DivX Mpeg 4DivX Mpeg 4 Hosted on Zooomr

Over the last few months, DivX has undergone a pretty dramatic shift. After years of being a closely held private company known more by the underground P2P community then, by the business suits on Wall St., they thrust the company into a wider spotlight by opening up their books and their business to greater scrutiny when they took the company public in a late summer IPO. With the YouTube craze at a fevered pitch and a mainstream audience beginning to seriously think about video downloading for the first time, DivX’s timing was impeccable and as a result, they’ve seen their stock rise by approximately 70% since their debut. While the company was able to raise $145 million in cash from the proceeds of their IPO, it wasn’t without a cost. Because they agreed to take cash from the public markets, it means that they now have to publicly update investors on their performance and disclose details that many public companies would be more then happy to keep as trade secrets. When I saw that the company was going public, I siezed on this opportunity to take a look inside a company that I’ve known about for a long time. As a technology enthusiast and a huge video fan, I’ve used their codec for years and was eager to delve into all of the details that leak out during the very public IPO process.

Over the last few months I’ve documented the company’s progress and have helped to outline some of the strategies that DivX is employing in their quest to make the DivX codec a defacto standard in the digital home. As a result of my coverage, Divx’s CEO Jordan Greenhall reached out to me and granted an interview to someone outside of the traditional press where I could ask some of the questions that I felt the business analysts and mainstream media were missing. As a result, I an excellent conversation with Greenhall, where we discussed DivX strategy with their Stage6 video sharing site, the status on their talks with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo over bringing support for DivX movies to the video game consoles and the reputation that the company has been labeled with by the open source community over the years. Rather then choosing to provide commentary on the interview or release select quotes, I’ve decided to publish a complete transcription of the interview and the following is the conversation that took place.

If you could tell me about the history of DivX, how it got started, what the birth of this whole thing was up until the point of where we are today?

There are actually two entirely different threads that combine to create DivX. Which are you most interested in?

Mostly the start of the codec itself and how it turned into a business?

Ok, That’s actually two threads, so the one thread is largely mine, the other is Jerome’s, (Gej) Gej was the individual who actually created the technology. He was in Southern France at the time. He was working as a professional video creator and he needed to be able to solve a practical problem in being able to send video that he was creating to a remote location. In order to do it he needed to be able to compress it and he wasn’t satisfied with the tools that were available at the time, so he started looking for better tools and some people on IRC recommended that he take a look at some of the few things that were being done on the intertag standards reports on mpeg4 and he started working with that and he created an idea that he later called DivX. He started calling it DivX by version 2 or so, I’m not sure what package that was. Particularly it just happened to be a very early version of a Mpeg4 asp technology that had to be able to create and maintain DVD level quality, it was really well optimized for D1 resolution and he got it down to a size that could reasonably fit on a DSL line, 784kbs. It was built in an open environment and it included all kinds of technologies to make it happen. He used the .avi platform because there wasn’t a good file format available at the time, and released it out to his various friends on IRC and they sent it to their friends and they handed it to their friends and rather rapidly people started using it a lot. It just happened to hit at roughly the same time frame as Napster, maybe 6 months after Napster hit, it really became known as a phenomenon about a year and a half after the real pickup of mp3. This was largely the community of individuals who had really taken to the mp3 scene. They just took the technology that they were using for audio and took this technology and used it for video.

I actually had a completely different path and intercepted Gej’s path when I was specifically looking for a technology that handled exactly like this. I had a strategic plan in place talking about the convergence and what the new media lens would look like after convergence and an expectation of what would be required to happen for convergence to happen and as it turns out one of the elements that I thought would be needed for this, was a piece of video compression software that allowed you to put images, video and audio that allowed for the reduction in size to the level where traditional mass market pipes, broadband pipes that would be in existence in a reasonable time frame. Even if you had broadband and there were relatively few at the time, we knew that this would be a catalyst, but we also knew we wouldn’t have 10MBs pipes anytime soon.

When you went to look for the DivX codec were you specifically looking for video or for all three formats?

Video, I had worked at mp3 and I saw where audio went and had a good sense that there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of innovation on the technical level, so audio was going to start maturing on the latter side of the convergence arc. Having to do with first the physics of the size and then the transformation of the actual music industry and I was actually spending time with Intervu, which later got bought out by Akamai, and Intervu was the company that built the first distributed network specifically focused on media. At the company I had a lot of insight into what the state of the art was for moving media bits around the internet and when it goes straight to the internet it’s difficult to stretch over the size that pipes had on the overall internet so as a consequence I believed that you needed to have another compression level come in and software is a better solution then hardware, because if you didn’t solve the software problem it could be five or ten years before the hardware and pipe connection could meet the needs of convergence. So that was clearly what I was looking for, so I sent that out to a lot of friends that I knew from prior to it’s inception and a friend of mine said hey there’s this thing going on right now on some of the alternative p2p networks that’s springing up around post Napster, called DivX which is being used for video, so I went and found one called Cutemx, I’m not sure if it still exists, and logged onto a variety of chat networks to check out how this subculture works, got the nomenclature, found somebody who actually had some videos and downloaded a video which was exactly what I had hoped for.

It was not DVD level quality, there was certainly degradation, but it was roughly equivalent to where mp3 was with the audio degradation from CD, circa 97′. There was degradation, but it was eminently watchable and the size was a lot smaller then an original DVD. It was small enough that over the net I could grab it in like 35 minutes, which is very reasonable and at that point everything falls from that.

So at that point I started to go out and try to find this guy, but to a certain extent he’s a little bit like yourself, he was acting under a noms de plume, Gej. I didn’t know who he was so I had to track him down, but I was able to track him down and chat with him on where I thought this thing should ought to go, what kind of system could be built and he agreed and we got together and started working on the project, which we called project Mayo.

How did you pick that name for it?

Initially that was a name that was meaningless, the domain wasn’t owned, and it appealed to his aesthetic sensibilities. We tried lots of code names, but it turns out that those three things are hard to get. Then we recruited these other guys to start the organization up and then about three months later Lee Gomes from the Wall Street Journal had followed exactly the same path to track this guy down and I got an email from Gej saying, uh oh and then an email from Lee Gomes saying we’re writing this story about this new phenomenon of online video sharing around DivX and I’d like to interview you for it, but if you don’t want to interview for it I’m still going to write the story, so we did the story and a lot of things happened after that.

One of the more recent innovations that you’ve been working on has been the launch of your web video site Stage6, can you tell me how that fits into your longer term strategies and what piece of the puzzle that falls into as far as DivX goes?

Let me start at the top with our long term strategy and you’ll see how easily it fits. DivX the company has three beginnings, it’s literally why I was looking for this when I was looking at what does the new media landscape look like post convergence? More significantly there, we have to make convergence happen, so we have two missions, one mission is to understand a better media future, and to do that, on the one hand we are building what we are calling a common media language. Which we believe is the underlying technology layer necessary to enable convergence to happen and you can see that in the codec, in the DRM, things like DivX connect, going into cameras, going into set top boxes, etc.

The other mission is called the new new network, which is building the specific infrastructure that is appropriate to the functions of what media looks like post convergence. We have 20 year plan and we’ve gone through 6 years of it and we’re more or less on track. If you assume and if you are positive that convergence will happen, and by convergence I mean literally the combination of all networks into some form of the internet, mobile, cable etc., some form of open network typology where all devices communicate with that network in a functional way. That is, they’re not tied through medium, through the kinds of content they can consume, rather then a physical typology of their use case, so the cell phone is mobile and small and it fits into certain uses that it satisfies, portable devices, which are mobile and larger have another function it can satisfy. Then you have a very large screen TV in your living room, which is fixed and therefore has limited functions it can satisfy, but they’re not tied to any particular medium so it’s just like broadcast television having immediate control over your TV set.

So thats how I define convergence at large. So a large part of what we’ve been doing over the past six years has been ramping up the infrastructure for this to happen and having a common media language. A set of protocols really that all being complete, can cut across all devices over an open network typology is required for that to happen and that’s a role that we can play. Other requirements of course are the rollout of broadband, the rollout of 3rd generation wireless, affiliated co-married networks and things like that where we really don’t have any synergistic role, so we’re assuming that the market will take care of that on it’s own and we’ll take care of the rest.

A large part of the infrastructure that’s developed around DivX has been from pirated material, do you have any numbers as to what percentage of DivX content today represents pirated material?

I don’t, one of the features of pirated material is that they don’t accurately report pirated numbers. If you take a look at the external numbers of the volume of pirated material over the world, it’s certainly a very large number. I can’t remember what the last report was, but in the music world it still dwarfs the amount of content sold in all collective commercial institutions. I think in the video world, it would be an even larger fraction because online commercial video is still very much emerging whereas grey market online video is rather mature.

Have you talked with any of the major media companies about putting their content on Stage6 and has this issue with piracy complicated those talks at all?

It’s actually kind of a funny story, the very first phone call we got when we started up our office, we had a phone on a box plugged into the wall, was from the MPAA. The second was actually from Disney, so yes we’ve talked with the major media companies for quite some time, in fact the way we first set it up, in an early conversation with one of the CEOs from a major media companies, he said look I think what you guys are doing is great and it needs to happen, but I hope that you understand that there is no way that we’ll be doing any business with you for six years. I said that I completely understand and know the time frame around what was happening, so here’s what I propose we do, what I’ll do is, I’ll say here’s what I’m going to do over the next six months and then six months later I’ll come back and say here’s what I said I’d do, here’s what I actually did and here’s what I’m going to do over the next six months and then just keep doing it. Sometimes what you ask me to do, I’ll do and sometimes what you ask me to do I won’t do, but over a period of three or four or five or six years, you’ll start getting a sense of what we’re about.

When we first said that, we knew that we would be in a position to make a realistic play and that’s more or less how it’s played out. We’ve been involved in all kinds of interesting things with the media companies, we were part of the original high definition standard DVD forum. We were specifically focused on the use of red laser for high definition that took advantage of compression instead of advantage of storage for high definition. That particular initiative didn’t make it off the DVD forum world, so we spun it off ourselves and we’re now promoting red laser high definition in an open market as opposed to a consortium approach.

If someone downloads one of your high definition files from Stage6 and burns it to a DVD, will they be able to get high definition on their traditional DVD player from the HDTV video they download off your site?

If you put it into a traditional DVD player you’re not going to get anything, so at the very minimum it will need to be a DivX certified DVD player, but it would actually need to be an HD certified DivX DVD player to be able to handle high definition files.

How many HD DivX certified players are out there right now?

I believe we have 4 – 6 OEMs who provide these products right now. They are available, they’re not particularly expensive and if you look at the way cycles work in CE, you always go through a cycle where you have relatively high end CE chips which are thick DSP’s on the order of $50 – $60 bucks, which could get you traction to a final cost of $150 – $300 bucks, so you start at $300 and move down to $150, which if you are successfully you can then move into lower cost silicon, which is also a more mass market product. We are now pricing our DivX DVD standard issue with lower cost silicon, particularly with lower cost products, so right now I think the cheapest DivX HD certified device you can buy is somewhere on the order of $150 bucks, but we expect to be able to get that price point below a $100 bucks when the next generation comes out with a lower cost mass market use silicon. Then when you start getting into our approach to high def, we believe that high def is really really cool and great, but it shouldn’t be a whole new product category you have to buy $1,000 worth of hardware, it should be a feature, existing on a product category that you already had that’s relatively already a commodity.

Do you ever see DivX HD Certified competing with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray or do you think it’s designed to do a different thing?

I think we’re competing with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD in terms of content, but I don’t see us competing with those discs in terms of storage. I can imagine and expect to see DivX content, internet and high def on top of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players, typically because you can fit 10 DivX HD titles on a single Blu-Ray disc just like you can put 10 standard definition movies on a single DVD, but DivX is a global company so we think on a global basis so we are already seeing significant interest in our user base for DivX discs to be sold in retail in high definition in markets where HD-DVD and Blu-Ray don’t even exist at all, especially in regions where it’s just too expensive.

How large is a DivX HD file for a 2 hour movie? Will that fit on a traditional DVD at all?

Yeah, it’s exactly that we can fit a regular 2 hour movie on a single DVD file. It’s exactly targeted for that and at a quality level where you’re probably going to see your Blu-Ray and your HD-DVD. It’s just using better compression.

Can you talk a little bit about some of the recent partnerships that you’ve announced with Canon and Pentax? What’s the strategy there and how does it fit into your overall business plan?

It’s all part of the same strategy for a common media language, so the way we see it is there are two interlocking ecosystems, one ecosystem is unified by the individual consumer’s home. Deal with all the content that they ever play with. The other ecosystem has to do with interlocking between content creators and consumers, so the DVD player for example is in both ecosystems. The consumer will use that DVD player to consume content that you’re ingesting from external parties, from online, retailers, whatever it may be and then you also use that DVD player to ingest content that your getting from people in your relationship circle. Now when you’ve got DivX on your PC and DVD player, if your a consumer who’s going to be getting a camera that will be used to create video, whether it’s a digital video camera or a digital still camera, you as a consumer have a very good reason for wanting that camera to be producing DivX anyway, so that they’ll play in your personal ecosystem. That’s really the beginning and the end of it. We believe what comes with the DivX brand is associated with creating a higher quality media experience, so where a consumer has a reason for consuming a high quality video experience with video cameras, our role is to make sure that if you buy a digital cameras to make video, if it has the DivX logo on it, you’re gonna know that you can create high quality video that’s going to look good and that it’s interoperable, that you’ll be able to play it in all the different environments that play the DivX language.

That’s a broad value proposition that we bring with our brand. You’ll notice that what we’re not doing is a whole lot in the digital video camera space, the DV camera space, we’re really focused on the still camera space. The reason for that is because we took a look at the marketplace and we actually believe that the highest quality user experience is being able to record on the fixed media card, in which we keep all together. It’s very rapid, it’s very easy to use, it’s very easy to store, it’s very easy to load into your hard drive and move around your home, and we’ll be focused on high definition for straight video cameras for the next DivX period.

When your talking about bringing DivX to the mass markets, your talking more about SLR than the traditional video cameras that most of us think about then?

Yeah we’ll hit both categories. We’ll hit still cameras that have video as a mode and then we’ll hit high definition cameras that are standalone video cameras that will preferably and will always shoot to hard drives.

As far as the compact cards go, how many hours of DivX content will you be able to fit onto a 1GB flash card?

You can fit 90 minutes on a 1GB flash card. It is in fact DivX quality so were able to get a lot of content on that card in high quality and interoperable, so you can see how the common media theme runs through everything that we do and it enriches and makes a better media experience, so we can do both simultaneously and make it fit and I think in the future you’ll see that across the board.

One of the things that’s clear from watching DivX’s popularity online is that a lot of people want to know how to get DivX on their Xbox 360, the PS3, even this weekend some industrious hackers figured out a way to bring their DivX movies to the Wii, have you talked to the console companies about officially supporting DivX and how have those talks gone?

We actually talked to those companies back in the PS2 and the Xbox days and back then things didn’t go particularly well. As a company we always have a basic launch where we start with the consumer and work our way back and as a consequence we tend to be more successful in marketplaces that are more influenced by market forces then top down strategies. Which is to say we do better in open vs. closed, so if it’s more open like a DVD player as opposed to closed, like a cable set top box or a cable provider, our systems will have more traction. We found that the second generation game consoles (or technically the fourth depending how far you go back), the PS2 and Xbox and before the gamecube, were still very closed in their way at looking at the world. Increasingly, for a variety of reasons, many which are random as happens to be the cases, we are seeing these next generation game consoles are taking a more open approach the way they are looking at the marketplace and so I have more optimism about our ability to get DivX to those clients, mostly because the consumer is being more vocal in demanding DivX for those clients. We haven’t gotten any concrete announcements about to happen yet, but I do tell people it’s important and I do spend time focusing on it and certainly you can put me on the record as somebody who would be delighted to see DivX in all those media consoles. Also you can put me on the record as someone who recommends that if you don’t currently have a Wii, that you buy one.

As far as the console strategy goes do you think that if Microsoft were to license DivX for the Xbox 360 that Sony would be under a lot of pressure to license the codec as well or do you see an opportunity where Microsoft could differentiate themselves there?

The pressure would certainly be on and then it’s a matter of the politics of each organization. I would argue that on a pure market competitive basis, if Microsoft stepped up and put DivX on the Xbox, they would have a significant competitive advantage and the onus would be on to reduce that advantage by licensing DivX as well, but that doesn’t imply however the Sony would have the forethought to do it.

One of the things that we’ve seen is that people are creating step by step instructions for getting DivX content to the consoles and are utilizing software tools that allow consumers to transcode their codecs in real time. What are your thoughts about these software tools and is this a threat to your business model?

Under the big picture heading of what we do, it may strike you as a little odd, but DivX is actually codec agnostic. I’m as likely to promote using flash as I am for promoting DivX technology. It’s about the appropriate technology for the need that you have and the key is to provide the highest quality consumer experience. My criticisms for these particular transcoder’s approach is that really, what they are is a stop gap. At the end of the day, it’s a low quality experience. It’s not that different from the approach taken in the DV camera market, so it’s clearly a lower entry solution if you were in a more stable system. If you could maintain both the quality, as well as ease of use for whatever the format is in all the way through the channels, but if you’re somebody who wants to watch your DivX content on your TV and you’ve got an Xbox and Xbox has DivX in it, it’s the second best scenario. In any event, I would not vigorously endorse it, but I’m also not completely antithetical because at the end of the day it’s about providing the best quality experience to consumers.

By the way, this is a great segue back to your Stage6 question, Stage6 is our first significant toe in the water on what we call the new new network, the post convergence environment. In our business plan, in our 20 year plan back in 2000, we predicted that you’d see a significant amount of user generated content around the time of 2005. I think YouTube bore that out, although it was a little later then we expected, at the same time it was a little bit bigger then we expected. We specifically predicted that because it would be at the PC, it would be what at the time we called lean forward content, which I think is actually still a useful term. The way we look at DivX the company is that we’re focused almost exclusively on lean back content. These are media experiences where as a consumer you want to become disembodied behind the medium. You sit in the theater and your movie starts and you don’t want to be interrupted by the growling in your stomach until the movie is stopped. That’s the part that we focus on and that’s the part that we think is important and by the way that can be entertainment content, it could be news content, it could be personal content, but it’s lean back content, each one of those segments have different feelings associated with that environment.

The PC is really not the optimum lean back screen. It’s a lean forward screen. It’s spectacularly short content, it’s interactive, your multi-tasking, your checking your blog, your checking your MySpace page, you hit a link, you go to YouTube, you watch a clip, your out, you’re very much involved in that environment, your not hitting play to sit back.

We look at it and say, YouTube is improving the use case and people are aware of it, the time is now ready for us to start sowing the seeds for what this environment looks like in a post convergence environment. Still, we’re a couple of years away from convergence being a true case, but the content language part of our business is now ramping now that you can say with confidence, that enough consumers can consume content from the internet on their television and that there is a materially reasonable marketplace. In the arc of that curve, as the ball is beginning to roll downhill, is that somewhere between now and 2010, convergence will happen and you’ll be able to see a post convergence environment.

Stage6 is specifically focused on creating an environment for people who want to create engaged communities around a content brand for lean back content on the internet using a distribution medium. And that’s what it is, so if you go to Stage6 what you’ll find is that we’re really serious about content. It’s not populated by short form clips, etc., it’s populated by people who regardless of their particular content level are trying to create some form of expression. That may be very very short form or an expression could be done in a second if you do it right or it could be long form and all of it is very high quality, so DVD level quality and high def quality is where things settle out for Stage6, but it’s a different kind of community, kind of culture that is being built there.

Stage6 is actually an exemplar of behavior that we expect to see happening on a much more global basis. The strategy for Stage6 is to not Stage6 be a vertical portal for all people and all content. Rather we want to use Stage6 as a way of showing, anybody who wants to be engaged in a lean back content environment, how they can do it and build an audience and build a marketplace and build other platform technology to make that possible more broadly speaking. So in terms of an open or closed environment, we definitely don’t want Stage6 to be a closed environment, we want Stage6 to be one of many open typologies to turn the entire internet into creating brands and to consume that content.

Community has always been important to DivX and Stage6 is clearly an expression of this strategy, but at the same time, the creation of the DivX codec was also very much a community driven process. What do you say to critics who feel like DivX turned their back on them in terms of taking the company private and not keeping this as an open source product and when people say that DivX took advantage of them, how do you answer that?

Well the first is that we never took advantage of the open source community whatsoever. There is a very interesting set of mythology in that environment. The fact of the matter was DivX, as an original codec that Jerome created, was not open source. When we created the DivX company we very specifically looked at it and made the tactical decision that open source made sense for us to launch the original DivX codec, because we believed that to do it would create a more energetic and healthier environment. When we launched DivX as an open source project, on the one hand, while we did get some contributions from the open source community, it was relatively small in coded content. By far the most significant contributor was a guy named Eugene Kuznetsov, code name Sparky, who we essentially brought into the company on a full time basis, hired him out of the community into what we do, but we ran into an interesting problem which is that a lot of the companies, particularly the electronic companies who we were very interested in having DivX be a part of their environment, would not actually use DivX if it was an open source codec. So as a consequence we created a closed source version of it, which we launched on the DivX website. It became an open source version, you could access the code page on the project Mayo website, so that we could provide the code out to particularly the consumer electronic manufacturers and to a lesser extent, third party software manufacturers like Sonic and Pinnacle and guys like that, who wanted to use the technology, but wouldn’t use an open source technology for a lot of reasons some of which were not rationale, nonetheless were mandated by what we call their GC group.

What we found was that, then the consumer would invariably go to DivX.com where they could download the codec and nobody would actually use Project Mayo in the first place, so we’re working in a fraction of an open source environment, so we just sort of let it die. Actually, we had already disclosed the source vis-a-via the open source project and at that point it sort of just ran out of steam. Then a couple of the guys from the open source community who really wanted to be part of the final project, they said we’re going to keep a copy of the final project and they went out and did it under the heading of XviD. We said, great run with it and in fact they ran into a situation where they had a hardware company that ripped off their codec and tried to close source their codec. We supported them throughout pretty strongly. It’s kind of interesting that there is this sort of mythology of tension between DivX and the open source community, but actually the people who are really the open source guys behind the open source codec, we actually have a pretty good relationship with them, we’ve actually worked pretty closely with them.

DivX is a company that is focused on open as a typology. Open source is open, but only when it’s effective, so if you take an open source strategy and by so doing you either A.) Make it so nobody can use it or does use it or B.) Keep yourself completely destroyed by trying to use a closed source strategy in the marketplace, then you actually fail the primary mission which is to actually maintain an open content typology.

When you are looking at an open vs. closed system, this is a pretty critical part of your business strategy and when you look towards things like set top box developers and iPod’s and all of these different gadgets that are out there, do you think that DivX needs to be in a closed system or do you still see DivX as benefiting more from open products?

It’s good that you mention that, one is that I actually have a strong hypothesis on a macroeconomic level that forces that are happening under the heading of convergence will ultimately lead to open networks across the board. So I’m on the record as saying that if you are in the business of owning closed pipes, you better figure out how to get out of that business at some reasonable time frame. The second question is, which because of the way that we actually approach the marketplace, our value proposition is at it’s lowest ebb in the entirely closed environment, so we’re not really, at the end of the day a technology company. We’re not really a codec company. We had conversations with set top box manufacturers and cable guys in 2001 and 2002, but when they’re trying to license your technology, component video technology, that’s commodity pricing. A penny for a million users in an interactive space, there’s no real value proposition. Compare that to the DVD manufacturers where what we really brought was a community of users who are trained to consumer content over the internet and to have some way to do it without having a set top box or computer operate that particular phenomenon. So the fact that DivX technology is associated with that path is a really interesting physical manifestation, but the reality of the value proposition is that the market, the community itself is a value proposition, so what you’ll find is, if you map our progress on a go forward basis, everything that appears in a DivX marketplace, there’s actually strong evidence that the marketplace is becoming more open.

I’ve heard DivX say that there are efficiencies with being able to record DivX directly to TiVo, Media Center, PVRs and Apple’s upcoming iTV, why wouldn’t they be licensing your codec if they could fit that much more content onto their hard drives?

Well there’s a trade off between storage space and computational complexities. That content is a pretty powerful force, if you can buy the hard drive space for less then the cost of a silicon chip at half the size of the hard drive space, you’re more efficient buying your hard drive space and we find that encoding chips have a slower cycle, then decode chips had, so the computational complexity is a lot higher, for encode then it is for decode. It hasn’t been until very very recently until like the last couple of months, that encode chips have become available for things like DVD recorders and DVRS to use with technologies like DivX. Now that these chips are just beginning to rollout, literally we’re just able to sell these now, we’re seeing an opportunity to break those chips into the OEM cycle for CE products, so it was only a matter of time. There will certainly be an opportunity, but you have to be aware of the limitations of the silicon cycle.

As a bonus to my interview I concluded my questions by subjecting Jordan Greenhall to a series of brutal choices in a lightning round session. I asked him to restrict his answers to no more then short sentences during the lightning round. The following were the answers that he gave during this session of the interview.

PC or a Mac? (not for the office for personal use) – Mac

Do You Own A TiVo and If So Which Model? A Series 2 TiVo and 2 high def DVRs through the cable company

Do You Read Slashdot or Digg? Digg

Engadget or Gizmodo? Engadget

Netflix or Blockbuster? Netflix

Do You Have An iPod? Which is Better iPod or Zune? He owns an iPod and describes himself as a “miniman”, but may move to the Zune if the social networking actually works.

Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii? Wii, although John Madden could tempt him to look at the 360 or PS3

Pirate Bay or Torrent Spy? He hesitated on this one, but then I told him I was joking because I knew that the big media companies would be listening and he couldn’t really answer. He said both services are a mess right now.

What’s Your Favorite Gadget Right Now? The Wii

HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? Blu-Ray because it has better storage

Zooomr or Flickr? I figured that he wouldn’t know what Zooomr was, Thomas Hawk made me ask this one, but he said Flickr without hesitation.

Canon or Nikon? Canon

MMORG or First Person Shooter? MMORG