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The 20 Companies You'll See at LAUNCH Education & Kids June 26-27, 2013

[ JoyTunes delights the judges at LAUNCH Education & Kids in June 2012. ]

We’re proud to announce the 20 companies that take the stage at LAUNCH Education & Kids this week. Tune in for Jason's fireside chat with Mitch Kapor at 1pm PT on Wednesday, June 26 followed by demos at (and again at 9am PT on June 27, when we kick off with Lynda Weinman of Our full agenda is here.


CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization that increases access to high quality educational materials for K-12 students all over the world. They offer free high-quality, standards-aligned, open content in the STEM subjects.


CollegeSnapps™ is a mobile application that connects students to their academic advisors. Through a series of live and prescribed interactions, it fosters engagement by allowing advisors to monitor a student’s progress and help the student succeed throughout college.


Crowdmark is a web application, with a paper-to-cloud bridge and a marking workflow that streamlines document assessment on a massive scale. Crowdmark helps teachers grade better.

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A YouTube Creators' Bill of Rights (Or 'A Roadmap for Building a Better YouTube')

In my last piece I explained why I didn’t want to work on YouTube’s farm no more. As promised, in this piece I will follow up on one of the two parts I couldn’t get to in the first piece: 'How Twitter, Hulu, MSN, Yahoo and Facebook -- or a next-gen YouTube startup -- could each take on YouTube effectively.'

My explanation takes the form of a 'YouTube Creators' Bill of Rights,' which can be used as a roadmap for YouTube to build sustainable bridges with their current partners -- or as a roadmap for a competitor to crush YouTube. :-)

In other words, these are the five killer features that could kill YouTube.

If you built a service around these five features, and you had some level of traffic and sales support (think Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Facebook or my favorite Twitter), you could instantly take the top 500 channels out from under YouTube.

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I ain't gonna work on YouTube's farm no more

Editor's note: Read Jason's followup to this piece, 'A YouTube Creators' Bill of Rights,' here.

Summary: I spent the last year as a funded YouTube partner and was one of the top ~10% of content creators who had their deals renewed in ‘cycle two’ -- and I turned down their money.

In this editorial I explain:

a) Why YouTube is an amazing platform
b) The five reasons I turned down YouTube’s funding
c) Why content owners investing solely in YouTube are investing in their own demise
d) How you can outgame YouTube and suck massive value from the ecosystem
e) Exactly how Twitter, Hulu, MSN, Yahoo and Facebook -- or a next-gen YouTube -- could each take on YouTube

Just over a year ago, YouTube asked me to pitch them on making shows that would take their service from a UGC (user generated content) juggernaut to a more advertiser-friendly platform.

They needed better-looking content, produced regularly, to get the big advertisers.

Also, to be frank, they needed reliable and appropriate content. Much of YouTube is comedy, and a lot of it isn’t exactly ‘sponsor friendly’ (see Shane Dawson).

They needed folks with experience in this space, so they reached out to people like me who had a track record in web content.

The deal was simple (according to public reports): we give you seven figures to make great shows, we sell the ads, we promote your content and then we split the revenue.

Great deal! What could go wrong, right?

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I Started a Co-working Space in LA


I'm thrilled to announce that I’ve started a co-working space here in Los Angeles. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes lonely work, and having a bunch of founders around you makes it a lot easier.

We’re calling it LAUNCH Co-work, and it’s a 10,000+ square-foot, 30-foot ceiling space in Culver City with room for a dozen startups.

We’re looking for awesome collaborators to learn, share and generally change the world with. I might angel invest in some of the startups, have them on “This Week in Startups” or just talk shop in the kitchen.

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Lynda Weinman Is Our Third Fireside Chat for LAUNCH Education & Kids June 26-27 -- with 2.5M members and nearly 100k videos across almost 2k courses -- has more than proven the market for learning software, business and creative skills online. Co-founder and executive chair Lynda Weinman will talk with LAUNCH founder Jason Calacanis in her fireside chat at LAUNCH Education & Kids June 26-27.

But this is not an overnight-success story. Lynda, a special effects animator and faculty member at the Art Center College of Design, founded the company with her husband Bruce Heavin in 1995 (see her full bio here).

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