Forrester principal analyst Josh Bernoff hears about new ventures all the time. But four or five people he trusts were talking about the same one: Brightcove, which was trying to revolutionize broadband-video distribution. Then again, Brightcove Founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire is not the typical entrepreneur.
"He's got an ability to look at the markets and say, 'A year and a half from now what's really going to be hot is X,' then build it and see what happens," Mr. Bernoff said.
After creating web-development program ColdFusion with his brother, then joining Macromedia to co-lead the transformation Flash into a web interface, Mr. Allaire is ready for another challenge. "Traditional programmers are trying to take the products they've created for broadcast and refactor them for the internet," he said. "They're missing the essential qualities that make a broadband-internet business exciting." Mr. Allaire wants to let video producers of all sizes reach audiences of all sizes, all while enabling video advertising and consumer participation.
Mixing video ads into online-video distribution might seem obvious today, but it wasn't when Mr. Allaire started Brightcove a few years ago. And as early as 1990, the self-styled tinkerer saw the internet as a media platform that could help transform society. But first someone had to make it technically possible -- so he volunteered. Essentially he wants to allow the content barbarians over the walls of tradition, producing material for niche audiences-while still serving the media giants.
Mr. Allaire is unusually effective, said Tim Hanlon, senior VP-ventures at Denuo, the Publicis Groupe media-futures-consulting practice advising Brightcove. He brings an underlying pragmatism and appreciation for what customers want to accomplish as well as the barriers facing them. Not only did Mr. Allaire get that there "was an unchaining of video from its traditional environment," he knew any distribution platform would need a way for consumers to respond and for advertisers to pay and make it all possible.
In addition, Mr. Hanlon said, Mr. Allaire's personal management style is "affable and approachable" when working with people in his own company and at others. He treats Brightcove as a new start, not a continuation of something he's owed. "That's what you want out of an entrepreneur."
It's not a given that Mr. Allaire will succeed a third time. But, as Mr. Hanlon put it, "It's very difficult to bet against him."