Analysis, Cool companies

Kevin Rose — Silicon Valley’s first Tom Cruise?

Here’s more indication that the consumer Internet is moving closer to the Hollywood operational model. In Hollywood, movies are often popular because of a star power like Tom Cruise. The movie doesn’t have to be good, but if Tom is in it, it will make money. In tech, things have traditionally been different: your product has to make sense and work. Value is created, not just through popularity, but by first-mover advantage, or technical excellence, or discovery of a new business model… typically something substantial.

Certainly there are a few serial winners in Silicon Valley like Steve Jobs, or Mike Cassidy (directhit, xfire) or Peter Thiel (paypal, facebook), but each time they’ve succeeded, they’ve done it from scratch, producing great products and great teams that battled their way to the top. They were never Tom Cruise. Their involvement didn’t guarantee success. In fact, most of the time, when you see people say “He’s done it before, so he can do it again this time, I’m puttin’ money in!” … it typically doesn’t work out. The tech market is unforgiving.

But Kevin Rose, with Pownce at 700 on Alexa in the U.S., may be revealing himself as Silicon Valley’s first Tom Cruise, where if he’s involved with something, it gets high adoption, which creates value, as long as it’s a network effect business. Is “Executive Producer: Kevin Rose” (ala Speilberg) far off?


4 thoughts on “Kevin Rose — Silicon Valley’s first Tom Cruise?

  1. well especially with Digg as the marketing / distribution arm, Kevin has a big head start over anyone else… but i think you’re right; folks like kevin & ev & stewart / caterina are developing a fan base that will probably follow him to the ends of the earth. (or in the case of justin kan, into bed 😉

  2. Amit says:

    James, I saw you speak at Princeton this year, and while I was impressed, I feel like your whole shpeel along with techcrunch are exactly what’s wrong with silicon valley today. You guys are out pumping products that will absolutely never become the next big thing, and somehow you have the pomposity to believe that you’re doing something differently.

    After attempting (and failing) at my own venture this year, I realized something. 90% of these startup fiends that read your blogs are awkward nerds trying to do something they think is cool, though very few have original ideas, products that make a difference, or any ability to truly make it big.

    Frankly, I’ve become disenchanted with this whole entrepreneurial talk that you do, and I’m leaning closer and closer to switching out of CS and becoming a banker, because I honestly think it would be more worthwhile and more fun.

  3. rprockey says:

    My personal likes and dislikes aside, I would say your pretty close to the mark. Kevin Rose has a lot of geek cred. Another point is, like any movie star in Hollywood, Kevin happens to be plugged in to a really great network of talented people that are inspired and can make things happen. LOL, who do you think will be the first geek-celeb to be on the cover of Star?

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