PandoDaily Launches "Schoolhouse Rock" for the Startup World

By Sarah Lacy , written on July 18, 2012

From The News Desk

A few weeks ago ace reporter, professor, and author Adam Penenberg sent me a few explainer videos that some of his former students had done for Pro-Publica. You may have seen the one on Fracking, because it went hugely viral. Warning: Its awesome Flight of the Conchords-like "What the frack is going on with all this fracking going on..." chorus will be stuck in your head for days if you click on that link. (But do it anyway.)

"Wouldn't it be cool to have one of these on PandoDaily?" Penenberg wrote in an email.

"Yes!" I thought. "But why stop at one?"

I called up one of the group's founders David Holmes immediately and a few weeks later we signed with a year-long contract with the Explainer Music team. The team -- which includes Holmes, Andrew Bean, Sharon Shattuck, and Krishnan Vasudevan -- will explain all sorts of complex concepts in the tech and finance world, all in about a minute. Consider it "Schoolhouse Rock" for Silicon Valley. For lack of something more clever, we're calling it "Pando House Rock."

Topics we've discussed include things as varied as space exploration to how the Great Firewall actually works to the intricacies of the JOBS Act and the good and the bad of convertible notes. Things a lot of people pretend to know about, but few people actually do (even those of us who write about this stuff).

This is not easy, particularly with complex, nuanced topics. I selfishly suggested our first video be about a topic I constantly get in fights about: Why the current state of tech is not "just like 1999." In just 1:30, they did a phenomenal job of explaining something I've wasted thousands of words on. (And I've been going around singing it for a week.)

Our first explainer video "Thanks for the Cash, Mr. Bubble Man" is below in glorious 8-bit style. Enjoy, embed, and spread it around!