WARNING! YOUTUBE INSIDE BASEBALL BELOW! MORE CAT GIFS SOON!
Jason Calacanis, shown here, sold Weblogs Inc to AOL a long time ago and, since then, has been a bit of a Silicon Valley fixture.
Here in this video, he is complaining about YouTube giving his company a bunch of money of dollars that he will never have to pay back because they won’t play by his rules. I’m not saying that YouTube’s rules are great, and I don’t pretend to understand Jason’s business, but that’s crazy talk.
Actually, I heard a lot of grumbling from non-YouTuber recipients of original channel funding. After they got their seven-figure checks they wondered loudly “Where is our promotion and marketing?!” “Why aren’t you selling better ads for us?!” “Why aren’t you treating us differently from the rest of YouTube?!”
They got a million+ to launch a channel, the channels didn’t do well, and then they complained that it was YouTube’s fault for not supporting them more.
As a guy who’s been making content on YouTube for a long-ass time, and a guy who has a lot of friends who have been working their asses off for years to get to the point where they can make enough to cover their rent on good months…this kind of entitlement makes me feel a bit of the rage.
None of us ever got start-up funding. We didn’t get sidebar placement or free pre-rolls. We made content people liked, we strategized, we collaborated, we innovated, we tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed some more.
I’ve always liked Jason’s ideas, I think he’s smart. I met him very briefly at an EDU conference and he kinda blew me away with some of his insight. But if he doesn’t think YouTube giving him free money is “an equitable relationship” because they don’t /also/ give him “distribution, promotion, and sales help”, then, well…maybe he should try saying that whole sentence out loud and seeing if he actually agrees with it.
This isn’t blanket defense of YouTube of course, I will call them out when I think they’re doing something wrong. For example, 45% /is/ starting to look like a really big cut, and they might want to start preemptively looking at decreasing that before people start grumbling more loudly.
Especially as, apparently, Jason has inside information on Yahoo launching a YouTube competitor. And, y’know, since they own my second-favorite social platform now (this one) maybe that isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
Though it does sound EXTREMELY crazy.