axle customer Michael Korpi of Baylor wins prestigious SMPTE Excellence in Education award!

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-5-23-23-amWe’re delighted to report that SMPTE has just announced their first-ever prize for Excellence in Education, and it goes to Baylor’s Michael Korpi – who happens to be an axle customer.  Michael’s use of axle extends through Baylor’s pre-editing and editing workflows; they have 150+ terabytes of NAS-based network storage and employ axle 2016.2 to catalog its contents, search for media, and do subclipping and review and approval.  We’re thrilled that one of our university sites (which also include Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Sheridan College and Berklee College of Music) has won this prestigious prize, and look forward to a continued great relationship with colleges and universities in the US and abroad.  Education is one of the fastest-growing markets for axle’s radically simple media management solution, now installed at over 350 sites worldwide.

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Join us this week at SMPTE, FCPX Summit and AVX!

Things crank into high gear this week as we demo axle Starter, 2016.2, Edit and Pulse at 3 key events.  If you’re in LA, the Bay Area or the Rockies, we hope you can join us.  Colin Anderson and I will be available for meetings, so call or email us and we’ll make it happen.

Below is a pre-SMPTE interview I did with Ryan Salazar of Broadcast Beat.  If you want to join us at the show, you can pre-register for a FREE Exhibits Only pass online at and use the discount code SMPTE2016X at checkout.  Give axle Video (booth 425) as your sponsoring exhibitor.


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We demo axle Starter at Adobe Video World and IBM Edge

September was a busy month for us, starting with a packed IBC booth and going on to IBM’s Edge infrastructure conference, in Las Vegas, and Adobe Video World in Bellevue, WA.  From our conversations at all these events, it’s clear that a wide range of video teams – from creative agencies, municipal governments, sports teams, universities and broadcasters – are all looking for help in making their video storage more searchable and productive.   We’re thrilled that so many of you are picking axle to meet this challenge.

A high point of the Adobe event was getting the chance to talk to key product managers like Al Mooney, below, or the development team at After Effects – who turn out to be the same passionate founders of CoSA in Rhode Island which Adobe bought 20+ years ago!

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-11-15-56-amAdobe’s Al Mooney at AVW

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Big News.

We’re delighted that Avid has chosen axle’s media management, in the form of our new $495 Starter package, to bundle with all configurations of their award-winning NEXIS™|PRO storage.  Details are available at We’re also holding a joint webinar with Avid next Wednesday at 11AM East coast time, to discuss the configurations and do a deeper dive on the capabilities of this powerful team solution.

Please join us and Avid at IBC – we’re both in Hall 7 at locations 7.D07 (axle Video) and 7.J20 (Avid) as we’ll be doing demos and answering questions.  This is an exciting new development for us, and we’re really thrilled to be part of these pioneering solutions.Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 7.20.21 AM

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Elon Musk and the Autopilot Sci-Fi Blind Spot

Like many of you, I’ve been amazed to watch the pace and progress of Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX ventures in the last decade. In many ways, both companies have consistently delivered on the promise of a fast-moving future where challenges like renewable energy, or long-distance space travel in reusable rockets, are actually solvable. The 100,000 or so Teslas on the road today, the brand loyalty of their customers, and the glowing reports of blogs and magazines everywhere are testament to his success at making the previously-impossible possible. The nearly half-million downpayments for the upcoming Model 3 blew everyone away, including Musk. It’s an inspiration to product managers and technologists everywhere.

Sci-fi tells us to expect the future Any Day Now. That said, Tesla seems to have hit a serious bump in the road recently, with the combined challenges of production issues on its Model X SUV and recent reports of possible driver deaths due to use/overuse of the company’s Autopilot feature. Tesla’s recent bid for Solar City has also encountered serious objections from the financial community with a major hit to the company’s stock price.

Musk’s vision here is probably impeccable. He’s got too good a track record at this point for anyone to seriously question it, in any case. The bigger issue is the sequence and pacing of some of the decisions, many of which appear to be driven by optics rather than reality. The two biggest cases in point are some of the design choices for the Model X (distance-sensing gullwing doors, new seat technologies) and the rapid deployment of Autopilot.

The fact is, after the early cult hit of the Roadster and the broad upmarket success of the Model S, Tesla already had the momentum to get it where it needed to go. Many of the steady stream of announcements since those core products shipped (‘They’re building a Gigafactory!’, ‘Teslas can filter air to biohazard levels!’, ‘Teslas can float!’) have contributed to this unprecedented momentum. The fact that the Model 3 looks pretty much like a downsized Model S, and generated the massive orders that it has, is testament to this.

The problem is that every great product guy, including Musk, needs to have a near-perfect sense of pacing, and in some recent cases he and the company have gotten ahead of themselves. This is completely understandable – they’ve been on such a roll that it’s to be expected. In particular, the Model X design choices such as the unique door and seat technologies which added real risk to the product ship dates, are of a piece with the can-do approach that made the company successful. Even Musk has acknowledged that some of these decisions amounted to ‘hubris’, a term not often found in dry Wall Street disclaimers, and the company will undoubtedly muscle their way through the manufacturing issues over time, despite the short term financial hit.

The bigger challenge will be for Tesla to step back from its leading-edge promotion of Autopilot technology. As Drivers Ed teachers everywhere point out, a car moving at highway speed is a deadly weapon, and nobody is advocating that (for instance) semiautomatic rifles be self-deployed and controlled by autonomous systems. It’s risky enough that they’re controlled by people at this point. But somehow, partly because of the rapid advancement of this class of technology and by Tesla’s great track record, everyone involved has hurtled forward on this one, common sense be damned.

It’s especially odd because Musk himself has been such a vocal critic of the long-term risks of AI for humanity. But maybe that speaks to a consistent over-estimation of how ready this stuff is, too. The reality is, there are far too many edge cases and challenging problems still to be simulated, tested and resolved for this particular technology to be cut loose today. The propensity of enthusiastic customers to really count on the new stuff, even do things like watch videos while driving based on their faith in the system, also indicates that more work and education is needed.

Taking a step back, all technologies evolve over time. The deep learning/self-navigation/neural net tech that car vendors are using for driver assist and autonomous vehicles have taken many decades to mature; the sensors and GPUs that are used to make them a reality are improving rapidly every year. The crossover point for real software and hardware, in the real world, to work well enough for consumers to use safely every day is definitely approaching. We just don’t know how soon.

As a longtime software entrepreneur ( and trained physician, I feel like I have some perspective on the cautious side of things. There are some fields, like clinical therapies, where the pace of change has been glacial for too many years, which are really overdue for regulatory reform and moon-shot initiatives – thanks, Joe Biden. You can argue that the auto industry was one of these fields ten years ago; today, not so much. I’m not sure about you, but I somehow trust Volvo or Mercedes when to tell me they’ve curated and tested the heck out of these technologies, more than Tesla. That’s a real gap for Musk’s company.

Great product manager/CEOs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Henry Ford, warts and all, need a clear sense of pacing and balance. There are times to leap forward with waves of technology, and times to consolidate and iterate a winning formula. The latter is much less glamorous, but I’d argue that it’s what’s needed here. A key part of this journey will be to recalibrate the use of the Autopilot technology, and determine where/when it can be successful. If the company can sensibly walk its customers, investors and critics through this process, it will earn its way to the next level of massive commercial success and influence.

For now, it may be wise for Tesla to slow down from its self-proclaimed Ridiculous mode. In short, the Autopilot Sci-Fi blind spot may have been in thinking that just because something should be true Any Day Now, it’s true already.


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10 Gigabit networks are now super-affordable

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.44.25 AM

Netgear just announced a 16-port network switch, the XS716T (catchy name, huh?) that offers 16 ports of wire-speed 10 Gigabit connections for about $100 per port.  They already had a smaller switch, the XS708T, that costs well under $1000. Both of these switches let a workgroup edit HD and even 4K media off of shared storage, without time-consuming local copies to hard drives or RAIDs. This is a pretty major change from the days when 10 Gigabit switches cost upwards of $10,000, and means that the widespread availability of video editing for small teams is only going to accelerate.  Netgear’s webinar announcing the new switches (as well as larger stackable configurations) is viewable at this link.

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Wow – Alfa 4C, towed by Tesla, is faster than Alfa 4C

Guilty Pleasures Department:  OK, from time to time I post car videos here but this one’s a doozy.  It has a lot of great ingredients: Europe vs. America, mid-engine sportscar vs. SUV, as well as a Top Gear-style “Can this really be happening?” aspect.  Plus, it’s short – less than a minute – at least the important part, which starts at my link from the 4:04 mark below.  You can skip the subsequent 17+ minutes, which consist of the testers tooling around in a Tesla Model X and a Bentley Bentayga, and admiring all the gadgets nobody can afford anyway.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.14.40 AM

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