Chet Kanojia founded Aereo to allow anyone to watch network TV over the internet. His new broadband venture, Starry, is even more ambitious. "The mission here," he says, "is to connect billions who are not connected."
Your new company, Starry, is up and running. What's the big goal?
The standard way of delivering internet bandwidth has been fiber or coaxial cable, and those are just very expensive ways to do it. We think there's a wireless way to build a high-capacity network that lowers the cost dramatically.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that your previous company, Aereo, cannot operate. How do you bounce back from that?
Some of our founding team at Aereo were thinking through what Starry could be well before the Supreme Court decision. We looked at one another and said, "You know, we have a pretty good, interesting idea." The way to cope is to invest yourself back into it again.
How do you know that a big, crazy idea is worth pursuing, when there's nothing to compare it with?
I have a very simple view. There are things that have never been done before, and consumer behavior that has never been seen before. What my team is good at is recognizing when there is a large market. What are the technological trends that are converging? If you can capitalize on those, you can have a really interesting, disruptive proposition in a large market. Beyond that, you have no idea whether it will fit. That's unfortunately the risk you take.
Once you have a team in place, how do you ensure your people are working as well as they can?
The biggest thing is to develop instincts about your people. You know their patterns. You know the frequency with which they email. You know how many jokes a week they put on Slack. So when you detect a change in pattern, that should be a big indicator that something's going on with them.
There's no defined work-life balance for entrepreneurs. You're doing what you're passionate about, but is that sustainable?
I have no work-life balance. Any CEO or founder of a startup is in the same boat. Why? Because we're, I don't know, socially maladjusted. All jokes aside, I think we love what we do, and making that thing happen is just so much more interesting than anything else.