Brendan Eich — Founder of Brave, Mozilla & Creator of Javascript

Episode 819 of This Week in Startups features a fascinating interview with JavaScript creator, Mozilla co-founder, and now Brave Software Founder & CEO, Brendan EichBrave Software offers a browser with built-in ad and tracker blocking. We dig into the details of Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), the ethics of online advertising, the browser wars, the shady nature of many ICOs, and more.

Join us for an insight-rich conversation between two long-time web insiders.

Receive these episodes in your inbox

This podcast is brought to you by Asana, which gives teams everything they need to manage projects, tasks, and work productively to deliver better results, faster.

We use Asana at LAUNCH to manage our pre/post-production tasks for This Week In Startups, blog posts, incubator, event planning, and more.

Start using Asana today for free. Go to asana.com/twist to sign up.

This episode is also brought to you by Squarespace. Build beautifully designed websites in a matter of minutes.

We use Squarespace for all of our LAUNCH websites, such as LAUNCH Festival Sydney coming up in June 2018.

Visit squarespace.com and enter offer code: “twist” to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.

Show Notes:

04:39Jason covers Firefox’s deal with Google search (before Chrome launched). The pair discusses the launch and dominance of Chrome.

00:42 — Introducing today’s guest Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, Mozilla co-founder, and co-founder/CEO of Brave Software. Brendan explains the origins of JavaScript.

03:06 — Brendan discusses Brave’s motivation for creating a new browser. He says the current top browsers are essentially owned by advertisers. Brave includes ad-blocking and anti-tracking tech.

08:47 — Brendan talks about Brave’s launch, user experience versus publishers’ ability to advertise, the legality and ethics of ad-blocking, and a new model for publisher revenues.

11:32 — Jason thanks sponsor Asana. Visit asana.com/twist and try it for free.

15:32 — Jason asks about sites that either restrict ad-blocking users or that simply don’t function correctly with ad-blocking browsers. Brendan says Brave is developing machine learning and web crawling to automate exception handling.

16:09 — Brendan explains Brave’s Basic Attention Token. He says Brave will serve to prove the BAT’s value, and hopefully, other browsers will adopt the tech. Brendan says many ad-blockers don’t prevent tracking, and they receive substantial payments to let some ads through.

17:47 — Brendan demonstrates Brave and shows a graphic that details the ads and trackers that load at TMZ.com with other browsers versus what loads when using Brave. Jason and Brendan discuss how some trackers are used to work against publishers and users.

22:49 — Brendan says Brave hopes to launch its own ads, free of trackers, which can be targeted without compromising anonymity (using zero-knowledge proofs).

26:12 — Jason asks about how Brave handles Facebook and third-party tracking, says the Like button was a huge scam to gather publisher data and destroy publishers.

29:22 — Jason thanks sponsor Squarespace, which powers all of LAUNCH’s event sites. Use offer code “twist” to get 10 percent off your first purchase.

32:01 — Jason talks about the shady nature of many ICOs, then asks Brendan about the Ethereum-based Basic Attention Token (BAT). Brendan says Brave’s ICO helped to fund the project and supply users with BAT, which can be used to reward creators, more. Users can also fund their own wallets. He also demonstrates how Brave automatically rewards publishers based on user attention and how users can set budgets and only fund specific sites.

40:23 — Brendan says Brave has 16k publishers and 10k YouTubers on board to collect payments. The pair discusses YouTube’s biased demonetization practices and the effect they have on lower-level creators.

45:02 — Brendan says Brave’s top partner publishers are generating thousands per month from Brave. Jason asks about BAT support at various exchanges and what that could do for Brave. Brendan says Brave is building a long-term platform and BAT is a utility token (though some users are interested in the speculative aspects).

48:35 — Brave claims more than 2.2M monthly active users and expects 5M by fall. Brendan talks about advertising goals at scale.

50:42 — Brendan talks about Brave’s fundraising, the costs of operation, BAT’s value and potential beyond Brave. Jason talks about Mahalo’s virtual currency initiative.

54:34 — Jason and Brendan discuss fraud in advertising, then Brave’s rising profile among large companies.

57:12 — Jason asks why average consumers are finally paying attention to online privacy. Brendan says people aren’t just responding to big stories about data breaches; they’re noticing very specific ad targeting.

58:14 — The pair discusses major companies facing investigations, lawsuits, regulations, etc.

1:01:45 — Jason asks how Brave will know when it has succeeded. Brendan says standardization: when BAT is used by other apps. Standardization also applies to anonymous donations and anonymous ads revenue. Jason agrees that consumers should get some ad revenue for viewing or interacting with ads.

1:03:38 — Jason asks Brendan about Prop 8 and surrounding issues.