Thomas Crampton

Social Media in China and across Asia

Esther Dyson: Investing = sex; Venture Capital = raising children.

Nov 14, 2007

Liveblogged the SIME conference in Stockholm with Ola Ahlvarsson hosting the first panel of eminent Internet entrepreneurs.

Esther Dyson on Investing
Investing is like having sex and venture capital is like raising children. Investing is quick and you feel really good. Venture Capital, however, is like a marriage and raising children: You know you are going to have problems and – like children – some turn out ok. The ones that do very well take care of you when you are old. The hard part of Venture Capital is finding the right people to surround the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs do it for love, even though they pretend they want to get rich. The hardest part is to find the managers and all the other people to surround the entrepreneur. Esther Dyson, EDventure, investor, author, Internet pioneer, blogger, US

Most of the panel centered on: What is really important right now in the Internet?

It is important that the Internet is now helping the good guys…
Esther also said that the best thing now happening has nothing to do with IT, but perhaps the result of it: The Monks in Burma and the lawyers in Pakistan are protesting. For thousands of years we have made progress on a treadmill. A new set of bad guys get into power. Now, with the Internet eroding the power of the center and spreading information and tools out to individual people we may break the cycle. You no longer need the capital for a printing press to get your message across.

…but the Internet also helps the bad guys.
Launching into the attack, Alexander Bard countered against Esther that the problem is there is something called Al Qaeda which is also using the Internet. The Internet also helps the bad guys. Alexander Bard, popstar, producer, writer, provocateur, netocrat, philosopher, Sweden

Talent generated content is really important
Bard says it is not going to be Facebook or user generated content from YouTube that will be the future. The future lies with talent generated content. Esther says the problem is that the non-talented are eroding the revenue for the talented.

Digital ID Idea is really important
Digital ID will allow talented people can have control over the content they create rather than Google or Facebook or Google controlling the content, said Johan Staƫl von Holstein, serial entrepreneur, IQube, Sweden

Profit is really important
Countering the others, Morten Lund said that profit is the future. It is not a taboo anymore. “A lot of our investments have profit. We have a nail business, for example. We sell nails with Santa Claus on them and we make a lot of money,” Morten Lund, Founder and managing partner Lund Kenner, serial investor, Denmark

How will content be paid for (an argument)
Esther: If some girl is willing to dance naked for free, it makes it harder to charge for a slightly more talented woman dancing.
Alexander: It is the guy who finds the content that gets paid.
Esther: But your friends will do it for free.
Alexander: No, they won’t do it for free. In the music industry the idea that record companies is ridiculous because I don’t have the time to go through YouTube to find the talent. YouTube is for the underclass, this is not for the mass media. Somebody has to sort out who has talent and who does not.

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Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson
About: Esther Dyson could very well be called a futurist - for decades she has been at the cutting edge of digital technology, first as a reporter for Forbes... [Learn more]

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