Best Thing I Saw Today

I saw this clip today from Peter Hirshberg’s TED talk from a few years ago. I don’t know the exact context of this interview. But they were talking to 14 year old girls about their thoughts on computers and TV. My favorite part is where they ask the girls if they want to run a TV network when they grow up.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Kevin Prentiss

    That’s great. “Teach them well and let them lead the way. ” : )Or they’ll teach us and lead the way anyway, which ever.

  2. John Sharp

    I used to run a TV network – a 24 hour a day music channel. These fourteen year old kids have it right – TV as we knew it is cooked, over, gone.Back in the good old days of “day parted programming”, we sold a schedule of 19 different rates(!). All that is disappearing as well – along with an entire industry. The announcement a few weeks ago (that Coke is moving advertisers to performance-based fees) says it all – these are extremely uncertain times for brand owners, and Coke has wisely decided not to shoulder all the risk.Fiber not to the curb but to that big luminescent panel on my wall – that’s what’s coming. Maybe advertisers should start offering to pay for a piece of my bandwidth costs in return for a few inserts. I’d sign up for that – so long as the mute button still worked on the remote.

  3. Vlad

    Without broadband, these kids wouldn’t feel the same way. I know I didn’t with my 28k connection. Whoever ends up controlling the gates will control visual media. With White Space knocking on the door – it might end up being a free-for-all.

    1. fredwilson

      Totally agree about broadband

  4. Keenan

    They will be running the world in 20 years. I’m listening to them.T.V. will evolve, it has to. Will it go away, no. Just as shopping didn’t go away with e-commerce. We get social value out of TV. What we will see is TV evolve, programming will continue to become more on demand. Sharing and social interaction will be developed and it will be come more interactive. We have to remember that TV is a group social activity as well as a solo activity. TV has a place just not in it’s current form.

    1. fredwilson

      Absolutely right. Boxee and twitter are leading the way on these trends

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    tv is the new newspaper.

  6. karen_e

    I feel like a teenager about the Internet all the time. I LOOOOVVVE the Internet! My husband asks me on a regular basis, “So, who do you love more, me or the Internet?””You of course, but just by a smidge!”And since leaving home 20-odd years ago, about 80% of the places I’ve made home have not even had a television. Not a lot of love there.

    1. fredwilson

      Wow. Its not just 14 year old girls, is it?

  7. Shannon M Davis

    I think too often we look to the highly educated and experienced to predict the future…. we would be better off speaking with those who have yet to create filters.

  8. Geoff Morrissett

    There have been several technology innovations in and around telecommunications, including the internet. I also believe that change is a constant. However, I have been wondering what the true economic value of recent advances has been.In general, it seems as though real US GDP has grown at a fairly steady rate in spite of these recent technology developments. Why? Are the software, hardware, and networking advances of the last 25 years not making a material difference at a macro-economic level vs. thankfully filling-in what was at the time an emerging void elsewhere in our economy?Although it is far from perfect, I attempted to depict below a continuum of basic benefits of technology as potentially perceived by customers (e.g., businesses, consumers). I hope that the formatting is preserved when my comment is posted. It seems to me that we have been moving to the right in this diagram lately. In doing so, has technology moved from delivering financial value (i.e., some impact to the customer’s operating cash flow) to entertainment value (i.e., some impact to the customer’s satisfaction)?[Businesses] [Consumers]<<—– Productivity Efficiency Convenience Utility —–>>{Cash Flow} {Satisfaction}I know that markets can be defined and addressed throughout the continuum. However, if we think we can apply technology to a given thing, does that necessarily mean that we should? With the internet an all inclusive medium of audio, text, and visual, are the entrepreneurs and VCs considering opportunities further left in the continuum for lasting rather than fleeting benefits? The internet is great for disseminating and consuming information, but not all information is of high quality or responsibly handled.Hopefully, I didn’t hijack Fred’s topic and steer it into a different direction. I’m curious as to what others think. We’re a digitally interconnected people now, but are we really connected on a meaningful level to do something worthwhile? Maybe that’s the next application evolution of the internet on a broad scale.

  9. GlennKelman

    Those kids are adorable. The networks are in deep , but the people who tell stories — who actually make shows — still need to make money. The destruction of the medium (NBC, CBS)) shouldn’t destroy the message (30 Rock, Lost) too.

    1. fredwilson


  10. davidblerner

    That last girl was clearly headed towards being a tech investor!Here’s an idea- why doesn’t USV or some group of us put together an experimental venture program run by kids and see how they do?Names anyone? I vote to call it Young People Ventures.

    1. fredwilson

      Well I certainly ask my kids what they think but I don’t always listen to themThey thought twitter was ‘stupid’ but now they love it

  11. Seth Lieberman

    Fred- here is a bit more current data for you. just a few weeks ago we teamed up with YPulseto run a survey on our teen quiz site Quibbloabout teens and their thoughts on TV. More than 2000 teens and tweens responded.Our findings showed TV isn’t quite so doomed:*The majority of respondents (64%) said they prefer to watch shows on the television versus using a DVR (26%) or streaming online (11%). However, the teen audience is definitely not dedicated to the tube:*While watching TV, most respondents said they are usually multi-tasking and tend to simultaneously send text messages (66%) and go online (78%). The bad news for TV:* If they had to give up either TV or the Internet for a week, respondents overwhelmingly said they would choose to forgo TV (76*).Complete results: teen+tween survey and the the quiz

  12. boikej

    Funny, I remember a longer version of that clip was played before someone’s presentation (not Peter Hirshberg) at the AlwaysOn Hollywood Conference in 2007.

  13. Henry Yates

    Great clip, thank you.I am interested in how the web will change the process for producing/commissioning content. As the web medium for TV content grows the process for commissioning content should shorten – a lot of the middle men will be disintermediated. Power should shift towards the (good) content creators. I would love to hear how people see this playing out.

  14. IRON100

    Perhaps what I find shocking about this is that those kids are talking about “computers going up up up” while most of the young people I see around me are more fascinated by I-Pods and mobile devices. I think were are on the verge of the end of computers as we know them. I hope these kids do not get as complacent as my generation did or they will be lapped by the ones a half-generation behind them. By the way, that half generation lives on another continent, Asia.I am quite serious, this discussion was a bit shocking to me (though they did mention downloads in passing). We shall see. Things are mutating faster than DNA in the current environment. Hope we can all keep up.

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed. But that video is two years old

      1. IRON100

        Thanks. I missed the time reference 🙂

  15. Bach

    This is a very interesting and informative clip.I have two kids (age 6 and 7) and they prefer to use the computer.based on our experience with our kids and If the TV does not evolve and merge with computer, it will lose its effect in the future.

  16. chartreuse

    I remember this the cuff…TV isn’t TV anymore. It’s just the largest screen in the house. The networks need to redefine themselves and start thinking “outside the box”. (pun intended). Do that and kids would fall over themselves to run one.

    1. fredwilson

      Ooh I love “the largest screen in the house” lineSo true

    2. fredwilson

      I reblogged part of this comment on

      1. chartreuse


        1. Fraser

          Chartreuse, you were the best professor I had. Thanks for all of the lessons.

  17. diego_ev

    This just reflects what the future will be.I’ve had the chance of seeing 10 year olds download TV shows to their iPods, and I always ask ‘Why?’ The answer is always the same: they rather watch the shows on their iPod or the computer than on the TV itself.

  18. dish network

    Great video clip. Thanks for sharing.