Bothsides of the Table


Any reader of this blog for a period of time will know that I’ve been long YouTube for years. Along with Greycroft, I was the first institutional investor in Maker Studios (sold to Disney for nearly $1 billion) and am still the largest investor in Mitu Network, the largest online video producer of Latino content. We have made 5 online video investments in total – some we will talk about later this year.

The reasons I have been long on YouTube specifically are very simple:

YouTube now has > 1 billion uniques / month. This is 14% of world population and 33% of all people online.
A new generation of content producer and video style has emerged that is distinctly different from what you see in TV. 40% of all of YouTube is viewed on mobile devices and of high-quality content I believe it is between 60-70% based on my insider data.
The stars of tomorrow are being built on these short-form formats. It’s hard to understand this until you attend something like VidCon and watch youth interaction with their “stars.” You have an “Elvis Presley like moment” where you realize the next generation is already consuming different media than our tastes might appreciate
If you want to build a large business in video you need to fish in a pond where the fish are. That is YouTube today.

The arguments from any detractors of building a business on YouTube are:

The CPMs are too low (< $2 per thousand impressions for YouTube tonnage vs. $18-25 for many online media or $40+ for TV)
YouTube takes too high of a revenue split (45% vs.

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I used to love blogging.

For me it was always a creative outlet. I love sitting down – often in “one take” like a classic film – and capturing what was on my mind at the moment. What I loved about it was that my thoughts were instantly in the ether, I would get quick feedback from readers and I would know where my ideas stood in the world of ideas. If what I said was shit I knew it instantly. If what I said was clever but I said it with less empathy than I should have – I knew that, too.

Blogging proved to be a great way to hone my ideas, have public conversations with people and as it turns out – build meaningful relationships through public dialog that spilled over into the real world.

Somewhere along the way blogging changed. From the very first time I listened to Airplanes by B.o.B. it resonated.

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Whew!

We’ve been dying to tell you all for a while that we had raised a new venture capital fund and of course given SEC filing requirements the story was somewhat already scooped by the always-in-the-know Dan Primack a few weeks ago.

We raised $280 million. Our last fund was $200 million but as you may already know since we raised that fund we added new partners Greg Bettinelli and Kara Nortman and Venture Partner Hamet Watt – all of whom are busy looking at new deals for the firm in addition to Yves Sisteron (the founder), Steven Dietz (also part of founding team) and myself.

The speaks to the continued confidence in the venture capital markets and

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I spend a lot of time with startups and thus hear many companies talk about their approach to sales and their interactions with customers. From these meetings you can really tell the leaders that care deeply about their customers and those the look down on them. Given customers & sales are the lifeblood of any organization you’d imagine everybody would respect their customers. You’d be very wrong.

I was thinking about it this week through some snippets of recent experiences.

Starting with a positive. I had dinner this week with a top new customer at one of our enterprise software investments. I wish I did more enterprise software investing because when I attend meetings like this I realize that this is my core DNA – rolling out business software solutions to customers. The entire dinner was a discussion of what it would take for our software to help this customer be successful, what he liked about it and where we needed to improve. It was a personal discussion and you could tell that our senior leaders and he shared friendship as well as respect and admiration.

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“It stops today.”

I spent the entire day yesterday in a deposition so I was offline from the world around me – a rare day of no email, no social media and even no news. I had been awake since 5am, returned home from work at 9:15pm and was exhausted with my only goal of decompressing and tuning out from the world.

I could not.

I barely slept last night. I read that a grand jury chose not to indict the police officer responsible for brutally killing of an unarmed black man: Eric Garner. I simply couldn’t believe it was true. I don’t remember feeling so angry at injustice in a very long time. I first saw the video of the police aggression towards Eric Garner when it was released and you probably did, too. If you haven’t re-watched it – as hard as that may be – please do.

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