A New Gig at GridNetworks

I’ve been fairly busy lately with some changes, and haven’t had time to write, but the situation is this: I’m un-retired, and working at GridNetworks, in downtown Seattle. Grid is a startup company, begun by Jeff Payne of RealNetworks and Spry/Compuserve, and now involving my business partners Tony Naughtin and Christopher Wheeler, from Internap Network Services and Network Clarity. Jon Miller, formerly of RealNetworks, Internap, and Getty Images, has joined up as well, and thus from my perspective the company is a combination of a “dream team” and a reunion of favorite coworkers from companies spanning a decade.

Our mission is to power the next generation of Internet-based television, delivering high-definition and DVD quality video to computers and a veritable forest of home theatre devices. The slow convergence of real computers, televison, and home theatre setups is well underway, with devices like Tivo HD representing today’s state of the art. GridNetworks delivers the advantages of a traditional CDN (content distribution network) and a new-style P2P (peer-to-peer) network, allowing scalable distribution of the highest quality media. Today, you can download the 1.1 version of our player and GridCasting technology, and soon we’ll talk about the next two generations of our system.

My role is to augment our core technology team by building compelling services for media and content owners of all sizes, from the largest networks to small companies with content that would benefit from high-definition, high-quality distribution. As Product Unit Manager for Content Delivery Services, my role will be to understand each of these markets and tailor services which meet a variety of needs. It’s a different role for me, given that I’ve usually been on the sharp end of core technology in the past, but I’m excited about the company and the job, and I’m sure I’ll talk further after we’ve made additional announcements in coming months.

All of this means that I’m now a long-distance commuter, shuttling back and forth between the island and downtown Seattle. Thanks to Kenmore Air, this isn’t nearly as onerous as it sounds, and often I get to finish off a day at the office with a gorgeous, low-altitude flight over Puget Sound and the myriad of forested islands and coastlines. But it’s an adjustment, as I try to remember whether I left my shaving kit in Seattle or up north, or where I left the latest draft of my dissertation proposal during my free moments. I’ll figure it out soon enough, and settle back into the high-tech world I thought I’d left behind.