If I ever had a question about how to grow a business that can be built for something bigger, one of the first friends I’d reach out to would be former SightSpeed CEO Peter Csathy. As both an advisory board member with SightSpeed, and then as their agency of record, I got to work and watch first hand as Csathy grew the company ten fold in three years.
I’ve known Peter since his days as President & COO of MusicMatch, where he and Dennis Mudd led the company to a massive acquisition by Yahoo at the height of the dot.com acquisition boom. Peter’s first company, eNow, also was acquired -- by AOL.
Three private companies.
SightSpeed was number three, completing the hat-trick -- and this happened in early November 2008, right in the midst of the current economic melt-down. SightSpeed happened when it was virtually impossible to get any successful deals done.
Recently Csathy faced a crossroads. He had just exited from Logitech after leading the transition of SightSpeed post acquisition. He’s not ready to stop and he had offers coming at him from all directions. One day as I was driving I got a call from him asking what I thought about a few industries and who I felt were the key players and the unearthed gems. One was the recorded music industry, one he knows well, and the other was video, but not the video conferencing industry like SightSpeed. This was in -- I quipped -- “real video, the kind that gets produced and distributed." After sorting out that he couldn’t name names just yet, I rattled off a series of companies I thought had the kind of brand mystique, corporate philosophy and intellectual property that were the type of company he should be at. Ironically, I guessed one of them -- Sorenson Media -- and proceeded to describe why he was right for them, and why compared to another company, they were ripe for him.
Today, Peter joins Sorenson Media as President and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) capping a twenty-year career that began following his graduation from Harvard Law School. For those that know Peter, he’s about as un-Harvard as it gets. He doesn’t wave the university name like the flag, and is really more the Midwestern values and family guy that grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota as an undergrad. In taking the position with Sorenson, Csathy earnestly told me that he “sees a large fertile field of new and untapped opportunities in video with the company, especially given their unduplicated level of leadership and respect in the video encoding and compression technology space. Most of all, the Sorenson team has the kind of big time vision with the same passion as the people who use our products.”
That’s Peter. The same guy who always brings his background along with him. Great values. Big picture thinking, build it bigger and better, with a get it done attitude, all without losing sight of what’s important. He has the passion to get it done. And, the accelerating video market is ripe to be picked by Sorenson Media.