Kara Swisher

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Slide's Max Levchin Talks About Web 2.0, Redux!

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Almost two years ago, just as Web 2.0 was heating up, BoomTown did a three-part interview with Slide founder and CEO Max Levchin.

Soon after, the popular maker of social networking applications, often called widgets, grabbed a big pile of cash from new investors–$50 million from Fidelity and T. Rowe Price–which put the value of the company at $550 million.

So, it was high-time for another visit to see him, especially after the recent recession has forced a lot of high-flying Silicon Valley darlings like Slide to wise up a little and get down to business.

That has meant tightening up costs, abandoning some business plans and drilling down on others.

Previously, Slide’s financial strategy had included making money from selling premium versions of its software, as well as selling advertisers on its large, although disparate, audience with display ads.

Now, says Levchin, it is still about premium products, but also about selling a brand “experience” rather than less effective and increasingly commoditized network-style advertising.

The products have also evolved, although Slide still essentially makes a wide range of innovative widgets that have been attracting many millions of users each. They include everything from slide shows to a software program called SuperPoke that allows a user to poke another in a super way.

A lot of Slide’s initial growth had been through taking advantage of the popularity of MySpace and Facebook.

But, since then, the company has been trying to be a kind of distributed content and application company that is not wholly dependent on large platforms.

Here’s a video of my interview with Levchin at Slide’s new HQ in San Francisco:


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”