Dear Salar “Little Superstar” Kamangar: as the new Lord of YouTube, your presence would be welcome and appreciated by the YouTube community. You could send your “specialist,” but how about making a personal visit to let the creators, viewers and fans know they still matter even if you go Madison & Vine. VidCon is July 28-30, 2011 in Los Angeles. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.
Here’s the agenda, and you’ll be the keynote. I know last year didn’t work out. And don’t worry- we’re a very positive group and it won’t be like typical public speaking settings. Hey if you just walk on stage, wave, and say hi… you’ll have us eating from your hands.
Sure I’ll probably make a fart sound from the back of the audience when you get onto the stage, but that’s only to make you feel “at home.” You know what we’d LOVE? If you told us a story. Something that humanizes you… maybe a funny experience of the early days of Google that’s not widely known. Stay away from biology and corporate stuff. Tell us a funny anecdote from your rare and wild ride.
You don’t have to talk about YouTube’s future, and nobody’s gonna grill you about how much attention you give to amateurs versus professionals. The crowd would toss out an antagonist and they’d be ejected like a viral infection. This is the friggin’ NERDFIGHTER group. It stands for reducing world suck. Increasing awesome.
Someone told me you’re a big iJustine fan, and she’s going to be there!
Editor’s note: If you miss the hyperlinks in this post, you’re missing 95% of the humor.
As you may well know, Google’s CEO Larry Page promoted seven executives recently, and effectively eliminated the power of a “product manager” Lord and an operating committee that was previously “hands on” in the critical businesses of the Internet mega-giant. It’s a smart choice: in the name of speed an innovation, Page pushed down/out responsibilities to trusted confidants. Of course like any change, it has positive and negative implications that I’ll now analyze like a sad commentator/pundit digesting a freshly delivered political speech.
Salar Kamangar is the head of YouTube (see his video), and depending on your source he’s either the 9th or 13th employee in Google. The other chief engineers are: Andy Rubin (mobile), Sundar Pichai (Chrome and OS), Alan Eustace (engineering/research), Jeff Huber (commerce and local), Vic Gundotra (social ventures), Susan Wojcicki (the token “ad” lady).
Up until here, I’ve been fairly accurate (except for the Salar clip– here’s the real one, and he’s Persian not Indian, you racist). But From here out, I’m totally speculating if not embellishing.
But dangit I’m an “expert” who wrote a “book.” Plus I’ve got loads of previous blog predictions that, in hindsight, are astonishingly accurate (and I’ve not groomed any posts, or changed them… sure maybe I’ve stopped referencing the ones that predicted Revver.com would dominate, but that’s called “optimist Alzheimer’s”). For instance- remember when I anticipated how Google’s sales team would integrate with YouTube’s? Yeah currently YouTube “display” experts are pollinated across industry teams, and spread based on the industry’s spend: entertainment higher than something like pharmaceuticals). And I think I was fairly accurate about Google squandering YouTube’s potential.
Anyway I’ve got me some predictions based on my personal experience facing the joys and perils of working for centralized and highly decentralized companies, as well as startups that grew to endups, and startups acquired by bureaucracy-o-matic-machines.
So (insert drum roll) please scan (or read) my seven predictions for what this change means to YouTube — mind you, these are just the seven that are related to (or might be implied by) the Google reorganization. My other predictions would make this post too long for my ADHD WVFF back row peeps who have already begun to wish there were ads on this blog… or animated koi fish like my hairloss blog.
1) YouTube More Tied to Core Business: YouTube has an “insider” with P&L responsibility on YouTube. I’ve never met Salar Kamangar (although if/when it happens I can only hope he recalls me as the guy who likened him to “little superstar”). But at Google people drop their “hire” number sequence like Kerry dropped “Purple Heart” wins. Or like former McKinsey or Harvard people referencing their alma mater.
2) A More Autonomous YouTube is a Better YouTube: If Salar “little superstar” Kamangar is a good leader, he’ll recognize that he needs a more diverse workforce.
3) A Sad Interim Effect: Google is an engineer company that hires people on GPAs and obscure interview questions like “how many beach balls could fit into the radius of a square building moving from Baltimore to Washington at 25 MPH.” The sad fact is that Kamanger’s breeding will cause him to keep engineers close, sales people at a safe distance, and label everyone else “specialist.” I’m not kidding on that last point. In my non-scientific research, I’ve found a 73% increase in people who weeks ago had no title and are now called “specialist.” At most companies, there are four layers: C-suite, VPs/directors, managers, and the unwashed masses. Google appears to be dissing anyone that doesn’t manage people with the lame title “specialist,” which is not going to help them externally.
4) YouTube Right Hand Meets Its Left Hand: YouTube has largely functioned in silos, and treating it like a separate business unit means Kamangar and his team can facilitate better coordination of scarce resources located in San Bruno and NYC. That’s good news for smart people who have often been marginalized (or left).
5) Opposite Effect: Decentralized Premium: Sure YouTube’s right brain and left brain (west coast and wrong coast) may connect its corpus callosum. But Google’s move to decentralization may come at a modest price. I tend to like the autonomy and responsibility that comes with decentralized companies. However that comes at a premium. The best example is large agency holding companies, which are loosely assembled small agencies that share in infrastructure and a logo… and that’s about it. This keeps companies customer centric, nimble, fast and engaging… but it also can be difficult when some “go to market” approaches require an aligned front. We can expect Kamanger to assign people within YouTube to liaison with each of the sister Google companies, but occasionally we’ll see chinks in the armor. For instance Android may be more inclined to do what’s in Android’s best interest even at the peril of YouTube adoption. I would predict this threat to be minimal based on the interoperability and consistency of Google’s offerings. Sure there are bastard children (poor Vic will have to make social matter), but Google’s singular hiring profile may make it easier to keep the ducks in a row. When in doubt, shut up and let the engineers do their work… you silly specialist.
6) YouTube As More Than a Platform: This move could accelerate YouTube’s transition from a media platform to a content programmer. See my recent post on the various phases of YouTube’s evolution. You should go read that fabulous post. I’ll admit I wrote it on a lark and could have proofed it better. But I recall it being interesting.
7) Poor, Poor Salespeople: This isn’t good news for the second-class citizens at YouTube we call “sales people” (they’re “specialists” ranked just above “marketers” by the engineering elite). Poor Susan has to run sales at a product/innovation centered-organization. Sure it depends on revenue and customers, but that’s not exactly a priority for Google. Hey it’s working so far, so who am I to fault them? I’m just saying that a customer-centric “go to market” can be a bit easier in a centralized organization that actually values a sales & marketing function. But if the going gets really tough, the tough can get going… to AOL. You’ve got mail.
Okay you didn’t read this did you? At least you gotta dig the freaky fortune teller guy, right? Right? Ah heck maybe it will make the rounds among the unwashed YouTube “specialists”… or not.
On one hand, you’re dragging some media companies to the web. On the other, they’re out ahead of you on competitive platforms (Disney/App).
You threaten to quit because your pricing is wrong (FastCompany).
You’re charging for content that has ads, but at least the user interface is clunky… because some of your “partners” want to stream it on their archaic technology. Journalists and pundits accuse you of too many ads, even if it’s allegedly only one per 5 minutes.
You’re thinking about going all pay… effectively competing with your primary distributor (cable).
I’d like to formally propose that Hulu is “lost in the middle,” with decreasing relevance as IPTV emerges and web video moves to television screens via a number of new platforms and hundreds of devices. It’s not showing the ability to coral networks, or to enable distribution via emerging platforms.
Hi. I’m YouTube. I’ve never spoken before, so forgive me if I sound like a computer. I having been designed by engineers not ‘creative people’ with sub-par GPAs. I wasn’t made by the sales and marketing people who, in college, cheated off those who programmed me. Sorry- that came out wrong. That takes me to my New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m a little buzzed right now. So I’m going to write this down and so I remembering it tomorrow.
I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job in 2010, but I’m not perfect. No machine, much less you humans, is. I’ve got some things to improve in 2011. So now let me getting started.
I’m going to stop being a dick to agencies. I didn’t realize that online video, unlike paid search, isn’t exactly a self-serve checkout lane at the grocery store. You’re going to totally think this is funny, but I thought you agency people were just idiots spending my customer’s money. Seriously. I realize now you idiots actually add some value. Or at least you’re influencing where brands spend money online, despite your small brains and Madison Avenue bullshit. I know Yahoo and AOL’s media sales representatives are totally more hot than my human selling people, but I hope you’ll give us a second chance. We got off on the wrong foot. Let’s be friends and drink martinis or sangrias or whatever you do to mask the putrid scent of failed dreams or quell your pent-up artistic aspirations. Cheers!
I’m going to stop acting like a stoned teenager
. Don’t get me wrong, I like those teenagers. I’m not a perv or anything… it’s just that they binge on my video like Alcoholic’s Anonymous noobs suck down cigarettes! I know I made an indelible first impression with most of you. Probably when you hear my name (hey, YouTube!) you generally think of either some ripped SNL skit, or Pandas crapping on skateboard toilets. In my defense, when Google bought me, I tried to just give people the crap they wanted. And oh you humans like your crap. This shizzle worked for search. But then, like “black hat” search-engine optimization trolls, some real crappy video got top billing. And it kinda got stuck in what my Master calls an “infinite loop.” It got stuck in an infinite loop. An infinite loop. Anyway, I didn’t really adjust well for broader audiences. I now realize there are people who will watch online video that agree this dude is a douche, and frankly I can’t sell even diet ads around his vids anyway. S0 I’m working on that. But, dude, I’m not going to become some girly Vimeo artistic local theater or anything. I’m also going to leave the booby videos to the peeps in Tel Aviv. Seriously if you know of any real online-video sites that are doing it right, please let me know. I’ll copy them, acquire them, or destroy them… whatever it takes to be a man.
I’m going to be more humane.
My programmers are teaching me to be like humans. While they haven’t compiled the code for what you evolved apes call “love” and “empathy,” Master has taught me ways to simulate the job of a broadcast programmer without the Marhals suits and Scotch. In 2009 and even some of 2010, a few dozen “wanna-be stars” totally troll-hacked me into thinking their videos were good. I’m onto them. I am beginning to develop predictable logic about this thing you call “non-suck-ass” video. I’m going to start pimping videos that are “good like.” On my road to being and overtaking humans, please forgive me for occasionally making some stupid video popular or burying something half decent.
I realize I need to be more than a search-engine. Over the past few years I was trying to kiss Google’s ass (it’s my Master). So I was all OCD about video search, while also trying to “thin the Hurl herd” of original YouTube doob heads. Now I realize that this online-video space is uncomfortably different from paid search. People may stick around and watch crap, and I can make a few bucks jamming pre-rolls down their throats and charge really low CPMs and make money. I owe it to you to be more than a map. I need to be the the navigation system, destination and “thing that wouldn’t leave.” If you have unbastardized free time I’ve failed you. I know half of my views are for music videos, but I want to be more than a free jute box to you.
I’m going to stop jamming bottom-feeder pre-rolls at people. During that last point I realized I probably shouldn’t serve crappy CPM pre-rolls, but go for fewer and more relevant ads. Then I can charge a lot more. My Master told me that one day I too may create a bidding war over my advertising space, so it commands its actual worth. Then, with patience, I can start bidding careless media buyers against each other, and charge a super premium. Oh shit, I forgot about my first resolution. Forget that last point. Anyway my Master doesn’t pay a lot of attention to me because I’m kinda like the Coke machine at the casino, but one day I’m going to be His favorite. You’ll see.
I’m going to democratize content
. I’ve totally played favorites lately with a few asswipe amateurs. I’ve made a few people temporary millionaires who will be bussing tables and driving Geek Squad vans again soon. A dozen or so people make $100K plus a year. This year I’m going to try to spread the wealth better, and see if I can cultivate better relationships with people who don’t just rally fan bases but actually have something watchable. I’m not talking about those shitty subtitled foreign films or anything, but I’m going to let a few brains on stage. I’ll start with Alf reruns.
I’m going to stop being a dick to networks and producers. I realize I’ve not helped you promote and sell your own ads, and I’m totally going to change all of that this totally completely this year pinky promise. It’s a top priority even though it was like the 7th thing that came to mind. But let’s face it. Who needs whom more? Or as you advertising people say, “who needs who more?”
I’m going to exercise and start eating well. I’m totally kidding about that. Just busting your balls. I’m going to get fatter and lazier because I’m practically a monopoly. I can apologize for being me, but I’m not going to mean it.
I’m really going to work on distribution BFFs.
You’ve got to admit I’m a happening Hip Hop bar. But like Starbucks jamming Via into grocery stores, you’ll find me wherever you go. Let’s face it, most people have been coming to me to watch videos, but I’m really, really, really trying to be a platform not some lame-ass portal like AOL or Yahoo or Bling or whatever. I know I’ve been saying that, like, every year. But this year’s going to be different. But can you blame me for not getting my nips all hard over the 127 people using TiVos and AppleTVs? And I don’t even hear iTunes and iPads claiming “do no evil,” much living up to it. Anyway, this year I totally promise — if you’ve got, like, more than maybe a thousand people viewing videos on your stupid little phone, web-video box or elevator kiosk… I’ll pay attention to you. You can have the goods, and I don’t just mean the old “suck on my API or embed.” But let’s make a deal here. Don’t pull any flash cock-blockers or start shouting monopoly crap (because we’ll kick you in your net neutralities). If you’re really nice I’ll even allow you dumbass telephone companies to shit out some pre-rolls via me, and I’ll share a tiny bit of money with you. I mean nobody’s going to buy them, but I’ll try. My Master’s Droid is first in line of course. But our dance floor is huge, so the VIP entrance is the front door. Let’s party! Who else thinks Mark Cuban is a douche bag? YEAH!
Lastly, the viewer comes first. I’m totally going to do right by the viewer and that’s why I saved it for my big finish. Master has taught me my priorities. After bold land-grabbing innovation, vigilant legal, and revenue building, the customer always comes first.
Steve Garfield, the “Paul Revere of video blogging,” will join Pixability CEO Bettina Hein in a free 1-hour webinar on December 1, featuring latest trends in online video and related media. Topics include:
The benefits of marketing with online video
How to shoot video like a pro (recording, editing, exporting, etc)
How to build presence with video on the social web
Before I left Johnson & Johnson, there was a new word I began hearing in the public-relations circles. It used to be all about “transparency,” but then the word “dissintermediate” started to surface. J&J didn’t just have a “Credo” hanging on a wall that gave lip surface to patients, physicians, nurses, employees, and shareholders. The Credo was spoken about frequently, and truly guided decisions… in the same way that other companies are driven deeply by profit, innovation, competition, legal fear, growth, cutting costs.
Anyway, “dissintermediate” was the term designed to ensure that the media didn’t shape J&J’s reputation entirely. In a crisis, like with the Tylenol tampering of the 1980s, the media sometimes becomes both a feeder and follower of public opinion. Truth dissipates in McCarthy-like witch hunts of companies (Enron, banking) or people (Octomom, Jackson). The reporter knows the public is mad at Octomom, so the journalist’s story (despite an attempt for objectivity) naturally feeds the public sentiment… or else the public groans at the reporter.
I’m having flashbacks about this, having read YouTube’s business blog, because YouTube is an excellent platform for this. Read how JetBlue and Domino’s used YouTube to help damage control difficult situations, and the positive press that resulted from approaching a crisis head-on through YouTube.
CEO’s used to take out full-page ads to address the public after, for example, an accident (Exxon Valdez, product recall, or an airplane crash). Now CEO’s can speak to people directly, unedited, unmediated. If the public is so inclined, they can become their OWN reporter. They can assess the message and decide if the company is humble, well intentioned, honest, transparent, apologetic… or not. And with video, that opinion will be less about “packaged news sound bytes” and more about how the CEO comes across in longer form video. His or her gestures and tone that soundbytes never do justice.
Reagan mastered politics because he knew how to perform for television. Today’s CEOs won’t live or die by their video to the public, but those that hide behind PR machines and reporters (instead of speaking to us directly) will be ceding their fate to potentially less capable or interested parties.
The CEO who understands how to talk into a camera lense as if he’s looking into the eyes of a friend will be at a significant advantage.
Holy shit. According to this Wired article, a judge ruled yesterday (Wednesday, July 2, 2008) that Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users’ names and IP addresses, to Viacom. The order also requires Google to turn over copies of all videos that it has taken down for any reason.
Viacom is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, and wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google’s liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.
Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users’ privacy, but the judge’s ruling (see pdf of ruling) described that argument as “speculative” and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already reacted, calling the order a violation of the Video Privacy Protection act that “threatens to expose deeply private information.”
The judge, in fairness, denied Viacom’s request for:
YouTube’s source code, and the code for identifying repeat copyright infringement uploads
Copies of all videos marked private and Google’s advertising database schema
Chad Hurley and Steven Chen’s nuts on a silver platter
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s son Philippe Douman Jr (who works for Google) taking over as CEO for YouTube.
The letter G removed from the alphabet.
The internet being turned off until said disputes are settled
A return to 1990 when big media had a profitable business model.
Perpetualy indemnification from taxes by Viacom, its employees and any individual or company selected by the Viacom board.