YouTube myth debunked, Google phone, Endoxon, iPhone, Perkins’ memoir & more

The latest roundup of Silicon Valley tech stuff:

YouTube myth debunked; idea really came from HOTorNOT — Remember the Pez dispenser story eBay fabricated to drum up a catchy media story about its founding? Turns out, the same thing happened at YouTube. The founders, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen told us and many others that their idea for YouTube came during a party, and their frustration at not being able to upload videos of it. Now Time reveals the truth, based on its own conversations with the founders, was much more complicated:

Chad and Steve both say that the party did occur but that [third co-founder Jawed] Karim wasn’t there. “Chad and I are pretty modest, and Jawed has tried to seize every opportunity to take credit,” Steve told me. But he also acknowledged that the notion that YouTube was founded after a dinner “was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible.”

No company, of course, is ever founded in a single moment, and YouTube evolved over several months. Chad and Steve agree that Karim deserves credit for the early idea that became, in Steve’s words, “the original goal that we were working toward in the very beginning”: a video version of HOTorNOT.com.

DFJ backs Indian electric carmaker — The Silicon Valley venture firm helps pump $20 million into India’s only electric carmaker, the Reva Electric Car Company.

Jason Calacanis looks into advertising — Like media entrepreneur John Batelle, who moved from Industry Standard to FM Publishing, entrepreneuer Jason Calacanis has also realized the advertising industry is what really drives money in the media industry. So Calacanis, who previously formed media companies Venture Reporter and Weblogs, moderate successes, apparently wants to hit it big finally. Now at Sequoia, looking for his next big idea, Calacanis posts from his blog:

I’m looking for two full-time researchers in Los Angeles (i.e. folks who could work with me on a daily basis) and I’m trying to dig deeper into statistics and testing. Specifically, I want to deepen my knowledge around advertising using A/B and multivariate testing…

The Google mobile phone? — The Observer of London writes that European phone giant Orange is in talks with Google to create a mobile phone, and held preliminary discussions. There’s a lot of hype on this story; note it is poorly sourced, and note also the reference to “preliminary.” Google has good reasons to talk with everybody, but no reasons to get into the hardware business. Sure, it will deliver its search capability to anyone who wants it. Yes, it bought Reqwireless, a mobile browser company earlier this year, but the stated reason was to acquire talent, and don’t forget Google has been fixing its search for mobile phones for some time. Google bought Android, which supposedly tinkered with a mobile operating sysem. But Google is likely want to develop just that, to provide its search and other software in more sophisticated ways over a phone. Finally, phone theorists will point to Google’s purchase of Switzerland’s Endoxon, announced yesterday, which makes software to display maps on computers and mobile phones. But a hardware phone? Don’t think so.

The rush toward copyright violation prevention technologies — Yesterday, we wrote about a new start-up Attributor that is fingerprinting audio and video files to help content owners stop pirating. MediaHedge is another entrant in this area.

Text messaging people in other cars — Using the license plate of cars to text people occurred to us a few days ago while driving. After a few seconds deliberation, though, we dropped the idea, thinking it was silly: The only times it would be used, we realized, would be to send hate messages (an unprintable version of “your driving stinks”) or obnoxious come-on messages from guys leering at cute babes. Yet, coincidentally, just a couple of days later, we see that a company is indeed trying this long-shot idea.

News-ranking site Digg has upgraded video and podcasting features — See details here.

Linksys’ Internet iPhoneLinksys, the Cisco-owned unit that makes routers for homes, is selling new phones that enable calls through eBay’s Skype service and Yahoo’s Messenger. The phones carry the iPhones trademark is owned by Cisco, and thus raises doubts that the supposed Apple phone — rumored to be coming, perhaps next year — will carry the same name. What’s wrong with “iPod Phone”?

Google to deliver 3D images of moon, Mars and other planets — Details of the agreement with NASA here.

MySpace made available on CingularDetails here.

Tom Perkins to publish memoir, beginning with HP scandal — The big-name venture capitalist, founder of Kleiner Perkins, who blew the lid off the Hewlett-Packard spying scandal, is writing another book. Gotham Books will publish his memoir, “Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins,” in fall 2007. It will begin with his resignation from the HP board. The Merc has details.

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