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BothSidesofTheTable | March 7, 2015

The Magic Moment of Meerkat

By: Mark Suster

Ok. If you work in tech this week you’ve no doubt heard much of this new app called Meerkat. In case you’ve spent the week living under a rock, Meerkat is an app integrated (currently) with Twitter in which if you click on the link of somebody who shares a “Meerkat Stream” you will be transported into a live session of their phone streaming. You can also watch in the Meerkat app linked above and participate in a realtime conversation with other people in that particular stream.

Let me get this out of the way: I’m not an investor in Meerkat. And given how quick Silicon Valley throws money at people at things that have rapid and massive adoption (Turntable.fm, Yo!, Ello, Secret, etc) I am not likely to become an investor. I state that so you can take what I say next a little bit more seriously. People are addicted to the experience in a way I haven’t seen since the early days of Twitter or Quora. Now, I’m not saying that it will last, I’m not saying that there aren’t other alternatives, I’m not saying that Twitter won’t try to squash them for riding on their back of their social graph. Or SnapChat won’t compete and ephemeral video them. And of course this type of product has existing before. We met with the team at Qik years ago who tried to do this on Nokia phones but the timing wasn’t right. And Meerkat stands on the shoulders of other great innovators like Justin.tv and ustream. But I am willing to say right now that this Meerkat thing is a phenomenon and it’s magical.

Of course I spotted it early like many because I noticed people I’ve long followed like Ryan Hoover, Danielle Morrill at Matt Mazzeo somewhat obsessed with it. And if I have my story straight it’s been live for less than 2 weeks. I had a busy week so I had planned to play with it in a week or so. But I walked into a board meeting this week with my partner Kara Nortman and she was filming live on Meerkat asking one of her developers new product ideas. The camera was cast unexpected on me and I was asked to speak. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “I’m glad I didn’t arrive naked.” Well, I’m glad I didn’t. But since Meerkat is ephemeral live video I guess you can’t go back and catch that awkward moment.

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