Having watched this unfold since the beginning I’ve been trying to not post anything until YouTube announced who the buyer was.
Now we know it’s Google, and the amount (£883m).
I have to say I’m surprised (like some thougthful others), depressed by the inevitability of a company being shaped by its message to the markets (“oops we missed MySpace”) than solid strategy, unhappy about the sheer waste of money on vapour, confused by the need to buy something that is popular because it “ignored the copyright issues” and, franky, isn’t that hard to beat/dilute (over any reasonable timeframe), annoyed by the fairly explicit exploitation of individuals and creatives (given the size of the deal and it being based on UGC), bored of the repetitive short-sighted nature of the Dotcon 2.0 “boom” and amazed that people still think that this approach is a good one. I thought we’d moved on (but then I keep forgetting about human nature).
The whole idea of “buying customers” in this age is nuts. We’re at a point where there are no customers, they’re their own customers and shift like sand on a whim.
There’s not much point in deconstructing this further, but just think. If you were amongst the most important “glue” in the Internet Communications age, and had $1bn to spend on something, what would you do to make a difference to the world?
Even if a generic video file sharing site is a good long-term investment, YouTube cost just $13.5m to “make”. For $1,600m you could set up 120 competitors, each in a different country, and stop being so Team America.
Being led by the capital markets is fatal in our emerging world. “Do no evil” is simply not good enough any more.
Roll on Web 3.0.