Last week at Le Web, Alexia interviewed Sean Parker and Shervin Pishevar onstage in what turned out to be one of the most-buzzed about sessions. Here is the full video for your weekend watching pleasure. It’s a great discussion that ranges across the state of startups, venture capital, music, and politics .
Parker bemoans the surplus of venture capital for its effect of diluting the talent in the tech industry, a point he’s made before. “It prevents the aggregation of talent around great ideas,” he says. He emphasizes the need for a great team from the get-go. “People are the greatest asset class,” Pishevar agrees.
The conversation quickly turns to Gowalla, which recently was acquired by Facebook, and why it failed to take on Foursquare. “If you don’t fail, you haven’t tried hard enough,” says Pishevar. He warns against “success amnesia.” Behind every great success there are failures. Learn from them. “The product was too similar to Foursquare,” says Parker, noting the obvious. He thinks that “there were things they could have done,” which he suggested to the team at the time, but “they did not want to consider alternatives.” Both however say they are happy with the outcome (Parker is a big Facebook shareholder).
Speaking about his own failures, Parker says, “We failed with Napster to build a legal licensing model. As a result, we watched the industry we loved collapse.” But “the biggest failure we made there was hiring. We built the wrong team.” He warns that when you have a startup with a lot of hype, “it inevitably attracts a certain breed of parasitic leech that if you do make the mistake of hiring, you have to realize your mistake quickly and eradicate it like you would any kind of insect.”