U.S. Lost Its Mind, Disney Propaganda, Sleep's Journey, Russian Revolution on Social Media, LA Street Racing, Midnight Run...
Jason Hirschhorn, curator July 21, 2018
quote of the day
Earlier in my career, I needed to be the writer, casting director, set designer, leading man, and producer. I've been eliminating a lot of those jobs. I'm an executive producer right now. I still get to pick the best screenplays.
Danny Meyer, on the evolution of a successful entrepreneur
rant n' rave

There's a show "coming soon" to AMAZON that I'm really excited for, TOM CLANCY's JACK RYAN. At least I think I am. It seems like it's been coming soon since JESUS wore short pants. A really long time. Sometimes it makes me wonder what's going on over there. Yes, there have been management changes. Yes, we hear that JEFF BEZOS wants better, bigger, and faster. I've often thought AMAZON is the real threat to NETFLIX. Why? Because Netflix is a pure play. There is no other business that it's a loss leader for. PRIME is different. But it also makes me wonder if Amazon wants to win. Or do they just want to do enough to keep Prime, well, in prime? They seem to crush it in every sector. Are the pillars of talent, balance sheet, and Prime enough to win? Or are they cushions for their video division? There's a reason Netflix seemingly does everything and is so aggressive. They need to win. My point is that is big tech advantages matter, but so does focus, so does being in it to win it, so does having no emergency parachute. As a fan, I want what I've come to expect from them. Excellence and consistency. They are the best of the best. Amazon needs more focus and delivery in this sector. Or maybe they don't?... I met PETER CHERNIN (a friend and REDEF investor) many years ago when he (w/ ROSS LEVINSOHN) approached me and TOM FRESTON about a joint venture for video rights between FOX and VIACOM. This joint venture went onto become HULU. A company I would have loved to run had Viacom not dropped out before formation. My friend JASON KILAR was named CEO and he did a stellar job. It should have achieved the level of success Netflix has. It had what may have been the greatest head start and arsenal in the history of media startups. And they got that product mattered in addition to killer content. But JV's are tough and internal support amongst partners ebbed and flowed constantly. Worrying more about internal cannibalization than the external competition and changing consumer habits. Chernin's idea was the correct one even if Hulu still trying to live up to its potential in an even more competitive environment. MATTHEW BALL recently tweeted Peter's "10 Rules For Media Survival" from 13 years ago. Chernin knew some stuff. Some prescient, some realistic, and some protective... FRED WILSON is a VC and friend. Someone I've admired for a long time. His opinions and ideas matter to me. His AVC blog is an archive of those ideas. His recent post, "Trophy Board Members" discusses the almost always ill-thought-out idea of putting "a big name who, in theory, brings credibility and connections to your company." He discusses their self-interest and fairweather support. I've only sat on boards as an independent. And the best boards often cast their board members for help and support. As Fred says, "I am a huge fan of independent directors to complement the founders and investors on a board... But don’t put “names” on your board. Put operators, ideally very seasoned operators, who have done everything you want to do, ideally multiple times, and can help you spot the issues before they become problems and spot the opportunities with enough time to go after them." This can be a very successful strategy. Now, the CEO has to want to be helped. Has to want to be counseled. There are CEO's who will say "feed the board s**t." I've worked with one, not as a board member, and they were a disaster. There are CEO's that don't want help. So the casting may be great, but the reality is much different. This can be ego. This can be NIH. Then there are CEO's that usefully use their board for advice, intros, devil's advocates, or their specific expertise. There is no one perfect scenario but Fred points out what has worked in his eyes. His track record is pretty stellar. And at the very least, he's telling us what doesn't work... You know B's hire C's and scumbags hire douchebags... Happy Birthday to SAM LESSIN, JON COHEN, DREW BUCKLEY, DAVID WAKSMAN, HILARY ROWLAND, and ANDREW MAINS.

Jason Hirschhorn, curator

July 21, 2018