Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Conan O’Brien’s Angry YouTube Rant

YouTube is celebrating its fifth birthday by announcing that it is now generating a staggering two billion views per day. Context: In October, Google’s (GOOG) video site announced it had crossed the one billion views per day mark.

That’s a lot of videos! As usual, no word on financials, profitability, etc. But there is plenty of congratulatory back-slapping here and here.

Best part, by far: A brief anniversary message from Conan O’Brien, in which the comedian connects YouTube’s rise with America’s decline: “Nobody actually makes anything anymore. We’re all watching monkeys in propeller hats flush themselves down a toilet. And that’s why India is kicking our ass. And China, and pretty much everyone else. Switzerland, kicking our ass. Guam, way ahead of us.”

And he effectively sums up Web economics, or lack thereof:
“That’s not the point of the internet. It’s not to make money. It’s for someone you’ve never met, who’s a nerd, in Palo Alto, to make money.”

O’Brien also offers up his five favorite YouTube clips. Here are four of them. To see the fifth (something inscrutable and German) you’ll have to visit the site. If you’re time-pressed, definitely go with the cat.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work