If you're a company like AT&T or BT, Telstra or DT you start to look around and say, "in times like these...... what can we do to be better tomorrow."
That means you look inside, assess who's on First, and What's on Second, then look outside and say, who should I hire to make my company better and stronger and ready for 2.0. Given my history in pro sports, and having actually run a draft in my early days and staged some draft day events, I figured it would be fun to look at the players and figure out what's ahead. Some are sleepers, meaning you would expect others to be listed ahead of them. Others are known quantities who have the chops to stand out in a crowd, but as a GM trained team builder one has to look past the usual suspects and find the gems in the draft. That's what makes teams champions, not only winners.
Here's my hit list if I was the head of VoIPScout of people to take off the playing field in the first round of the draft:
1. Martin Geddes-Without question, Martin is the player to pick. His insight, foresight and ability to assess, target and pinpoint what's next are the skills the super carrier need to have or even for them to be really 2.0. Martin will be the ideal dealmaker, playmaker and most of all, the ideal out-thinker of the competition at every match. Now that BT has Ribbit, Geddes is either the Messiah for another company or the Moses to bring the promise to the promised land.
2. Thomas Howe--Mr. Mashup. He's the king and well documented here in the past for his accomplishments. He's also the former CTO of Comverse and well versed in more than just telephony. Thomas gets data. He nails business process cold. A solid two way player, Howe would be as comfortable in the executive suite as in the lab, as his infectious personality, quick mind and agile programming ability makes him a consistent high scorer.
3. Lee Dryburgh--many consider Lee the foremost authority on SS7 networks. As the father of the eComm Conference, Dryburgh has spent hours looking at the many "me different" companies out there and sees what fits where. He's a pal of Geddes so the two would be an interesting Strategy/Technical connection and a dangerous 1-2 punch. Think of Dryburgh as the midfielder who does the heavy lifting, sets up the plays and makes the team run right.
4. David Beckemeyer-he helped Sky Dayton with Earthlink as the co-founder and CTO, when he traveled to L.A. with a few servers. Then he created the easy to sign-up CD Rom for Earthlnk, well ahead of AOL, giving many millions of people easy access to be really on the Net. Of late he's tinkered with PhoneGnome but remains one of the key technology experts who understands both networks and software and how to make them work together. If Dryburgh is the SS7 God, Beckemeyer is the SIP productizer to grab. What he did with PhoneGnome is really widely overlooked. Using an off the shelf ATA, open source and open standards technology, he made any phone a VOIP phone with an Internet connection and delivered SIP based services in an open way, before OPEN was being evangelized.
5. Alex Kurganov, CTO of Parus Interactive, and the mind behind Webley/CommuniKate, perhaps the most feature rich virtual PBX platform on the planet that does both VoIP and PSTN seamlessly. He's also a master at IVR and Voice XML, and a martial arts master. A player that most don't know, from long time experience we know he'd be the sleeper pick in any draft, but would be an all star on any team that grabbed him.
6. Alec Saunders, co-founder of iotum. Many people forget that Alec was the guy who brought Internet Explorer to market for Microsoft. He's a marketing and product management maven, with a healthy dose of social media know how. What's more he knows how to take code, productize it and make it work for the masses. Proof point. Look what he's done with Calliflower and iotum, winning a Demo God for his dazzling on stage performance there. Saunders scores and also plays a consistent game.
7. Carl Ford-no one has more contacts in VoIP than Carl and his understanding of "whose who" makes him an ideal HR/recruiters dream team member. He knows who has done what, which engineers really wrote the code, and most of all what and who plays well with what. He's also a well versed all around communicator. He'd be an ideal component as the evangelist (ala what Dan York is doing for Voxeo) and there's very few people in telco, especially VoIP who won't take a call from Carl.
8. Stuart Henshall--A product manager with technical ability who can articulate his thoughts well, Henshall knows the ins and outs of social media or as Jeff Pulver calls it "Social Communications". He's bright, speaks very well, plays the game smartly, and is very apolitical. As such he's very good at being an all around player on a team.
9. Alan Duric--Duric is one of these great minds who architects and steers things in the right direction. He's well regarded both at the IETF and within Cablelabs, was part of Global IP Sound/Solutions efforts with iLBC then went to Camino as founder before it was acquired by Skype. Like Dryburgh, Duric is a workhorse, but needs be surrounded by a team that will take vision and work with him to make it reality. A proven player who finishes in the money.
10. Will Stofega, IDC--Will has been steadily becoming one of VoIP best analysts. He did such a good job he got promoted and moved into mobile. That only makes him a stronger candidate and a winner for someone's team in a Research or Biz Dev role. His experience at IDC and with many corporate customers gives him access and understanding. His ongoing reviews of what's coming up, what works with what and how the business models work (or don't work) makes him ideal to join a company needing a smart, no-nonesense biz dev champion.
So--I've laid out the picks...now lets see who grabs who, and how soon!