Fred Wilson of Union Square said he thinks YouTube is one of the best things to happen on the Internet over the past several years, which got a couple of people going — including my friend Rob Hyndman, who took issue with this statement, and got a response from Fred in his comments. Rob also got kind of riled up by Bob Lefsetz’s rant against Cuban, which had that kind of breathless, drunk-guy-with-a-sticky-caps-lock thing to it that Bob does so well, and so Rob helpfully advised him to “put down the bong.”
Unfortunately, there seem to be a whole bunch of tangential — and in many cases ad hominem — arguments getting in the way of this debate. Is Mark Cuban jealous because he wishes he had come up with YouTube? Is Fred Wilson just trying to hype something Web-related because he has a vested interest in another bubble, as Rob suggests in a comment on Fred’s most recent post? Has Bob Lefsetz been spending too much time with his hash-pipe recently? And so on.
To me, there’s a litle bit too much talk about how much YouTube will (or might) be worthl. I couldn’t care less. As was the case with Napster, I’d rather focus on how YouTube is changing (or could change) the old media model, just as Slingbox and other technologies are. And one of the ways it has done so has nothing to do with technology, as Jason Calacanis points out — and has everything to do with distribution. That’s where the real value lies.