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A Thank You for 3 Years of Innovation

June 11th, 2010 by Jason Kilar CEO

One of the first phone calls I made over 3 years ago when Hulu was not yet Hulu was to Eric Feng. Eric and I got to know each other in Seattle when he was at Microsoft and I was at Amazon. In the weeks following my phone call to Eric in May of 2007, I traveled to Beijing, China, and that was when Eric officially jumped aboard as Hulu’s founding CTO. Eric and I also decided that afternoon to start a software development center in Beijing in support of what was to become Hulu. Below is a picture from that afternoon:

It has been an incredible 3 years, and Eric has done what only world-class builders can do. Specifically, he has embraced and nurtured a highly unique culture; he has built and grown an extremely talented team; he has enabled those builders to build great things; he has relentlessly pursued a better way each and every day. Hulu’s technologists are leading the charge in both Los Angeles and Beijing, creating and innovating the media service that we feel the world both needs and deserves.

Over the past year, a very unique opportunity has emerged for Eric, and he’s going to pursue it with my full support. I’ll let him share the news with you below via an email he sent to the Hulu team members a few hours ago. Eric will be departing Hulu in mid July, a little over a month from now.

I want to take this moment to say thank you to Eric for all that he has done for Hulu. In addition to being a world-class builder with an atypically high quality bar, he also happens to be a friend to all of us at Hulu. I am extremely proud of what he has done and how he has done it. Yes, I would prefer that Eric be at Hulu until he is old and gray. But often in professional life, that is not the way it goes. We’ve been planning for this day for some time now, and our deep and talented technology team is well prepared to ensure that we remain obsessed in our relentless pursuit of a better way. Rich Tom, who has been with Hulu since the beginning, will be leading our platform’s technology. Eugene Wei, who has also been with Hulu since the start, will be leading our audience business, which includes the consumer-facing web service and the many things that it comprises.

Below is a photo of Eric and me in China last week at our Beijing Development Center, now a thriving center for innovation located in the shadows of Tsinghua University, one of the top Computer Science programs in the country. I am so proud of Eric and the teams he has built, both in the States and in Beijing.

Thank you Eric, for everything.

Jason Kilar

CEO, Hulu

Below is the email that Eric shared with the Hulu team a few hours ago:

During my nearly three years at Hulu, I’ve written a lot of emails. At last count, it was more than 33,000 messages on every imaginable topic from product specs to patent apps to performance reviews to press inquiries. I even once wrote an email to MC Hammer (yes, *that* Hammer …) about break-dancing videos. But this email is one I never thought I’d write.

It’s with a jumble of feelings that I’m announcing I will be leaving Hulu this summer and joining the incredibly talented Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers team as a partner and technical advisor to Vice President Al Gore. I’ve been able to share this news with many of you personally, but for others it may come as a surprise. For me, it’s still a surprise, and I’ve known about this longer than anyone.

Leaving Hulu was a difficult decision. My time here has been the most exciting, challenging and rewarding professional experience of my life. I could not be more proud of all that we’ve accomplished from our inauspicious beginning in the summer of 2007, to becoming the PC World product of the year, a Fast Company most innovative company, a Time Magazine invention of the year, and, most importantly, a brand that millions of people are so passionate about. From two team members to two hundred, from Beijing to Los Angeles, from an idea to a real sustainable business, working at Hulu has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. However I’ve recently been blessed with a rare and unexpected thing in life: a *twice* in a lifetime privilege.

Through coincidence and good fortune that continues to humble me, I’ve been offered the chance to contribute to the amazing innovation Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is helping pioneer, from new Internet and mobility ventures to life science breakthroughs to solutions for the Global Warming climate crisis. I’m eager to continue exploring my passion for digital technologies, and I’ve long aspired to become involved in the transformative solutions around greentech. I just never knew how or when that might happen until now. And I never thought now would come this soon.

July 16th will be my last day at Hulu, and while I’m thrilled at the new challenges that await, part of me will always regret leaving. But in this case, regret is a good thing — a very good thing. Because it’ll be a constant reminder that my time at Hulu was always more than a job; it was an experience. The people I worked with were more than my colleagues, they were my friends and family. And what we have accomplished was important, but not nearly as important as how we accomplished it. We have lived each day at Hulu with a hunger for innovation, an obsession with quality, a never-ending commitment to our customers and, above all else, an appreciation for the amazing journey we were on together. In the end, it’s the journey that mattered more than the destination, and that’s made all the difference.

My journey with Hulu will soon be over, but I leave knowing the team will continue on towards inspiring successes that are sure to exceed my wildest expectations. And you can count me as one of many passionate Hulu users who will be glued to my computer, tuning in every day, and eagerly awaiting the great things the team does next.

Your friend. Anytime. Anywhere.

Eric

PS. 非常感谢大家在过去几年里面的努力和帮助! 祝福你们未来一切顺利,希望不久的将来还有机会见面,一起去卡拉ok,后会有期。

Last comment: about 9 hours ago 8 Comments
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  • Congratulations Eric–what a huge (and deserved) honor and opportunity for you. While sad for Hulu to lose you, a big YEAH for the planet! I look forward to following your path of innovation and wish you the best.

  • Sal Wells says:

    If only more than 80 people would hear this!

  • Mark buntz says:

    The first man I met at hulu (sans senor Jean Paul) Eric, you inspired me then… And you are an inspiration once again. This world benefits from your footprint (carbon neutral of course). Best of luck to you and your exciting new venture.

    Mark Buntz

  • Jeff Hodges says:

    Congrats Eric on a job well done at Hulu! You and Jason have built a wonderful platform to watch online videos. I wish you the best, at your new role at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and with Vice President Al Gore. May you continue to have great success!

  • Eric, congratulations on this incredibly opportunity. You’ve been part of building something very incredible at Hulu — I can only imagine you will do equally earth-shattering work in the future. I’ll keep an eye out!

  • Nancy Hilpert says:

    Congratulations Eric–what a huge (and deserved) honor and opportunity for you. While sad for Hulu to lose you, a big YEAH for the planet! I look forward to following your path of innovation and wish you the best.

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