Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media, wrote a response to yesterday’s Marketwatch summary. As with my prior interactions with the father of Slingbox, I get the sense Blake is a stand-up guy in touch with both his customers and the market. Kudos for conversing directly with us in forums (AVS, TCF) and the blogosphere.
Blake says: hey dave,
saying that we fear commoditization is a bit much’the most critical thing for us is to stay very focused on delivering great experiences to consumers’that’s what is in our control. in terms of predicting the future, we all know that’s futile�along the way of executing to the best of your abilities, you hope to also get some breaks and make some good decisions�and if you are lucky, you come out on the winning end over the course of years�simple as that.
can we continue to the improve the slingbox? can we continue to make it easier and easier to set up? can we create additional products that consumers love and find entertaining and/or useful?�these are the things that we �worry� about.
it is semi-amusing to get hypothetical / speculative questions like �how long until you are a feature in something else? or how long until you are commoditized?��how the heck is someone supposed to answer that? i think i gave a stupid answer�but that’s the type of answer that is deserving of that type of question. at least that’s my $.02
one other thing�i just read that interview in it’s entirety.
since you and i have talked before, you know that i have nothing but the utmost respect for what tivo has done�my quote that �tivo had religious issues� was taken a bit out of context�and to say that tivo or timeshifting is a �mere add-on� to set top boxes is one of the largest understatements i have heard in long time. that certainly didn’t come from my mouth.
the quote was taken while i was explaining my *general* belief that in the �convergence space�, products over time trend towards consolidation. i also made the point that is NOT always the case�for example, my desktop pc can act as a router, but do i use it that way? of course not�my netgear router does the job wonderfully (well, usually) and is at the right price point / value ratio to justify it’s stand alone existence.
should tivo have embraced licensing their technology on more attractive terms earlier on? perhaps�did they let �religious issues� get in the way of making some of those decisions? perhaps�but i wasn’t there and i don’t know for sure�and as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.
the last time i checked, tivo was still in business, so that story aint over yet either