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How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  Gulliver_strategies  IBM  Microsoft  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
june 2019 by jerryking
The Lease They Can Do: What the Fight Over 'Used' Music Reveals About Online Media
April 03, 2013 | Businessweek | By Paul Ford.

What is a song worth to Spotify or competitors such as Rdio? To them, a song is an entry in a very large database—and they solve the licensing problem by managing the licenses in bulk, then allowing listeners access to their libraries of music. At some level, Spotify is not a music service but a license clearinghouse that specializes in music....So far, the large music labels have been able to negotiate with streaming services, but as the streaming music players get bigger their power will increase; Spotify is apparently looking for price breaks from the major labels.

The big question now is not “whose album gets made?” but more “who gets to listen?” Not just who, but when—and who gets paid for the privilege? Oh, for the days when record stores featured bootlegs and cats. The clerks might have been snotty, but at least you didn’t have to have endless discussions about databases and doctrine. No one, anywhere, had to know how often you listened to Supertramp.

That’s another part of the puzzle. Streaming services generate a tremendous amount of data that has value of its own; sooner or later it will be used to make decisions about what gets produced....So this is not about technology. Nor is it really about music. This is about determining the optimal strategy for mass licensing of digital artifacts. Songs are the commodity but the licenses are currency....So this is the task: Figure out how to make money, reward artists enough that they continue to make new things, and pacify the labels and studios, while also creating something that doesn’t rip off, confuse, or upset the audience. If someone can do that, then why stick to movies, music, or perhaps books? New forms of media could be sold as well. Tumblr blogs, animated GIFs, casual games, and the like could all flow into such systems. Right now, when media objects are sold, it’s often as art (like the six-second Vine video called “Tits on Tits on Ikea” that artist Andrea Washko recently sold for $200). A massive marketplace in ridiculous pictures could emerge. Flickr (YHOO)could turn into a mall. Pinterest could become … Pintere$t.
clearinghouses  music  online  Rdio  Spotify  streaming  licensing  licensing_rights  downloads  musicians  music_industry  databases  digital_artifacts  artists  markets  data  music_labels  Flickr  Pinterest  music_catalogues 
april 2013 by jerryking

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