“If it’s a streaming war we’d like to be an arms dealer,” says IAC CEO Joey Levin. “We want to send the product and services to people who are making video. Video is relevant not just to people building streaming services, which there are now endless amounts of that and endless amounts of capital, but also every small business and every event. Everywhere people interact they’re expecting video now. It used to be text, then it was images, and now it’s video.”
If It’s a Streaming War We’d Like To Be an Arms Dealer
If it’s a streaming war we’d like to be an arms dealer. We want to send the product and services to people who are making video. Video is relevant not just to people building streaming services, which there are now endless amounts of that and endless amounts of capital, but also every small business and every event. Everywhere people interact they’re expecting video now. It used to be text, then it was images, and now it’s video. People need the tools to make that and our goal is to provide them.
I’m thrilled (we pivoted away from being a platform for streaming) now that everyone’s jumping into that space. I think between the time we announced that we were going to get into the streaming wars and the time we backed out there was another several billion dollars within a few months that entered the category. We were not competing with weapons that size and thought we’d be better off being a service provider.
It’s Possible To Compete With Google But They Have To Play Fairly
I don’t know what the right answer is (regarding breaking up big tech companies such as Google and Facebook) but I do know that we need an answer. Regulations are very hard to get right. I think frequently regulations in areas like that end up helping the incumbents. Those companies have already built huge data stores and they know what to do with those. It’ll just make it harder for the next people that come in to gather the data they need to compete. I don’t know how the regulations would work. I’d love to see that happen. I’d love to see regulations allow for more competition and protect competition, but it’s hard to see how that’s going to work. I don’t think GDPR did that really and I don’t know what would. They may need other solutions.
I think it’s possible (to compete with Google) but they have to play fairly. They have a significant position in search and they have a significant position in other areas too and that’s where a lot of people start their behavior. If Google starts favoring its own products or continues favoring its own products that is not going to leave room for others. I think that’s not necessarily great for the country.
In Deciding To Take a Company Public We Take a Long-Term Perspective
We don’t think a lot about a particular market state when we’re taking a company publicly. We think about what’s right for the company at the time. Does the company need access to capital? Does the company need a currency? Could a company benefit in some way by being public and having a public currency? It’s kind of independent of what market we’re in at that moment (when we decide it’s the right) time to take a company public. Just because the market might be hot or valuations might be high doesn’t mean we need to hit that window because we take a much longer-term perspective.
The (recent IPOs) are all different and they all have their own story. There are fantastic companies going public. I think it’ll be good for investors and they have opportunities to invest in them. It’s better that their public in a lot of cases than being private where a limited number of people can invest in them.
We Now Match 100 Percent of Employee 401k Contributions
I think there are different answers for different businesses (regarding potential regulations that could shut down the gig economy). We have businesses that have gig economy workers, 1099 workers, and we have businesses that are very big on W2 workers. The question is are the employees or the people doing the work getting the benefits that they want and getting the benefits that they need? Many of them prefer to be independent contractors and many of them prefer some of the benefits of independent contractors. Others like BlueCrew, which is all W2 workers, want benefits and need the things that come with being a W2 worker. Each business has its own needs on that.
One of the other things that we’re doing at IAC right now that’s really important for our 8,000 employees is we just announced a big change to our 401k plan to address the income inequality gap, to get more people investing in the market, to get more people participating in the economy and in capitalism. We are now matching a hundred percent of people’s 401k contributions up to 10% of their salary which is I think relatively unheard of among our competitors and other companies. I’m hoping other people follow that.