I mostly agree with this article from the Podcast NYC blog – killing podcasting one VC dollar at a time. I’ll admit that I have a pretty strong hard-off for Odeo, because I’m still bugged at all the fawning “Oh, here comes Evan to save podcasting” bullshit with folks talking about how wonderful they were as a company months before they released anything. Even now, a year and a half later, I don’t see that they have brought that much to the table.
My stand on VC money in any startup comes from years of firsthand experience. I worked for Web 1.0 companies whose primary business turned out to be getting VC capital, and the nominal business of the company turned out to be a sideline. I think after years of seeing VC money flow in, and zero positive outcomes from any company I have been closely associated with, I can boil this down to a sound bite:
VC money is to a business what chemotherapy is to a patient. You only use it when the recipient would die otherwise, and you have to be prepared that the treatment will wreak terrible changes and possibly be as bad as the disease.
3 thoughts on “Killing Podcasting”
One Odeo memory from Ontario Podcast Expo last year was talking to Noah Glass. I told him about family oral history, and he said something to the effect of, oh cool, yeah, Odeo can definitely help with that. So I pulled out my long-term-thinking question —are you going to be around in 80 years? I can read 80 year old family letters, no problem. What about bits? And if they’re on your servers, will your servers be around? His response, “Oh absolutely. We’re going to be around forever.” Which floored me. Not the assertion that he/they would. But the manner in which he heard and then answered the question with nary a pause or double-take about what I assume to be an unusual question about the latest and greatest. Nope, he was all breezy confidence. (Then again, it was into the evening party time, so alcohol may have been involved. But still.) My “don’t believe a thing this guy says” warning light flashed bright red as a result.
Compare that with an interview I had with the developer of MemoryMiner (which has nothing to do with Podcasting, btw). I asked him the 80-year question about where all these digital bits will reside, long term, and will he be locking users in, and he said it was the best question he’s ever been asked. And, to get this back on topic of your post, MemoryMiner is not a VC funded concern, so far as I can tell.
BTW, love your chemotherapy analogy. 😉
I found Noah to be very weird at the expo and his talk almost didn’t make sense. Oedeo as a company can’t seem to figure out what it wants. It was a directory, than it pretty much ditched that and wanted to focus on recording of podcasts. Now it’s a directory again. They have no focus, no buzz, no clue.
S&D, I don’t have any direct contact with the guys, never heard them talk or met them. I think Evan was on a panel I heard on IT Conversations about podcasting over a year ago, before Odeo had released anything. Mena Trott was also a panelist and this struck me as being the most content free talk about the medium I had ever heard before or since. No one really had much of an idea what the hell they were talking about, and that colored a chunk of this perception.
Susan, your concern is an important one and I’m glad you are out there raising it. It’s the same one I raise in the DRM sphere – what happens to this digital good I paid for when you are out of business and unable to authorize it/move my credentials to a new computer, etc? People laugh it off and yet over and over again I have watched DRM providers go out of business and leave paying customers high and dry. We can only expect the same here. I think for your use, it can never be a passive time capsule kind of thing. You have to stay on top of it and keep the media alive forever, even as devices and media change. Even now, I need to digitize my radio show tapes, which are on HiFi VHS but new VCRs won’t play because they have no video signal. It’s an eternal hamster wheel.
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