Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Slingbox, Team Leaving Echostar

The top executives at Sling Media, the people who brought you the Slingbox “place-shifting” TV gadget and Hulu competitor, are leaving Echostar (SATS), more than a year after they sold their start-up to the satellite TV company for $380 million cash.

Brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian, CEO and SVP-business development, are out, effective immediately. Jason Hirschhorn, who runs the company’s Sling Media Entertainment unit, plans on staying through the end of February; Ben White, chief creative officer at the entertainment group, will stay on through Feb. 1.

Some background from paidContent’s Staci Kramer, who had the story first:

Also leaving: Greg Wilkes, VP-sales. I’ve been told COO John Gilmore will take the reins for now but that may not be official. While no one is talking about any differences, there certainly is a big cultural gap between the tech-creative side and the traditional cable team at EchoStar.”

To tease that out: The Sling team can rightly point to a string of successes–the company racked up a number of awards at both the Consumer Electronics Show and MacWorld last week–but if things were humming smoothly at Echostar, you’d think the company would find a way to make them stick around.

The Slingbox is a potentially disruptive technology, but it’s still nascent, and just launched late last year and will need a motivated team to help it gain traction in a crowded field. All those involved say they’ll be taking time off; everyone who knows the team involved finds that hard to believe.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik