Professional athletes aren’t the only ones who deliver interviews crammed with mind-numbing cliches and platitudes. Technology CEOs are equally adept at talking to the media while saying nothing of substance.
In an interview with MarketWatch, YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, who has been thrust into the media spotlight in recent weeks, was a master of the obvious and a betrayer of no secrets.
Hurley refused to say whether his company had been approached by would-be acquirers, said the company "has no plans" to sell itself, earnestly reaffirmed that YouTube’s resolute focus was on "providing the best user experience possible," and, with regard to a potential IPO, said, if the company had an opportunity to go public, the experience would be "very exciting."
It’s like David Beckham saying he’s looking forward to another season with Real Madrid or Bill Belichick saying his New England Patriots take the season one game at a time, never looking beyond their next opponent. It’s verbal anodyne.
In summary, Hurley either said nothing he hasn’t said before, said things that were self-evident, or minced his words so finely that it was impossible to discern meaningful intent. His PR and IR minders must be elated, because he’s following the prescribed script for these situations perfectly.
The only interesting tidbit to emerge is that he dismissed reports that YouTube’s valuation soared from $600 million to $1 billion after his recent star turn at Allen & Co.’s annual media-industry shindig in Sun Valley, Idaho. If you will recall, the New York Post — owned by News Corp., which is run by old-cum-new-media titan Rupert Murdoch — published a gossipy piece last week in which it was alleged that "Hurley and his backers have their sights set on $1 billion for the video-swapping site."
Was that a bit of disinformation injected into the media maelstrom by a mischievous Murdoch, or was it just the columnist’s honest reporting of scuttlebutt he’d heard from others who’d made the rounds at Sun Valley?