Video Of The Week: William and Ted

Our portfolio company Kik is doing a token offering for its Kin crypto token this coming week.

AVC regular William Mougayar interviewed Kik founder/CEO Ted Livingston a few weeks ago and their talk is the video of the week this week.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Good one.Cued up for a bike ride this afternoon.Enjoyed their conversation at the Token Summit a great deal.(William–you look like you are channeling Lex Luther a bit on the pic on the slide in the background ;))

    1. William Mougayar

      Lex Luther? I had to look up who that was 😉

      1. Arnold Waldstein

        Ha!In one of the early movies there is a scene where he had a planet carved into the shape of his head and the view is of someone looking through a telescope at it.Campy and hysterical.All in good fun!

  2. LE

    I have watched about 14 minutes of this (so far) and it’s actually way more fascinating and interesting than I thought it would be. It starts with Ted essentially saying that their business model doesn’t work. As in ‘it’s hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the streets’ [1] So more or less because of the way a startup pisses away money, there is no way to monetize and profit from ads even with the huge user base that they have. (Profit is gross revenue – costs, right?). And yes people expect things for free especially the age group that uses Kik.I think this is a really bad way to try and sell why you are doing this. Even though the reason is highly accurate, and importantly honest, it simply isn’t what you should say at least not publicly. [2] After all do you want that to be the headline of why Kik is doing an ICO? Of course not. If I was writing a news story that is what I would grab and run with. Seat of the pants not good and the message needs to be refined. Especially if it’s the lead in a talk.At least up until the point that I have watched (and I intend to try and finish this because it really is interesting) the concept of rewarding people for what they are doing for free already, well, is going to be a problem. [3] People are not motivated to post things on FB, Snapchat, Instagram and so on for money. Money is not part of that. Emotion and ‘party in the brain’ is. So they do it for other reasons. Giving them something (as has been shown before) can actually disincentive them and make the process less interesting because it’s tied to nominal amounts of value and no big win. Despite whatever their testing has shown I question this. That said sure it’s worth a try, why not? If it raises money how can anyone argue with that? Fred must have felt that way as well when he said ‘the time is right’ (according to Ted).That said haven’t watched the rest so perhaps there is more that would make me changemy mind about what they are doing here.[1] I am saying this, Ted didn’t use those words but that is what he is implying.[2] It’s like telling someone when you propose ‘well the other girls turned me down and you are the best that I can do’. Of course that’s not what you are going to say.[3] Kids (at least the demographic that I am exposed to) don’t look at money the way we did when growing up. They are given everything they need and aren’t mowing lawns to buy things that they want. They don’t value money as much as kids in the past have. I had to earn the money to buy the stereo and big OHM speakers and turntable that I wanted it was out of the question for my parents to give me money for that.

    1. William Mougayar

      Keep watching 😉

    2. Girish Mehta

      Jaw-dropping moment watching the earlier video when they made the announcement at the Token Summit a few months back.At the 6:00 minute mark, the CEO started to say something about how much economic power blockchains and cryptocurrencies unlock.I sat up immediately to listen intently. My head had been hurting for four years from trying to figure this out.By the 6:40 mark, my jaw had dropped to the floor.Have said many times before that it seems like Bitcoin is whatever you want it to be.Seems like Economic value is also whatever you want it to be.

      1. Anirudh Kishen

        Kik went to market with that concept in 2014. I think League of Legends had it figured out in 2009. And other MMORPG games before that.

  3. Vendita Auto

    Good discussion no ambiguity in the Q&A’s Also liked the Kathleen Breitman podcast:

  4. Salt Shaker

    Ted acknowledges the company has trouble making money, while simultaneously acknowledging the company has a $1B valuation. Call me crazy, but those two things are incongruous and illustrates a fundamental prob w/ the start-up world, a reliance on growth metrics w/ out companies being able to demonstrate how they’re going to effectively monetize. Kudos for Ted for changing up the biz model, and I hope they succeed, but VC cushion allowed them to proceed down a dark and very narrow path. Monetization strats need to be explored early, and way too often they aren’t. Too much let’s build it, and we’ll figure out the rest later.

    1. LE

      and illustrates a fundamental prob w/ the start-up worldA tale as old as time which is ‘smart people will figure it out later’. After all who could have predicted that when kik was founded (2009) there would even be something like an ‘initial coin offering’?…Who would have predicted the eco system and opportunities that have developed as a result of the iphone in 2007?Too much let’s build it, and we’ll figure out the rest later.This seems to be an indictment of the whole system (Animal House courtroom scene). People are making money? Fred and VC’s are making money? Founders are making money? Not everyone is going to make money and most people will waste time (but will have a halo and other benefits for the future). What’s wrong with that?You know the old saying ‘if you want a guarantee buy a toaster’. That’s not even relevant anymore who could have predicted back in the early 70’s that China would make toaster guarantees irrelevant.

      1. Salt Shaker

        A VC fund hypothetically is considered a success w/ 1 or 2 exits. That model obv works for VC’s, but there’s also a considerable debris field. Would the number of exits increase if the criteria for funding was a bit more stringent? A more disciplined approach (e.g., biz fundamentals, clearer understanding of monetization) may mean passing on opps that return gold that may not have been evident at time of funding, to your point, but perhaps it also will lead to 2-4 vs. 1-2 exits. Rev models, whether via tokens, subscription, advertising, etc., are conceptually all testable propositions. Strat testing is hardly a new concept, and though hardly fail safe, it nonetheless can provide an indication of risk/reward.

        1. jason wright


    2. fredwilson

      well i don’t disagree with you. lots of enablement going on. but in this case it was tencent’s money not VC money. strategic investment

    3. PhilipSugar

      I don’t worry about the VCs. I don’t worry about management. I worry about employees but if they are getting a good experience and pay which is now the norm, I don’t worry too much for them. As a consumer not paying for a service? Well you get what you pay for.But what does piss me off? If you are providing a service that needs to be charged for and you get a competitor that gets crazy funding and basically shits in the communal well.Because now you have affected other people in your madness. Competitive companies and people at companies that rely on your service and pay for it to see it go away.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      I feel it’s nearing the time to consolidate a lot of these services into a full platform – and I don’t mean FB buying them all up getting an even tighter controlling hold of the best services.

  5. Tom Labus

    Congrats @wmoug:disqus

  6. William Mougayar

    Thanks Fred. The regulatory aspect conversation was interesting. It’s a bummer that Canadians will be excluded from this crowd offering: “Canadian Residents Excluded from Next Week’s Kin TDE” @ted_livingston

  7. JLM

    .It’s a chat app for teenagers, right?It’s struggling to transform that core business into revenue.It has a billion dollar value. Why?Please pass the tulips.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. William Mougayar


      1. JLM

        .Roses have thorns. Tulips do not.Be careful what you wish for?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. William Mougayar

          But they are still roses, and they smell better than tulips.

          1. JLM

            .I am starting to detect a slightly different smell.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. DJL

        Hey William – How much did Kik raise in their ICO? (It that a public number?)I am still trying to wrap my mind around the best approach to leverage a possible token offering for our cyber security business.

        1. William Mougayar

          They say about 100M.

          1. DJL

            Wow. That goes right to the team in cash up front?I assume you are right person to call to consult if we are considering this?

          2. William Mougayar

            Mostly it goes to fund their operations to deliver on this strategy.Yes. I am. Please email me [email protected]!

  8. jason wright

    why ‘kin’?

  9. William Mougayar

    I will be there, judging.