33 Comments

Summary:

Joost CTO Dirk-Willem van Gulik was fired by the Internet TV software company. He has taken another job as chief technical architect of the BBC Future Media and Technology Group, which is responsible for a similar project, the peer-to-peer video software iPlayer. We published this story […]

Joost CTO Dirk-Willem van Gulik was fired by the Internet TV software company. He has taken another job as chief technical architect of the BBC Future Media and Technology Group, which is responsible for a similar project, the peer-to-peer video software iPlayer. We published this story a few minutes ago under the assumption van Gulik had left the company of his own accord, but a Joost spokesperson called to say “he was terminated.”

In a release, the BBC said van Gulik would be “responsible for the design and construction of the BBC’s next generation back-end infrastructure to support all interactive services including bbc.co.uk, BBCi and BBC Mobile.”

Joost today announced it’s named Matt Zelesko as senior vice president of engineering. Zelesko is building an engineering hub for the company in New York City, where much of Joost is now based. He has been with the company since October in preparation for van Gulik’s departure. Previously Zelesko worked on the (just-released) Fancast for Comcast; he also worked with Joost CEO Mike Volpi at Cisco.

A Joost spokesperson (this is prior to telling us that he was fired) said van Gulik, who is based in Holland, will remain a consultant to and an investor in Joost. We have not confirmed that van Gulik will work directly on the iPlayer, which the BBC said had over 1 million users in the last month.

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  1. Joost CTO Leaving for the BBC Thursday, January 17, 2008

    [...] (11:00am PST): According to NewTeeVee, van Gulik did not leave on his own terms, Joost fired him. Link to This [...]

  2. Does this Joost spokesperson have a name? Sounds shifty to me.

    Also, if the replacement has been in preparation since October, why is this all of a sudden a “termination”?

  3. You’re right, the way this unfolded was weird. But all of the information came from the same Joost spokesperson, who we believe to be credible. She would rather not be named.

  4. Well either they are a spokesperson or they are not. If they are a spokesperson then they can be named.

    I’m not disputing the story as such – just the way it is being presented.

    It’s strange that BBC, a respectable organization, would make a press release before word gets out from Joost of this dismissal.

    Either way Joost looks bad. Their CTO has left or been fired. Unnamed sources inside the company are obviously trying to spin it. No one is watching their service and they don’t have any compelling content.

  5. Hey, this is from a true Joost insider (who wishes not to be named, just to be in line with the spirit of this post :-)

    Yes, Joost is indeed having trouble. The main problem is that there is only very limited adoption among the user community. Far fewer people connect to the system than was originally hoped. Of course, this is mainly due to quality the content (or rather, lack thereof). It turns out that a lot of people download it once, then find out that there is nothing really good on there, then just never reconnect again. Or only sporadically, just to be reassured that there still is nothing interesting.

    Joost now learns the hard way that one CANNOT mix good with bad quality content. If it takes a user hours and hours to sift through a myriad of unwanted junk videos (frankly, that is what is up there right now), just to find ONE video that moderately interests you, then the viewing experience is not much better than going on a file sharing program to dig it out. The main problem with Joost is that there is practically no good content on the system right now, and even if one day there is good content, it will be overwhelmed by all the other junk.

    I think there is no remedy, the mood is very bad inside the company, money is running out fast, the cash burn is of course way way too high, and so there is a lot of nervousness.

    Honestly, I think they are dead.

  6. When I blogged about Joost’s CTO departure late last night, I suspected he was fired and so my hunch was confirmed. I’d think that Volpi is preparing to clean house and realign efforts.

    As for “Mike” — Whether he’s an insider or not, I still wouldn’t discount the potential of Joost.

  7. Hm.. this whole thing seems shady.

    I’m sorry but if this is an official Joost spokes person he/she needs to be named.

    You can’t really defame someone and then hide behind the company anonymously and still be their spokes person.

    Also….. I think this is more of a loss for Joost rather than the other way around.

  8. Joost Cans CTO | TechWag Thursday, January 17, 2008

    [...] To the BBC to work on the IPlayer according to NewTeeVee: In a release, the BBC said van Gulik would be “responsible for the design and construction of the BBC’s next generation back-end infrastructure to support all interactive services including bbc.co.uk, BBCi and BBC Mobile.” Source: NewTeeVee [...]

  9. Janko Roettgers Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Just a quick comment for all the people questioning the unnamed spokesperson: This is actually a fairly common practice. Most PR folks don’t want to be named in the news because they’re not the face of the company, but just the folks working the press.

    Sometimes a “company spokesperson” also works for a PR company that has a multiple clients – and you don’t want to be associated by name with one client of you’re working for another one as well.

  10. Kate Larkin, director of communications for Joost Thursday, January 17, 2008

    As the “unnamed” Joost spokesperson, I can confirm this story – as I have been a source throughout. The parting of ways was indeed initiated by Joost, however as is evident by the way the story unfolded, it was not initially our intention to reveal it as such.

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