Hmm. Curiouser & curiouser, said
His first post is on how to launch a social networking platform. It's a pretty smart post, for a number of reasons i'll discuss in just a sec.
In the post, Max makes some notable points emphasizing monetization, which i pretty much agree with in my Facebook Monetization post. He also emphasizes making geeks either rich or famous (or both), which i heartily agree with... as noted in this t-shirt design i once created for geek outsourcer oDesk.
Since i used to run PayPal's Developer Program, it's probably no coincidence i share many of Max's observations about geek evangelism (see my preso on same below, from last year's Mashery conference on The Business of APIs). The psychology of geeks is a rather freakishly strange & wonderful looking glass to step into. Andrew Chen also has some useful thoughts on the subject, particularly as it pertains to social networks. Here are some of mine:
Coming from Max, the post carries a lot of weight -- he's pretty much the Geek's Alpha Geek , and his coding & competitive prowess from both PayPal & Slide borders on legendary. Also somewhat surprising, to my knowledge this is Max's first self-authored public commentary. I'm sure he's posted in online forums & message boards before, but i believe this is the first time he's put himself out there on a permanently-visible soapbox, aside from speaking opps & recorded interviews. And i could be wrong, but the only other geek blogger at Slide.com i know of is Tyler Ballance, aka Unethical Blogger. Tyler is also an alpha-geek and is occasionally a speaker at several geek conferences i've put together such as Graphing Social Patterns.
All the more curious, this blog was launched fast on the heels of Slide's recent $50M financing broken first by the WSJ's BoomTown blogger Kara Swisher, a notorious Silicon Valley geek fag-hag (sorry Owen) who nonetheless remains skeptical on Slide's nosebleed valuation. I'm not sure i'm as pessimistic as Kara, but there's no question Slide's current valuation is matched only by Max's naked Schumpeter-esque capitalist aggression (side note: commie-pinko / socialist developers beware... Max vill crush you like bug)
For those who like to keep score, the $50 mil was done on a $500M valuation, which -- if you read Max's NY Times interview from fall 2007 -- is ~1/3 of the way to his stated "now we're talking real f*#@-ing money" goalpost of $1.5B, the amount of PayPal's acquisition by eBay in 2002. And knowing how competitive Max is, i'm sure he's also got the $1.65B YouTube acquisition by Google in mind as well... a feat accomplished by other PayPal Mafiosos Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, & Jawed Karim; financed by former PayPal CFO Roelof Botha, now a partner at Sequoia. One thing Max hates is to lose. He'd rather die trying to get to $2B+, than surrender to a lesser market cap or exit.
all of which makes me wonder just a bit: does the subtitle for Max's blog describe his famously-cynical approach to Life, The Universe, & Everything*... or does it describe Slide's valuation* ?
only time will tell, young paduan... only time will tell.
(*too bad they didn't raise $42M. would have been fucking hilarious ;)