Three Key Takeaways From SOPA/PIPA; Kim Dotcom, Bond Baddie; and Tech Events This Week

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder of GarysGuide, Mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him via email at gary [at]

Takeaway #1: Speed of Grassroots To Mainstream
The fight against SOPA/PIPA was under the radar for many folks for a long time but when it did finally break through to get attention, it was heartening to see the speed and intensity with which the entire tech industry, from the grassroots all the way up to the Googles and the Wikipedias, quickly rallied around and came together to fight for the freedom of the Internet and won!  Chalk that one up as another win for social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook that are making it really easy for people to come together, get their voices heard and take action around common worthwhile causes as happened during the Arab Spring revolution.

Takeaway #2: Hollywood and Silicon Valley Sitting In A Tree?
Okay, so obviously that seems like a distant dream right now with tempers flying high after SOPA/PIPA. But I think its about time that the content industry (a.k.a. Hollywood) and the distribution / platform industry (a.k.a. Silicon Valley) toned down the rhetoric and finally found a way to come together to the discussion table to find common ground and figure out how to work together. I don’t think that Paul Graham’s “Death to Hollywood” clarion call is the right answer. Much as we all love watching videos of cats skateboarding on YouTube or playing FarmVille, there is a genuine demand for high quality premium content such as the Dark Knights and the Modern Families and the NFLs and The Daily Shows.

And we’re willing to pay good money for it. But we also want to pay what’s fair and reasonable and we want convenience and the ability to watch whenever, wherever. And that might mean that some of the old business models are not going to cut it anymore and it means that shoving stuff like region-locking and encryption and, worst of all, content windows down our throats is only going to frustrate us and drive us further into the arms of the MegaUploads and the RapidShares.

There is a need for a discussion regarding innovative and creative new business models. Look at the music industry where we went from reluctantly and unhappily paying $15 to $20 for a CD to happily forking over $0.99 for a song on iTunes or $10 a month for streaming via Spotify, MOG or Rdio.

Takeaway #3: Need For Campaign Finance Reform
One of the scariest takeways from the whole SOPA/PIPA affair was just how easy it is to subvert the political system in Washington to benefit one’s own agenda assuming of course that one has a) the deep pockets to hire an army of lobbyists and buy off key politicians and b) the utter lack of conscience to actually go through with it. But even scarier was how periliously close we came to destroying the free and democratic nature of the internet. Where were the checks and balances? Where was the common sense? Surely alarm bells must have gone off in a few politicians’ minds (the ones who weren’t bought) as they read the proposed bills?

Does that mean its time for the tech industry to band together and have our own representative group to have the industry’s concerns voiced and issues raised in Washington? Maybe. Thinking more long-term though, I really feel that campaign finance reform and the need to create an ecosystem that prevents big money in general from being able to influence key policy issues in Washington is critical. And with the 2012 elections around the corner, this may be the right time to have a national debate on the issues. Cuz next time around, we may not be so lucky in saving the internet.

Kim Dotcom – The Next James Bond Villain?!
Yes, Daniel Craig ‘n the 007 crew are already busy shooting the next Bond movie Skyfall but I wonder if its not too late to make a slight script change 😉 Cuz if ever there was someone tailor-made for the Bond baddie role, it would have to be the recently apprehended enigmatic MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom – big, bald and sporting those trademark wraparound sunglasses, self professed modern day pirate, sprawling mansions, private jets, b’day parties on nuclear submarines, hanging with playboy bunnies, penchant for racing fast cars and owner of a rolls royce phantom, lamborghini, pink cadillac and a fleet of benz’s with license plates such as HACKER, POLICE, STONED, MAFIA and GOD, trying to finance a private army against war on terror, shelling out half a million bucks to sponsor fireworks in Auckland to buy his way to a citizenship and of course running a global piracy network spanning from New Zealand to Hong Kong to Netherlands to Virginia amassing millions in the process. The only thing missing are a purring white siamese cat and an underground volcano lair. I mean, c’mooonnnnn, the character pretty much writes itself! 😉  (Bonus: did ya know he’s also the no. 1 global “Modern Warfare 3” player?)

Tech Events This Week

Ok, and now lets see where the Silicon Alley cohorts will be cozying up this week…

SXSW Interactive NYC Community Meet Up
SXSW may still be a couple of months away but its never too early to start the party, right?! 😉
Monday, 6 p.m. @ Drom, 85 Avenue A

Entrepreneurs Roundtable 43
ERA honcho Murat Aktihanoglu is back with the first edition of Entrepreneurs Roundtable of 2012. Featured speaker is Eric Hippeau of Lerer Ventures.
Monday, 6 p.m. @ Chadbourne & Parke LLP, 30 Rockefeller Plaza 36th Floor

Under30CEO Demo/Pitches: The Tough Question Competition
Judges include Brad Harrison (BHV Fund), Hezekiah Griggs (H360 Capital), Eric Bertrand (EJB Capital), Heather Gilchrist (Rak Group and Jonathan Axelrod (Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator). Presenting are Matt Bishop (iGiveMore), Jason Blanck (Broodr), Michael Giles (RoboInvest), Clay Hebert (Spindows), Jason Nadaf (SureDone) and Ron Williams (
Monday, 6:30 p.m. @ Microsoft HQ NYC, 1290 Avenue of the Americas 6th Floor

Digital Media MBA January Happy Hour
Schmoozin’ and boozin’ with fellow startuppers.
Monday, 6:30 p.m. @ Solas, 232 East Ninth Street

The Digial Media Center – Official Launch Event
Digital Media Center is a collaboration betn SVB, Cooley, Deloitte and NASDAQ. Speaking are Andy Mitchell (Facebook), Ben Wolin (CEO, Everyday Health), Roger Keating (SVP Digital Media, Hearst Television), Jerry Neumann (Ad Tech Angel Investor), Eric Anderson (VP Content and Product Solutions, Samsung Electronics America) and Kathleen Sullivan (CMO, Verizon Digital Media Services).
Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. @ NASDAQ, 4 Times Square

Talking UI/UX for Location Based Apps
SoLoMo + UI/UX = A Good Time 😉
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. @ Aol Ventures, 770 Broadway 6th Floor

Inaugural NY Enterprise Technology Meetup
Enterprise is going to be an important trend in 2012. Presenting will be Bitly, PerspecSys, Socialware and RedRover.
Wednesday, 7 p.m. @ Cooley, 1114 Avenue of the Americas

Getting Down to BDNess
Wherein u explore the practice and craft of business development. Speaking will be Matthew Friend (Sr. Manager, Digital Partnerships & BizDev, American Express), Jesse Hertzberg (SVP, Operations & BizDev, Squarespace) and Graham Siener (VP of Customer Development, Profitably).
Wednesday, 7 p.m. @ General Assembly, 902 Broadway 4th Floor

Hackers & Founders NYC Meetup #27
The place to be to hang out with other hacker/founders.
Thursday, 6 p.m. @ The Ginger Man, 7 East 36th St

NY Video Jan 2012 Meetup
Presenting will be Dave Ford (Sharethrough), Jared Neumark (CEO, Landline TV), Aubrey Levy & Sander Kooijman (CoFounders, Mobcaster) and Chuck Storman & Mike Bittle (CEO & COO, Attend).
Thursday, 6:30 p.m. @ Aol HQ, 770 Broadway 6th Floor

Digital DUMBO 3rd Year Anniversary Party
Everyone’s favorite Brooklyn tech networking event turns 3! Time to par-tayyy 🙂
Thursday, 6:30 p.m. @ Dumbo Loft, 155 Water St, Brooklyn

More on the horizon…

January Hacker Townhall on Jan 30 @ General Assembly
500 Startups Demo Day NYC on Feb 01 @ General Assembly
18th Annual Columbia Business School Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference on Feb 03 @ Columbia Business School
NYC EDU Startup Weekend on Feb 03 @ The Mandell School
API Hackday NYC on Feb 04 @ Mashery HQ
TEDxBigApple presents Disruptive Ideas @ Saatchi & Saatchi on Feb 04 @ Saatchi & Saatchi
SecondMarket Presents: Capitalyze on Feb 15 @ Dream Downtown

Until next week. Stay thirsty social, my friends! 😉 Three Key Takeaways From SOPA/PIPA; Kim Dotcom, Bond Baddie; and Tech Events This Week