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Hack To Start
Episode 159

Hunter Walk

@homebrew, Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap. Previously made products at YouTube

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Ventures, a seed stage venture fund. Over a decade ago, while Hunter was a Product Manager at Google, working on the newly acquired YouTube platform, Apple had approached them before Steve Jobs had even announced the world's first iPhone. There was no public App Store at that time and no third party apps. Apple wanted to have complete control over the experience and built the first video app for the iPhone that would pull YouTube content. It was a risky move, but the alternative to working with Apple was - at that time - going directly to a carrier and paying them large sums of money to include you app on all their devices. It was an exciting but challenging time as Hunter recounts - because there were so many moving pieces and not everyone saw that smartphone were going to play such a huge role in our daily lives in just a few more years. So if you’re a Product Manager yourself, love YouTube, or are just curious about how a startup like YouTube sold to Google for $1.65B in 2006 (the largest consumer tech acquisition at the time) and then went on to work with Apple to ensure they’d make the jump to smartphones - get ready, cause Hunter is going to share his insights and experiences into all this and more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Hunter got into startups
  • Learn more about how Hunter approached product management at AdSense and YouTube
  • Learn more about how YouTube made the jump to mobile on the first iPhone
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Ventures, a seed stage venture fund.

Over a decade ago, while Hunter was a Product Manager at Google, working on the newly acquired YouTube platform, Apple had approached them before Steve Jobs had even announced the world's first iPhone. There was no public App Store at that time and no third party apps.

Apple wanted to have complete control over the experience and built the first video app for the iPhone that would pull YouTube content. It was a risky move, but the alternative to working with Apple was - at that time - going directly to a carrier and paying them large sums of money to include you app on all their devices.

It was an exciting but challenging time as Hunter recounts - because there were so many moving pieces and not everyone saw that smartphone were going to play such a huge role in our daily lives in just a few more years.

So if you’re a Product Manager yourself, love YouTube, or are just curious about how a startup like YouTube sold to Google for $1.65B in 2006 (the largest consumer tech acquisition at the time) and then went on to work with Apple to ensure they’d make the jump to smartphones - get ready, cause Hunter is going to share his insights and experiences into all this and more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

3:16
Where are you from and what did you study?

6:38
Can you tell us more about how you created this opportunity and how Second Life grew to 15M users - how did you guys approach growth? What are some of the biggest challenges you guys faced?

11:36
What was YouTube / Google like when it was acquired and you were first working on it?

13:47
A few weeks ago, on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone announcement, you had a really interesting thread going on Twitter about how Apple approached YouTube re: mobile video and having it as an app there. For those who might have missed it, can you summarize what that process was like and tell us more about some of the challenges of making that first move to mobile?

19:41
In 2012 as you mentioned, YouTube opted out of the original contract with Apple - which meant the app was removed from millions of phones overnight and that users needed to install the newly created app from the App Store. What was that process like from a marketing perspective?

21:00
What were some of the biggest challenges involved in continuing to build YouTube and ensuring that it would become one of the biggest platforms in the world?

23:12
Today you’re a partner at Homebrew. Can you tell us more about Homebrew’s approach to investing and what motivated your to help launch it?

26:14
Do you have any final thoughts or words of advice for Product Managers or entrepreneurs?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Hunter Walk on Twitter
Hunter Walk on the Web
Homebrew on Twitter
Homebrew on the web
Hunter's YouTube Story on Medium
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

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