Michael Seibel – Justin.tv & Socialcam 3 of 3

"Overnight success is never actually overnight.” Michael and Justin.tv empower their 40 million member live video community to go mobile via Socialcam.

Matthew: Before we close, Michael, we’d love to get your vision of Justin.tv and Socialcam and how you, how you hope it’s gonna change the world.

Michael: Sure. For Socialcam, the way that we look at it is that before smartphones, startups had no access to the ingestion point for video. You had to be Flip or Sony or Panasonic in order to be in the hands of someone who’s syncing video. You look at sites like YouTube, and all the videos are essentially taken somewhere else. YouTube is the distribution point

With smartphones coming out, we realized that a) Smartphones are replacing all of the other video recording devices; b) All you have to do to gain dominance in this market is build an application. You don’t have to build that hardware. It’s much, much cheaper; and c) a lot of the big guys in video feel like they’ve already won, so they don’t really understand that there’s now this massive opportunity around video ingestion. There’s no way that the Panasonics, the Sonys of this world are going to fill that gap. They’re not going to be building the next generation iPhone apps and Android apps.

We really see Socialcam as a replacement for the camera application on your phone. It’s everything you’d ever want in that camera application. We think by controlling the ingestion point for your video content, we’re the place where you store it, where you decide where it goes, whether it gets to Facebook or Twitter or YouTube, or whether you want to email or SMS it. In that way, we jump in front of all the other video sites and essentially become this amazing leverage point where, even if you don’t want to distribute it on any of these other sites, we’ve got you because you’re using us to capture the video. That’s kind of our path forward.

Matthew: In your professional development, has there been an individual or mentor who has impacted you, and then in terms of Justin.tv and Socialcam, have you had a mentor or individual that has really provided some guiding light?

Michael: I haven’t had one mentor throughout the entire process. What’s great about the Valley is that a lot of people are going to step up and give you a hand and give you good advice. There have definitely been a lot of people along the way, both inside Justin.tv and externally, who have been able to give me amazing advice. I certainly wouldn’t be anywhere without them.

One of the things that’s pretty hidden when people talk about startups is basic management. I am the only non-technical co-founder. Being able to manage engineers without being an engineer is definitely a hard skill that I think you just have to learn through practice. Also, being able to essentially deal with the co-founder team while also being a CEO is a very tricky dynamic. One of the things I didn’t realize when we started was just how much training, organizational training and experience I’d get doing this. That’s just another reason why you should start a startup. There’s no other job where I’d have as much and as valuable experience as I do now, in the first four years.

Matthew: What do you make look easy? When I ask this question, what we’re trying to do here is to dispel some of the myths that people have about being a founder and being an entrepreneur. You weren’t birthed from the womb with the product in hand and financing in hand. There are a lot of steps that got you here. Especially as a non-technical founder, I imagine you have some insights in terms of what your talents and skill sets are, what you bring to the table that’s enabled it to be easier to launch, and then what’s been difficult and how have you managed that?

Michael: That’s a great question. I think in our co-founding team each person brings a different skill that combined is really valuable. One of the things that has been really helpful for us is knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We all know that each person is bringing something unique to the table. Therefore, I can look really smart when I say something, but it’s really four people saying something. It’s really the combined input of everyone.

In terms of how it looks easy, I read this funny quote the other day. I’m going to screw it up, but essentially it’s something like, “Overnight success is never actually overnight.” People tend to only look when something exciting and flashy is happening and they think, “Oh, that’s awesome.” They don’t see all of the heartache and the pain that goes into it.

So I would say don’t assume you can’t do something because you don’t have that magical idea or you can’t just call someone and raise the money. Nobody in this game got to where they are now without a lot of heartache, without a lot of pain and rough times. When you really think hard about it, at least for some people, they would rather have those hard times than work the 9 to 5 where the buck never stops with them. It’s always somewhere else, and whether they’re there or not, they’re not special.

Matthew: Excellent. Great words of wisdom. We think our audience is going to appreciate that. Michael, it’s been a pleasure having you as a guest on FounderLY. We’re rooting for your success with Justin.tv as well as the new Socialcam app.

For our audience, you can visit the Apple app store to download the Socialcam app on your phone. You can also visit www.Justin.tv and you create your own channel and participate as a member of their community.

Michael, thanks again for being here. This is Matthew Wise with FounderLY.com. Thank you.

Michael: Thank you.


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