Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From Start-Up to Multi-National Corporation in Six Weeks

So imagine the surprise when, after just a few weeks at a new company (a small operation that sits 25 people in a small brownstone flat in the South of Market area of San Francisco), as you are getting your bearings about how everything works and what the company is all about, you see everyone gather together in the main room and the CEO pulls the big TV out of the conference room. You already know this is going to be an interesting day. Next, imagine hearing that the little start up you have just joined has made an agreement to become part of a multi-national corporation with office all over the world.

Yep, I witnessed it, and yep, news of that reality just went public today :).

So to simplify this a little, SideReel was just acquired by Rovi Corp.  The story of the event can be seen here and here.  Rovi Corp. is an entertainment company that handles a number of online properties and is basically a huge data provider about various entertainment options (including music, movies and television) all over the world. From the first article referenced above:

“We launched AllRovi to give consumers an immersive entertainment experience — where they can find significant amounts of information, related art, reviews —everything about the films and music they love,” said Dave Jordan, VP of marketing for Rovi. “By adding the SideReel.com website to our online portfolio, we believe Rovi can be the go-to source for finding and enjoying online content.”

So what does that mean for me? In the short term, not much changes, other than the fact that I'm now part of a company with thousands of employees instead of just a little group of 25. SideReel will likely be operated as its own group for the foreseeable future, and thus my mission and goals are still the same, to help develop a test team and testing culture in an Agile environment for a fast moving and small company... with the proviso that that small company has become part of the orbit of a much larger company. Beyond that, I can't really speculate or say exactly what will happen, but it has certainly made for some interesting several days, and the future promises to be interesting as well :). I guess we'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.


Aruna said...

All the best! You must be excited with this transition. In the short term there will not be much changes. In the long run, the best of the work culture of the two companies will merge to give a different kind of an experience

Phil said...

Hmmmm, just after you join a multi-national corp comes along... coincidence or was it YOU they wanted to acquire ?

Minh said...

All the best!!! I just love sidereel and hope nothing will change after the acquisition

Michael Larsen said...

@aruna, thank you, it's been an exciting and disorienting experience, but I feel it will be a promising new chapter (but hey, it was already a promising new chapter without the announcement.

@Phil, I wish that were the case, but alas, I don't think I have that much power, plus I think this was in the works before I was approached ;) .

@Minh, while I can't speak long term, I think that Rovi appreciates the SideReel brand and what we've been able to do. While I doubt we'll go on 100% as before without any guidance or involvement, I think they want to see us do the things that have made us successful.