Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Podtech.net: the dark horse of the new media pack

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 1, 2007

I recently popped in on John Furrier and team over at Podtech.net, in their new HQ on Page Mill Road, right next to the Wall Street Journal's Palo Alto printing plant.

It's a perfect contrast of new and old media distribution models. Podtech is very much a media company of these times: its printing press is the Internet and its focus is on publishing video and audio content.

It wants to become the YouTube of compelling video content for Silicon Valley and beyond... and to take over the world, of course.  

These are healthy ambitions for a Silicon Valley startup. And Mr Furrier's New Jersey roots bring an extra kick to the company's ambitions.

What has impressed me for a long time about Mr Furrier is that his instincts as a media entrepreneur have been spot on. His analysis of media and the disruption of the economic models in that sector is very similar to mine but we get to our analysis by different routes.

Mr Furrier is a software developer by training so he uses a lot of software engineering metaphors. For example, he says there will be new jobs such as a "media developer." My term for this is "media engineer" but we both mean the same thing--media professionals, such as journalists, that know some coding too (XML, Javascript, CSS, RSS.)

I worked as a software engineer a long long time ago, so my analysis comes from having worked in mainstream media and now working in the new (conversational) media. We see things very much in the same way, we tell each other insights that we already know, about how things are changing.

Mr Furrier has been on my People Watch list for a while now because he has been making some very savvy moves. Last year, SVW had a massive story, nearly as massive as our discovery of the identity of LonelyGirl 15, it was: Robert Scoble leaving Microsoft for PodTech.

The next day I met with Robert Scoble and congratulated him on his return to the valley. I also ran into Mr Furrier, who was seated quietly on a sofa, tapping on his laptop.

I swear he had a Cheshire Cat grin on his face. It was a brilliant deal. He'd just picked up the largest brand in the blogosphere, Scobleizer. That's what Richard Edelman (Edelman is an SVW sponsor) did too, giving a job to Steve Rubel and Micropersuasion, the largest blog brand in PR.

Robert and Steve have done very well with their blogging, increasing their incomes, and have built proven media brands that they can take with them wherever they go.

BTW, blogging is great for your career. Blogging is by far the most honest form of self-promotion bar none--because you can't fake it. Software engineers have been landing plum jobs in this way for years.

Mr Furrier has been equally savvy in building the rest of his team, now up to 40. I know several from pre-PodTech. He has many media professionals on the team, recruited from Hollywood and from public radio and TV  stations.  Their mission is to use their professional skills to produce tons of compelling content for their network.

PodTech is up to 36 customers, which includes large tech firms such as Seagate, Intel (Intel is an SVW sponsor) and Computer Associates.

Podtech recently launched its own Flash video player for its hosted videos which follows a YouTube type model. I said I would try it out over on Silicon Valley Minute. And there are some interesting projects coming from PodTech that I'll be writing about later this year.

 

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