CableLabs President and CEO Paul Liao says job opportunities are plentiful for software engineers, so when CableLabs chose a spot for its new second office, it chose the financial district of San Francisco.

"The valley is where all the hardware is located but, for software, San Francisco is just as hot," says Liao. "But more importantly, it’s a central location for recruiting talent. It’s a very competitive time for recruiting talent, and we want to be able to reach out to all segments of the Bay Area. This couldn’t be a better time in the world for software developers."

John Carney, Comcast’s senior vice president/Advanced Engineering, will head the new CableLabs office. Jean-François Mulé, CableLabs’ senior vice president/Technology Development, will lead the technical staff.

"Carney, who is on rotation from Comcast, was a founder of MetaTV, which was the company that developed the EBIF (enhanced binary interchange format) concept now being rolled out big-time across the nation," says Liao. MetaTV has since become TVWorks, a subsidiary of Comcast with headquarters in Mill Valley, Calif., just north of San Francisco.

CableLabs plans to have some 10 employees in its new office by year’s-end, tasked with getting cable on the radar screens of West Coast innovators. "Cable sometimes is an afterthought for many of these companies, even though the majority of subscribers get their video and broadband from cable," notes Liao. "We want to increase the proportion of mindshare. And we want to do interesting work in terms of applications to drive the next generation of services."

The group first will focus on the consumer experience, as opposed to distribution of video. "To distribute video, we have a very effective way of doing that with MPEG 2 transport," Liao explains, adding there are ample opportunities for innovation in the consumer experience, especially around interactivity and multi-screen video.

In terms of corporate culture, Liao does see differences between CableLabs’ headquarters in Louisville, Colo., and the software culture of San Francisco – but it’s all good.

"CableLabs’ culture is very focused on meeting the needs and anticipating the needs of the cable industry,” he says. “It doesn’t have the same intensity that you find in start-ups for venturing out into new areas that the Bay Area is known for."

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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