Jarod and I were at the office Thursday with our heads spinning finishing up the totally new and improved MessageParty (coming soon), when someone sent him a link to a YouTube video that boasted all of about 30 views – a VC pitch from a girl named Rachel Sequoia called “Share the Air.”
I have no idea who Rachel Sequoia is, have no relationship with her or Spiral Moon Media, have never heard of VCFC, and am still torn on whether this company is real or a product of the startup version of Ark Music Factory.
It’s now five days later and the video has zipped around the interwebs and has over 100,000 views. While that’s nothing compared to your average mainstream viral hit, for a niche video from a VC pitch event it’s kind of amazing.
So how does a video go from 30 to 100,000 views? What sort of traffic patterns create this sort of momentum? This is stuff I find fascinating. Observations below.
–> Real or Fake
The best part about the video is that it rides and incredibly fine line between real and fake. If you’ve ever been to any sort of pitch event, you know that some people who get up at these things have totally ridiculous ideas. But I think the investment community is small enough that surely there would be someone recognizable in the audience. I did quick poll of VC friends and no one had even heard of the event.
Another notable observation about this video is that it came out the day after the Color financing was announced. Sequoia the firm was on everyone’s mind. And then here was Rachel Sequoia. Coincidence? Hmm. She also followed perfectly in the wake of everyone’s new favorite viral star Rebecca Black. In the same way that the big winner in the Rebecca Black meme was Ark Music Factory, I think the same is true for Spiral Moon Media.
One curious thing though was when we saw the video last Thursday, no one had bothered to register SharetheAir108.com. Weird. We thought the video was awesome, and the thought of some asshole domain squatter trying to profit off of Rachel was too much to bear and mostly just wanted to help her out – remember, the video had about 100 views at the time and you can set up a LaunchRock site in about 2 minutes. We had NO IDEA it would grow like this. To be honest, I believe the video is 100% real and we figured it was a great way to pitch in, but we had nothing do with the event or the video. We’ve spoken with Dan from Spiral Moon and apparently there’s more to come from Rachel and the pitch is not some elaborate internet prank. The story just gets more interesting as the days go on! As for the analytics? So far there have been 95,415 unique visitors and 2,321 email sign-ups in the last 5 days (don’t worry we’re not going to do anything with the email list except hand it over to Rachel if she wants it). I suppose this is the yield one can expect from over 100,000 YouTube views.
Additionally, I just received an email from Ashwin Anand, the President of the VCFC and an intellectual property attorney in Silicon Valley. Says Ashwin: “The event was held at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) in Palo Alto, California. The audience was made up of predominately entrepreneurs and middle-aged business men/women as you can see in the video. These were individuals and inventors who have interesting ideas but often lack the platform or distribution capabilities to make their voice heard. The room was set to hold around 80-90 people, and it was completely filled throughout most of the event. All the seats were taken, and there were a lot of people standing in the back…Rachel Sequoia’s presentation really livened and loosened up the mood in the room…everyone was smiles after Sequoia’s pitch. She was, I believe, the 4th presenter of the evening (of about 6-7) and as you might be able to tell from the video, the most unique, upbeat, and entertaining. It was very well received, and afterwards, Rachel received lots of encouraging and positive feedback from people who really thought she did an amazing job.”
–> Traffic Patterns
The video made the rounds on Tumblr before it ever hit any major news outlets. Jarod posted it on his tumblr, I re-blogged it from him, and it got re-blogged around Tumblr for about 2 days before ending up on The Daily What. This series of re-blogs pushed the video from 30 views to about 20,000.
If anything, I think this video shows the viral power of Tumblr. Getting those first 10,000 WTF’s is an important step in pushing something up to 100,000 or even a million. Getting to a few hundred thousand views now seems inevitable, and I think it was those first 10,000 that were the hardest-earned and most important to the spread of the the video.
OK back to work. Thank you Rachel for providing a welcome distraction for the past 5 days. It’s comforting to know that *even in 2011* no one on the internet really knows who is and isn’t a dog.