Silicon Valley just got another seed fund from noted tech guyy: Ex-Google employee Hunter Walk and ex-Twitter Satya Patel. The two launched Homebrew with the goal of doing seed level investments.
Hunter Walk and Satya Patel, formerly of Google and Twitter respectively, are reportedly raising a new fund for a VC firm called Homebrew. The two would bring deep experience as product managers in the Valley to a relatively small beginning in venture capital.
The trend of ‘celebrity angels’ isn’t exactly surprising. But why are we suddenly seeing celebrities become more involved in tech investing? Hunter Walk of YouTube offers three possible explanations, and pulls together choice quotations from top consumer internet moneymen.
Today, Google Director of Product Development Hunter Walk answers our five questions! And on his mind are the tools that help creators connect directly with audiences, as well as YouTube’s strategy for dealing with the content world in light of those Next New Networks rumors.
More than 35 hours are uploaded to YouTube every minute, Google’s Hunter Walk announced at NewTeeVee Live today. But the conversation focused on YouTube’s increasing multi-platform approach to content distribution, with a focus moving, in Walk’s words, “from a device-centric world to a user-centered world.”
What are some potential future features of YouTube (s GOOG)? From a New York Times story today:
- An automatically playing stream of clips customized to a user, instead of today’s list of suggested videos, which a user must click to play. “The idea is to push more videos at users in the hope of allowing them to abandon the keyboard and increasingly experience YouTube from the couch.”
- “An ‘I’m feeling bored’ button next to the search box, echoing Google’s famous ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button.”
- A way for users to tell YouTube how long they want to be entertained so that the site could make a custom playlist of that length.
The ideas mentioned above are caveated as potential test features being brainstormed, but the rest of the Times story will be familiar to NewTeeVee readers, covering director of product management Hunter Walk and his team’s efforts to get users to spend more time on the site. It’s an interesting but not new topic; I interviewed Walk about the YouTube user experience at our NewTeeVee Live conference last month, where he announced an upgrade to 1080p stream support (see video from the session embedded blow). And The Wall Street Journal had an extremely similar story this summer, with the example of a user becoming fatigued from watching tons of Van Halen videos and needing to be diverted to related or even serendipitously different content (instead, the Times story uses the very different example of Shaquille O’Neal fatigue).
YouTube streamed yet another live music event yesterday, broadcasting Alicia Key’s Keep a Child Alive benefit concert from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Google (s goog) is keeping mum about how many viewers tuned in, but similar live events have proven to draw big crowds in the past: U2’s live stream generated 10 million views in October, and the Foo Fighters clocked 440,000 live streams on Livestream.com about a month ago. Of course, even with numbers that impressive, one has to ask: What’s in it for YouTube?
That’s what I wanted to know from Hunter Walk, YouTube’s director of Product Management, when I interviewed him at NewTeeVee Live last month, and he told me that Google views live streams like these as part of a bigger strategy to get YouTube ready for the real-time video web. Walk didn’t want to comment on any plans for personal live streaming, but he made one thing clear: The technology side of live streaming would be easy to master for Google. Ustream and Justin.tv better take notice.