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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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle