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We’ve got to talk about Hollywood

Friday, 27 January, 2012

Backgrounder: “What Happens At Y Combinator” is a lengthy and informative post written by Paul Graham in September 2010. Snippet: “The overall goal of YC [Y Combinator] is to help startups really take off. They arrive at YC at all different stages. Some haven’t even started working yet, and others have been launched for a year or more. But whatever stage a startup is at when they arrive, our goal is to help them to be in dramatically better shape 3 months later.”

And this segues nicely into the recently issued Y Combinator RFS, where “RFS” stands for “Requests For Startups”. It was the title wot done it: “RFS 9: Kill Hollywood“. Typical of the tenor of the piece: “How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?”

This is pretty incendiary stuff and, sure enough, is has generated some heated responses. The entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis has just kicked back with, “We Need to Empower Hollywood–Not Kill Hollywood“. As always, Calacanis is entertaining: “What if YC’s screed winds up on the desk of some angry or delusional CEO or studio head’s desk with a list of stolen files in Dropbox folders and says, ‘These guys are trying to kill us, let’s unleash a trillion dollar lawsuit on them and harass them to death!’ That’s what Hollywood does — it harasses startups to death and YC’s post is EXACTLY what those lawyers are looking for: the smoking gun that internet people want to kill them.”
Y Combinator is right in demanding a creative response to the increasingly legalistic, stultifying, predictable, biased Hollywood output, but Calacanis is on the money when he points out that no amount of Angry Birds can match the magic of Hollywood when the result is something like Drive.


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