Exactly. They don’t talk on the phone. You, clearly know, that was built by adult, because, adults care about phone calls. Kids don’t do phone calls. They text or they Instagram or they SnapChat.
Jason: Yeah. What’s the other one called? Voxer. When is Facebook going to knock off Voxer? That would have been a better one to knock off, than SnapChat. Voxer. That’s what Apple should by… Voxer. That would be an incredible purchase. Apple buys Voxer. You know, Voxer?
Kirin: Yep. For, how much, do you think?
Kirin: As much as they need to?
Jason: Here’s the thing, as much as I criticized Zuckerberg for copying Poke, he probably is right in that, just copying stuff, like Bill Gates used to do, is probably a pretty good strategy.
Kirin: It worked, with IE.
Jason: Yeah. Maybe, Apple should make a Voxer-like functionality, into their messenger. The messenger keeps getting better and better. That’s the one thing Apple has gotten right. You don’t need the person’s phone number. You could just have their email. They should put that Apple Messenger, on BlackBerry, Windows, and Android. You can’t use Apple Messenger… Apple Messenger only works…
Kirin: Apple to Apple.
Jason: … on Apple products. That’s where Apple needs to start changing their attitude. They need to be more open. Let the things, like Apple Messenger, be on other platforms. Before, they get BlackBerried. Remember, BlackBerry had BlackBerry Messenger? If, they had made BlackBerry Messenger available on Android, iOS, and on your desktop, man, BlackBerry people would not be giving up the service. They should have opened that up. What do you guys think?
Ben: Agreed. Google’s the only one that understands, you don’t have to keep all your things on your proprietary platform. If you spread it out, you get more benefits. You get more data. You get more users. You get more good will. It all makes a lot of sense.
Jason: Why does Apple, not make Android-based applications, then? Why don’t they make iPhoto, for Android?
Kirin: They should.
Ben: They will never do it.
Jason: They will never do it?
Jason: That’s like a Steve Jobs legacy thing. He never wanted to be on other platforms. Like, “Why would I make for another platform? Those platforms are inferior. Why would I support an inferior product?” Next story.
Kirin: You were talking about mobile. UK-based Canonical is launching a mobile version of Ubuntu. This is a Linux-based system. Ubuntu phones are supposed to be out…
Jason: Great. Dave Winer can buy a phone, now.
Kirin: … early 2014.
Jason: Sorry, Dave. It’s too easy.
Kirin: Canonical did say, they’re targeting to markets, the high-end super phone and the entry-level, basic smart phone. The Verge did get to play with the preview version.
Kirin: They said, “It has no home button. Everything is based on gestures. There’s no lock screen. You swipe in, from the edges, to access content at any time. There people who say, this could end up like Palm WebOS, Nokia’s Meego. It’s going to take too long to get to market. What do you think?
Jason: I don’t know. What do you think, James? DOA?
James: This is the worst idea, on the planet. If, I went outside and asked 1,000 people, if you buy an Ubuntu phone? First of all, 999 of them would have no idea, what I’m talking about. All 1,000 will say, “No way. This is crazy. I’m happy with either Android or Apple.” I get that Android could be on top of the Linux and so on, but, who cares? Who needs a Linux phone?
Ben: It’s all about the apps. Who’s going to make apps for, yet another, very, very small OS? There’s a reason why it’s become a two horse race. With, the third horse, MicroSoft, paying lots of money to get apps, on its app store.
Jason: Yeah. I have to agree. The apps are the key issue. This might have some success, if Google starts to rein in the open-source nature of Android and demand more, from the Android community. Which, they seem to have started to do. Like, it’s open but not so open. Let’s say, Google wakes up one day and says, “Everybody has to be allowed to upgrade via Google central services. In order to use it for free, you have to allow us to push changes.” Something like that. If that stuff starts happening, you might see some of these Chinese, Indian, or African folks…
Kirin: It’s cheap. You could.
Jason: … start using and building off of it. Why does it not support Android apps? That’s what I don’t understand. Why make it…
James: They will support Android apps. They’re going to fork off of Android and support Android. But, why go out of the way to have Linux? Linux is an appliance operating system. Not, really, a mobile operating system.
Jason: One of the things about people’s phones and their tablets, I think, is they’re less tolerant of experimentation. Because, it’s sort of so critical. You’re so dependent on Hotel Tonight, or Uber, or your flight changing, or getting the movie time. You’re not going to deal with nonsense, on your phone. I think, that’s what Google learned, when Android came out, was “This is too buggy.” I got those first Android phones, the first couple of years. I was like, “This sucks. This experience sucks.”
Kirin: Why would you depend on this?
Jason: “I cannot depend on this stupidity.” It’s like syncing, in the background and blowing out the battery. There’s too many tasks. People are like, “Get a task manager. Close some processes.” I like, “What? Am I running a server farm or am I trying to get a movie time?” I don’t want to close processes on my goddamned phone. “Get a task manager.” Shouldn’t the task manager be there? I felt like I was using DOS. It was a horrible experience. They corrected for that, with Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread and all these stupid-named Android updates.
Kirin: Jellybean’s pretty good.
Jason: Whatever. Jellybean. Blah, Blah. Nonsense. You can name it all kinds of cute, fun names. If the experience still sucks ass…
Kirin: The Jellybean experience is actually pretty nice.
Jason: It is getting better. I have to say. I have the Nexus 7. They gave me a free one. This is pretty tight. It’s getting better and better. I think, that’s Jellybean.
Kirin: It’s Jellybean.
Jason: So, anyway. Next story. Let’s do a speed round.
Kirin: You’re a fan of Zynga. They’re shutting down or pulling from the app store, 11 games.
Jason: Smart move.
Kirin: This is part of the cost reduction plan. They still have about 30 titles, on their various platforms.
Jason: Yeah. Focus on the winners.
Stock prices have been about $2.40, a share. It hasn’t closed above $3, which is the price point where you bought, since September 21st.
Jason: No problem. I’m going to sell it, at $7.
Kirin: What else does Mark need to do, to turn the companies fortune around?
Jason: They have to get into the mid-tier games. Although, I have to say, I just got this, Clash of Clans. I saw, it was the top-rated game. So, I got it. It’s sort of like, Farmville. Then, they added to it Age of Empire. It’s very creative. You don’t just build your farm. You build your town, then you go attack other people’s town. Which, I always said, “Why doesn’t We Rule, allow you to attack each other’s town and stuff like that?” Somebody, finally, did that. It’s a very compelling game. I think, if you can take the casual games and evolve them, to the next level, which is like, Plants vs. Zombies, AngryBirds got a little more game play, than like, “I’m doing my farm.” They could make a big run at it. Obviously, paid gambling and that kind of stuff is going to explode, as well. They just have to focus in, on the winners. I think, they got too spread thin. One thing was working. These whales, in virtual currency on Facebook. iOS is crushing it with people spending money. Zynga just has to get iOS and Android savvy. Android… I looked at Mahalo’s sales, we were making nothing in the Amazon store. Then, over the holidays, we started making $250, a day, off our education apps.
Kirin: That’s cause people got tablets for Christmas.
Jason: Yeah. I’m like, “Wait a second. We went from making $25, a day, in the Amazon Store to $250. Something happened over the holiday to go 10X. We didn’t see that last Christmas. I think, Zynga’s going to be fine. What do you guys think? What do you think, Ben? You think, Zynga’s focussing… Good, bad, otherwise?
Ben: Its’ good, but, it proves gaming is such a tough market. It’s really tough. No matter how good of a game you build, eventually, it’s going to essentially tail dive. The longest lasting game, I can think of, is EverQuest and World of Warcraft. Those are diving down. Well, World of Warcraft is diving down. Zynga’s doing the right thing of, cutting of the losers and trimming down the staff. Trying to find the games: the mobile games and the gambling games that will generate more revenue. You’re never going to have Zynga back to where it was at IPO time. That’s never going to happen. I don’t see it.
Jason: It’s certainly going to be a long, hard ride. They do have a lot of cash. So, they could buy stuff. I guess the question is, should they venture outside of gaming? There’s so much other stuff. They have such a talented staff. So much money.
Kirin: What should they make, then?
Jason: That’s the question. If, Zynga had gaming… they’ve got close to 100M people still using it, every month. If they owned Evernote… if they owned that paper… Let’s say, they bought Mahalo. I’m not angling for a purchase, cause, we’re sort of going in a different direction. Let’s say, there was an education app company out there, doing kids games or other educational stuff. They could use that major foot-hold they are, to start launching educational apps. Right?
Kirin: Do you see Zynga as an educational brand, though?
Jason: I just see Zynga being like MicroSoft. Like, a software brand, a label. They could go into other things. If they’re going to go into paid gambling, why not go into education, as well. Use the fact that they know how to get people to pay for stuff, they know how to make games, they know how to make them viral. They know all the blocking and tackling, why limit themselves to gaming? If I was them, I would start doing productivity apps. I would start doing other informative apps. Like, informational stuff, news, whatever. Why are they limiting themselves, James or Ben?
James: I agree with you. They have a billion and a half cash, so they’re not going out of business. They’re going to be here, for a long time.
James: This is a very smart stock purchase, right here. There’s almost no down-side. I think, we’re under-playing the importance of gambling, for Zynga. If licensed poker gets legal, in The United States, which is likely, Zynga Poker is the largest mobile poker game. This alone, is going to be worth $5B or a $10 stock price, for them.
Jason: I agree with that.
James: I think, the really casual games, Poker, Words With Friends, and so on, are going to be huge for Zynga.
Jason: Yeah. I think, it’s going to be a “BFD.” Big fricking deal. What were you going to say, Ben?
Ben: I was going to agree, the gambling part could be a major winner. We will find out. That, kind of, depends on the U.S. government.
Jason: I also think… I’ve said this, before. Knowing Mark, personally, he’s a never say die, kind of guy. I think, he’s really going to… This kind of ass-kicking, that he’s gotten, just knowing his character, he’s the kind of guy that would fight through it. He would get it to where it needs to go. I’m actually thinking about buying more, than just averaging down. It seems like, we’ve hit the bottom of it. Nobody will push the stock lower. He’s got all this cash. We know iOS is continuing to grow. We know Android is continuing to grow. He’s perfectly positioned to have a rebound. The people coming in now, are getting their stock options at $2.40. A company with a billion and a half dollars and 100M monthly user, or whatever it is, those people are going to see upside. You may see all these people who had $14, $12, or $10 options leaving. That paves the way for these new people to come in and get their options. When, those people leave…
Kirin: They all have to be inspired. They want to join Zynga, because it’s building great stuff.
Jason: Of course. Right. I think, probably, that’s another major issue that they have. If, I was Mark, I’m not Mark, but if I was, I would go to my staff and say, “Everything’s on the table. Everybody come up with great ideas. Let’s hold a Hack-A-Thon. The quarterly stock price is going to be bouncing up and down. Let’s not worry about that. I want everybody to come with their best idea. We’re going to go away for the weekend. Have a retreat. Everybody come up with your best idea.” You’ve seen me do this at this company. “Everybody come back and give me your best ideas. Everybody vote. What are the best ideas? We’re going to approve two projects, to be a Skunkworks. We’re going to put them on the side, with ten people on each. Go.” That would inspire people. Maybe, they would create, Evernote. Maybe, they’d create, Uber. Maybe, they’d create, Yelp. Who knows what they’d create. So many ideas and so many smart people, there, and so many resources, why not try some crazy stuff. It would also build back their reputation. Make them more original. I think, the copycat nature of the gaming industry… I’m not saying the copycat nature of Zynga. The copycat nature of the gaming industry, like the movie industry, where people always copy the genres and copy each other. That’s the kind of thing, where you would expect them to come out with their own ideas and something revolutionary and new and fun.
Kirin: Like an Angry Birds?
Jason: Angry Birds was unique. It had a unique nature to it. They just need to have a couple of those wins and people will start believing the story, again. Right now, it’s hard to believe the story. Next story.
Kirin: Andrew Sullivan…
Jason: This is a big story.
Kirin: … is taking his 12 year-old blog, subscription-only.
Kirin: He’s going to be charging $19.99, a year. For, an ad-free version of the Dish, starting February, but the readers are allowed to pay more. This is because, his deal with The Daily Beast, ended December 31st.
Kirin: He did two pledge drives, in his first 6 years. Then, partnerships for the next 6 years. Time then, the Atlantic.
Kirin: He said, “Here’s the core principal. We want to create a place for readers alone and readers sustain the site. No banner media companies will be subsidizing us.
Kirin: “No venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition, unless my savings count as venture capital. Most critically, no advertising would be getting in the way.” He reported, that in the first 6 hours, he was well into 6 figures. He estimates, more than one third were paying the minimum. What do you give his chances, for making this work? Are you impressed with his results, so far?
Jason: Listen. Andrew Sullivan is awesome. He’s a brilliant guy. I met him once, at The Aspen Ideas Festival, with Nick Denton. I really respect the guy. I think, he is great blogger. He understands the medium. This is the future. Independent folks going out, starting their own projects and making enough to have an amazing lifestyle. Ben, could have done this. Other people have done it. I’ve done it. You don’t need to be part of something big and have all this stress. You could go, do your own thing. I’m not saying that to you, Kirin. You couldn’t do this.
Kirin: It’s still stressful.
Jason: You need to work for me. But, for other people… There are different kinds of stress.
Jason: You could do it, actually, at this point. You could go and make a go of it. Bravo, to him. I think, he’s got some pretty cool company, that’s doing… Tiny something. He’s doing the technology… Somebody can look it up. I think, as the tools come out, to make this viable…Tiny Letter, Tiny Chat. I don’t know, what it is… Tiny something allows you, with your WordPress or whatever, they show the first 3 paragraphs. Then, you can…
Kirin: They call it a Leaky Meter. It would be ways to get around it, if you want to.
Jason: Yeah. If, you’re that incented to go do it, just like the New York Times. The New York Times thing is even working. Which, I knew they would. Of course, it’s going to work.
Kirin: I paid for it.
Jason: Yeah. I’m going to pay it, at some point. I think, it’s brilliant. What do you guys think?
Ben: Good job. Good job, to him. Good job.
James: I think, that it’s amazing, in the sense that… you saw this, with Louis C.K., too. He didn’t wait for HBO, to distribute his latest hour of comedy. We, just, put it on his website and sold it, direct. You’re going to see that, more and more. Where, you don’t need the middle man of corporate America, to come down from the sky and bless us to be successful. If, we have our own platforms, we can create a success. Look what you’re doing with TWIST. You’re creating your own brand and your own platform. You don’t need ABC to say, “Jason, do TWIST for us.” That’s what he’s doing.
Jason: Interestingly enough, I literally turned down… and I know, people were asking me about this. I was talking about doing a reality show. Literally walked away from two. One was the people from Pilgrim Film… I don’t care about saying their names. They’re nice people. One was Renegade. It’s a pretty serious group of people. They did Secret Millionaire and a bunch of other shows. I walked away form the deal. Walked away.
Jason: Because, they didn’t want to give me 50% ownership and final edit, on the show. I said, “You know what? I’m not right, for television, then.”
Kirin: I don’t need this.
Jason: Yeah. I said, “I’m not going to have you…” They said, “We don’t do that. We have to keep you happy.” I said, “You know what? I make $500,000 a year, for my show. I’ve got 5 people working on it. I have an audience, who loves it. I’m not wiling to compromise. That’s it.”
Jason: “You know what? Google TVs, Apple TVs come out, I’m going to be on the same footing, as you guys. $500,000 now, could be $5M, five years from now. The revenue from the show.
Kirin: If you keep doing it.
Jason: If I keep doing it. Then, this other group of people, Pilgrim Film and Television, came to me and said, “Hey…” they do Dirty Jobs. They say, “We’re going to do one with angel investors, da, da, da.” I say, “Great. I’ll do it, with you. I want to own 50%. I want final edit. You can follow me around, as I angel invest.” They’re like, “Well, we want to have about two or three angel investors. We’ll pay you $5,000, an episode.” I was like…
Jason: You’re going to pay me $5,000 an episode?
Kirin: Nobody cares. Chump change.
Jason: I pay $5,000 to see a flop, at Chamath’s game. $5,000. What, are you out of your mind? I want to own half of the show. They’re like, “What do you mean, you want to own half of the show?” LIke, Gordon Ramsay owns his show, that’s what I want to do. They’re like, “You’re no Gordon Ramsay.”
Kirin: They said, “Sir, you’re no Gordon Ramsay.”
Jason: I said, “The hell I ain’t.” I got my own damn show. I don’t need this nonsense. That’s what I told them. Walked away. That’s eleven, by the way, for those of you counting. Eleven times, reality people have come to me. BBC, everybody. No, no, no. Cause, I love you guys.
Kirin: Cause, you’re so special, Jason.
Jason: No. It’s not that I’m so special.
Kirin: No. You are.
Jason: It’s like James is saying. They’re going to cross each other. This show, now has 100,000 downloads, per episode. MSNBC, has 100,000 people watching at any point in time. What’s the “F”ing difference? It’s all converging. It’s all converging. YouTube has a lot of tricks left up their sleeve. I’d rather align myself with YouTube, than with the reality television companies, who don’t get it.
Kirin: So, this started with Andrew Sullivan and blogging. I don’t know if…
Jason: Yeah, guys. What do you think? LIke, James just made the reference to, like the show, independent media is possible. Right James?
James: Exactly. It’s not only possible, it’s the only thing that going to happen, in the future. Corporate America is going to disappear.
Jason: Wait. Expand that. Wait a second. Whoa. Explain what you mean.
James: OK. Broadcast television. What’s the future of broadcast television? It’s zero. All broadcast affiliates are going to zero. So, that’s the first. We’ve already seen it, with the music labels, with the music stores. Anybody who’s in the middle, all the book publishing companies, they’re all dying, because, people can self-publish. People can self-express. People build their own platforms. That’s how you choose yourself. You don’t have to wait for someone else to choose you, anymore.
Ben: I would bet 30 sushi dinners, you are completely and totally wrong, on this.
Jason: Long bet. Wait. Long bet. How do we do this long bet? Ten year bet.
James: I’ll do a 1, 2, or 3 year bet.
Jason: OK. On what? You can’t say that all TV will be gone. That means that we won’t see the last three seasons of Walking Dead. So, that’s out of the question.
James: Alright. That might have to be a 10 year one, then. I just think, you’re going to see revenues and earnings for these companies go down, every single year, for the next 5 to 10 years.
Jason: That is happening. We are seeing that cable TV has less and less subscribers. That is starting to happen.
James: Cable TV, record labels, and book publishers are the beginning.
Jason: You want to make a 3 year bet, that those 3 industries will have contracted?
James: Yeah. I’ll do that.
Jason: Ben, you want to go a sushi lunch? Three years, those businesses are smaller?
Ben: I don’t disagree, with that one. They are going to get smaller, but, only by little bits. They’re going to be around 10, 20, 30 years from now.
Kirin: Cable didn’t kill the radio. Radio’s still around.
James: Who watches broadcast news, ever?
Jason: He’s right.
James: Who bus a record, in a CD store or whatever?
Jason: You’re right about that. iTunes did replace it. Then, people are watching Huffington Post. Huffington Post Live, is coming. Right? I was talking to Ariana, over the break. Huffington Post, they’re making serious bank, for that live television stuff. It’s interesting. I think, people will watch Huffington Post or Business Insider Live, or ThisWeekIn Startups, or ThisWeekIn Tech with Leo Laporte over watching cable news.
Kirin: But, if there’s nobody telling you, in some kind of nice fashion what to watch, how do you know what to watch?
Jason: That’s a great question. The audience tells you, by moving up.
James: Who told people to download Louis C.K. Greatest Hour?
Jason: Word of mouth. Twitter followers. Social media.
James: That’s it.
Jason: I agree.
James: He has his own platform. That’s his media company.
Jason: Last story. I want to do the Ashton Kutcher one.
Kirin: Alright. We know Ashton Kutcher is going to start in the Steve Jobs biopic, called, Jobs. It’s going to debut at Sundance, at the end of the month. Then, it’s going to be out on release, in April. This follows Jobs’ life from 1971-2000. Directed by, Joshua Michael Stern. It’s also got Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad as Woz, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine.
Jason: Oh. Matthews in it? My boy.
Kirin: Yeah. Your boy. He’s playing, John Sculley.
Jason: That’s perfect.
Kirin: There was a promo photo, that came out last month. It’s in your notes.
Jason: Yeah. I’m looking at it, right now.
Kirin: That shows the striking resemblance between Ashton and young Steve.
Jason: Oh, wow. I found the exact photo, that it was based on.
Kirin: Look at that.
Jason: I have to say, I think, Ashton Kutcher, is going to crush it in this. I think, this might be the role he was born… I think, that people might take him more seriously… Obviously, he’s a tremendously successful comedic actor. One of the most successful of our time, in television. He deserves the credit, for that. I think, this is going to break him out, as a serious actor, in dramatic roles. He understands technology. He understands entrepreneurship. I think, his angel investing and his hanging out with entrepreneurs, gives him the ability to do a performance that other people can’t do. Cause, he understands that struggle. He understands how hard it is. He understands the psyche. Man, look at the resemblance.
Kirin: It’s scary.
Jason: It’s almost scary. If you were to look at the two photos quickly, you wouldn’t be able to tell, which one is which.
Jason: Wait a second. Let me zoom this in here.
Kirin: The only thing you can tell is, the…
Jason: One’s a newer photo. They should have done a filter, on that. That is really amazing. I think, it’s going to be a great film. I really do. Modine. It’s a good cast.
Kirin: Yep. Do you think, this is going to be maybe the beginning of a whole slew of movies, whatever. About Apple, Steve?
Jason: There is another Steve Jobs movie coming out.
Kirin: Right. The Aaron Sorkin…
Jason: The Aaron Sorkin one. I think, this one is going to be better. I think, this one is going to be a little more heart-felt and soulful. I think, the Aaron Sorkin one is going to be a bigger production, or whatever. It might be a little sexier, in a way. But, I think, that if Ashton takes it seriously… For him, I think, it’s personal. I think, he really wants to play this role, cause, he respects Steve in a different way, than, whoever is going to play in the other one. I don’t know. I’m really looking forward to it. I think, Ashton is going to crush it. He might get an Oscar nod, for it. I know that sounds crazy. Ashton Kutcher to get an Oscar nod. I think, he going to nail it. He’s going to get Emmy’s. I don’t know if Ashton Kutcher’s got Emmy’s. I’m sure he does. I think, he could get an Oscar nod for something like this. If, he does the kind of performance, I think he can do. I think, this is the role he’s been waiting a lifetime to play. What do you guys think?
Ben: It’s going to be like, Walter Isaacson’s book. It’s going to be a big hit. It just is. I think, he’s underrated as an actor. He’s going to do a great job, with this. I think, it’s something that people are very interested in. It’s going to do well.
Jason: He did a stunt in this film, called, Butterfly Effect. It was very good. Back in the day.
Ben: I saw that movie.
Jason: Yeah. It was pretty good.
Kirin: I have no idea.
Jason: Like sci-fi. A little more serious role, for him. He’s such a good comedic guy, that it’s hard to take him serious. In a way, like Bill Murray, later in his career started doing things like, Razor’s Edge. Broken Flowers.
Kirin: Adam Sandler, trying to be more…
Jason: I thought, Funny People, was Adam Sadler’s best film. Adam Sadler’s other films were dumb. I can’t watch The Waterboy. That stupidity. Funny People, I’ve watched that film five times.
Kirin: Jim Carey, making the move from…
Jason: Oh, Jim Carey. Man In The Moon? That’s an amazing performance. I love that. That’s another film, I’ve seen five times. I like when these comedic guys go serious and try something, a little more, gravatas. What do you think, James? You excited?
James: Yeah. I’m excited, for this one. I’m also excited about the Sorkin one. The interesting thing about this one, is it’s more a biography of Jobs. The Sorkin one has only three scenes. You know, with Sorkin, there’s going to be fast dialog, back and forth. I think, it’s going to be a totally different movie and a different side to Jobs. I think, both will be interesting.
Jason: This has been an amazing program. Everybody follow James Altucher, on Twitter. His Twitter handle is @jaltucher. Everybody follow, James Altucher. Read him on Business Insider and TechCrunch. Ben Parr, is of course, @benparr on Twitter. BenParr.com. You can check out his new fund, at where?
Ben: @dominatefund. We’ll talk more about it, soon.
Jason: Dominate Fund… the name. Dominate. A wee bit aggressive, aren’t we? What’s the thinking, there?
Ben: It comes from an old phrase, that my partners and I have used, the last 4 or 5 years. Everyday dominate. That’s how we see it. Take everyday and dominate it.
Jason: I love it. I love it. That’s great. I love it when a VCs name indicates some sort of philosophy. First Round Capital. True Ventures. Both of those, it’s sort of their philosophy. True wants to do things, like, very honest and that really works for users. I think, is their idea behind True Ventures. This is truly a venture that is important. First Round, they get into the first round of deals. People say, “Oh. That’s what you do. First Round. You do first rounds.” It’s like a smart idea, in terms of branding. If I named this show, Be A Better Entrepreneur…
Kirin: Why didn’t you?
Jason: Cause, it’s a stupid name. I’m not saying, that Dominate Fund is not a stupid name. It does require that you explain it. Or else, it seems like… I like the idea. You got to dominate and fight hard. I like aggressive, like, yeah.
Kirin: What about, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital? DomainNoob mentioned that in the chat.
Jason: Yeah. Lowercase…
Kirin: That’s just more funny.
James: It’s humble.
Kirin: Lowercase Capital.
Jason: I know. I just think, that’s something somebody does after they’ve had two bottles of wine. Like, we can’t come up with the name of our fund. We’ve had two bottles of wine. It’s like a capital. What kind of capital? No. It’s more like lowercase. Why should it be capitalized? We should lowercase it. That’s going to be the name. Lowercase Capital. Great. Let’s have another bottle. That’s how they came up with that name. I’m pretty sure. I think, people were like three bottle in. Listen. This is a great event. It’s going to be a great 2013. Thanks, to a tremendous team: Kirin, Brandis, Demant, Krute, and everybody for putting together, yet another amazing episode. We’re leveling up the guests, on the show. Getting Ben, was a great get. Ben, a good get for the show. James Altucher, we had him in our pocket. He loves coming on the show.
Kirin: Is Ben, going to be at the Launch Festival?
Jason: Of course, Ben, is going to be at the Launch Festival. He’s going to come, sure. He’s got a new fund.
Ben: I’ll dance on stage.
James: When, is the Launch Festival?
Jason: March 4th, 5th, and 6th. You’re coming. We’re having a Hack-A-Thon. You’re an angel investor. You should definitely be there, James. I’ll talk to you offline.
James: I’m actually, in L.A. early February. I’ll come on the show, on the set.
Jason: That would be great. Let’s lock that up.
Kirin: Let me know when.
Jason: Alright, everybody. Thank you, Snapterms. Thank you, to my friends at Sourcebits, for helping my friends at Instaplayer build awesome product. No thanks to the reality film/television people. Kill yourselves. We’ll see you all, next time, on ThisWeekIn Startups.