So here's the story... after my layoff from Mitel and the corresponding job hunt, I became very convinced that I should go down the consultant/analyst route. I had purchased equipment, started setting up the legal side of things and was in serious discussions with several others about allying (and aligning) myself with their own efforts. All looked good and I was excited to get going.
Then I got this email from a CEO of a company I'd never really heard of who said he'd found my blog posts and that it so happened that they were looking for someone doing essentially the roles that I outlined in one of my posts. As they were growing strongly they were looking to expand their "Office of the CTO" and add to their capabilities. I looked at their website and initially wasn't too sure about what I saw. But as I dug in a bit more I was pretty blown away by what I started to see... and got back in touch.
It turns out that there's this company based in Orlando, Florida, whose VoIP application platform is used by one of the world's largest telecom vendors, two of the worlds largest software vendors, and the five largest cable TV networks. They have a community of over 26,000 registered developers with something around 55,000 applications created on their platform. They are some of the technology behind innovative startups like Jangl (more here) and Jott. The company was named by Gartner as one of the "Cool Vendors in Enterprise Communication, 2007". The technology can be hosted in the company's secure, redundant data centers or located on a customer's premise (or OEM'd). They focus on providing extremely high levels of customer service and by default give a 100% uptime Service Level Agreement (i.e. they pay you if there's any downtime). They are focused entirely on open standards and support a very wide range of APIs, including Web 2.0 APIs like JSON and e4x as well as SOAP, REST, etc. They support all sorts of security standards, including some like PCI which are newer. They are all about being an application platform.
And... they've been around since 1999, been profitable for several years and are growing based on profit (versus VC infusions). And they give away a ton of information and functionality through their developer site, including inbound and outbound telephone connections. (Yes, the absorb the cost of allocating phone numbers and outbound dialing in order to encourage developers to use their platform... and 26,000+ developers have taken out accounts.)
And probably most all of us have never heard of them!
It didn't take long for me to reconsider my decision to go down the consultant route. I built a couple of sample applications on their platform and saw how trivial it was to do. I traveled to Orlando and came away incredibly impressed by the company, the technology and perhaps most of all the people.
So yesterday I was delighted to start working for the CTO of Voxeo Corporation! My technical title is the nicely vague "Director of Emerging Communication Technology" and my role will include: analyzing emerging technology and communicating that information internally, participating in IETF standards work, assisting with VoIP security analysis/communication... and customer/product evangelism through speaking at conferences/customers and developing appropriate blogs and podcasts (and other social media) for both internal and external audiences. Basically somewhat similar to my previous role only this time with an explicit focus on social media, which is exciting because I get the chance to put into action many of the ideas I've talked about here, over on Disruptive Conversations and also in my reports into FIR. And, in a company of <100 people, it's just a wee bit easier to get things done (example, I'm in Day 2 and a server is already being allocated to host blogs, etc.). So yes, I'm winding up getting paid to spend part of my time blogging and podcasting!
Basically I get to help tell Voxeo's story. Particularly, part of what I will be doing is talking about everything else Voxeo can do beyond what you might initially think. If you go to voxeo.com it is all about creating IVR applications using VoiceXML which is interesting to one segment of the population out there... but if you look at the page about their VoIP platforms and services you get a glimpse of the much larger picture. Voxeo has an incredibly powerful SIP-based application platform that can be deployed in either a hosted, on-premise or hybrid model. They chose to focus on the IVR application side because it was an avenue where they could earn revenue. Now they are looking to promote the other aspects of what you can do with their platform beyond IVR apps. There's voicemail... conferencing... call recording... a zillion other things all accessible through open, standards-based APIs. I get to help tell that story.
In the end, Voxeo's aim is to be the platform for people who want to develop next-generation communication applications. Easily. Securely. Reliably.
Not a bad place to be. (And we're hiring!) Don't take my word for it though... join the Evolution community site and create your own hosted application, complete with inbound phone numbers, Skype connections and SIP URIs. There are a ton of tutorials and other information there. Or download the free Prophecy server software, which essentially gives you the same capabilities as the hosted environment. (In fact, you can develop apps on Prophecy and then move them to Evolution for deployment.)
Or wait for me and others to start telling the story in more detail. Your choice.
So that's the story of what's next for me... obviously I'm rather excited and looking forward to it! Thanks again to all the many, many people who were so helpful and supportive over the past few weeks.
And now, I can return to the regular blogging I've been doing here...