My work is envisioning, creating, and marketing new products using audio and video technologies. I'm the person who makes users say “I want that” to a new product, usually resulting in a good revenue stream to the company. A good position for me is at the VP or CTO level in a small company or Senior Director level in a large one. I think I would fit well in a Product Management, Product Marketing, or CTO role, or in cases where there is a good match to my experience, as a business unit manager.
I have the extensive engineering background that is virtually essential for good high-tech product development. I am a proven developer of innovative products, winning a technical Emmy and industry awards. Beyond products, in my current job I’ve developed three new businesses — automotive audio, open-source licensing, and certification — and I’ve led the technical development of the system aspects of my company’s latest product, MPEG-H. Basically, my job has been to build a commercial layer around a research organization so they can market and sell competitive whole products instead of technologies, including to Silicon Valley’s leading companies.
Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, San Jose, CA (2007-present)
Division General Manager
Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies
Developed a U.S. sales and marketing unit for Fraunhofer’s audio business
Introduced product management and business planning into a rich but chaotic early-stage business
Developed a secondary automotive audio business
Transitioned the company to also offering open-source products, partnering with Google to include our codecs in Android
Developed a new audio system for next-generation TV
Developed the first certification program for Fraunhofer’s audio products
Account manager for Apple, Google, Netflix, and Amazon
Fraunhofer’s 250-person audio business is the inventor of MP3, co-inventor of AAC, and authoritative source of the audio codecs that power the iPod and iPhone, Android devices, and half of the world’s TV sound. These codecs are in an estimated ten billion devices today.
While technically I am the head of the Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies business in the United States, with a team of eight employees and consultants and my own P&L, I basically report to the MP3 inventors who head our Erlangen-based audio business and I have been responsible for its marketing, product management, and a substantial part of its business strategy as a member of our executive team. I also act as our account manager for Apple, Google, Netflix and Amazon.
Combined with prior consulting, I have worked for Fraunhofer about fifteen years in four phases of work. The first was developing fundamental sales channels and marketing programs for what was, despite the enormous success of MP3, still an early-stage business similar to a start-up.
- Sold our audio codec software to Cisco, Texas Instruments, Palm, and Harmonic.
- Promoted our codecs at trade shows and technical conferences, becoming an exhibitor at U.S. trade shows and beginning the use of show floor listening rooms.
- Opened our U.S. sales and marketing office in San Jose.
- Inserted one of our codecs into the Logitech Squeezebox product and attempted to develop a market for uncompressed music. (Which later evolved into the music industry’s “high resolution audio” initiative)
The second phase was introducing some market discipline into a company whose technical development had grown beyond the personal vison of its founding engineers. I introduced the ideas of conducting market research, making business plans, estimating future revenues, and developing a portfolio of technologies under development.
- Established a training program to prepare engineers to become product managers, developing three engineers into good product managers.
- Instituted a stage-gate review process to stop our “conveyor belt” of technology developments from being thrust into the market without regard to opportunity costs or potential returns.
- Identified the automotive market as a good fit for technologies we had developed, and started our automotive audio business, whose products are now in Audi and Daimler cars.
The third phase was going beyond fixing structural problems to develop some strategic projects to grow the business.
- Led the extension of our embedded codec business from a closed-source model to an additional open-source model in Android. This introduced our codecs into the Android ecosystem, helped to block competitive entry, and provided substantial additional revenue.
- Invented the Fraunhofer codec plug-in, widely used in mastering music for the Apple Mastered for iTunes program.
- Developed the concept of a “3D soundbar” to bring immersive sound to mainstream TV viewers, now commercialized in the Sennheiser Ambio soundbar.
- Developed our MPEG-H-based TV audio system for broadcasting and video streaming. While we successfully standardized our new codec technology in MPEG, we needed a system product, not a codec, in order to compete in the broadcasting and streaming markets. I was the product and business owner for this system. I invented key non-codec parts of the system, determined and set the product requirements, and developed our marketing strategy and positioning of the product. It is now part of the new ATSC 3.0 TV standard, China’s UHD TV standard, and the Sony 360 Reality Audio music service.
The fourth phase was taking Fraunhofer into the business of certification and trademarks. Unlike our competitors, we had not operated a certification program or licensed trademarks for conforming products, yet the complexities of our MPEG-H system required it. I developed from scratch our MPEG-H certification program, including certification testing, staffing and directing a test engineering team, and licensing our MPEG-H trademark. The first certified devices under this program are now entering the market.
Streamcrest Associates, Santa Clara, CA (2002-2007)
Business and Market Strategy Development for Digital Video Technology Firms
Business Development and Technology Licensing for Clients
Streamcrest is a firm I operated to provide business and market strategy consulting in streaming media, MPEG-4, and related digital video technology, for products such as consumer electronics, convergence appliances, codec chips, and mobile devices. Streamcrest's clients included compression technology firms, a consumer electronics manufacturer, video semiconductor firms, technology licensing organizations, investment funds and banks, and a trade association. Engagements included developing business plans, product strategies, market potential studies, market and revenue forecasts, technical evaluations of codecs and implementations, and tutorial seminars. I also acted as a business development and standards representative for Fraunhofer, licensing their technology to several major semiconductor and electronics firms.
Philips Digital Networks MP4Net, Sunnyvale, CA (2000-2002)
Director, Product Management and Business Strategy, MPEG-4 Business
Philips Digital Networks
Develop Business and Product Strategy to Commercialize Philips MPEG-4 Technology
Create And Manage Product Management Department
Development of Alliances with Key Partners (Sun, Intertrust)
Supervise Product Marcom and Positioning
This 150-person unit of Philips Electronics, N.V. produced MPEG-4 streaming video products that allowed interactive multimedia content to be transmitted over broadband and mobile networks. Reporting to the VP/General Manager, I was responsible for the product management department and for our product and market strategy. Additionally, I managed print and web marcom, business development with some key partners, and our IP/patent strategy.
When I joined, this business was a research-oriented effort without a clear market or business model and was just beginning product development. My challenge was to focus us on specific application markets and develop viable products to transform us to a commercial business. This involved leading a strategy team to identify market opportunities and staffing my five-person department to manage worldwide product lines in broadband, set-top, mobile, and embedded markets.
My product managers successfully produced and launched two generations of complete MPEG-4 product suites. In the words of one reviewer, our encoder product “reliably yields beautiful video and high quality audio streams” and had a “great user interface,” while our player was the industry reference standard for MPEG-4 streaming. However, the decline or delay of broadband markets and our reliance on other Philips products lead to slow market development in three of our segments. We decided to focus solely on the mobile/wireless market, and I reconfigured my department, producing a new mobile platform strategy in three months. Economic issues with mobile carriers and our corporate parents lead Philips to dissolve this business in 2002.
With 90 engineers in five countries, our product development efforts were not coordinated and were engineering-driven, with our first product shipping at Release Candidate 10. I introduced a new product development process to control developments and select new product opportunities, resulting in our second generation shipping at RC 3.
Our unit divided business development activities among several executives, with my responsibility developing our relationship with Sun Microsystems. I negotiated marketing and technology exchange agreements resulting in joint sales proposals in both broadband and wireless markets, and in licensing MPEG-4 server technology from Sun to strengthen our server products.
Competitors used the uncertainty of future MPEG-4 patent royalties to raise customer apprehension, and royalty terms could have potentially destroyed our business model. Acting as Philips’ commercial representative to the MPEG-4 patent pool groups, I was able to steer one group from a fatal to a favorable position for our products.
I was also responsible for our web and print communications and our product positioning and literature. This included presentations explaining MPEG-4 and debunking competitive propaganda through my “MPEG-4 Myths” series. I also established a web marketing strategy for us and staffed and managed a highly-ranked, commercial web site with content streaming, self-support database, and customer management features.
Philips Digital Video Systems Company, Salt Lake City, UT. (1998-2000)
Senior Product Manager, Asset Management Products
Philips Digital Video Systems Company
Develop Strategy to Augment Mature Video Server Product Line with New Technology
Create a Mini-Business to Develop and Market an Emmy-winning Web-Based Asset Management Product for Broadcasters
This 80-person unit of Philips produced video servers and newsroom editing systems for the broadcast video market. Reporting to the Director of Product Management, I was responsible for its line of asset management products, which allowed journalists to efficiently retrieve and edit content using PC’s instead of expensive broadcast hardware, and enabled television facilities to re-purpose broadcast content for the Internet.
When I joined, the business had a mature server product and an engineering staff consumed with bugs and delays. My assignment was to study new business opportunities to help diversify or augment this core product. I identified emerging asset management technology as a promising solution for the trends of centralized operation, segmented audiences, and Internet webcasting developing in the broadcasting industry.
At the direction of the General Manager, I designed a business strategy to introduce asset management to broadcast customers. This included studying the potential market and competition, writing business plans, and developing a product strategy based on an internal mid-range product and alliances with two high-end suppliers. For our internal product, I formed a mini-business within our unit, recruiting an engineering team from other projects and evangelizing the technology to our customers. I identified customer needs and workflows, developed a customer value model, specified the product features, developed the product’s technical architecture, managed the engineering development, conducted beta tests, prepared literature and sales training, and launched the product through our national sales organizations.
In architecting our internal product, I was able to use Windows Media Player with my team’s code to make a product that used “free” web-based consumer technologies while delivering professional frame-accurate editing. This allowed us to develop the product with four engineers for about half the BOM cost of other systems. Our development cycle was also short: We launched one year before our competitors.
This product provided a sales and image boost to our declining server product, helping to secure several major orders, and became the lead management product of the merged Philips/Thomson/Grass Valley broadcast company. It was selected for a 2003 Technical Emmy Award.
Initially, I also served as product manager for a joint Silicon Graphics/Philips video server platform and for an IP-network video distribution project. I left this position through a promotion to our MPEG-4 business in Sunnyvale.
Director, Marketing and New Business Development
Sarnoff Real Time Corp.
Marketing of a Supercomputer-Based Video Server for Consumer Video-On-Demand Systems
Technology and Market Forecasting, Planning, and Competitive Analysis
Marcom and Branding for a Technology Start-Up
SRTC was a spin-off enterprise of Sarnoff Corporation, formerly RCA Laboratories. It was formed to develop a large-scale video server based on Sarnoff's massively-parallel computer system. Basically, the company was a technology start-up with a solution in search of a problem, and we identified emerging consumer Video-On-Demand systems as our primary application as we grew to about 120 people.
I was responsible for SRTC’s marketing and business development activities, divided between a marketing engineer and myself. Reporting to the President, my primary task was product definition of new server products for VOD systems. This included studies of the technology requirements and business models of new consumer services, VOD operator system and use requirements, market potentials, forecasts on networking and storage technology, and analysis of competitive products.
VOD was an emerging market with long development and deployment cycles to a limited customer base, making competitive information important and difficult to obtain. I developed an intelligence program that included recruiting research consultants, training managers in trade show interviewing, analyzing collected data through architectural and market studies, and developing a competitive intelligence database.
As a technical start-up, we had no outbound marketing activities, so I developed branding and marcom capabilities. This included creation of product line brochures, data sheets, a corporate backgrounder, sales training courses and videos, a promotional video, and a web site. I also developed a corporate identity plan, retaining industrial designers for new product styling and a new product line logo.
Director, Mass Storage Technology
Sarnoff Real Time Corp.
Invent Technique To Allow Cost-Effective VOD Video Server
Staff and Manage Disk Array Engineering Department
Previously reporting to the VP of Engineering, I staffed and managed SRTC’s storage engineering department that developed terabyte disk arrays with hundreds of disks operating in parallel. These projects were complex hardware and software efforts that required the efforts of 10-20 engineers for a two-year product cycle. These arrays, based on techniques I invented, offered cost and performance improvements that enabled successful on-schedule deployment of the world's first practical video server for consumer interactive television.
I also acted as our representative and liaison with disk drive manufacturers and as our executive for regulatory affairs, developed an engineering revision/configuration control system, and improved our hiring efforts though a recruiting campaign and training managers in interviewing techniques.
In order to develop SRTC's marketing function, I personally recruited, hired, and trained a replacement to manage this department.
HDTV and Digital Video Consulting Firm and Niche Manufacturer
Image Circuits was a small consulting firm that provided product design services to the video and image processing industries, including projects for Sarnoff, Datacube, Brooktree (Conexant), and Viewgraphics (Optibase). Image Circuits also manufactured specialized equipment for HDTV research, equipping dozens of the world’s leading HDTV labs. I was the founder, president, and primary consultant, working with one or two colleagues. I discontinued operations of the firm to join the startup of Sarnoff Real Time.
Publications and Presentations
Articles and Papers
, Bleidt et al, IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting, March 2017.
Bleidt, Thoma, Fiesel, Kraegeloh, Fuchs, Zeh, De Filippis, Weiss; Presented at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, October 2016. Published in SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, July 2017.
, MPEG-H Audio Alliance, 2015.
, Electronic Design, 2015.
, AudioXpress, 2015.
; Bleidt, Borsum, Fuchs, Weiss; Presented at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, October 2014. Published in SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, July/August 2015.
, Fraunhofer, 2013.
, Fraunhofer, 2012.
Application Bulletin: Fundamentals of Conducting a Practical Informal Listening Test, Fraunhofer unpublished, 2012.
Throw Away Your CD Collection? Yes, with HD-AAC Codecs on ARM CPUs, ARM Information Quarterly, 2008
Application Bulletin: Audio Delay Synchronization and Adjustment, Fraunhofer unpublished, 2006.
Understanding MPEG-4: Technologies, Advantages, and Markets, MPEG Industry Forum, Website and Print, 2005.
, Electronic Engineering Times, November 12, 2001.
MPEG-4: Today and Tomorrow and Why MPEG-4? White Papers, Philips MP4Net Web Site, 2001
Asset Management: Distribution of Media Pool Video Server Content over Wide Area Networks, Philips Technology Briefing, 1998.
A Digital Velocity and Amplitude Error-Correction System for Component Time Base Correctors, SMPTE Journal, Nov. 1988.
What is AAC, HE-AAC & xHE-AAC?, Gary Explains, 2019.
MPEG-H Enables Interactive Audio, Immersive Sound, and Maximizes Sound on All Devices, engineeringtv, 2015.
Live From SMPTE: Object-Based Audio Promises To Transform Sports Broadcasting, Sports Video Group, 2014.
NAB: Fraunhofer IIS shows 3D Soundbar, Broadcasting and Cable, 2014.
Fraunhofer IIS Shows Virtues of MPEG-H for Enhanced Audio in ATSC 3.0, Display Daily, 2014.
Fraunhofer IIS 3D Sound in an Audi Concept Car - CES 2013, Engineering TV, 2013.
CES 2011: Fraunhofer's MPEG Surround Audio Codec, CES2011: Fraunhofer’s HD Communication Technologies, ECN Magazine, 2011.
EE Web Interview, EE Web, 2011.
Coming Soon to iTunes: Surround Sound Audio, Wired, 2009.
Speaking Engagements and Presentations
What's Different in the MPEG-H Audio System?, Audio Engineering Society 2018 Convention, New York.
AES Panel on Audio Streaming Loudness, Audio Engineering Society 2018 Convention, New York.
AES Panel on OTT Loudness, Audio Engineering Society 2018 Convention, New York.
Creating New Consumer Experiences with the MPEG-H TV Audio System. Audio Engineering Society 2017 Convention, New York.
Introducing the MPEG-H Audio Alliance’s New Interactive and Immersive TV Audio System, Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat, Palm Springs, 2015.
Starting Production in Interactive and Immersive Sound, Bleidt and Baxter, DTV Audio Group / Sports Video Group Summit, New York, 2014.
Introducing the MPEG-H Audio Alliance’s New Interactive and Immersive TV Audio System, Audio Engineering Society 2014 Convention, Los Angeles.
Fraunhofer's Interactive 3D Audio System for Television Broadcasting — What’s New, National Association of Broadcasters 2014 Convention, Las Vegas.
Case Study: Field Test of Interactive 3D Audio at Winter Sports Broadcast; Stenzel, Bleidt, Schilling; DTV Audio Group / Sports Video Group Meeting, Las Vegas, 2014.
DTV Audio Group Forum, Audio Engineering Society 2013 Convention, New York.
Issues for Radio Loudness: Clipping and Loudness Control, Audio Engineering Society 2013 Convention, New York.
Quality of Compressed Audio Formats Today: Is Audio Coding the Real Problem?, AES/SMPTE joint meeting, San Francisco, 2013.
Mastering for Compressed Audio Formats, Audio Engineering Society 2012 Convention, San Francisco.
Low Bitrate and High Quality Automotive Audio, AES 36th Conference on Automotive Audio, Dearborn, Michigan, 2009.
New ATSC Audio Codecs, Audio Engineering Society 2008 Convention, San Francisco.
Audio Delay Synchronization and Adjustment, Audio Engineering Society 2008 Convention, San Francisco.
Enabling Surround Broadcasting on Digital Radio, Audio Engineering Society 2008 Convention, San Francisco.
AAC Beyond the iPod: Enriching our Lives with New Applications, Presentation to Fraunhofer USA Board of Directors, 2008.
Surround Sound for HD Radio, Audio Engineering Society 2006 Convention, San Francisco.
Mobile Video Standards and Compression Technology. ARM Developers Conference, 2006.
Low Delay Audio Coding on TI DSPs, Texas Instruments Developer’s Conference, March 2006.
The MPEG Surround Codec for Digital Radio Broadcasting, Texas Instruments Developer’s Conference, March 2006.
MPEG Technologies — Setting New Standards, IBC 2004, Panel Moderator and Introductory Presentation, September 2004.
MPEG-4 and the Future of Mobile Video, Software Development Forum, March 2004.
MPEG-4: An Open Standard for Broadband and Wireless, Powerpoint for MP4Net external marketing and sales presentations, September 2001.
Second Annual Workshop and Exhibition on MPEG-4, Industry Panel Discussion and Presentations, June 2001.
Sun Webcast Interview at National Association of Broadcasters Show, April 2001.
Digital Hollywood Conference, Panel Discussion and Presentations on Interactive Television, March 2001.
Introducing SURF, interactive CD-ROM explaining how new asset management technology and products can enable centralized broadcasting and content re-purposing, Philips customer handout, 2000.
Asset Management for Broadcasters, Powerpoint for Philips Broadcast National Customer Event, 1999.
Education and Accomplishments
MBA/MSM, 1983; MSEE, 1982; BEE, 1981; Georgia Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech graduate certificate program in Acoustical Engineering, 1982.
Dale Carnegie Course, 1996. Dale Carnegie Graduate Assistant, 1997.
Fuld & Co. Competitive Intelligence Seminar, 1997.
UC-Berkley Branding and Positioning Course, 1999.
* Huthwaite SPIN Selling Course, 2009.
* Customer Visits Seminar, Ed McQuarrie, 2009.
* Sequent Seminar on Business Case Development, 2010.
* Pragmatic Marketing Practical Product Management Course, 2010.
* Karrass Negotiating Course, 2011.
(* These courses are ones I selected as part of a training curriculum for product managers.)
2003 Technical Emmy (for product I developed) "Technology to simultaneously encode multiple video qualities and the corresponding metadata to enable real-time conformance and / or playout of the higher quality video (nominally broadcast) based on the decisions made using the lower quality proxies"
2011 TEC Award Nominee, Sound-On-Sound Editor's Choice Award 2012. (for Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro Codec plug-in)
U. S. Patents 5,671,377; 5,913,026; 5,920,702; 6,529,994. Striping, architecture, and operation of a SIMD computer and disk array as a video server.
U.S. Patent 9,576,585: Method and apparatus for normalized audio playback of media with and without embedded loudness metadata on new media devices.
Australian Patent 2015314286: Audio Splicing Concept.
Australian Patent 2015345248: Decoder for decoding a media signal and encoder for encoding secondary media data comprising metadata or control data for primary media data.
Registered Professional Engineer, Georgia.
Senior Member of IEEE, Member SMPTE, AES, Recording Academy P&E Wing.
Prior NSA and DOD Clearances.
Private Pilot SEL, Instrument Rating.
Location, Hobbies / Memory Aids
Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, will strongly consider other U.S. high-tech cities, able to relocate immediately.
I was an amateur analog fine-art aerial landscape photographer, holding a Hasselblad 2000 grip with right hand, airplane yoke with left. (Only in uncongested airspace, otherwise with a safety pilot)
I have a small woodworking and machine shop at my home and aspire to hand-cutting dovetail joints.
I was the original registrant of the domain hdtv.com in the early days of the internet, which I sold at a good price during the dot.com boom.