Community//

Jeremy Kauffman of Odysee: “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity”

It’s cliche, but “luck is preparation meeting opportunity” is very true for us. Most of the biggest breaks for my team and I were not directly initiated by us, but were things we were able to take advantage of by being prepared, such as a big YouTuber getting inappropriately demonetized, or communities we’ve never spoken […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

It’s cliche, but “luck is preparation meeting opportunity” is very true for us. Most of the biggest breaks for my team and I were not directly initiated by us, but were things we were able to take advantage of by being prepared, such as a big YouTuber getting inappropriately demonetized, or communities we’ve never spoken to surging to LBRY.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Kauffman.

Jeremy is the CEO of Odysee, a decentralized video sharing platform for geeks and nerds. Jeremy is a hardcore libertarian that is passionate about the revival of the true indie creator over and above the fatuous ‘influencer’ and ‘selfie-gimmick’ creator. Odysee is the fastest growing decentralized video sharing platform in the US and is currently seeing tremendous growth in the Taiwan market.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Sometimes I say that my third parent was the internet. From a young age, I was exposed to a wonderful world of a million different perspectives. I feel like the internet is disappearing, and becoming one where a small number of companies exert disproportionate control. We want to end that and distribute power more evenly.
 
 I have a formal education in physics and computer science and an informal one in many other domains. I previously bootstrapped and sold a B2B software company, which gave me a lot of practical experience in developing a product and getting people to use it.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Odysee.com is the successor to YouTube. It’s built on top of the LBRY protocol, which does to publishing what Bitcoin does to money. It puts control back in the hands of the end users, rather than a small set of elites.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Mistakes are never funny, unless they involve a banana. Not too many funny mistakes are coming to mind, but some of the ones we’ve made are not shipping fast enough, not bringing LBRY to the web browser soon enough, adding hierarchy or management prematurely, but none of these are really funny. Except for the time we accidentally put a banana in charge of project management.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I look up to people who take personal risk to achieve something difficult and of substantial benefit. Those can be people who do it entrepreneurially, such as Elon Musk, or politically, like Edward Snowden. Specifically, I credit Julian Assange, who planted the seed for the creation of LBRY after publishing a conversation he had with Eric Schmidt.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Most market disruption is positive. Since disruptive products are typically voluntarily chosen, our default assumption should be that people do this because they find the new thing preferable. Disruption can be negative when it’s built on an explicit lie or because humans have not adapted or are prepared for it, either evolutionarily or societally. Potato chips and Twitter could potentially be in these categories, though I’d still personally prefer both to exist.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

It’s cliche, but “luck is preparation meeting opportunity” is very true for us. Most of the biggest breaks for my team and I were not directly initiated by us, but were things we were able to take advantage of by being prepared, such as a big YouTuber getting inappropriately demonetized, or communities we’ve never spoken to surging to LBRY.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We are planning for more than 10x growth in 2021. Live streaming, financial onboarding/offboarding, and optional advertising are big features coming to Odysee. And as always, we’ll have some creative, grassroots marketing that is both planned and reactive.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I’ve listened to an incredible number of episodes of Econtalk. Few shows explore as many deep ideas with as much intellectual honesty. One episode I’ll shout out in particular is the episode from February 2020 with Martin Gurri called Revolt of the Public. Gurri has some fascinating insights about how technology is changing the distribution of power and authority that feel prescient in light of the civil unrest that came later in the year.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Almost every person in every country should be disappointed by their government in 2020. The most important idea that is not given appropriate attention is competitive/exploratory governance.

There was a time when we were ruled by strong men, and democracy was an innovation. If we don’t continue to have frontiers where new things are tried, innovation will slow dramatically. Allowing “governance frontiers”, where people could voluntarily try new modes of governance, would be incredibly valuable.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow me on LBRY as @kauffj and on Twitter as @jeremykauffman, but I mostly say things that are the digital equivalent of forehead tattoos. If that statement doesn’t make sense to you, you’ll have to ask me on Twitter!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Meet the Women of the Blockchain: Ke Xu Founder and CEO of ONO

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

Tips From The Top: One On One With Jeremy Kroll

by Adam Mendler
Community//

“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started,” With Jeremy Shure of Grasshopper Bank

by Carly Martinetti
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.