Why this blog?
I brought my first iPhone home when my son was four years old. I brought the phone home and left it on the coffee table. In the next 10 minutes I watched in amazement as my son proceeded to take photographs with the phone, show me slideshows, and change the ringtone WITHOUT any intervention or guidance from my part. He learnt how to use the phone playfully, without needing any manuals or without worrying about getting things wrong.
It was a wonderful experience, and it strengthened my beliefs about good product design, especially consumer products that are highly approachable and usable by people of young and old age. I’ve continued to experiment and learn about the intersection of Learning Theory and Consumer Product Design. This blog represents some of my findings along the way.
A bit of a blurb about me
Sal Arora, SVP Consumer Products for Glam Media Corp.: Joined in March 2012 to manage the consumer portfolio for Glam Media. This includes the consumer properties of Glam.com, Foodie.com, Tend.com, Bliss.com, and Brash.com. I love to work at intersection of media, design, and technology – and believe that great ideas and lots of fun is to be had in exploring where these three worlds collide. My background is in computer science (I’ve a CS degree from UC Berkeley), but my strengths come from a long-term passion toward inter-disciplinary innovations. I’m definitely not an expert in many areas – but I enjoy working with the best in the different fields to strive for the best consumer products that can be built.
Prior to Glam, I was at Microsoft for 10 years in the Xbox and Mediaroom groups, figuring out how to bring cable TV to the modern world of IP or new devices such as game consoles and mobile devices.
Prior to Microsoft, I was in startup land (yes, my first startup was in 1995 right a the start of the Internet craziness). From 1995 to 2001 I was at NetObjects (which I co-founded) and led the engineering/technology efforts in there. Much of my initial ideas on the intersection of design and technology got bolstered there (the love for Media came with my stint at Microsoft).
For anyone interested in a longer, more formal bio:
Director of Development for Microsoft TV, Microsoft Corp.: In this role, Arora is responsible for the development of the three screen strategy and experiences for Microsoft Mediaroom. Arora was responsible for conceptualizing, developing, and shipping Mediaroom experiences on Windows Phone 7, Windows 7 Media Center, Silverlight, and Xbox, in deep collaboration with various Microsoft product, design, and commercial groups. This platform was launched by Steve Ballmer at CES 2010 and was deployed by AT&T for their Windows Phone 7 launch.
Prior to that, Arora was the Country Director for Microsoft TV in India. In this role, Arora was responsible for the deployment of Microsoft TV’s software and service solutions in India. Key responsibilities included establishing the services and operations infrastructure for TV services, including systems integration and ongoing support program. Arora also worked in collaboration with India Development Center (IDC) to incubate a TV application portfolio for India that was presented to Alchemie group. Previously, as senior director of product management at Microsoft TV, Arora was responsible for the product strategy and value proposition for Microsoft TV IPTV Edition. Microsoft TV IPTV Edition is an integrated and comprehensive software platform developed specifically to deliver broadcast-quality video and new, integrated TV services over broadband networks. The platform combines market-leading features such as instant channel change (ICC) and multiple picture-in-picture (PIP) with traditional TV services such as broadcast programming, VOD, and DVR. This is the largest IPTV platform globally with over 10mn devices deployed with Tier 1 operators such as AT&T, DT, and BT. Arora joined Microsoft in 2001 and has served in various engineering leadership roles resulting in the launch of Microsoft Interactive Program Guide and Microsoft TV Foundation Edition. Microsoft TV Foundation Edition was deployed with Comcast and in various locations in Latin America.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Arora has spent over 12 years in two early stage companies in executive leadership and technology strategy roles. Arora was co-founder and CEO of ibizu, an early stage social networking company creating online collaborative spaces based on social functions. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and Chief Technology Architect at NetObjects, a Web software and services company. NetObjects was ranked by Softletter 100 as one of the top 100 software companies, and was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 25 Very Cool companies in 1996.
Arora holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley. In his spare time, Arora enjoys skiing, improvisational theater, flying and spending time with his wife and two children in San Francisco Bay Area.