tv Press Here NBC February 14, 2016 9:00am-9:31am PST
sponsored in part by barracuda, city national bank, provided to help northern california businesses grow. do you know who this man is? dennis is a lot like joe nameth if he were in the video game business. is your team more important than your product? venture capitalist marc siegel thinks so. and an author shows us how human evolution is speeding up. our reporters of the mercury news and jacob ward this week on "press:here."
good morning, everyone. i'm scott mcgrew. i don't immediately understand every trend in technology. i'm not much of a snapchat user, for instance. but i try to get the gist of every new thing but this really surprised me. this is the inside of the s.a.p. center in san jose during a video game tournament. thousands of people packed to the rafters watching other people play video games. now, they did this in person and they have watched online. it's a huge business. amazon paid $1 billion for a video game channel called twitch and other channels have shown up as well all showing off video games to people. rafter has more than 1.5 million viewers created by dennis fong. he's the most famous video game player of his era. if you're of a certain age, dennis fong is the joe nameth of
video games. joined by jacob ward and michelle quinn of the mercury news as well. going back to all of those people packing the s.a.p. center, if you walk through the s.a.p. center, is it like people saying, who is that old guy? >> it's definitely the latter. the funny thing is, i was named fresh. that was my handle in games. they named a champion after me in the game that they were playing in. >> really? >> at the s.a.p. center. most people don't know, but -- the majority of people don't know, which is pretty funny. but it's pretty cool. >> you're in the guinness book of world records, right, as the first great champion of back in the doom and quake days. you're in the guinness book of world records for video games. >> that's right. when i was playing, there was no such thing as professional video gaming. it kind of fell into my lap, literally. >> how was that possible?
how could you make a living doing that? >> "the wall street journal" is what made it possible. they wrote a story of online gaming which was new at the time and decided to use me because i was the most well-known gamer. they ended up with a stencil drawing of me. >> and you were making close to $100,000 a year? >> yes, close to $150,000 a year when i was 17. >> and ended up with a ferrari. give us a sense for people who are new to this. >> from a viewer perspective, it's as large or bigger than most professional sports. >> nba? >> yes. league of legends is probably the most popular game in the world. the game has about 70 million monthly active players. unique. and they are world championships which sold out the staples
center in about five months. it was held in germany this past year. >> yeah. >> more people tuned in to watch the finals than watched the -- >> stream masters, i believe? >> it's a separate tournament. there are several ones but just the world finals alone, more people tuned in to watch that than the nba finals or world series. >> i have to assume -- tell us about the audience. i assume that at some point you age out of professional gaming? no offense, but -- >> maybe you do age out. >> is the audience typically young? male? >> 13 to 34-year-olds. it used to be very male dominated but it's changed a lot because games are more friendly to females now. >> i understand the thrill of playing the game but watching the game -- then again, i don't understand watching bowling again either. but kids will come to attend or watch it on something like twitch or plays tv which you
run. they will watch other people play the game and watch the screen as it develops? >> yes. one of the things that's really interesting, if you draw an analogy to professional sports, imagine if lebron james had a gopro camera strapped to his head, you can watch everything he's doing from his perspective and ask him questions live and he'll answer you in realtime. that's basically twitch. >> yeah. >> and you have these lebron james equivalents in pro gaming. these guys are famous. there could be 60,000 people tuned in at once to watch one guy play for four hours. >> you've mentioned sponsors but have any big investors come in to buy east 14? >> yeah. i mean, a lot of the pro sports owners are starting to get into the space. mark cuban is looking into buying the team. rick fox, he used to play on the lakers, he now owns team.
it's dwarfed by professional sports but that's why there is so much excitement around it. >> that's the challenge to you. how do you monetize this? obviously, hey, i use only this kind of mouse and there's that. but when you broadcast a game, for instance, how do you monetize that? >> a lot of that is through advertising and sponsorships and product placements, much like professional sports. >> sure. >> from a revenue perspective, the usership compared to something like the nfl, one of the biggest professional sports in the world, is almost equivalent but the revenues are da war dwarfed. there's a lot of room for growth but people are still struggling to figure out how to reach this audience because the 13 to 34-year-old demographic tends to be very anti-establishment, anti-corporate. >> right. i would also assume there's not as much sort of open cultural
communication between fans. like if i'm a royal madrid fan or mavericks fan, someone at a bar has that jersey on, we'll recognize each other and there will be a connection. do you find that there's sort of a tapping out of people's ability to connect with each other culturally over this stuff or -- >> i would say people learning -- >> you're not in the right demographics. if you go to any junior high or high school, people will be rocking the jerseys, rocking their names. >> because there really are jerseys. >> absolutely. >> you're taking a lot of the examples from current professional sports and bringing them in to these sports? >> yes. these guys have millions of fans. they have people just like rock stars when they are on the stage and groupies and the whole nine. >> you talked about the demographic of players is men
and women. what do you think the future is for e-sports? do women have a role, a place playing these games? >> they absolutely do. in fact, these legends had the first female starting player in the most recent season. as i said, the game tends to be a little more cartoony and there's a lot of different roles that you can play. in the past, for shooter type of games, it's not that it's anti-females but females are generally not attracted to that kind of game. >> i guess that is so in the s.a.p. center. there were young women playing and fan base as well and maybe the newest generation will be much better at -- these young kids, they don't even think about these things as much. i have to let him go because i have to pay a bill. so -- dennis fong, the greatest video game players of all time and raptr with no "e" in it and play is on tv if you want to
as well as resources and expertise. city national bank provides financing that meets a client's unique needs. we spend the time with our clients and listen to their issues and challenges and we go back and tailor their needs. >> first and foremost, you're looking at capital but the need is really deeper than that. it's someone who can form a relationship and take the time and invest the effort to understand your business, your needs and not only be reactive to your requests but be proactive to building your business in a responsible way. >> get the help you need to succeed. call or visit findyourwayup.com/getstarted. welcome back to "press:here." there may be a few shake-ups ahead in tech. there's talk on twitter and yahoo! may soon be for sale bought out by bigger companies
which means jack dorsey may be moving on. meyer has enough money to retire several times over but what if they started anew? what sort of teams would they build if they could start fresh? marc siegel spent a lot of time thinking about teams. he has invested in teams, uber and others. thanks for being with us this morning. you told me that teams are more important than product. you'll invest in a team based on a team, not the product? >> actually, not entirely true. i think a start-up company is a three-legging to three-legging tool. if any of those three things are missing, you're not going to have a successful outcome. >> so are there specific teams that you invest? because when we talk about good teams, we're talking about actual literal people.
you're actually looking at their employee list going yes, yes, yes. oh, no, no, no. >> we do track specific people. for instance, we know, for instance, when somebody has a company that gets acquired. we know exactly when their stock options vest and when they might be spinning out the next company and we do track people that -- entrepreneurship is a very icer type of a process. we do have specific people in mind and there's a lot of companies that we do back -- we have to believe in the market and believe they have a great product but we back because of the team. >> i think of just like the personality of someone that would you find attractive as a business leader. i mean, in today's engineering environment, very often the skills rewarded in the market are not skills that make someone particularly pleasant to spend time with. how do you find people that are both inspiring, good managers
and technically sophisticated? that feels like a very complicated cocktail to come up with. >> it is. and different personality types do well in different organizations. it's not always the person who is easy to get along with, who is the great product manager. steve jobs certainly was not the easiest person to get along with. the chemistry has to be right among a team and sometimes great people don't fit in within a particular team. we do think of the dynamics within a company as well. >> if you were jack dorsey right now at twitter, what kind of a team would you try to make for him? what would be your dream team? maybe not names but -- >> oh, no. names. >> well, look, twitter has obviously had a lot of turnover and the think the company is struggling to get profitable, struggling with product innovation. and jack himself is a great product visionary but i think they need more people cut from the jack dorsey mold who can
really kind of figure out the next act for twitter. >> if twitter came out with a new product, it was popular and interesting and hired somebody that you thought was going to help, which one would you think is the most important? >> well, i think that probably the person -- the leader for that is probably the most important, actually, and i think that person is going to help attract people. the talent you attract is not responsible for their own contribution, it's that other people want to work for them. and making sure that there is a center of gravity there of people who attract other great people is really important. periscope was acquired by twitter, you know, and that could be the nexus of a new offering for a company that gets them to the next level. >> what's your view on the whole notion of a totally flat organizational structure? i feel like you could -- i could
see a company like fresh, if it were that way, one company that has a hierarchy structure and communist structure coming together and imploding. >> it doesn't work well. acquisitions notoriously, if it's not really just getting to the transaction, it's making them work after ward and very many of them go wrong for exactly those reasons. i'm not a big fan of the flat structure. i think it works well when a company is very young and it feels like a family. >> three guys in a room. >> but you really need to introduce -- and i'm not a fan of overly structure either. you need management chain of command. >> what would you say to marissa meyer in terms of what to do next? sell, sell, sell? >> well, i think yahoo! is clearly challenged and the reason that they are seeing talent leave the company has a lot to do with how the business is doing. so this is a company that
obviously does have some real units that are making money. >> right. >> i think probably yahoo! it might be time to sell the company. there's a lot of work to do to rebuild their team. >> it's going to be harder and harder to hold onto that team. they can sense -- layoffs, that's going to drive people away. it's going to be harder to hold people together. can do you that as a leader? >> well, you can. i think as a public company you've got maybe a different talent pool than you look for when you're a startup. not everybody has the appetite for the long hours, for the risk that you have in a startup. so i think it can be done. but it does become challenging. as companies decrease in value, employees have their options under water and it's hard to retain talent, especially when you're in the bay area when your top employees have head hunters calling them every day with opportunities. >> i assume that there is -- i
don't know. i like to think that at a certain point in your career, you can be a good technical person, good to work with and be willing to stick around even if you don't have success at the company but the bar you're describing is very high. >> very. >> you've got to be going up to keep people around? >> well, there's a lot of things that motivate people and in particular engineers are motivated by doing a project that they feel is important, it's challenging so it isn't just about the money. but talented people also want to be compensated and there are so many opportunities for great people that it's just a real challenge if people don't at least see some light at the end of the tunnel to get them to stick around. >> mark, i want to ask you, as we have 30 seconds left, my dream team is mack legend, john stripe and jessica herrin. of stella and dot. >> that's a good dream team.
>> if we get them together, you'll get me money, right? >> you get that team together, i'll write you a check. >> mark siegel, thank you for joining me. hacking people hacking people. trying to speed up evolution. i'll try to get it all straight when "press:here" continues. bl blam. barracuda's clients may vary but their clients are very similar. one of the clients is southern california based my hero project. it's a digital library. we wanted to provide a portal for young people to find positive role models. >> my hero project is a freely accessible not for profit project relying heavily on contributors who share content from all over the globe to make
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welcome back. i want to show you something. chances are, you've seen it before at the eye doctor. you likely see the number 74 but there are those of you who don't. for every dozen people watching, one of you can't see that number. statistically, 1 out of 12 of you are color blind. we have different senses. some of us see things that others don't and that affects our perception of reality. did i just show you a number? 11 people say yes. one says no. changing our senses changes our understanding of the world around us and there are groups, some are scientists, some are hackers, some are trying to improve. some taste, smell, feel through implants like bio hackers are doing or through science or genetics. karen wrote a book about it. we have the technology. it's transforming human
perception one sense at a time. thanks for joining me. >> thank you. >> i think it's fascinating. some people can see the number and some can't see the number. scientists can build something that i don't see? >> possibly. nobody has built anything like that quite yet, but you're right. we all have the human body but we're genetically different. some people are color blind and some people have other attributes that we don't have. >> and i can see ultra violet light? >> not yet but there are animals outhere who can. nature has built that gear for other animals. for example, honey bees can see into the ultralight. >> do you feel people are trying to compensate for a problem or are they trying to enhance our ability beyond what evolution gave snus. >> there's a split. actually, it's fair to say that the two sides of the field are not talking to one another. there's a lot of academics and
people working for for-profit companies. they want to help people who have a medical problem and then there's an exploratory community of bio hackers and gamers, people working the entertainment industry saying, can we sense more? can we do more with what nature gave snus so, yeah, they are both doing it and have different audiences. i'm a reporter so i'm not here to tell people what to do with their bodies. my thing was i ran around the united states and other countries and getting in on a good experiment. i just want to see what is going on and sometimes i felt like the plague rat moving between these different camps carrying ideas. >> scientists say this. bio hazards are doing this. >> what's the advantage for entertainment purposes? give me an example. >> some of the big deals going on has to do with virtual reality or augmented reality. there are cool applications for games or other portable wearable
devices. right? so what if you could bring incen in sensory information that people don't already have. night vision. not for gaming but military purposes. >> not wearing something but rather this would be something that is in your head. the cochular implants that is inside your body. >> the medical researchers are doing stuff inside the body, inside the brain, for the most part. most entertainment developers are working on something wearable. who wants to have brain surgery in order to thought control war craft? right? it's too much. >> it's not covered. >> but bio hackers, people who are doing these exploratory things on their own without the help of the medical injury, they are working on putting stuff in their bodies, not in their brains. >> we had a sense of the taste
for a while it didn't exist, particularly i understand in caucasians which we had trouble tasting it in a way that asians did not and then all of a sudden it was described and we could taste it. did i get that right? >> this is a really interesting idea. first of all, i want to say that technology doesn't just mean technology and wearables. it's something that people have made to make our lives better. the technology here is language. if you're like me, we all went to elementary in the last century. there is salty, sweet, and bitter and then savory is a concept that existed for centuries. >> we don't taste it. >> we don't taste it. we can't perceive it. until around 2000, people discovered receptors on the tongue and the west had to accept it. the fact that the japanese had a word for this concept it's what
is recognized to perceive as savoriness. >> some culture has it that we don't have the word for it. >> i read a fascinating article about emotion. a woman made that argument for emotion. some cultures have a word for a feeling. if you don't have it, can you feel it? can you categorize it? now the race is going on to find out if there's a thousandth taste. >> there could be senses that we think are normal that 20 years from now we never realized that we had. >> or we can build it. bio hackers are trying to give a magnetic sense. it exists in nature. fish, butterflies. people don't. >> this is putting in their hand? >> he yes. it's called a north star. a light-up compass would light up when you're facing north. they came out with the preliminary version. it doesn't have the compass
element in it. the device is called north star. >> it seems risky to put magnets in the body. >> it is risky. kids, don't do this at home. they are not even doing the surgeries so if they implant themselves, they are having professional body artists who do it. >> oh, that seems fine. >> right? >> and i'm sure we are very carefully editing around the blood. absolutely fascinating book which i assume was named after the $6 million man, right? >> i didn't get to name it. journalists never get to name it. >> karen platoni, it's a wonderful book. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> we'll be back in just a moment.
at. ready? unbelievable. and now i'm going to try to come down. it was, by far, the scariest thing i've ever done. i've never felt so insignificant. >> that is jake ward in a tree. how high were you? >> a little over 200 feet. >> now, this is for al jazeera america. i really enjoy the quality of that program. i think it does a great job. we love having different reporters on from different places and give a different perspective but al jazeera is going away? >> it is. al jazeera english will begin to stream in the united states after we go dark on april 12th so you can still enjoy the work but as an entity it's going to go away. >> it's been a controversy. i don't think among the smarter viewers but it's something that is nice to have another voice
and al jazeera will continue? >> rather than focusing largely on consumer tech we were doing body cameras and environmental degradation. really great things. >> jake ward, thank you. that's our show for this week. i'm scott mcgrew. thank you for making us part of your sunday morning. "press:here" is sponsored in part by barracuda network. storage solutions to simplify i.t. city national bank providing loans and lines of credit to help northern california businesses grow. bank nbc's sports report.