This Comcast CTO wants to hire you. Here's his pitch on Philly - Technical.ly Philly

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Jul. 13, 2016 10:40 am

This Comcast CTO wants to hire you. Here’s his pitch on Philly

The Philly tech scene is yours for the taking, says Comcast Cable CTO Sree Kotay. “You have lots of opportunities to shape, define and lead.”

Sree Kotay at SXSW 2015.

(Photo courtesy of James Bareham/Comcast)

When Sree Kotay left AOL in 2007 he told himself he didn’t want to move to another big company. The former senior vice president of technology had AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), web publishing, search and mail all under his purview, which led to a wealth of new knowledge. However, AOL’s corporate culture left him burnt out. He wanted to return to his startup roots.

Enter an unlikely savior: Comcast Cable Executive Vice President and Chief Network Officer John Schanz. Schanz had once worked at AOL and offered Kotay a promising pitch: Philadelphia has the startup vibe you are looking for.

Plus, Schanz told him, Comcast was evolving. “If today, we’re a networking and hardware company,” Kotay recalled Schanz saying, “in five to 10 years, we want to become a media and technology company with software at the heart of it.”

The pitch worked. Kotay has been with the company for nearly a decade, and now serves as executive vice president and chief technology officer of Comcast Cable. While he first thought he might only stay a year or two in Philly (with AOL, Kotay was based in the D.C. area), this has become his longest tenured position to date.

“My lifestyle has been fantastic when I look back at the last nine years,” said the father of two. “I walk to work, and my kids walk to school. It feels more neighborhoody than living in the suburbs ever did. There’s such an eclectic mix of people from all backgrounds, demographics and incomes. There’s a whole different vibe.”

Sree Kotay (right) at SXSW 2015.

Sree Kotay (right) at SXSW 2015. (Photo courtesy of James Bareham/Comcast)

Compared to his foot-on-the-gas startup days, Kotay says he gets to enjoy downtime more frequently now. (Kotay’s Viewpoint Corp. was acquired by AOL in 2003. He also cofounded another startup before that.)

“One of the benefits of big-company life is that it turns out the machinery will keep cranking for a good bit even if you do take time off, so it’s afforded me opportunities to be more present for my kids and family, and especially to travel,” Kotay said.

He also stays active with the tech community outside of Comcast. Look for him in places like StackExchange, GitHub and Reddit’s r/programming, where he may be seen espousing the virtues of the Philly tech scene.

As Schanz once did to him, Kotay has made a similar hard sell on Comcast to others. Some of the first hires that worked on X1 — Comcast’s flagship video product — were friends of Kotay’s from New York City and Virginia who made the move. They, too, saw the unique technical opportunities the company presented. Being in Philadelphia, Kotay says, is itself an opportunity.

“You go to Silicon Valley at one of the big companies, or even a startup and you’re slipstreaming into this massive pool of churn,” he said. “All this stuff is happening. Philly is a relatively small technology community, and you have the opportunity to define it. You’re not just a cog or Engineer No. 3,724 working on some feature.”

This means breaking down tech stereotypes and sticking up for Philly’s strengths. Something we’ve heard before.

“We shouldn’t brag or chest thump, but we can be more open and vocal about what we’re doing,” stressed Kotay. “There’s such a pent-up demand for talented, passionate and creative engineers and technologists. What’s nice about the both Comcast and Philly with regard to the tech scene is that it’s strong and vibrant but still nascent. You have lots of opportunities to shape, define and lead.”

It all starts with a gig. And Comcast has 170 open dev positions right now.

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Mike Bederka

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  • The truth

    What a bunch of crap….Schantz just got fired and the Comcast business division just had a major outage (some markets had no phones for more then 24 hours) get a clue Comcast fix you network first even AOL is not down for 24 hours….and the CTO is a nut

    • Jeffrey

      Well, with the niceties out of the way, maybe you’d like to give us your thoughts on the company?

      🙂

  • The truth

    Sure, bunch of ego’s the size of the moon, don’t care about anything except making money. The upper management will steal from your grandmother if they get the chance. How about that? I was in many meetings during the Comcast TW merger (almost). All this team could talk about was who they were going to fire day one. I walked three months later, no amount of money is worth that place! Pack of nuts

    • SSINTENSE

      Ya..I was there for 2 weeks and bounced. I thought the Comcast center was going to be all fancy but it was crowded and it was going to take them over 1 month to get me a laptop? They were paying me over $40/hr and weren’t prepared to maximize my productivity.

      There are way better companies to work for in the Philly area.

      • The truth

        Good for you….you won’t look back

  • The truth

    One more thing, you should see this guy in meetings….takes his shoes off puts his feet on the conference room table…dude, shave your feet like your head and they smell too

  • Shmalkandik

    People like to make fun of Philadelphia. They point at the economic decay, population loss, and crime rates. But, they aren’t looking at the numbers for the Center City area, which are very different from the rest of the city as a whole. Philadelphia Center City has world class orchestras, schools, museums, cafe life, and clubs. Comcast has gone from being a mere bit haulser to a very progressive provider of connectivity and content services. You can afford, on what Comcast will pay you, to have a home and discretionary income, unlike the Bay area. It’s a place to build a life. Go there!

    • SSINTENSE

      Well people can talk all the crap they want but Philly is top 10-15 in the U.S for tech jobs.

      It’s nice still being in my 20’s making borderline 6 figures on a 40 hour a week job. That’s what 5-6 years of experience around here has led me to. Not as shiny as some of those west coast elite jobs but not a shabby living at all.

    • The truth

      you must work for the company, bunch of losers who steal from us. You think they are here to help us? They would move without the tax breaks! I don’t care how many tree’s they plant in the city they would kill you for a dollar. Have you not been looking at crime rates? Have to been to the Google area in CA? You are not even close pal. Go back in the tower and burry your head in the sand! Crimecast

      • Shmalkandik

        Well, Monsieur le Verite’, I do not work for Comcast yet, or even live in PHL, but not for lack of trying. The city as a whole is indeed in decay- but Center City is not, and its revival is even extending out to the Northern Liberties. As for their tendency to suck up every dollar not glued to the floor, this is not terribly different from any one else in the bit hauling and content business. I recommend the city as a good place to live, and Comcast as a reliable supplier of paychecks. What is wrong with a job and a paycheck that lets you live decently? This is becoming more difficult every year in the bay area. Unless you are in your own business, you serve some corporate master. Good luck on your start-up. Just remember the words of the famous Philadelphian Thomas Paine “As he would rise like a rocket, so he would fall like the stick”.

        • The truth

          Well as a long time resident I hold out hope for this city (like my eagles). I don’t agree with your northern liberties comment, it’s not badlands but you must walk through badlands to get there. We had 23 shootings over an 18 hour period last weekend, half in north Philadelphia but several downtown where victims often walk. I still live in this city but work in NY. The crime problem (the rise) is due to just what I said, badlands surrounding built up condos. In NY people are all over, crime stays in BQ or HLM not the hotel district. Remember what this Philadelphia is saying “you can be right but dead in the crosswalk”

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