Derek Gebler, CEO, Field59

Derek Gebler, CEO, Field59

I’ve been meaning to blog for a long time.

It’s one of those “someday” things that if you never really make a point to do, that “someday” will never come. I like to talk, but I often feel like I much more enjoy conversation rather than stepping up to the soapbox and talking into a megaphone in a empty room. But this room isn’t empty.
One of the things that I’m often asked as a CEO and founder of a technology company is “Why”. Why do I do what I do? Why does Field59 exist? Big questions. Hard answers.

There’s a great TED speaker, Simon Sinek, who has so wonderfully explored this topic, “Start With Why”. In it, he talks about the “why” of several companies. If you haven’t seen his TED talk, check it out here.

For me, my “why” is simple. I do this because there’s a great change going on in media. Traditional forms of news and entertainment communication are currently in the process of being disrupted.

Usually when I hear the term “disrupted” I think in terms of Godzilla smashing buildings and stomping nuclear power plants. But, disruptive doesn’t always mean destructive. This type of disruption is different to me. It’s just another way to talk about business models changing. Media companies are still doing what they do best, creating great content. But they’re changing the delivery process, and in a way, changing how people consume video.

That’s why we do what we do. We are an instrument of change in the way video is delivered to wide audiences around the world. I get excited when we can deliver video broadly to wide audiences. It’s also exciting on a smaller scale when we deliver video content that is meaningful and useful for those that need it, and would otherwise not be able to participate.

I’ve always loved communication. I grew up fascinated by television and film and wondering how the mechanics of it all worked. As I grew older and started building websites in the 1990s, it was hard to imagine where we’d be today. Of course, looking back, it’s a natural progression of communication.

As with life, technology is certain to change. Within the last 15 years I’ve seen several distinct moments in time where you realize things have jumped to another level. At first it was the land-rush of the web. Just being on the web was enough at the time. Browser wars and all that stuff. Video on the web was really rare.

Then came the social media wave, followed immediately by a quick adoption of mobile. First it was WAP (remember WAP sites?), then web apps and native apps and then nothing was the same again.

Which brings us to now. Lately internet broadband pipes have gotten so that we’re able to view bigger video files at higher resolutions and for longer viewing times. It’s amazing. By 2019, 80% of all internet traffic around the world will be video. That’s a LOT of video. And it’s being delivered in clips, live 360, HD, and 4K.

The thing that’s interesting in our current phase, is that where once internet video was the domain of the web and mobile devices, we’re now seeing a new internet video surge happen in our living rooms with OTT. OTT is a topic for another blog, but for the quick summary, OTT is what Roku, AppleTV and Amazon TV are delivering. TV over the internet to your TV.

This current phase is incredibly challenging and rewarding and is validation for why we do what we do. I am rewarded every day by knowing that Field59 is part of this historic change in communication. It’s exciting to think, “OK, what’s next?”. Each day brings new challenges and new rewards and it’s something I’m very grateful for.

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