Whither Tivo?

I recently received a call from an executive recruiter who was handling the Tivo CEO search.

I didn’t return the call because I am not interested the job and frankly I don’t know anyone who is.

But it got me thinking about what I’d do if I had to do that job.

OM Malik has a post up on what he thinks Tivo needs to do.  He thinks Tivo needs to emulate Apple by retrenching and focusing on serving the needs of the Tivo enthusiasts, called the Tivoted.

I think some of OM’s ideas are correct, but if I took the job, I’d do pretty much what Mike Ramsay, Tivo’s founder, has been saying he wants to do. 

I’d walk away from the cable and satellite operators who only want to commoditize Tivo and focus on building a low end version of a Media PC that allows people to bypass the cable and satellite operators and get their entertainment directly from the Internet. I’d build it on Linux and low cost hardware and use the Tivo brand to generate demand for the product.

I’d also get into the content aggregation business ala Akimbo and others to provide programming on this device.

As Steve Jobs has said, selling to the cable and satellite operatos is a no-win proposition.  So Tivo has to walk away from that business and find a new one they can serve.

That’s what I’d do if I took the job.