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A Tale of Two WIGs

29 Nov

James Clark and Kristin Hinze

Here’s an interesting WIG story- I’m calling it A Tale of Two WIGS…

Once upon a  time there lived a girl called Kathy Clark. At a friend’s birthday in 2000, she meets a guy called Chad Hurley, who at the time worked as a designer for PayPal. They fall in love and get married. Fast forward 2 years, and PayPal gets bought out by eBay. Chad as one of the founding staff of eBay (he actually designed the eBay logo which still stands today)  gets a nice little payout. Not phenomenal amounts, but enough to buy himself a new Tag Heuer watch, and put some money aside for a new project (yet to be decided on). After bouncing around some ideas with PayPal buddies, Chad decides that he wants to set up an internet site that allows people to easily share videos with their friends online. So in 2005 he does. And he calls it YouTube. Nice huh? But the story doesn’t end there.

Fast forward four years to 2009, and a beautiful Australian model, Kristin Hinze, 28, is preparing to wed internet gazillionaire James Clark (Netscape founder) on Branson’s Necker Island (which also played host to Google founder Larry Page’s wedding).  If you are in to trashy TV, you might recognize Kristin Hinze’s name, because she is the presenter of Project Runway in Australia. But to be honest it would be more apt if she was presenting “10 years younger”, because that’s what she is…. Yes, she is 10 years younger than her now stepdaughter Kathy Clark  who is married to the co-founder of YouTube, Chad Hurley, and is the daughter of James Clark (get it now?!). Pretty complex so I will map it out for you.

WIG Central

Long story short, what the above map is showing you is a plethora of incredibly established multibillion dollar internet companies, a bunch of incredibly accomplished internet entrepreneurs, and bang in the centre of all, Kathy and Kristin.

Not a bad place to be huh? Nestled in the protective cushion of Google, AOL and eBay.

But actually, things become even more interesting/complex when you look back at the reported ease in which YouTube came in to existence. Hurley says that he got no help from father in law, James Clark, and that his wife merely “advised” him, but I find that very hard to believe given that her father-in-law basically owned the internet in the early naughties. So if the Clarks didn’t help Hurley out, how did YouTube become so successful so quickly? In a 2006 article with TIME magazine, Hurley attributes the success of YouTube in part to MySpace.

“The idea of a video version of HOTorNOT lasted only a couple of months. “It was too narrow,” says Chad. He notes that another early idea was to help people share videos for online auctions. But as the site went live in the spring of 2005, the founders realized that people were posting whatever videos they wanted. Many kids were linking to YouTube from their MySpace pages, and YouTube’s growth piggybacked on MySpace’s… In the end, we just sat back,” says Chad

I think it’s really interesting how YouTube managed to ride through the storm whilst MySpace crashed and burned in the wake of a competitor.

Final interesting observation about this whole ménage… it has been reported that Kathy Clark is a VERY private person. And surprise surprise I could find no pictures of her and Chad together on Google…  Oh but wait, isn’t her hubby a key Google stakeholder now that Google own eBay? Hmm..maybe ensuring her privacy was part of the buy-out deal.

Chad the fashionista...

In other news, Chad Hurley announced at the Founders Forum this October (great day out for a wannabe WIG by the way) that he is stepping down from his role as YouTube CEO. His next venture?  Drum roll please… fashion. Yup.  Are we sure he’s not a footballer??

Great ‘Wannabe WIG’ Fodder…

27 Nov

October 10 issue of Wired - "Europe's Next Billion Dollar Start-ups"

… The October issue of Wired. It’s basically a dating directory for wannabe WIGs. But on a serious note, the cover story is a really interesting and optimistic look at the European internet start up scene, highlighting a plethora of  highly successful European internet companies.

Of the dozen or so entrepreneurs profiled, one that I think I will do some more research on is Kristian Segerstrale of Social Gaming company Playfish. Those outside of the gaming industry may not be aware of the company, or its founder and CEO, Segerstrale, but Facebook users will have no doubt come across the company’s most successful game, Pet Society, which for a long while was the most played game on Facebook.

Originally from Finland, Kristian is now a British citizen who studied at Cambridge, and then LSE. He’s only 33 and has already sold two companies (Playfish was sold to EA games in 2009).   He’s a pretty ambitious guy, and in the Wired article describes Playfish’s sale to EA as a covert “reverse takeover”. It’s fair to say that his future is bright.

So I know all the girls are dying to hear one thing …what about the WIG?

Phwoar...

To be continued…

WIG to Watch – Priscilla Chan

27 Nov

As the Google Trends graph below will show you, Priscilla Chan is certainly a WIG to watch. Long term girlfriend of Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook), she has managed to keep a fairly low profile over the past seven years, whilst her boyfriend Zuckerberg on the other hand, has experienced a meteoric ascent into public consciousness. However, the imminent release of the film “The Social Network“, which tells the story of the creation of Facebook, has ensured that the public and press are starting to take an avid interest in Chan.

Graph showing the search volume for "Priscilla Chan" over time. Note the recent spike in search volume.

Whilst Chan does not feature in the film*, the film opens with a scene in which Zuckerberg gets dumped by a girlfriend (Erica Albright) due to his supposed increasing arrogance. According to reports, this girlfriend in the film never actually existed, and Zuckerberg has been dating Chan since 2002,  a long time before he came up the Facebook idea.

A recent article in The New Yorker details how Chan and Zuckerberg met:

Zuckerberg decided, instead, to enter Harvard, in the fall of 2002. He arrived in Cambridge with a reputation as a programming prodigy. He sometimes wore a T-shirt with a little ape on it and the words “Code Monkey.” He joined the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, and, at a Friday-night party there, Zuckerberg, then a sophomore, met his current girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, a Chinese-American from the Boston suburbs. They struck up a conversation while waiting in line for the bathroom. “He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there,” Chan told me. “I remember he had these beer glasses that said ‘pound include beer dot H.’ It’s a tag for C++. It’s like college humor but with a nerdy, computer-science appeal.”

If there was a school for WIGS, Chan would no doubt be headgirl. Her ensnarement of Zuckerberg has pretty much laid out “How to be a WIG – Lesson Number 1”:

How to be a WIG, Priscilla Chan Style

1) Head straight to an Ivy League frat party (n.b. getting accepted to an Ivy League first is obviously a bonus, but if not, never mind. If you’re going to be  a WIG, you’ve got to be resourceful).

2) To ensure successful hunting at the frat party, ensure that you first study the frat’s alumni list. Alpha Epsilon Pi alumni include the founder of ESPN, the ex-chairman of Citigroup, the founder of hotels.com, and an ex-president of The Coca Cola Company, to name a few.

3) Create a target list prior to the party. Normally, building this list won’t take too much research. As per The New Yorker, Zuckerberg arrived at Harvard with a reputation as a “programming prodigy”, after writing some software called Synapse (pre-Harvard), which both AOL and Microsoft wanted to purchase.

4) Once at the party, find an opportune moment to “strike up conversation” with the target,  and blindsight him with your supposed interest in him, computer code, and “nerdy college humour”.  *Girly giggle* “I love your t-shirt, it’s so funny! Oh and I love code too! Wait, Mark – I have a joke for you; There are only 10 kinds of people in this world: those who know binary and those who don’t!” *giggle*

Job done.

(I told you this blog would contain A LOT of conjecture!)

In all seriousness though, take a look at the trailer of “The Social Network“. Although Zuckerberg admonishes that this is a fictional depiction of his life at Harvard, it nevertheless looks thoroughly entertaining, and I shall certainly be watching it.

*By the way – the Asian-American girl in the film who Zuckerberg has a dalliance with is NOT supposed to be Priscilla Chan. OK?

WIGS are the new WAGS

1 Oct

For those of you who don’t know, a WAG is the tabloid term for a wife or girlfriend of a footballer, prime UK examples being Posh Spice, Coleen or Cheryl Cole. Even though they are normally quite chav-tastic, educationally challenged, talentless, perma-tanned, and their boyfriends constantly cheat on them (sometimes with grannies), people still want to be one! Yup, go figure.

But what I’ve come to realise recently is that the era of the WAG is sooo OVER. Come forth the WIG.

I know you are wondering what a WIG is, so I will tell you.

A WIG (according to me) is a Wife (or girlfriend ) of an Internet Geek.

Here are some prime examples of Internet Geeks (IGs):

Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook). Ok, so he’s not conventionally good looking, but check out his key stats. Age 25… net worth: $2billion+, according to Forbes. Not so ugly now hey!?

Chad Hurley (CoFounder of YouTube). God bless America.

Pete Cashmore (Editor in Chief of Mashable, one of the most influential blogs in the world). This born and bred sexy Scotsman has managed to make millions from his love of all things geek. Unfortunately for the UK, he has now relocated to the US. He was named by Huffington Post as one of the ” Top 10 Game Changers” in 2009. He’s rumoured to be worth over $4million.

Anyway, my point is… why are so many girls still chasing after their dream of becoming a WAG, when there is blatantly a new breed of superstar in our midst? A superstar that comes in the form of… the Internet Geek.

Really? I hear you ask… Ok let’s do some quick comparisons.

INTERNET GEEK vs. FOOTBALLER

1) BRAINS
Geek= Yes
Footballer= No

2) LOOKS
Geek= Getting so much better…
Footballer= Getting so much worse…

3) CASH
Geek=  Yes  (Lots, and lots)
Footballer= Not in same league as geek (pardon the pun)

4) CHANCES OF ONGOING FIDELITY
Geek= High. Chances are, if you get with an Internet Geek, you may be the only girl he’s ever kissed.
Footballer= Non-existent

Point proven.

Listen, behind every good man is a good woman. I’ve set up this blog to delve into the lives of Internet Geeks (IGs), and the women that make them the men that they are (or the women who wait for them to become the men that they are before they agree to that first date).  You’ll probably get a bit of start-up news, a bit of gossip, and a lot of conjecture. But whatever you get, I hope you find it entertaining.