YouTube, getting corporate

September 28, 2006

News:  YouTube hired Suzie Reider as its Chief Marketing Officer, luring her away from CNET where she was senior VP general manager of entertainment.  (More here from

This comes on the heels of the hiring of Gideon Yu as CFO earlier this month.  Yu had been lured away from Yahoo, where he was treasurer and senior VP.

Analysis:  Just another sign that YouTube is trying to grow up.  One of the key points in Google’s evolution as a business occurred when co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin acquiesced — under pressure from its investors — to bringing in the experienced Eric Schmidt as CEO, luring him away from software maker Novell.  Co-founder Chad Hurley currently serves as CEO of YouTube.

Free Hug Guy and Sick Puppies on YouTube

September 28, 2006

News:  In Sydney, Australia, a guy named Juan Mann goes around the Pitt Street mall with a sign saying “Free Hugs.”  It may sound a little wacky, but apparently it became a small hit until reportedly police shut it down.  Mann organized a petition getting the necessary 10,000 signatures to continue the dispensing of free hugs to the public. 

This week, a video of the hug fest was posted on YouTube and it quickly became a huge sensation.  As of 10 a.m. today, the video had 849,691 hits and 6,149 comments. Yesterday, it was even shown on Good Morning, America.  The clip is quite slick, and synched with music from the band Sick Puppies, who authorized the use (to promote their music?).  (More from the Sydney Morning Herald

Analysis:  At first, the “Free Hug” guy sounded a little creepy to me.  After watching the video, though, I was won over.  First, it’s a slick production and that always help.  Second, when you see the interaction of the guy with all these different strangers who appear to be happy hugging with smiles on their faces, that can’t be a bad thing.  Of course, I’m assuming that what’s on the video is all a true story!