Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sorenson Media -- Who We Are -- Our Mission Statement

Entrepreneurs commonly are asked to give their mission statement -- i.e., their clear and concise (hopefully!) one sentence statement of their company's focus and overall unique value proposition.

So here's ours at Sorenson Media -- "Sorenson Media is a provider of highest quality differentiated video encoding solutions."

To be clear, my team and I have chosen each of those words in bold above very very carefully. Each holds special meaning to us -- specifically:

(1) note that we use the word "solutions" rather than "products"; this may surprise some who best know us for our award-winning desktop video encoding application "Sorenson Squeeze". But, we don't see ourselves as being a product company at all (even though we do continue to focus on developing the highest quality desktop professional video application -- and Squeeze 7 was just recently released to high praise); we are a video-focused solutions company; think of us as a video-focused Accenture; enterprise customers come to us with real significant and challenging problems; we are consultative in our approach; we listen; we hear; we propose a solution to meet those needs; we build it; and we manage and service it; THAT is who we are; enterprise customers come to us primarily for our expertise built up over 15 years time; they believe that we can do things no other company can do; we believe they are right; we passionately believe they are right;

(2) this following statement may surprise many of you who still predominantly think of us as being a desktop video applications company -- our company is squarely enterprise-focused and always has been. We provide solutions for the enterprise. This is consistent with our roots as a company that go back over 15 years to 1995. We began as an enterprise-focused codec development and licensing company and licensed our innovative technology to Apple (to enable video playback in QuickTime), to Macromedia/Adobe (to enable video playback in Flash), and to YouTube (to encode all YouTube videos). We then leveraged our unique video compression expertise into developing Sorenson Squeeze desktop. Squeeze desktop has been used from the beginning by most, if not all, of the major media companies and significant numbers in the Fortune 500 (NBC Universal is just one example of a long-time Squeeze desktop customer). This does not mean that the individual videographer or small business is not important to us -- not at all. We then developed our Sorenson 360 online video platform component which is essential to our enterprise solutions (Shutterfly is a great example of one of our enterprise customers here). And, finally, our primary focus as a company are our enterprise solutions, including Sorenson Squeeze Server. Squeeze Server currently comes in two "flavors" -- (i) Squeeze Server managed solution -- a fully managed, hosted Cloud transcoding solution; and (ii) Squeeze Solution Pack -- a super-charged high volume, highly scalable enterprise-grade Cloud-based solution that incorporates fast uploads of large video files (via our partnership with Aspera) and full automated management of Cloud instances (via our partnership with RightScale). And, we soon will officially announce Sorenson Squeeze On Premise -- which gives enterprises the ability to place our Squeeze software on their own armor for high volume and highest quality transcoding. We also offer complete mobile application development and complete professional services -- expertise that is now mission critical to our enterprise customers (where nothing is cookie cutter).

We also have other major developments coming soon -- very soon -- in fact, likely next week. This too will be eye-opening -- and it also is squarely enterprise-focused -- and it is big, big news -- and a big, big development. For those who follow enterprise transcoding, stay tuned -- we look forward to speaking with you once the news breaks.

(3) speaking of solutions, note that we underscore our video encoding focus in our mission statement; in addition to our unique video expertise, video encoding/transcoding is our core competency; that is our "special sauce" that we believe no one can match and core to everything we do; encoding/transcoding is foundational -- and our expertise and proprietary IP in this regard is the product of over 15 years of focus; our core award-winning proprietary Squeeze encoding engine is the same across all of our solutions -- Squeeze Server (both in the Cloud and On Premise) and Squeeze Desktop. We believe that is powerful -- and something that open source FFmpeg-based encoding solutions can't match (both for quality and performance issues and for business issues -- including IP risk -- and these business and IP risks are real ... very real, as I have discussed at length previously);

(4) speaking of our core encoding/transcoding competency, the result is that we are widely known for enabling delivery of the highest quality video across any platform (mobile, desktop, living room) and any device. Our accolades for our quality are legend -- and we hold and savor them deeply. We sweat the details -- we wear those badges of honor proudly. Our customers trust us for our quality and expertise, and we hold that trust dearly. If nothing else, the "Sorenson Media" brand -- that is the product of over 15 years -- stands for quality. Quality in terms of enabling the highest quality video itself -- but also the highest quality of innovation and trust.

(5) finally, you will note the word "differentiated" in the mission statement above; that is no accident. We believe we are unique as a company because of all of the attributes I discuss above -- we believe we sit alone in the marketplace which has so many players. We uniquely have the broadest array of video transcoding solutions -- enterprise-focused Squeeze Server (both in the Cloud and On Premise), Squeeze Server Hybrid Cloud solutions (in fact, we are the only ones with Hybrid Cloud solutions), Squeeze Desktop, Sorenson 360 online video platform (which is another component that can be utilized in developing enterprise solutions); and, as indicated above, more innovative enterprise solutions are coming. We uniquely are fully API/component-driven, meaning we can develop virtually any customized enterprise solution with the "building blocks" we have developed over time. We uniquely have a brand built up over years that stands for quality and innovation. We uniquely have built a long-term profitable business that means that we are strong and stable -- which is a critical consideration for enterprise partners. We have been here for 15+ years -- and we will be here in the future. You are -- with attribution to AllState -- "in good hands" with us. We are "Swiss" -- meaning we are neutral and are not solely focused on utilizing only our technology as part of our solutions. We support the widest array of codecs (not just our own Sorenson Spark codec); we support all IaaS providers; we support all CDNs; we support all of the major flavors of adaptive bitrate technologies. Well, you get the point. And, we are firmly partner-driven both in terms of technology (utilizing industry-leading RightScale and Aspera technologies as indicated above, GPU acceleration via Nvidia, as just some examples) and in terms of distribution. As a solutions provider, we don't suffer from "not-invented-here" syndrome. In fact, we believe it is our mission to provide the best video solution utilizing all relevant "building blocks" -- our own APIs, as well as best-of-breed third party technology. After all, it is our overall expertise, partnership commitment, and results that our enterprise customers seek. We are relentlessly committed to giving them all of the above -- and have the track record to back it up. This does not mean we believe we are perfect. Far from that. But, we relentlessly try to be as perfect as possible for the benefit of our partners. And, if we make mistakes, then we own up to them -- and don't rest until we correct them.

Bottom line -- we eliminate the hard work and complexity associated with video encoding, transcoding, management and delivery. We sweat the details, so you don't have to -- that is, so that you can focus on your core business. Sure, you could attempt to build out a highly sophisticated farm of physical servers and try to stay abreast of the relentless march of new complexity being injected into the world of video. But, at the end of the day, why bother? That is costly, resource taxing and downright exhausting. Yes, this is what Netflix did -- but they did it because no one had developed cloud-based encoding to support massive scale at that time. But, things have now changed with our Cloud-based best-of-breed transcoding solutions. We can provide turn-key solutions to empower enterprises (no matter how large) with a massively scalable encoding environment that supports literally every flavor of video output to support the broadest range of devices/environments. And, to pique your interest, this is not just on the VOD side only ...

There it is -- although our mission statement is one sentence, it is jam-packed with meaning.

I hope this helps clarify who we are as a company -- and I am happy to discuss any of this with any of you at any time. Just reach out to me at -- and, keep following us. As indicated above, we have a parade of significant strategic announcements coming up starting next week.

These are exciting times!


phoneranger said...

I am half way through writing up a mission statement etc for a LBS app. If you don't mind I'll just lift large chunks of your text. Very clear and very compelling. If you are in that space.

JT said...

Sorry to post off topic from the original post but here we go. Now we'll finally know if On2 Technologies was lying to it's shareholders about their codecs not infringing on MPEGLA's patents. Should be interesting.

MPEG LA Announces Call for Patents Essential to VP8 Video Codec

Peter D. Csathy (Twitter name pcsathy) said...

No worries about being off topic. I too am scratching my head about MPEG-LA's VP8-related announcement. I will investigate and report back in a future post.

Asher Bond said...

A common misconception about Cloud based video encoding is that it is limited to public cloud offerings, but there's often nothing stopping someone from ordering an in-house "leverage-my-infrastructure" private cloud encoding solution which brings you Sorenson Media + Aspera + Righstcale and EUCALYPTUS as a private or perhaps hybrid (private/public) cloud solution with best-in-show SLAs. Eucalyptus Pros will even set up a private cloud for your datacenter.

Peter D. Csathy (Twitter name pcsathy) said...

Absolutely agree Asher. We at Sorenson Media believe in both public and private clouds -- and the power of each. We support private clouds as well -- as well as hybrid clouds -- as part of our overall transcoding solutions. RightScale and Aspera already are partners -- valued ones. We would absolutely welcome partnering with Eucalyptus.