Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Chatroulette Dude: I Don’t Want to Sell. But I’d Like Google to Pay.

The New York Times gives us one more reason to peek into Chatroulette: An awesome interview with Russian teenager Andrey Ternovskiy, who built the voyeur/chat site everyone loves to talk about.

Ternovskiy is visiting the U.S. and flirting with investors, and you can see why they’d want to talk to him. The 17-year-old spent three days in his bedroom building the site, named after a key scene in “The Deer Hunter,” and it attracts more than 30 million visitors a month.

He’s also savvy enough to tell everyone that he’s perfectly happy to go it alone. Though it would be easier for him to do that if Google (GOOG) would send him a check. He says the search giant won’t pay him his AdWords money because he’s too young.

Q: Do you want investors?

A: ?I’m not sure. There are a lot of business people that are interested. I am afraid to take the offers as I don’t have a business plan. If I take the money I’m responsible for delivering on that. Right now I can survive without investors. The site uses peer-to-peer technology and my Web site is not the kind of site that needs a lot of money to run.

Q: So if someone came along to you today and said I’ll give you $5 million for the Web site would you sell it to them?

A: ?I’m not sure to be honest. The thing is, I could take the money, but what if it won’t work well in the future, I would blame myself. I don’t want to disappoint people.

You should read the whole thing, which doubles as a very nice metaphor for the Web 2.0 era.

Which turns out not to have disappeared, after all. You can now launch a Web service that attracts millions of users without having to leave your parents’ house.

But if words aren’t your thing, here’s that excellent Jon Stewart clip about Chatroulette again.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tech-Talch – Chatroulette
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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik