Thursday, May 25, 2006

The final nail in the Hagen's and GTXC?

Some recent comments posted here brought some additional thoughts. I've tried, in this blog, to only deal with facts, links, information and perspective from being on the inside. My personal feelings (as inferred vis a vis Stefanik and others) have been largely kept at bay.

This Yahoo/Ebay announcement, however, sparks the need for some commentary, and I am labeling this post as such.

Execs: A comment (from "carl" I think) mentioned the changing landscape of product definitions coming from "execs." Also a question as to where Kelly Sparks is.... Up until Kelly took on the reins of Product Management, there were no functional or design specifications for any product. There were some real quality exec's... Kelly Sparks, Jack Irving (acting CEO... in name only of course, at one point as David Hagen sought to hide himself from all the scrutiny after the PrimeTV debacle)... Jennifer Harrell, Jessica Flemming. "Carl's" comments about the moving target that David Hagen made Gatelinx caused the issues. Not exacerbated them, flat out caused them.

Sales: You're right about the performance. Just one example to show you how good they were, they actually had On2 (the maker of the audio codec) selling the Communicator. Pretty amazing actually. They had agreements (and announcements too) with Texas Instruments around embedding the software/technology on the TI chips. They had trials scheduled with Disney. They had trials in place with Qwest and proposals and RFP's/RFQ's from British Telecom. Where did it go wrong? Where could it go wrong? Read next "Strategy"
Strategy: Here's the crux of where the Yahoo/EBay(Skype) announcement is the last nail. I remember that the Wall Street Reporter had an audio interview with Jack Irving where he detailed out the strategy of Gatelinx. (don't know if that interview is still available on line, it was almost 2 years ago) He talked about embedding the software in devices, he talked about the concept of embedded "calling" for ad's so that you like what you see, you get routed to a call center/sales person. He talked about a more "ubiquitous" and connected environment where PC's call cell phones, land lines, TV's, PDA's and internet sites. Folks, this was 2 years ago. What is amazing is to think back on where the strategy was, versus how the execution (lead by Hagen, and he let Stefanik get away with his mismanagement for 5 years) was completely out of synch with this strategy. All the things that are still up on GTXC's web site(s) were Gatelinx, and created by those execs mentioned above. And now.. read some of the things that EBay/Skype/Yahoo are talking about.
Click-to-Call" Advertising Functionality:
Yahoo! and eBay will explore developing and deploying "click-to-call" advertising technologies on their respective Websites in the U.S., accessible by users of both Yahoo! Messenger with Voice and Skype. "Click-to-call" is a product feature link included inside an advertisement that consumers can use to directly call that advertiser to pursue a transaction.
Skype already has VoIP, and the "embedded" strategy. 2 years after Gatelinx's efforts, but because Hagen couldn't get out of his own way, allowed Stefanik to run the developers completely F'd Up, and didn't trust the exec's brought in from the outside who clearly had more experience, smarts and focus... Hagen screwed it up.
As recent as last year, I still thought they had a chance. Technology wise, never with David Hagen at the helm... but a chance. NOW? no way.. it's dead and gone. The standards people have persevered and overcome technical challenges and Gatelinx, er GTXC... um.. GTX Global is done. Put a fork in it.. send Hagen to jail.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yer right about the execs. Do a search on those folks (use and you find all kinds of things. Unlike the droids they got now "running" the place. Maybe it's just Hagen with multiple personailities that are all the new "exec's? (That wouldn't be so strange, I always thought he was "off" a bit)

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the spec front, there were lots of technical specs. Unfortunately we had virtually no functional specs.

That opened the door to the "hey, let's make it do THIS now! Then it'll sell!". If there was a functional spec to base the product on, then there wouldn't have been a moving target, and the product would have shipped nicely.

In my estimation, it could have shipped in late 2003 if the requirement treadmill had stopped and enough QA people had been hired. Instead we got to do things like add multi-way calling which was explicitly designed-out of the 1.0 product up until some execs insited we couldn't ship without it.

Of course, I've worked at a lot of startups that could have changed the world, if only.....

4:39 PM  

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