Rather than lounging on a private beach, renowned tech innovators Chris DeWolfe and Chad Hurley shared TheGrill stage at TheWrap‘s fifth annual Media Leadership Conference on Tuesday at the Montage in Beverly Hills.
MySpace co-founder DeWolfe explained that a partnership between his site and YouTube, co-founded by Hurley, led to a spike in their initial success.
“MySpace was all about self expression,” DeWolfe told moderator Jon Erlichman. “YouTube came along and they made this super easy video platform that actually worked. And as people would put videos on MySpace, people would click back to YouTube.”
Both men eventually sold their groundbreaking online ventures for more than a combined $2 billion and are now busy creating their next digital works of art. Hurley is sticking with video in his new business Mixbit, an editing app that allows users to provide their raw photos and video while the site simplifies the “magic,” making content that is not only worth sharing but includes a personal touch not before attainable for many on social media.
DeWolfe is the co-founder and CEO of SGN — a social gaming network that is focusing on Hollywood projects moving into the future.
“We did a partnership with Fox for their new movie ‘The Book of Life,’” DeWolfe explained. “We’re going to release the game at the exact same time as the movie. It used to be more of an afterthought like, ‘well, we can do some sort of companion short videos for that movie,’ or ‘we can do an agro-game for that movie,’ and right now, I think they’re looking at mobile games as a medium that can add margins.”
SGN’s strategy is to have 30 percent of their new releases tied to IP because it’s a proof-positive method that’s paid off for others, including celebrities.
“Kim Kardashian will make more money on her game than any other project she’s done,” DeWolfe said. Glu Mobile launched the game, “Kim Kardashian Hollywood,” in June 2014. “Every time she tweets, Glu’s traffic increases by 30 percent,” he explained, and powerful stats like that are what drives the alliance between traditional media and online gaming.
Both DeWolfe and Hurley forever altered the ways consumers watch movies and television, but they are both self-confessed cable subscribers. According to Hurley, “I’m trying to keep some people down here employed.”
Hurley, who sold his stake in YouTube to Google in 2006, stayed on with the company even after the acquisition. Why? Because when you believe in something, you see it through.
“Google took a risk on us at the time and I wanted to see it through as a business and when I felt we had accomplished what we set out to do and it was in good hands, I could move on,” Hurley said. “I just find the video world fascinating and interesting and there are still solutions yet to be discovered and problems that are yet to be solved.”
Finding the next problems and solutions is what keeps him busy today. He also stated that had he not sold YouTube to Google, the site that we know now might have never survived, putting the odds at 50-50.
DeWolfe isn’t suffering from seller’s remorse either, affirming that it’s not the money that motivates him.
“I’m all about seeing people using the product my company builds,” he explained. “That’s what gets me excited and I’ll keep working for the rest of my life so long as I can do that.”
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