MySpace founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe got the Charlie Rose treatment on Tuesday night in a wide-ranging interview that lasted about a half hour. We’ve embedded the entire interview above and the Charlie Rose Show provided us with the full transcript below. We’ve bolded a few highlights throughout the interview.
Rose starts with a few general questions, but he does get a few tidbits of new information. For instance, DeWolfe reveals that 18 million people a month get MySpace on their mobile phones. To put that into perspective, that is about the same size as the worldwide audience for the NYTimes.com (comScore). DeWolfe also claims:
We have the biggest library of professional videos in the world.
Anderson talks about the effort that is going into small business profiles on MySpace, in combination with its new self-serve MyAds product. Anderson tells Rose:
Well, actually there’s something that we’re working on . . . a new profile that we launched in November which is basically the framework to allow companies to come on and make MySpace profiles.
. . . the same way you want to discover you know music or video or that sort of thing, you want to know about the companies and the people and the resources that are around your community. So if I want to find someone that I want to do business with, if I need a contractor for my home, why not look at his MySpace profile and see the reviews of people that I understand where they’re coming from?
Rose even refers to a TechCrunch post to ask whether Facebook will one day surpass MySpace in the U.S. (it already has worldwide). DeWolfe says, “no.”
And what does Anderson think of Facebook? He calls it an “address book.” He also comes to the defense of Yahoo, believe it or not:
But both of us agree that Yahoo! is a very good business, and it’s also been maligned, I think unfairly when you look at it in comparison to Google and say, well they don’t — you know, they’re not doing this thing in search. Well, they’re doing a lot of other things.
Sounds like someone’s in like with Yahoo.
The Charlie Rose Show Session One
Charlie Rose: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe are here. They are the cofounders of MySpace.com. With over 120 million members, it is the largest social network in the United States. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch recognized MySpace as a success and he bought it for $580 million. Four years later MySpace adds 300,000 new people a day and it is the fastest growing Web site in the world. I am pleased to have Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe here, not for the first — is this the first time?
Male Speaker: This is the first time.
Charlie Rose: Oh, my gosh —
Charlie Rose:I am pleased to have Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe here at this table for the first time. Welcome.
Tom Anderson: Thank you.
Chris DeWolf: Thank you, Charlie.
CR: It feels like you’ve been here before simply because we’ve got all these conversations —
Male Speaker:I know.
CR:– at different places —
Male Speaker: It’s about time.
CR:– in the world. So tell me where we are for anybody who does not know tell them what MySpace is and what it is becoming.
CD:All right, so really MySpace is a social portal. And many people think that it’s just a social network where you go on there and talk to your friends but it’s really about discovery and it’s about discovering people, content and culture. When I’m talking about content, it could be music. We have the biggest music catalog in the world and you’re notified every time one of your friends uploads a new song so it’s a primary way on how people discover new music. It’s a primary way that people discover new videos. We have the biggest library of professional videos in the world. And then if you look at culture and the last election, MySpace played a major part of that in terms of both registering voters and you know all the major candidates having a MySpace profile. So Obama had over a million friends. And so, I think we’ve probably definitely had big part in, you know, both the changing of the media business and culture and politics.
CR: So I’ll just turn to Tom. So where are you going? Tell me where MySpace will be.
TA: Hopefully onward and upward. We want more people, more countries, more content, and so we’re always just trying to see how we can appeal to more people. And it’s easy when you have things like what Chris described, the whole world’s music catalog, the whole world’s film and television catalog. We’re bringing more and more and more content on, more than you can get even on YouTube, professional TV shows, the full episode, things like that. So, you know, we’re trying to take every aspect of the our business and just make it richer and fuller to attract more people.
CD: And also, just add to that, on any device, so in addition to those 125 million people you mentioned earlier, there is also 18 million people that are using it on a mobile device on a monthly basis.
CR: That’s going to grow exponentially.
CR: I don’t know if you know the number here, but he paid close to 600 million, whatever the number was. You would know, specifically. And you would know specifically. What do you think it’s worth today? In terms of some kind of market appreciation, market value.
CD: Right. Well, if you look at the time, I think we had around 20 million unique users, and, you know, Rupert was — at the time, was widely criticized for paying too much.
CR: I know.
CD: And then, you know, years later —
CR: And also widely embarrassing to Viacom, because they let him get it.
CD: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, we’ve grown like crazy since then, obviously. You just mentioned the new numbers, and, you know, our —
CR: If you look at the new numbers, based on the — what he paid for the old numbers, what would be the valuation in 2009?
CD: It’s in the billions, and depending on which month you look at, the market’s a third of what it was from media companies and Internet companies, you know, as it was a few months ago. So there is a valuation of 15 billion on a company that was smaller than us, you know, a year ago. But, you know, the market has gone down.
CR: Are you happy you made the deal? [laughter]
TA: It’s a tough one, right? You know —
CR: Because what glares out there is the fact that Facebook remains independent, although people have bought investments in it.
TA: Well, I’m personally happy. How much money do you need?
TA: We got a lot of money, and, you know, we’re happy at that level. Actually, I think the partner that we chose was a wise one. Newscorp has always been, for us, very easy to work with and they respect our opinions and let us run the site we wanted to. And, in fact, they wanted to keep us on. They weren’t saying, hey, let’s throw these guys out. They were buying into what MySpace was and the founders, and so it’s been very good for me. That was my main concern, was that it would be taken away from us. And it wasn’t.
CR: So he’s allowed you guys to run it the way you want to run it.
CD: Yeah. And it’s also, you know, Peter Chernin as well, he’s been an incredible executive to work for also.
CR: All right. More about Peter later, because we had him on the show talking about MySpace, as you well know.
CR: So China, for example.
CR: There has been a real focus there. Murdoch’s wife, Wendy Murdoch, has been very interested in that. Where does that stand?
CD: So about two years ago we started exploring China and then we officially entered China maybe a year ago, I’d say. We launched the site in China, independent company that was created there, so it’s actually a Chinese company.
CR: Meaning what?
CD: Meaning —
CR: There is a new company created, which you’re a junior partner?
CD: Exactly. So —
CR: Or 50/50? You’re a junior partner?
CD: No. It’s not a 50/50 deal. It’s completely owned — all the IP is completely owned and controlled by Chinese in China, so there is a board of directors of the holding company and, you know, we spend quite a bit of time over there. And, you know, the Chinese folks over there are great to work with. They’re great entrepreneurs.
CR: Any restrictions on it?
CD: You know, they operate within the Chinese laws and regulations, but so far it’s very similar to MySpace US in a lot of ways. They’re growing very quickly.
CR: Any restrictions?
CD:In terms of what?
CR: In terms of what can go up.
CR: And why you have Chinese partners.
CR: All right. Facebook —
CD: It’s a law that we have to have Chinese partners. You can’t own Chinese media —
CR: Chinese media companies.
CD: Right. Or Chinese Internet companies.
CR: Okay. Facebook. How is MySpace different from Facebook, or how is Facebook different from MySpace?
TA: I think in the thing that Chris described MySpace as in the beginning is the key difference. MySpace is so much more about culture and about creativity and expression. So in other words, you go on MySpace and you can find music, and you can find video, and things about politics, and things like that. It’s not just about talking to people. In one sense, Facebook is very focused as an address book, as efficient communication. It’s like e-mail or like IM or something like that. And we do those things, too, but we do so much more. We try to focus on the whole world and all the things that people are interested in, rather than just people to people, or one to one communication.
CR: How many people do you think will be on MySpace in the year 2015? Do you have any idea?
TA: 2015? What are we in now?
CR: Six years from now.
TA: Six years from now? I hope — I mean I’m not sure what the online audience is worldwide. I think it’s something like 530 million.
TA: People are online right now. We want our piece of it. It’s really hard to say, but I’m hoping that we’re, you know, 2, 3, 400 million, that we can expand into all these markets.
CD: You also have to look at, you know, countries like China that have 350, 400 million people using mobile devices to access the Internet.
TA: Yeah, I mean —
CD: So it’s not more than 500 —
CR: Especially in places like India where mobile devices are a primary means of doing it.
CD: Exactly. And with smart devices getting cheaper and cheaper, everyone is going to be accessing MySpace both through the Internet and mobile devices.
CR: And how are you going to monetize all these users?
CD: Well, we are right now. And that’s — you know, one thing that Tom — Tom and I have been working together for 10 years. That’s one thing that we’ve always had in common was that we wanted to —
CR: Passion for monetizing — [laughter]
CD: Passion for monetizing and building a big scalable business. Yeah, money.
CR: Yeah. Right. Go ahead.
TA: But real statistically, from the day we started, we didn’t just — we weren’t these guys saying hey, let’s come up with this cool idea that is just, you know, something cool and had no plan to make money. We had an advertising plan from the beginning, and there were ads on the site from the day it launched. And we knew that business, and we got started running that way. And so even when News Corp. came in, it wasn’t like, hey, how are we going to monetize this, what are we going to do? It’s just how are we going to improve. How are we going to get better? Because we’re still doing the same things.
CR: Yeah, but advertising on social networks has not turned out to be — has not taken place as fast as you expected it to do, has it?
CD: I think from our perspective, it certainly has. If you look at — there is a lot of studies out there. There is e-marketer and we have over half of all of the advertising spent on social networks. But what’s interesting now is we’re not competing against other social networks for those ad dollars. We’re competing against the larger portals and now print media and television. So we’re getting larger and larger since we’ve gotten critical mass and redesigned our whole site to be more advertising friendly. So there are really numbers. It’s a big scalable business. We’re probably the only company that started on the Internet within the last five years that’s created a scalable profitable business.
CR: Because as you know, everybody — the one big question that many people have had and continue to have is how is YouTube and how is Facebook and how is MySpace going to maximize the monetization of the fact that they have so many millions of users. Right?
TA: Yeah. It’s a fair question, but I think the characterization of MySpace in the media has not been that fair in that they don’t realize how well we’re doing. You can’t really —
CR: How has it not been fair? That’s a good point point.
I don’t think you can put us in the same bucket as a Facebook, who — Mark has said, Mark Zucker, founder, they are not focused on making money. That is not their interest right now. And they’re not, you know. They’re losing money. But we, from the beginning, have been, and we’re doing well. I mean I think we got close to something like a billion dollars faster than Google, Yahoo, than anyone else in their five year — their five year history, which is how old we are. We’re making quite a bit of money. We want to do more, obviously. We want to do better. But it is the focus, and I think it’s been, you know, underreported on how well we are doing.
CR: You and I have mentioned Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, often on this program. He says at current growth rates, Facebook will overtake MySpace in U.S. users in January, 2010 when Facebook’s U.S. users will reach 86 million compared to your 84. Are those numbers you agree with or —
CR: Or don’t care?
CD: No. I mean, you know, we’re focused on obviously growing our user base, which we are, you know, year over year. Our unique users are way up. Our engagement, the number of minutes spent on the site is up 40 percent, number of minutes spent on our side is 50 percent greater than our nearest competitor, which is Facebook.
CR: What is the number now, for the amount of minutes most users spend on your site?
CD: The average amount, I think, is 400, just over 400 minutes per month on MySpace. So, I mean, if you look at Michael’s numbers, I mean, anyone can put together a model and, you know, it may or may not be correct. A lot of things happen in a two-year period of time, but we’re focused on growth right now, and we’re very focused on revenue growth.
TA: I think also, you know, I want to return to that idea that when we look at our competitors, we think about Yahoo! and MSN and sites like that. It’s not just Facebook. I mean, they do one part of what we do. But we’re trying to create a service that the whole world can use for a variety of things. And from the business side, where we’re looking for the advertising dollars is from those same people, Yahoo! and MSN. We’re trying to take the ad dollars that they’re getting because we have the reach that they have. It’s just helping to get the advertising world to understand that, hey, social networks are not so different from the social portals or concept or that what we have is not that different than from what Yahoo! has. It’s a big audience of people. And that’s the key thing.
CR: What’s going to happen to Yahoo!? They’ve got a new CEO who seems aggressive and strong. There is Steve Ballmer talking about they might try to do something with the search engine, make a deal on the search engine.
CR: What do you think?
TA: I don’t know about the new CEO. Chris and I were just talking about this earlier, but I think we both —
CR: That always makes me feel good. We were just talking about that, and I didn’t even know.
TA: The right question. And I don’t know because I don’t know much about the people that are being brought in right now. But both of us agree that Yahoo! is a very good business, and it’s also been maligned, I think unfairly when you look at it in comparison to Google and say, well they don’t — you know, they’re not doing this thing in search. Well, they’re doing a lot of other things. And they are the biggest site in the world. You know, they’ve got a huge brand, a great brand. People come to them all over the world to use them for email and for search and for a hundred other things every day. And so when you just watch the stock price and think about that, it’s just, to me, it doesn’t reflect the reality of the brand and the value in that brand and the value in the actual service.
CR: Am I right that social networking is the fastest growing activity on the net, on the web or not?
CD:No. It definitely is. I mean, the internet in general is becoming more open and more social. And looking at these content sites, they’re all becoming more social. People want to comment on articles. You know, they want to be able to write their own blogs on sites. They want to be able to respond back. And I think that’s one of the things that Yahoo! needs to do, and you know, we’ll do under the right leadership.
CR: MySpace 3.0, what is that?
CD: I think it’s a lot where the internet is going and where we’re anticipating the internet going, meaning that MySpace will be everywhere. So if you’re on a content site, instead of having to set up a profile on that content site, you can take your whole MySpace profile with you. And I can write a comment if you write an article on your own website. And then MySpace friends will automatically see it, and they can respond to that comment. And I think that’s really where it’s going to go, MySpace everywhere on the internet and really kind of mashed up internet with the average user having two or three identities based on the current social networks that are in place.
CR: How many friends do you have on MySpace?
CD: I have about 300, and they’re all people that I know pretty well and talk to on a regular basis.
TA: I think I have something like 220 million on my big one. And then I have a smaller one that has all our —
CR: 220 million on the big one?
TA: Yeah. Because when you sign up, you get me as a friend.
CR: Oh, yeah, right, right.
TA: And then I have one for work where I’ve got, you know, 800 employees on there, and then I have a personal one. I’ve had 20 in the past of like all kinds of accounts signing up for [unintelligible].
CR: This is sort of the big questions. How do you think this is changing us, the idea that there’s so much information out there? Where people used to think about was indiscreet now is practiced all the time, that everybody shares everything, and knows everything.
CD: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s changed discovery in a big way, and it’s changed the way people gather information. So if you look at ten or 12 years ago, people would go onto Yahoo!, and there’s essentially a directory. So if you wanted to find out about music, you’d click the music button, then it would say — give you all the genres, and then you’d click country music, then it would give you a bunch of artists.
CR: Right, right, right.
CD: And then it evolved to Google that organized the world’s information, and you know, you’d still get a thousand type of — thousand results on, you know, various different country artists. Now, as in MySpace, it’s based on what your friends recommend or what other MySpace members recommend. And that’s how the discovery of content and culture is taking place. So I think that’s really the evolution. And it’s, you know, again, it’s manifest the itself in a huge way in the election. No one will ever win a major election again unless they’re proficient in really leveraging the internet and especially MySpace. Again, we registered over a million voters this year. Obama had over a million friends this year. And I think it’s pretty clear why that you know people are used to interacting with profiles just as they would their friends. It’s a really user-friendly way to find out about the issues, which wasn’t available before.
CR: Not only did Obama use it, president use it very well in the campaign, I mean, it’s clearly going to be a part of his governing.
CD: Definitely. And you know it already has been. So —
CR: So the radio address is now addressed to people over the internet as well as over the broadcast air.
CD: Yeah, and it’s you know I think for the first time ever, and we were talking about this before, that you know individuals really believe that they can make a difference and have to make a difference and have to help Obama you know to make the changes that he wants to make. And they feel that they can make a difference and I think that social networks especially MySpace have driven that and you know we just worked with Ashton Kutcher on a project called the presidential pledges where everyone starting with celebrities and everyone on MySpace is pledging what they’re going to do to help make the world a better place over the next 12 months.
CR: Why do I think he does everything except make movies now?
Because you see him everywhere.
CR:You know, how will corporations and business use MySpace?
TA: Well, actually there’s something that we’re working on.
CR: Or institutions of any kind.
TA: Yeah. Obviously, they can advertise with us. We’re always ready for them to come and do that. But we’ve been working on something with a new profile that we launched in November which is basically the framework to allow companies to come on and make MySpace profiles. So if you’re a —
CR: Private company.
TA: Yeah, and if you’re an independent contractor, if you’re a plumber, you know, or if you’re a hairdresser, all the way up to you know a larger organization that wants to have an online way for them to communicate with their customers, we’re working on that because we just feel like it’s in line with the things that we’ve been talking about, the same way you want to discover you know music or video or that sort of thing, you want to know about the companies and the people and the resources that are around your community. So if I want to find someone that I want to do business with, if I need a contractor for my home, why not look at his MySpace profile and see the reviews of people that I understand where they’re coming from, I can see their whole social context and find out about business that way.
CD:– just like to add one thing to that. In the past, you know, we’ve totally ignored the small and medium-sized businesses from an advertising perspective, there’s 20 million of them in the United States which represents billions of dollars in buying power. In the past, anyone that — small business, medium-sized business that wanted to advertise on the internet, had to go to Google. We’ve just offered a new program called MyAds that allows you as a small business to go on, spend as little as $20, and target your advertising to whoever you want. And so, I think that’s another huge way in which advertising is going to evolve on the internet.
CR:Tell me about where your concerns are. I saw a story in the last 24 hours somewhere you know about how kids now are posting all kinds of photographs of themselves which are sexual and objectionable to some people including those people that are receiving them in some cases. Is this going to be an issue and what is MySpace’s responsibility?
TA:Yeah, well, I think kids you know acting out inappropriately is always an issue right?
TA: And the parents need to get involved.
CR: And in being victimized too by people who —
TA: Right, right.
CR:– are trying to reach them.
TA: And that — exactly. And parents need to know you know what their kids are doing. We’ve done a lot at the company to try and help make that easier for parents and try to help stop any behavior that could be dangerous —
CR: How do you do that?
TA: Chris is great at answering those questions. [laughter] But —
CR: What’s the division of authority here? I mean, you two did this together?
CD: So I mean —
CR: And so you brought what skills and he brought what skills?
CD: So you know I’m the CEO. I have a business background. But I would like to think of myself as fairly creative and am definitely able to spot creative people very quickly you know which is Tom. So Tom’s done a great job on the product side of designing the future of the product and so —
CR: So he’s technology and you’re business? But you both created — He’s creative, that’s the idea.
CD: Yeah. Any big decisions you know we always make together. But if you had to split it up, he does a lot more on the product side and I do a lot more on the strategy business organization side.
TA: The reason I say he’s better at answering this question is because he’s done a lot of the work there with the attorney generals, with the parent-teachers’ groups —
CR: So where is it? It’s a great concern to a lot of people.
CD: Yeah, I mean, we’re fortunate in that we’ve been working on it since day one. You know, we’ve been working very closely with attorneys general, Bloomberg from Connecticut, attorney general —
CR: Bloomenthal, I think it is.
TA: Bloomenthal, I’m sorry. We’re in the Bloomberg building.
CD: Nice building.
CR: Yes, it is.
TA: So we have been working with Attorney General Blumenthal from Connecticut, and Attorney General Cooper and the rest of the committee that they formed to establish new standards that everyone else on the Internet is now adopting. In addition to that —
CR: First of all, you’re trying to create standards?
TA: We’ve created the standards. We’re the ones that sat down with them and said, this is what we need to do. This is what we need, demand from other Internet sites.
CR: Once you create the standards, what happened? You have somebody that’s going to keep an eagle eye on what’s going out there, and serve as a kind of a filter?
CD: Yeah. I mean to a certain degree. I mean I can just give you an example of some of the things that we do. And I think that may be helpful in answering the question. So, you know, there is literally millions and millions of photos that get uploaded to our site every day.
CD: And every single one of those photos is reviewed by a pair of human eyes, if you can imagine that.
CR: How many uploaded —
CD: I think it’s somewhere around 10 million —
CR: And every one of then is seen —
CD: Is seen by a pair of human eyes. And those that are deemed to be inappropriate are flagged and someone else takes a look at them, look at them to ensure that they’re in compliance or not in compliance with our terms of service. We don’t — we immediately take them down if they’re not in compliance with our terms of service.
CR: Do you think you catch most of them?
CD: Yeah, I believe we do catch most of them. No everyone —
CR: [talking simultaneously]
CD: But the majority of sites out there don’t make that kind of investment. It’s a huge investment. We put a big investment in education, parents’ groups, teachers’ groups, civic organizations, governmental organizations, and, again, it’s — we feel the number one defense against things that are going wrong on the Internet is education, just like it is in the offline world.
TA: You know, Chris directly answered that question about photos that you raised. Ultimately it comes back to the parents. What do they think is inappropriate for their child? And I always say sign up for MySpace and see what your kid is doing. Be his friend on MySpace. Know what your child is doing online because you’re going to know more there than you’d ever know when he goes to school.
CR: Almost like eavesdropping on their conversation with their friends, though, kids —
CD: An understanding of what’s going on on MySpace. If you look at the stats right now, 40% of all moms in the United States are on MySpace. And, you know, a lot of them use it just for networking, and a lot of them go on just to see what it’s all about.
CR: What’s the demographic difference between MySpace and Facebook?
CD: Well, the demographic of MySpace is almost — if you overlay it with the U.S. census, it overlays perfectly. It’s right in line with the U.S. census. I don’t know how Facebook’s demographic overlays with the U.S. census, but if you look at the users on Facebook and my space, there is about 65 percent overlap, meaning 65 percent of the users use both sites.
CR: No, I understand. This is a new definition of friend, isn’t it, in some ways?
CR: How is it?
TA:Yeah. I think on MySpace, you can friend, you know, Barack Obama, and you can friend a company. So in your collection of friends, it could also just show things that you’re interested in. But some people choose to use it in different ways. Like Chris said, he has a profile where it’s all people he knows. I’ve added all the people in my company because I find it an easy way to communicate with all of them, but we have how many employees do we have now?
CD: I think we have probably 1600 employees.
TA: 1600 employees.
CR: All of them are friends?
TA: I’ve only found 800 of them on MySpace, like trying to weave my way through it. So there is different uses for it. And I like having that, because I really do find out things about different people in the company that I wouldn’t any other way. So I think, yeah. I mean you can use it in a variety of ways.
CR: What does it take you, as busy and as rich as you are — [laughter]
TA: Don’t overstate that.
CR: You’re doing fine. What is it you want to tell people about you? Yourself? What do you want your friends to know. What is it you want to take time to communicate?
TA: You mean like on the Charlie Rose show or on —
CR: No, no, not on MySpace. I’m trying to get at what you want to tell on the Charlie Rose show.
TA: Well, like on my personal profile, I just people, you know —
CR: Yeah, but you keep them up-to-date on what your life is about. You’re on your way to Davos. You probably will let them know you’re going to be in Davos?
TA: Yeah, or that I’m playing the Wii tonight. I’m playing a video game, if I’m going to play World of Warcraft or something. Because, you know, you can update your status and tell your friends to put very personal things in there.
CR: Speaking of that, gaming is look like an extraordinary growth market, is it not?
CR: So what’s happening there?
TA: Well, I think like everything, you know, broadband penetration is making the ability to play rich games easier and —
CR: Rich games means?
TA: Like World of Warcraft. This game, you go online where you have a complete 3-D environment. And it’s a form of social networking as well. There is 10 million paying customers every month go into this thing and shout with each other and play a game that they can play with people all over the world. So I think the technology has allowed, you know, games to get better, and more people have access to them, and it’s a really cool thing. And we want to incorporate more of that.
CR:What games do you play.
TA: I play World of Warcraft.
CR: Yeah? world of Warcraft.
TR: Which is an online game.
TA: I play games on Xbox which also are online. You can play against people. You don’t really get to know them —
CR: Xbox is making money, isn’t it?
TA: Yeah, yeah. And you can play games look like, you know, shooting games, whatever, and you’re shooting at a kid, you hear him scream in Indiana or something. You don’t really know what he’s like. The World of Warcraft is very social.
CR: And you?
CD: I don’t play games.
CR: I don’t, either. It’s time.
TA: You would like the Wii. The Wii is one. The Wii is this game where you have the controllers and you move it around, and I knows how you’re moving them rather than just pushing buttons. So it sort of takes your real body —
CR: I saw another article today that struck my mind, that took — at least how many garnered my attention, which is how many people now no longer subscribe to any kind of television, not satellite, or cable, or over the air, obviously. They get all of their television now through the Internet, through computers and through the Internet.
CD: I don’t know the exact numbers, but we have all the television shows from fox, all the television shows from NBC, all the television shows produced by Sony. Every music video on MySpace. And we’re continuing to develop a bigger and bigger library of professional videos that people just watch online now.
CR: That’s amazing.
TA: I watch people do this in my own house all the time. You’ve got the big TV on. Maybe it’s American Idol, and we’re watching —
CR: Or a big football game or something where you want to watch it as a community.
TA: And then we’ll all be sitting there with laptops.
CR: Go ahead.
TA: While we’re watching the show, we’ll all have laptops, and we’re online, we’re playing a game, maybe we’re watching something else —
CR: And talking to your friends about what you’re seeing.
TA: While we’re watching the TV. So it’s kind of — I wouldn’t say that people have dropped TV, and I don’t think they ever will drop it entirely. This are certain events that you can’t really experience any other way, and it’s good to see it on a big screen. But definitely why not watch it on your computer, and why not do multitask? It’s sort of the level of entertainment.
CR: If you were starting over today, today, what business you go into?
CD: In terms of only the Internet or —
CR: I don’t know. Maybe you want to be a social worker. I don’t know. [laughter]
CR: I’m thinking primarily about technology and primarily about the Internet and primarily things that are happening entrepreneurially that will be prominent tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
CD: Right. So what’s really, really interesting is that our original — we started several businesses together, and I’ve started other businesses on my own, and you write a business plan, and it goes horribly awry, and you end up doing something completely different than you originally thought you were. When we wrote the business plan for MySpace, it’s been almost exactly on track up until this day. So the vision that we originally had and how we were going to make money, the types of content — the type of content that we were going to add to the site, its evolution into mobile, its evolution internationally, is all pretty much on track.
CR: Many people think it’s it’s the wave of the future in terms of what goes on.
CD: Yeah. And so —
CR: In lots of different ways.
CD: Yeah. So looking back, I don’t think we would have done that any differently. What I do think —
CR: Did you see that from the beginning?
CD: Yeah. I think —
CR: You think you saw — take what MySpace is today. You actually saw that potential from the beginning, you think?
TA: I saw the potential, and I brought the idea to Chris. We talked about it. He saw it, too. We built it. And within the first month I thought, this ain’t going to work. It’s not taking off. Because —
CR: Because people were not —
TA: People weren’t coming around so much. And so for a while there —
CR: What was the breakthrough?
TA: Just people. Like suddenly they started coming. But in that first month I thought, you know, it doesn’t really seem like it’s going to take off. And then when it did, you know, that initial germ of the idea and all the big ideas, you know, were there with us, you know, a month after it launched. And I have a document I wrote, you know, a month after launch saying we are going to be as big as Yahoo, MSN, AOL in terms of traffic, thinking that we could. At least it was a possibility. And I don’t think I really believed it, you know. I dreamed of it. But we were thinking that big within a month of the launch.
CR: When you got that document, you said I’ve already been thinking about this for about six months?
CD: And I have been involved in the Internet —
CR: [talking simultaneously] reading your mail or something. What?
CD: We have both been in lock step from the first day we were working together, so —
CR: And in the end, and realizing you’re an entrepreneur and not a philosopher, why is it so compelling for so many people? What is it in the end, you think ? Articulate for me.
CD: You know, I think a lot of it’s about the ability to express yourself. So if you look at your MySpace profile, you have the music why that you’re listening to, you have the colors, you have the background, you have the videos. So, you know, I look at your profile, if you have one, and I can get to know you pretty quickly. It’s almost like if you invited me over to a dinner party and you had, you know, certain music playing, you had certain kinds of furniture, and you invited a certain group of friends, I would get to know you very quickly. So I think it’s like an online representation of who you are when which is really fascinating. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with people, and it’s a great discovery mechanism. And there’s no other place and no other way to really do that.
CR: Would you add anything to that?
TA: I think a lot of it has to do with timing too, you know, that we came out right at the right time when digital cameras were on the rise and people wanted to come in and people weren’t exactly ready for MySpace, you know, a year or two earlier. So timing really helped us in being there to give people what they wanted.
CR: Good luck.
TA: Thank you.
CR: Great to see you.
CD: Good to see you.
CR: Have fun in [unintelligible]. Tom and Chris will be in charge of the business development of [unintelligible] Charlie Rose Inc. from now on. Thank you. How many users?
CR: 125 million [spelled phonetically].
TA: That’s every month.
CR: Every month.
TA: Yeah. We’ve got more — more —
CR:Unique visitors every —
TA: More have signed up. That’s how many visit every month.
CR: Yeah. Thank you again.
TA: Thanks, Charlie.
CR: Thank you for joining us. See you next time.