I first met Yoshihiro Takemi at NAB in Las Vegas in the spring of 2013 when I was running Channel Sales for Piksel. He was the General Manager of Business Development and the Platform Business Units for J-Stream out of Tokyo, Japan. The company was looking for a U.S.-based company to provide a software stack for managing live and on-demand video (think of a private YouTube), to run over their CDN and resell to their customers. The end game was to launch online channels for live and on-demand video to corporate and broadcast customers in Japan. They had recently ended a relationship with Brightcove, who had started offering their services directly to Japanese customers.
The two primary issues that had to be overcome as we began talks: trust and performance. They needed to be able to trust their new partner, and they needed the software to deliver on a long list of requirements. We began discussions to answer both concerns, including months of phone calls and a trip to Tokyo.
Working with an international company brings its challenges: early morning calls, long flights, language barriers and a long list of important business customs. The Japanese character set requires double-byte character capabilities for an online service, their video distribution requires a high level of security, and our platform needed to run over their CDN flawlessly.
After several month of hard work on both sides, we launched the new J-Stream video platform. Rolled out to the market during a large media event in Tokyo, J-Stream was off and running with the Piksel online video platform.
Using an Agile approach to development helped the relationship tremendously. We were able to implement feature requests quickly and efficiently, and J-Stream’s customers were responding positively. Revenues continued to grow for both Multicast and J-Stream as the platform took off across Japan. The trust factor was strong between both companies.
We had chances to meet several times over the next few years in New York, Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Tokyo. Yoshihiro and I became very close friends, and still correspond as of this writing (January 2019). J-Stream continues to do business with Piksel, who now owns the Piksel video platform that has been used since the relationship began.