Friday, September 25, 2009

Twitter's New $1 Billion Valuation -- All Hype? Or, a Veritable Bargain?

Twitter just announced a new round of funding -- $100 million of fresh cash at a $1 billion valuation. This, of course, despite the fact that Twitter has to date nary a peep in the revenue department.

So, have Twitter's new investors been duped by the Twitter-azzi's hype machine? Here's one interesting perspective from TechCrunch.

And, here's another from Robert Scoble, who likely believes this new valuation is a veritable bargain for new investors since he earlier threw out numbers ranging from $5-10 BILLION (yes, that is not a typo).

One thing is certain -- as I point out in my earlier post on the subject -- Twitter is in no hurry to drive revenues, since any such efforts would give pencil-pushing valuation experts a base on which to hang their hats (and likely bring those valuations closer down to the ground).

Remember, Twitter now has $130 million in the bank. And, it has an intriguingly mysterious theoretical business model, much like its early cousin YouTube. You simply can't pin it down.

And that worked out pretty well for all involved at YouTube ...

Internet TV Gets All the Hype -- But e-Commerce Video Everywhere Is the Real Online Video Story

Online video. We hear and read about its ascendance everywhere.

YET, most of the attention gets focused on Internet TV -- i.e., so-called "premier" video content (TV shows, etc.) that is now available via Hulu and other web sites (even YouTube, of course, is trying to get into that game in order to monetize its services through real advertising). Just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published another piece about this very subject -- i.e., "TV Shapes Up as Web Battleground."

There is no doubt that THAT -- i.e., Internet TV -- is an exciting story and is shaping up to be a battleground with tremendous implications. I have written about that topic several times. It will reshape companies. It will reshape business models. It will reshape how we consume our media.

But, the REAL Internet video story in the business world -- the story that is far more significant in scope and overall impact (but is perhaps not as "sexy" as the Internet TV story and, therefore, does not get nearly as much ink) -- is the absolute dominance and impact online video will have in the world of e-commerce. We are visual creatures -- and nothing showcases, sells, or markets more effectively than video. Nothing.

And, although some businesses already "get" that and feature video front and center on their web sites right now, most are still in the dark. But, this is changing fast, as businesses of all size begin to realize this unique power of video (either by being ahead of the curve, or by being behind it -- seeing their competitors fly past them because those competitors recognized video's unique power first).

Fast-forward two years, and virtually every business online will feature video front and center.

In his recent "the company is not for sale" interview (by the way, do we really believe that?), Brightcove's CEO Jeremy Allaire drives this point home vividly, saying:

"Every organization that uses the web is going to be investing in video, as a fundamental part of how they market, how they educate, provide information ... I don't think it's necessarily dependent on internet video to the living room -- the more exciting trend is the overall ascendance of video as a medium -- there's a next wave of e-commerce that is focused on video ... the way companies communicate internally and externally, that's a great opportunity."

I couldn't agree more. In my far less eloquent words, we are only in the second inning of a nine inning game. In other words, we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Yes, in some ways Jeremy's and my company are competitors. But, there is plenty of room for both companies -- and others -- to fulfill this soon-to-be massive (yet not-yet-nearly-fully-appreciated-or-understood) need. And, consequently, there is plenty of opportunity to build massively successful businesses to serve this e-commerce-related market by empowering business owners to harness video's unique power to drive massively successful businesses of their own ...

And, THAT is the real Internet video story ... business style ...