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5 Questions for Joost CEO Mike Volpi

Mike Volpi was rumored to be the new CEO of Joost for quite a while, and the company confirmed the news today. We had a chance to catch up with Volpi, one of the rising stars at Cisco Systems, and talked to him about his decision, and his plans for Joost, a P2P video company started by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström that recently raised $45 million in funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital.

According to a report in The New York Times, Joost now has half-a-million subscribers, and over 100 employees. Here are excerpts from an interview conducted earlier today.

OM: Mike, you were one of the rising stars at Cisco. Why leave, and why decide on Joost?

Mike Volpi: Routers are great, but can’t do it forever and I wanted to get on the ground floor of something unique. I never thought myself as the router guy, and had broader interests. I come from the infrastructure side but I hate to pigeonhole myself.

I had a lot of things come my way, but Joost interested me the most. I have known Niklas and Janus for a while, and was excited about what they were doing with Joost. I think great companies are built when the market opportunity comes together with a great team. That is Joost.

OM: Why do you think the time is right for Joost?

MV: I think there are three things that have come together. Content owners have realized what happened to the music industry and have embraced the Internet. I think that combined with broadband, and the P2P technology platform.

OM: Joost isn’t the only online video player in the running – and there are many options out there. So why should we think Joost will win.

MV: Joost is not YouTube and Joost is not Apple iTunes. What Joost is – a service that delivers high quality ad-supported long form produced video content in a secure manner using a cost-effective delivery platform. Bringing these three pieces (long form video content, advertising and delivery platform) together is going to be hard and not everyone is going to be able to do it. No one has it packaged together like Joost.

OM: Is lack of upstream bandwidth and the current debate around network neutrality of concern to you? After all some of your offerings will compete with the TV offerings of cable and phone (IPTV) companies.

MV: The way our system is designed I don’t think upstream bandwidth is going to be a problem. It is designed along the lines of BitTorrent.

On the issue of network neutrality, we have a totally legitimate service and the carriers shouldn’t have a reason to block us. I don’t think the regulatory environment (in US and elsewhere) will allow for the blocking of competitors to the carriers. (*)

OM: Is there a chance we will see Joost on AppleTV?

MV: We would love to put Joost on the Apple TV platform. We know we can make it run on any operating system.

Thanks Mike!

[* Ed. Note: We have experienced severe quality loss so we do think upstream is going to be an issue going forward.]

24 Responses to “5 Questions for Joost CEO Mike Volpi”

  1. As long as they shaped all upstream traffic the same, it would be net neutral, and none of the non-Joost users would know it was happening. I can’t imagine anyone more out of their comfort zone than Mike Volpi walking the halls in Washington

  2. techuntangled

    Mike makes an interesting point talking about “ad-supported long form produced video content”. Long form content makes a lot of sense on TV – Joost will likely enter the real TV domain soon via the set-top-box. Now that set top boxes are Untangled from the cable/satellite provider, a consumer could purchase a set top box and watch Joost (also get cable and Broadcast TV) from the comfort of the living room.

    I think the hiring Mike Volpi as Joost CEO is a big strategic play because Mike was running the Scientific Atlanta business at Cisco. Read more at

  3. tv2.0guy

    If joost runs on AppleTV, this will be another missed source of revenue for apple, not likely to happen with Steve.
    Who is watching shows or movies on PC, remember the fiascos of the Movielink and cinemanow ?
    Joost need to sharpen their business model, I am confident Michael has some expertise in that…

  4. tomcoseven

    I doubt the carriers or MSO’s would try to do anything unless Joost is successful. But, even with net neutrality, the US regulators would probably let broadband operators “over shape” services on a highly constrained upstream link. The DOCSIS MAC sure would make it very easy (just think PowerBoost for Joost — drop from 500kbps to 5kbps after the first 10MBytes). As long as they shaped all upstream traffic the same, it would be net neutral, and none of the non-Joost users would know it was happening. I can’t imagine anyone more out of their comfort zone than Mike Volpi walking the halls in Washington.

  5. Nimrod

    My sense is that most of the content is streamed directly from servers today.
    Will the Ad supported biz model justify the cost of classic CDN hosting vs. the hyped p2p?