$1.65 billion. In US dollars. That number again: $1,650,000,000. Or with even more offensive, obscene zeroes, $1,650,000,000.00. That’s how much two twenty-something dorks, not unlike myself, made out of selling YouTube.com to Google. I hate those guys. They haven’t even been in business for a whole a year, and they’re multi-millionaires. And it’s not just jealousy. Okay, so it’s mostly jealousy. But I still hate them.
Why do I hate them? Let me count the ways.
1) They infringe copyright. Okay, so my own personal record in this area isn’t 100% clean. Like every other nerd back in the day, I used Napster. I downloaded a few episodes of The Daily Show via BitTorrent before it arrived on cable here. And so on. Our generation doesn’t particularly care about crossing the ‘t’ and dotting the ‘i’ in copyright. But here’s the thing. I never made $1.6 billion out of infringing copyright. For instance, this clip from The Chaser’s War On Everything has been viewed 220,000 times – with YouTube making money out of the advertising every single time. Sure, we gave it away, but it still seems wrong for someone else to make money out of it – both through the advertising, but now primarily through the site’s purchase.
2) And they get away with it. This irritates me even more. I’ve always argued that disseminating copyright material is actually often in the interests of its owner, especially when it’s in clip form, because it creates demand. The recording and film industries have never bought that argument, though. But now, by signing deals with YouTube, a number of record labels have. Which is why their company’s suddenly worth all that money, instead of a deadly liability as some have argued (and some still do.) YouTube has announced plans to post every music video ever, which would be superb. And make me hate them all the more.
3) They’re massive nerds. Seriously, even I would kick sand in the faces of these guys. Look at their darn geeky, goofy faces. Hear their nerdy, now-billionaire laughs. Listen to their dorky “two kings” analogy. These guys may be, in some respects, IP pirates. But Captain Jack Sparrow would eat them for breakfast. Hell, Orlando Bloom would eat them for breakfast.
4) Google are good to work for. The ‘Googleplex‘ has foosball, air hockey, ping pong tables, roller hockey, barbeques, free food, even “Bring your dog to work” day. I don’t even get to work at Fairfax’s offices, being but a lowly blogger, but I’ve been in there occasionally, and let me tell you, there’s no roller hockey.
5) Sorry, I still can’t get over the $1.65 billion thing. That’s 2,217,157,780.97 Australian dollars. Or 196,675,020,891.79 Japanese yen. Or 44,356,950,000.17 Russian roubles. Or 26,480,849,999,831.04 Vietnamese dong. I hate them even more in dong.
6) It’s the American Dream. You know, that whole propaganda thing that if you can come up with the right idea, you can make it big. So those who are slaving away on minimum wage just aren’t working hard enough, or somehow otherwise have themselves to blame. This somehow makes it all of the rest of our fault that we didn’t think of the idea, and make ourselves multi-millionaires. Like it’s my fault that Google didn’t just buy this blog for a cool billion. (By the way, if anyone from Google’s interested, let’s talk. I’m very cheap. Can’t you tell?)
So if anyone has an excellent dotcom startup idea, and wants someone onboard whose only real skill is complaining, get in touch. We could be Google-share millionaires.