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May 29, 2005
Darknet Interviews Andy Wolfe, Fomer CTO of ReplayTV
Over on Darknet, JD Lasica interviews Andy Wolfe, formerly CTO of ReplayTV (Interview: Andy Wolfe, former CTO, ReplayTV). The interview is incredibly good. Highly recommended: Read the whole thing. A small sample:
Thats why we were amazed there was such rigamarole around this. We sold 60,000 of these things. ATI sells a million cards a year that lets you record shows and attach it to your email. They still do. Sony sued us, but they let you record stuff on your Vaio and burn it to DVD and email it to anyone. AOL lets you attach a show to Instant Messaging. Its amazingly hypocritical, with these companies and their software that are out there and can do all this stuff on the PC, they took it for granted, but when we came up with this device that ordinary people could use, they panicked. [emphasis in original]
Alright, I can't resist, another sample:
We did a marketing study and found that two things were in high demand: porn, and Bollywood, because Indian films are not widely distributed in the U.S.
Thats part of why this whole thing got a little threatening. We think that if there was a real service, that independent content would become an important part of that service. We didnt think people would sign up for a service if it only had independent content. Theyll sign up for Harry Potter or Terminator 3. Its the blockbusters that get peoples attention.
We got a call from churches who wanted to distribute their sermons on Sunday mornings by sending videos around. There are also surveillance applications. We found lots of people who were interested in building new things on top of this. We felt these other things would follow, but the entertainment had to drive it. [emphasis in original]
For all you atheists and non-church-goers out there, if you're not familiar with how churches are using this technology, I suggest you go check it out. Many of them are really quite savvy.
Did I mention you should read the whole thing?
PS: The interview was conducted in June, 2003.
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