It's official. The Internet boom is back. It's the Bubbe bubble.
Nothing else can explain what I witnessed, with my very own eyes, at the San Jose Conventional Center yesterday. There I was, at Jeff Pulver's VON show, prospecting for interesting young Web 2.0 video companies, and what did I find? I dug up an eighty year Jewish grandmother from Boston, known on the Internet as Bubbe, who had been schlepped out to California by her twenty-something grandson, Avrom Honig, a Web 2.0 entrepreneur. Bubbe (she wouldn't give me her real name) is the star of an Internet video cooking show called "Feed Me Bubbe". Bubbe is evidence of Chris Anderson's long tail. Get used to her. She's the old/new pin-up for the democratized media revolution.
Avrom Honig, a fast talking young man with a quick smile, sold his bubbe the Internet dream. He convinced Bubbe to let him film her in the kitchen and then broadcast the result on the Internet. So, on "Feed Me Bubbe", you can watch Bubbe cook her kosher hamburgers, baked fish and, of course, her latkes. Bubbe promised me that her strudel is a particularly big hit. And so, she said, are her sweet and sour meatballs.
I met Bubbe and Avrom Honig at VON's "Video On The Net" pavilion where "Feed Me Bubbe" was being broadcast -- next to Michael Eisner's VEOH and other mouthwatering Web 2.0 start-ups like VideoEgg. She was there at the invitation of Jeff Pulver (who looks a bit like a latke himself). According to Bubbe, Pulver contributed to flying her and Avrom Honig out to San Jose for the show. In Pulver's mind at least, she is obviously a poster child for the user-generated-content revolution. I guess that Bubbe and her cooking show proves that any bubbe can be a star on today's Internet.
So there I was, at San Jose's cavernous Convention Center, watching "Feed Me Bubbe" on a flat screen monitor. And Bubbe was next me, confiding that her grandkids loved her "Famous Jelly Jammies". We didn't get into revenue models or distribution channels or the size of her audience (many many thousands according to Avrom Honig). And I forgot to ask Bubbe about her exit strategy. We were too busy talking about her fried matzo.