With All Due Respect

We spent the Christmas week on the beach with family and friends. Our friends John and Diana were with us and we talked about a lot of the things that are in the news at the intersection of tech and society. John asked me to take that conversation onto his TV show, With All Due Respect, and I did that yesterday. Here is the segment.

#policy#Politics#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    When innovation mainstreams there is bound to be big hiccups and public messiness.Well said Fred and Happy New Year to you!

    1. fredwilson

      Happy New Year to you too Arnold

  2. Daksh

    Not sure if the question related to Uber was an “Either or” type, but to think of Uber being the “Google of URBAN transportation” has some implications -:1. Google is pervasive across the world barring very few select countries. For Uber to reach there will be a different challenge as its core business is highly dependent on local regulations and local perceptions2. Google is a gateway into a fairly homogeneous traffic and highways of the internet. Not sure if “Urban mode of transport” can be considered as unified as the Internet.3. Of the many ways to enable Urban transport, the more sustainable ways might be means of mass transport. Uber is not a “mass mode” of transport, it should be considered as a point to point mode involving fewer people.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Agreed. Uber is not the Google of anything.

      1. awaldstein

        You are being too literal.It is the Google of transportation to me. It’s the verb for the action of hailing a car.When you get off the plane in a place, like St. Petersburg, where there may not be the service, you will still ask, how do I get an Uber?It is the winner.

        1. fredwilson

          Sadly I agree with you Arnold. I think there’s a business in being #2 or #3 like Bing and Yahoo in search. But they seem to have locked up the #1 spot

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            For now. Never say never, said the founders of Yahoo and MySpace.

          2. laurie kalmanson


          3. Matt Zagaja

            Once you’ve found the best (or a good enough) website on how to skin a cat there is little value in finding different ways to get to the same website. The most important thing (search result quality) is difficult to differentiate on unless Google is really missing something or gets overrun with spam.

          4. laurie kalmanson

            exception that proves the rulehttp://www.projectrebrief.c…When Paula Green created Avis’ “We try harder” campaign with art director Helmut Krone, it was a triumphant success.More than a catchy advertising slogan, Avis adopted the phrase as the company’s manifesto. In just four years, the rent-a-car company had overhauled every facet of their business, resulting in a market share increase from 11% to 34%. With just three words, Avis had set a new standard for rental car companies around the world. A testament to Paula’s vision, half a century later, ‘We Try Harder’ remains the company’s tag line.

          5. LE

            When Paula Green created Avis’ “We try harder” campaign with art director Helmut Krone, it was a triumphant success.True but if you are going to dump a boatload of money on the problem many times you can defy gravity. Especially in the 60’s which is when that campaign launched. Creativity is only 1/2 of the solution.Remember also, and this is important, that Avis did that during what I will call “the golden age of attention” (just made that up). You had your major networks which everyone watched, and your local paper which everyone read. So media buying wise it was quite doable. My guess is that today Avis would not be able to pull off that campaign because there are no ads to buy in Business Week anymore and to much visual content to place advertising on TV and the web. And people’s attention is scattered are all over the fucking place.

          6. laurie kalmanson

            all true

          7. Elie Seidman

            I use Lyft and uber interchangeably in NY, LA, SF, and Austin. No discernible diff. Most of the drivers drive for both.

          8. awaldstein

            why bother? in la and ny uber is pretty well everywhere.

          9. Elie Seidman

            I like an underdog.

          10. awaldstein

            As do I.Honestly the second tier is not doing a very great job of letting me know they exist.Not my job to hunt them down, their job to let me know their an alternative with value.

          11. Elie Seidman

            Yeah – I agree that they have done a poor job getting the word out. But Uber has done a great job of helping them. Better lucky that smart? FWIW, the quality of service that I’ve experienced has been the same.

          12. awaldstein

            OK–I’ll give someone else a shot.Considered me convinced to try.

        2. Daksh

          Actually asking for an Uber is not pervasive enough and will probably not be as pervasive as asking for a bus/ auto/ train/ cab in Urban areas across the world. So the key point is -:- Uber as Google of transportation in certain parts of the world –> Maybe- Uber as a verb for transportation across the world –> No- Uber as a verb for cab-based mode of transportation in Urban areas –> Maybe- Uber as the verb for other modes of transportation (considering multiple areas in the world have trains/ buses at airports which are more economical and perhaps faster) –> NoIf we define the space narrowly enough (Urban/Cab-based/point-to-point/Shared etc.), maybe Uber will be a verb. But that is not what we are speaking of, are we?Note: All comments above to be prefixed by “With all due respect”. It makes it sound much better!

        3. LE

          What you are saying supports the concept that having a good name in certain startups can be a game changer and a huge advantage.Unfortunately like pet names for people, it’s hard to plan for that to happen. You can definitely prevent it from happening though by choosing a name that is a non starter to end up as a verb.Uber rolls off your tongue. Same way many 4 letter words do. So it had that advantage going in. Fuck, probably the king of catchy, most likely wouldn’t work as well if it wasn’t those letters in that order and that sound. Nor would the other ubiquitous 4 letter word.Lytft is an interesting name but unfortunately the confusion with the actual word “lift” means it could never achieve the verb advantage (but could be the market leader separate from that of course).

          1. awaldstein

            Yes and no and we’ve debated this before.Some names are bad I agree.None are born great, they are made great. Google and Apple are both cases in point.I spend endless time with accounts and with my own projects choosing names and building brands. This is proven true time after time.

          2. LE

            I can see someone saying “I’m going to get myself some luli” so that works. Or “do you luli”? Cute, short, rolls off your tongue. Happy sounding. Upbeat. Same as with “jamba”.I’d like to come up with a counter example in the industry but anything I can find would be something that has worked, not things that have failed!

          3. awaldstein

            I agree great names are magic.But you do make them, not find them.When I choose them I always remind myself that you will be saying this hundreds of times a week, over and over again.That litmus test is the true one.And honestly, with apps how they said is way more important than how they are spelled.

        4. Robert Metcalf

          And the beauty is, you won’t have to ask anyone (in the local language that you don’t know), because your phone will hail the car for you.That’s the universal aspect that makes it most “google” like.It’ll be interesting to see the convergence of self-driving cars + EV cars + Uber-like logistics + calendar integration: will massively reduce the need/utility of actually owning cars, since the car can just come get you when you need it, and do the same for someone else (simultaneously, or after you’ve been dropped off). Has the ability to massively reduce the number of cars while maintaining their flexibility (like in LA, where the mass transit can still leave you miles from your destination).Add in the fact that most EVs (cars) have enough battery storage to power a house for a couple of days, and you actually have a fleet of rapidly deployable and reconfigurable energy storage devices for the electrical grid.It’s starting to feel like the future.

          1. awaldstein

            Lucky us that the future is indeed here! TThough actually it is always here somewhat to those with the chutzpah and luck to grasp it.Two things jump out at me though about the future present as we are experiencing it today:1. Logistics is the challenge and the wonder and a key to winning. Connecting people to people, like Uber does is the human programming snarl to master.2. And logistics, platforms, all aside, those who win are those who understand consumer behaviors as they are wrapped in market dynamics. This is seriously an age where marketing needs to understand what it is truly about.

  3. lonnylot

    Does anyone know Rand Paul’s opinion on net neutrality and last mile?

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. He is opposed to Title II regulation of the last mile monopoly. It’s all part of his anti regulation views. I’ve talked to him about the issue and he’s thoughtful to a point but just can’t stomach more regulation. He’d like to see more competition instead. Sadly I don’t see how that happens as last mile infrastructure is a natural monopoly

      1. pointsnfigures

        Is there a technological way to change that?

        1. fredwilson

          maybe in wireless but we will need some unregulated (and unsold) spectrum to make that happen

      2. lonnylot

        i’d be curious to find out what he thinks is currently preventing more competition in the last mile or what could be done to spark more competition in the last mile.

      3. LE

        He’d like to see more competition instead. Sadly I don’t see how that happens as last mile infrastructure is a natural monopolyPaul is probably thinking (haven’t researched this) that it would operate the same way as with the electric company dereg. Where the incumbent controls the wires but you can choose a different delivery company (or whatever it’s called).Opinion: It’s “choice theater” you are right, he is wrong. He’s being idealistic without looking at the actual nuance of all of this. Which is important.Without doing any checking my guess is that elec dereg hasn’t worked. Why?1) Because it takes a sales and marketing effort to get people to switch. I actually knew someone (husband of the person who cuts my hair) who worked in sales for a competitive electric company. At the rate he was compensated he could only afford to do large corporate accounts. Because otherwise the amount of savings simply wasn’t enough to market to. (At least in our area).2) With respect to #1 in all these years I have never been approached by any marketing to get utility accounts that I have to switch to another company. My conclusion from this is that the cost of customer acquisition doesn’t work. The legacy company (PSEG in this case) has a huge head start and the time and trouble of switching is greater than the benefits. And it seems complicated as well. You don’t impulse buy it at the supermarket and it’s not sexy like an Apple product which creates emotion and gets you off your ass.Old article, says it’s a success in PA but to me 10% is not a success (only scanned this):https://www.opensecrets.org

        1. fredwilson

          that was the goal of the telecom act of 1996. it didn’t work because the telcom companies fucked it up

          1. Donald E. Foss

            It didn’t work because the telcom companies _purposefully_ fucked it up. For them, it was only a minor setback and a little patience before everything was back to status-quo.

  4. JimHirshfield

    I can’t get the video to run. Must be in the wrong jurisdiction.

    1. Mario Cantin

      You must be in North Korea 🙂

  5. LIAD

    The capitalist, the media baron and others yet to be named.Seems Don Fred has his own little Illuminati gathering down there on the beach! Wither Bilderberg Group, Hello Wilson Group;-)

    1. fredwilson

      Don Fred!! That gave me a chuckle

  6. Twain Twain

    Haha, the last minute where Fred says, “Yeah, Yeah…You know, yeah” to the presenter’s suggestion of Ted Cruz as being someone the tech & innovation community might not be keen on was brilliant.Re. Uber is the “Google of urban transportation”, there’s a missing word: private.Public urban transportation will still very much be whatever the local councils provide and their transportation maps and timetables provided by Google Maps (and increasingly Google Now).Give it a few years and who knows? Google self-drive cars may usurp Uber.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      There’s nothing private about Uber 😉

      1. Twain Twain

        And in a further twist of ironic wit…They’ll probably go public via IPO because that seems to be their trajectory.* http://www.cnbc.com/id/1022

    2. pointsnfigures

      Ted not onFreds side in net neut but Ted likes individual liberty. Hopefully he will embrace the rising tide of entrepreneur ship in his party and reject the corporate Republican s. He isn’t stupid Ivy educated

      1. Salt Shaker

        “Ted Cruz to Speak At Ritzy Passover Getaways”http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/…Sincerity or downright pandering? Prob a combination of both, although TC will fit in nicely w/ the traditional 10 plagues ritual (e.g, vermin, pestilence, wild beasts, darkness).

      2. Twain Twain

        Ivy League and his mnemonic approach is this: “TCCNCCPCC PAWN MOMMA RUN,” Cruz said. “Taxes, credit, commerce, naturalization, coinage, counterfeiting, post office, copyright, courts, piracy, Army, war, Navy, militia, money for militia, Washington, D.C., rules, and necessary and proper.”* http://www.newyorker.com/ma

  7. William Mougayar

    That was like an audio reader’s digest on some of the last few AVC posts. And it was short & sweet to the point. Have you considered doing this on a regular basis with them?

    1. fredwilson

      This is a politics show. It’s a slow week. Mario Batali is on today for example. You get the point

      1. William Mougayar

        Got it.

  8. kirklove

    Didn’t know John had his own show. Very cool. Nicely done.

    1. fredwilson

      He’s bringing his buddies onto the show this week. It’s a slow week for politics I guess. Mario Batali is on today at 5:30. I am going tinted to tune in. Mario is always a gas and I have no idea how he’s going to talk politics. Should be entertaining

      1. kirklove

        Ha, Mario is crazy. We see him in the mornings (Bean and I) since he films on our block. Riding that orange vespa with an orange helmet and orange crocs. Love that dude.

        1. fredwilson

          That he is. Crazy like a fox

          1. Amar

            “orange helmet and orange crocs” fox sounds like an apt description 😉

          2. LE

            I had my boring nice aunt and my insulting uncle (my father’s brother). I always choose the uncle over the aunt (and the aunt sent me gifts). Uncle was never boring. Aunt was. How many times can you be asked “how is the family doing”. I want to be knocked down by some inappropriate comment such as “here is why I’m better than your father” or “if you were a real jew this is what you’d be doing”. It’s all about entertainment. People like Mario have charisma. That’s what works.As a friend of mine used to say in high school “you have to be that crazy driver that others look out for”.

  9. mikenolan99

    Wonderful stuff… I hadn’t connected “The Interview” with the net neutrality debate – but see the logic. Isn’t interesting how quickly freedom of the net turned into a red state/blue state discussion? I hate to see it called “The Presidents Plan” only because there is so much political animosity against the President that I fear a knee jerk response by half of our citizens. Perhaps that it what the last mile monopolies (and their lobbies) are counting one?

  10. RV

    I hope that the online release of The Interview encourages more filmmakers to focus on online distribution rather than theaters. Although, I still see the the online distributors (Apple, Google, Vudu, etc.) as new gatekeepers rather than open distribution enablers.On another note, I think the unlimited viewing membership model for theaters could be promising.(http://www.nytimes.com/2014…And on another note, regarding ISP’s/Net Neutrality – I think the more choices consumers have the better (i.e. your post on Hyperlocal Mesh Networks). I have very little faith that the ISP’s and regulators will not act in their own self interest.Thanks for all the great posts and conversations in 2014.

    1. ldouglas

      IMHO, ISPs and regulators can only ever be expected to act in their own best interest. Net-neutrality is a business model, nothing more, and can only thrive in a market that is modelled on services-based competition. Unless open-opportunity networks are built by municipalities, to relieve the facilities-based competition, we won’t see Net-neutrality because we won’t see the consumer have a choice of preferred model.The services-based nature of the Internet itself is the best proof to any government that innovation, economic, and social development and growth is near unlimited when left to consumer demand in a market that is not facilities-based; while at the exact same time, the limitations imposed by those that own the facilities, currently, are exploiting that demand, development, and growth simply because they can, for profit.The release of The Interview is actually an example of a business choosing a services-based business-model for day-zero content instead of the highly-controlled typical release structure of theatres, which is facilities-based competition. Interestingly, the attack threat was against the facilities, not the open content servics, and likely the end result was more viewership and higher revenues than the Box Office could have offered.

  11. Richard

    Interesting how much faster people talk on TV than in a fire side conference chat. This felt like the USA today of Fred Wislon. (This may have been tend first interview that you didn’t work a usv portfolio co into the conversation. Intentional?)

    1. LE

      You didn’t pay attention! He worked in sidecar.

      1. Richard

        I did catch that, but it sure wasn’t an enthusiastic endorsement. Sidecar (with ubers lead) is going after the wrong set of drivers, it should go after small established sedan companies, charge a low single digit fee, let sedan co set their rates, and reside in the background. stripe for sedan cos.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Not being enthusiastic makes it seem more genuine/authentic, less selly – it becomes a-matter-of-fact.

    2. fredwilson

      i mentioned sidecar and hailo

  12. Salt Shaker

    Yes, it’s “a slow week in politics,” it’s called Monday. Hopefully, we’ll see some needed productivity out of DC in the new year. Wish you could remove some of these guys as easily as NFL coaches and GM’s.

    1. pointsnfigures

      New bill was passed eliminating taxes on seed investments

  13. LE

    The tempo that John speaks at is great.I never have the patience for these types of things [1] because it takes so long for the answers and the questions to get out. John is a a “NY pace” x2. He even raised your speech rate to what appeared to be faster than your normal rate.I don’t think it’s a loss at all for Bloomberg to have people like you on a politics show. [2] Since you blogged about your appearance I now know about that show and may very well watch it. One of the problems that hasn’t been solved is discovery of all the content on traditional TV that’s out there. The type that I watch when I am exercising.[1] Paced at the rate that Charlie Rose typically speaks is what I mean.[2] It’s kind of a “man on the street what do regular folks think” spin.

    1. Richard

      I couldn’t disagree more

  14. Emil Sotirov

    Re Uber as “the Google…” – there is the scenario of Google buying Uber (already ~$300M invested) to form what might be called Google Transport… made of Google self-driving tech + Uber + G Maps + GV backed Urban Engines.

    1. fredwilson

      you heard it here first!!

      1. Emil Sotirov

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Whoever owns Tesla will be the winner in that race.

      1. Emil Sotirov

        Electric cars will soon be a commodity. Network tech and people networks will be valuable.

  15. george

    Great new discovery! I didn’t know about this show, glad you shared a segment.They just picked up another viewer…

  16. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    On private public urban transportation – it seems to me that if a public body doesnt like Uber they should require access to ride histories and plan improved public transport to compete on “well trodden paths”. The public / private balance would be useful as it is very hard (and expensive) for public transport to do “random access” in low demand areas

  17. Ana Milicevic

    Randomly stumbled upon John’s show on the Bloomberg stream (it was the Mario Batali episode) — he really does speak super fast! Would have not guessed this to be a political show but now want to check it out when it resumes with regular guests.