Vanity Fair has a profile of hacker-turned-billionaire Sean Parker, who helped found Napster, Plaxo, and Facebook.
He has financed the businesses of numerous cohorts, merely out of affection. “He’s one of the most generous people I know,” says another associate. “Also one of the flakiest.”
John Battelle heard that YouTube is worth $1 billion and calls bullshit on whoever believes that. As Tim Shey notes, lots of people are comparing YouTube to Napster (except for YouTube, of course), and I think the comparison is apt. Both services have potentially infinite intangible value but little business value.
Boing Boing has information on YouTube’s recently revised Terms and Conditions, which now state that they can use uploaded video for pretty much anything they want. For some users, that may be a steep price to pay for “free” bandwidth. The longer term question is, can YouTube find a business model that won’t completely screw up their wonderful offering or will they ultimately go the way of Napster?