Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Reddit, Brought to You by YouTube

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Reddit’s rollout from niche site to Internet-swallowing Mega Meme-Maker continues. This time with help from YouTube, which is paying the Conde Nast spinoff to make “Explain Like I’m Five,” a video miniseries based on one of the site’s “subreddits.”

What’s particularly interesting here is that this doesn’t appear to be one of the YouTube “funded channel” projects the site has been promoting for the past year and change.

Instead, says Reddit general manager Erik Martin, Google’s video site has given them money for these specific clips, “and may fund others in the future … [but] anything down the road will be case by case.”

That’s different from the route YouTube has taken when it wants to encourage content makers to create stuff for the site. In the past, it advanced video makers millions of dollars, then more or less set them free to make what they wanted. (Though the economics are somewhat similar this time: YouTube funds the entire cost of production, pays itself back via ad sales, and once/if the videos recoup, will share revenue with Reddit.)

Since that approach has had a mixed record, this more focused effort makes sense, at least as an experiment.

Plus, this stuff is funny:

Of course, little kids and big ideas can often be funny. Could have sworn I’ve seen this one mined multiple times on “The Daily Show.” But here’s the only version of it I could find with a cursory search:

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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