Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is Ashton Kutcher a visionary, or a punk?

On July 22, Robert Scoble wrote a follow-up post on Flipboard which included the following:

In fact, when I showed [FlipBoard] to famous actor Ashton Kutcher he was so excited about the product (said it was “a revolution in publishing”) he turned to me and begged to be introduced to the company. “I want to invest in this,” he told me. A week later he was, indeed, an investor.

This resulted in a comment from brklynmind, which said in part:

Its a reasonably nice app with potential and I don't know how the endorsement of Demi's Moore husband and the creator of 'Punked' and 'Beauty and the Geek' is supposed to convince us its more than that.

Well, I rarely watch TV so I can't really comment on that part of Kutcher's career, and the only thing that I knew about Kutcher in the tech area was that he is a champion of Twitter.

So why do some (but not others) regard him as an expert?

Well, for one, that danged Twitter account. In an L.A. Times piece, Catherine Hays from the Wharton School of Business mentioned Kutcher's large...number of Twitter followers.

But then she mentioned Katalyst Films. This company was founded in 2000 by Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, and had a part in a number of projects in which Kutcher was involved. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Katalyst Films has changed its focus over the years. If you go to, you get redirected to a Facebook page. Facebook (and Twitter) didn't exist in 2000, and I seriously doubt that Katalyst's mission statement read like this in the beginning:

Based in Los Angeles and New York, Katalyst is an original content production company and studio for social media, creating properties for digital media, television and film properties. The Katalyst mission is to create thought-provoking and compelling content for multiple platforms.

In addition, Kutcher has invested in various firms - not only Flipboard, but also Foursquare. While this might not necessarily make him a Mike Markkula or a Fred Wilson, Kutcher is certainly doing more to advance social technologies than I am.

Incidentally, Wilson talked about Kutcher - back in 2005, after his daughter saw the movie A Lot Like Love.

I was walking down the street with Emily and she turned to me and said, "Dad, Now I Know What A VC Does".

It turns out that Kutcher plays an entrepreneur who has a website called DiaperRush. He is in the process of raising VC money in the movie and apparently there is a scene in which he pitches the VCs.

So I asked Emily, "What were the VCs like in the movie?" She just shrugged her shoulders (a typical teen move) and that was that.

(And yes, I realize that there is a difference between an angel and a VC.)
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