MyBloglog, the portable social network that caught fire in months and flipped to Yahoo, he was a co-founder of API management service to the stars Mashery and has held top executive positions at 6 other startups since leaving Kodak in the late 90's.Scott Rafer is a startup machine. He was one of 5 people at
Today he's unveiling his newest project and it's a very ambitious one.
Handroll.tv is an HTML5 video delivery platform. "In the whole Jobs vs. Flash debate, the back-end implications are largely being ignored," he writes in a blog post today.
"HTML5 video makes it very tough to hide anything -- media files, player code, usage, video description metadata, social gestures, editing layers, and a hundred other savory morsels. That data feast will all be floating around and available to slice, dice, layer, and roll. Bridging from data availability to great new applications will require open services in which that data is gathered and laid out for use. Handroll.TV is working to be one of those services."
Rafer is joined in founding the company by technologist and business exec Donna Romer and Aaron Wadler, who was Linux Systems Administrator at SuperPoke, the app synonymous with obnoxious if very well scaled Facebook platform applications.
Right now the service is bare-bones. It's a form that you can put any video file's URL in and you'll get HTML5 embed code and an API to poke it with. Eventually the service will support all kinds of analytics, authentication and even super-simple video editing. "Anyone who can hack a Tumblr or Wordpress theme," Handroll says, "can be a video editor -- and with the same tools."
Rafer aims for maximum openness with the service. He sees a giant abyss of opportunity in HTML5 video; he and his team intend to jump right into that abyss.
"Basically none of the code is proprietary. It's a big open database in the back. I don't have any clue what the revenue model is here. It will be our database, we'll have computationally more efficient ways to pull data from it than other people can, just because being database host has advantages. If someone is trying to pull a ton of data out of us, that's premium. The ability to be social inside the video and mashup without video editing is going to change the online video market. Somebody's going to figure out how to do the next big video service."
Could that somebody be Handroll.tv? Time will tell, but this is definitely an early service worth paying very close attention to. It's sure to shake things up.
Photo of Rafer by Dave Sifry.
Disclosure: In addition to being awesome, Mashery is a long-time sponsor of ReadWriteWeb.