I started in a place where I had the same Silicon Valley rhetoric as everybody else, which is, “Regulation is terrible and we should just work around it.” After five and a half years and $1 billion invested, what I would say is, that was a really immature perspective.
The reality is that these organizations exist for a reason, and that they provide belts and suspenders that are, frankly, necessary. The reason I say that now is that after having gone through that gauntlet with a couple of our companies a few times, I am so glad that that exists. For a very practical reason, we are that much more likely to build de facto standards and monopolies because I know that nobody else is going to take the brain damage to go through what we just went through. That’s a practical perspective.
Regulation has existed for years in all of the markets that we’ve operated in other than consumer internet. I think we amplified what the consumer internet was like, which was this free-wielding wild, wild, west where nothing mattered, you could do whatever you wanted.
I remember in 2003 or 2004, the team that I was a part of at WinAmp, we released some open-source software on AOL servers. That software became the root cause of Bearshare, Limewire, and all these peer-to-peer headless networks that effectively destroyed many content businesses. It seemed so cool at the time.
Now I look back on it and I’m like, I’m glad I went through those experiences, but, in any other market, if something like that had happened, we would have been prosecuted and put in jail.
I think we have to mature and grow up and realize that we’re doing serious things, we have to do serious things, serious things require working with serious people, in a serious way.
[Regulation] is great, just buckle down, spend the time. It’s not about the quickest, fastest thing, it’s about the right thing. Let’s just go.
What will happen is that we’ll filter out all of the charlatan, fly-by-night, people, who really don’t have the wherewithal and the courage to go through that gauntlet.