Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Barry Diller Panders to SXSW–and It Works

One of these speakers is not like the others, one of these speakers just doesn’t belong…but the fourth-day hangover crowd at SXSW Interactive came out in force to see longtime media executive Barry Diller speak at the Austin Convention Center this morning.

Diller expressed a love for SXSW’s Web technology entrepreneurs, earning applause for his comments on net neutrality, chuckles for his stories of Segway tour hijinks, and belly laughs for a story about his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, playing Angry Birds while talking on the phone with him.

“What I like so much about this place is that so many people here are essentially following their curiosity,” Diller said.

As for another technology bubble, “we’re puffing it up pretty nicely,” he said. But, “the fact that money chases it isn’t really that interesting. What is interesting is how much sheer invention is going on.”

Diller said he’s not worried about a technology bubble, but the prices are too high for him personally. As he put it, “All the money that’s going to be lost is going to be lost by people who can lose money. So who cares?”

The IAC chairman restated a deeply held belief in net neutrality. “We need an unambiguous rule–law–that nobody will step between the publisher and the customer. Full stop,” Diller said. Charging a company like Netflix for bandwidth, he added, “would be like asking the toaster to pay for the electricity.”

Diller also made fun of News Corp’s The Daily–don’t release a product “unless you can actually use it”–said he thinks the age of Internet TV is just three years away, and urged content creators to think about longer-form Internet video and micropayments.

Image from a fake Twitter account for Barry Diller, who doesn’t seem to have his own.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus