Blake Krikorian, the founder of home-video streaming service Slingbox, died on Wednesday from a heart attack while surfing in San Francisco, according to a report from Recode. Krikorian, who was 48, was a serial tech entrepreneur and very respected figure in the tech and media industries.
Blake Krikorian. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
A one-time Microsoft executive and director at Amazon, Krikorian founded Sling Media in 2004. The company’s Slingbox product allowed consumers to stream online video from their TVs to their PCs or mobile gadgets, a technology known as “placeshifting” that was considered ahead of its time.
In 2007, satellite-TV company EchoStar Communications bought Slingbox for $380 million.
Krikorian founded Sling Media with his brother, Jason, in 2002 as a way to watch their local sports teams while they were on the road.
Krikorian served on Amazon’s board of directors from 2011 to 2013. He resigned from Amazon’s board after Microsoft bought his home-automation company, id8 Group R2 Studios, and became corporate vice president of Microsoft’s interactive-entertainment business, which oversaw the Xbox group.
In addition to his grasp of the tech and media business, Krikorian was known for being an incredibly friendly and gregarious guy, with a joie de vivre that was hard to miss. A regular fixture at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Krikorian seemed to relish holding court with reporters and prognosticating about the industry, in contrast to some of his tightlipped peers who dutifully deferred to the conference recomendation of shunning the press.