Twitter celeb and political parvenu Cory Booker is known for his good friends—good for their influence, good for their money, and good for his future. One way to keep them all nicely on Booker's side? Give one of their teenage children a spot on his startup's board, replete with stock options.
Youth and inexperience are virtues in tech, where a high school dropout can quickly whip together a billion dollar company. But most don't so baldly swap sinecure for favor: in his pursuit of being as well-liked as possible, Booker is using his foundering video startup Waywire to make friends and little else. The place is an investment bucket, providing financial backing from Google's Eric Schmidt, a portal to ultra-lucrative Silicon Valley campaign fundraising, and a board job for Andrew Zucker, 14-year-old son of CNN's media-wrecking president Jeff Zucker.
The New York Times notes Waywire is providing young Andrew with equity in the company in exchange for his position on its perfectly vague advisory board, which includes some notable figures who aren't there because of their dads: Twitter VP Katie Stanton, blowhard media prognosticator Jeff Jarvis, AOL exec Susan Lyne, and—here's a good one for Cory's squad—former FEC commissioner Trevor Potter. A dream team for anyone climbing socially, politically, or financially.
With money flowing from Schmidt, it's easy for Waywire to get by without doing much of anything at all, as is fashionable in tech these days. Its description is nebulous, even by startup standards: TechCrunch recently described it as "Pinterest for video," though it has loftier self-visions as a more democratic YouTube, a voice for the disenfranchised. It's all of these! It's none of these! It's also already had a round of layoffs in its very short life, zero signs of revenue, and had to flee its Manhattan office in favor of everyone working from home.
That's all beside the point—an "advisory" board is just as much there to advise Booker on Waywire as it is to advise him on being the best possible Cory Booker. So throwing a bone to one of the most powerful men in media, by way of corporate equity to his son who can't even drive, is savvy, a mix of DC cynicism and Valley "disruption" of common sense. And of course, it's always smart to say thank you to the man whose cable network gave you this gift:
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