The future of media, commerce, and what the west can learn from China
Dec. 25, 2018, 9 p.m.
Today I'm at Kleiner Perkins in San Francisco's South Park neighborhood to talk to Eugene Wei and Eric Feng.
Eugene Wei has worked at Oculus, Flipboard, Amazon and Hulu. He actually left Amazon in the mid-2000s to attend film school before jumping back into tech. He’s also a prolific writer on his blog, Remains of the Day.
Eric Feng is co-founder of Packagd and General Partner at Kleiner Perkins. He has previously worked at Microsoft, Flipboard and Hulu, where he and Eugene worked together.
Fun fact: Eugene actually married Eric! (Eugene was the officiant at his wedding).
In this episode we talk about:
- The uniqueness of video as a medium of communication and the future of how video will be created and consumed. Eric and Eugene worked together at Hulu and they talk about the background to the recent trend of tech moving in on Hollywood's turf.
- Creating tighter feedback loops when you're trying to learn something new or change your behavior. Eugene tells the story of adding after-market sensors to his golf clubs that give him all kinds of information on the speed and length of his swing. He calls it a swing coach on your phone and talks about how the trend of sensors and immediate feedback could be used to improve peoples' overall health, not just their short game.
- As some of the most plugged-in individuals in tech these days, they also discuss some of the trends they've been seeing in the tech industry and make some predictions about what they expect to see in the future. They discuss changes in how young people communicate these days, how the Chinese tech industry is different from the West's and why they expect to see the shift to e-commerce from advertising continue.
We also discuss some of their favorite products including sensors you can stick on your golf clubs to give you pro-level stats, a tech-enabled meat smoker, and a way to solve the perennial 'baby with a stuffy nose' problem.
We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸
Quotes from This Episode
“Post-Google and post-Facebook there was this huge shift to ad-supported monetization for everything. The entire world had moved to ads and that was the only way that you could build a company… but that pendulum has swung really far back over, because of this new paradigm shift of people being comfortable with e-commerce and now mobile facilitating that more. Commerce is now a much more interesting monetization model for startups than advertising.” — Eric
“VR/AR, if you lump it in with self-driving cars, cryptocurrency, generalized artificial intelligence, all of these things are going to take longer than people expect, and that’s fine. They’re going to require a lot of big hardware advances, finding the right use cases, all of that is just going to be slower. But they’re all going to change the world in huge ways.” — Eugene
“Take for example the shirt I’m wearing. It got made in some textile factory, the distribution was through a retail store, I paid in cash in-person and then I put it on. But in the era of technology two of those things have really fundamentally changed — the way it’s distributed and the way I purchase it. Now I buy it online and it’s sent to my home. But the way it’s created and the way it’s used are still the same, I’m still wearing it one sleeve at a time.” — Eric
“The history of Hollywood is one where the studios went from really being vertically integrated to just being financiers and marketers. The thing about SV vs Hollywood is that SV tech companies have a lot more cash than all the studios put together. They’re a lot more profitable because of all their other businesses.” — Eugene
Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode
Blast — Sensors for sport.
Hulu — Live and on-demand TV.
Mindie (RIP) – 7-second music videos
Nosefrida — Stuffy nose solution for babies.
Reflect — AI-powered face swap.
Sandbox VR — In-person, social VR experiences.
Tik Tok — Creative music video clip maker.
Traeger — Tech-enabled smokers.