Google just acquired YouTube. It was the talk at the watercooler yesterday… and today. The news wafted around coffee shops, schools, parks, wherever. It was a remarkable sale as we all wondered how YouTube had been generating revenue (it hasn’t) and how Google was going to make it do so. Beyond that, we wondered what the guys in YouTube would be doing with all that newfound money. Not that the founders, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, are strangers to money — after all, they are PayPal alumni. No, I’m talking about the 65 other employees in the company.
How does it feel to be flush? Pretty good when you’re under 30 years old and have the whole world in front of you. My colleagues at work, who are overwhelmingly men with big imaginations were quickly spending the fantasy money on toys, booze, and ladies. Oh the corruption! I pray that they don’t end up joining startups that make it anywhere.
As for this huge deal, chuck it to the powerful chemistry behind successful high tech pairings: a marriage of technical and business know-how that transcends any kind of bond between any other two beings.
The winning formula: one reasonably intelligent geek between the ages of 25 and 35 + His best friend + An intriguing idea that everyone thinks is either nuts, impossible or unremarkable + A garage or basement (could be a spare room in a $3 million house) + A sprinkle of venture capital = A whole bunch of money that would make your head spin.
Just to remind you, here are a few well-known successful pairings in the technical landscape:
Sergey Brin + Larry Page = Google
Steve Jobs + Steve Wozniak = Apple
Jerry Yang + David Filo = Yahoo!
Bill Hewlett + Dave Packard = Hewlett Packard
So while you still have some life left in you and the weight of the world hasn’t yet pummelled you down, grab your best friend, your hotshot idea and lock yourselves in a garage and seize the moment. And if you happen to be a Stanford University graduate, your odds just got a huge boost.
Oh, and that gnashing of teeth that you hear is Mark Cuban eating his words after calling YouTube a bad name (Napster, he says). He’s just jealous that someone else could pull off a deal worth billions post dot com mania. And the vague wailing and weeping coming from the ether are the sounds of personnel at a dozen or so itty-bitty video sharing/hosting companies pondering what could have been.
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