I’m the co-founder and chief executive of VHX, a small NYC-based startup that allows anyone to sell videos online. We enable individuals and small businesses to reach customers they couldn’t reach before, and provide them with a high-quality video streaming experience that’s on par with large, closed platforms like iTunes and Netflix.
Buffering and delivery speed are absolutely critical to any company working with online video. As a company, VHX will live and die based on the quality of our product and our video-watching experience. The success we’ve had to-date is entirely because we can compete solely on the basis of that product, in an open market, enabled by an open Internet. Our business, and the small busineses we support, would be gravely impacted by paid prioritization, technical discrimination and/or access fees.
The companies with which we compete – Apple, Amazon, Google, the cable companies themselves – can afford to pay for a “fast lane” or fight a vague “commercially reasonable” standard. We do not have that luxury. We do not have lawyers on staff, and we do not have the resources to negotiate individualized deals. If the rules around net neutrality are too soft, we would not be able to match our competitors experience, and we would not be able to survive.
Chairman Wheeler has been outspoken about his support for net neutrality and an open Internet, but the critical question now is about how it’s implemented. I cannot stress enough how much we need strict, simple, “bright-line” rules, which leave no room for exploitation and misinterpretation. Lawyers I trust have told me repeatedly that these kind of bright-line rules can only be enacted if broadband providers are reclassified as public utilities under Title II. Rules based on Section 706 leave room for the kind of challenges and uncertainty that stifle investment, create chilling effects for startups, and threaten innovation.
“Setting aside music streaming, Apple’s acquisition of Beats could represent the company’s take on one version of the future user interface for computing — Google Glass and Facebook’s $2 billion Oculus are another. In some ways it could be a philosophical split on whether users will interact with data aurally or visually in the future.”—
Which human capabilities will be most important in the future?
“We need more tech folks who know a little something about the history of media, the history of advertising against truly engaging content, and the limits of the human attention span. Folks who know that an audience is actually a finite thing — and that’s a good thing.”—Why Facebook-Style Big-ism Is Bad for Digital Media