Cyanogen picks up execs from Facebook and EA

August 21, 2014
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kirt mcmaster steve kondik koushik dutta cyanogen

Kirt McMaster (left), with Steve Kondik and Koushik Dutta

Via: Wired

As it prepares for its one-year anniversary, Cyanogen Inc., the Seattle-based startup created to commercialize CyanogenMod, is beefing up its executive lineup with people from Facebook and Electronic Arts.

To date, Cyanogen secured almost $30 million in funding, and Steve Kondik (co-founder and CTO) and Kirt McMaster (co-founder and CEO) used some of that money to strengthen the team with talented developers and executives with experience in the mobile industry.

According to Re/code, the latest to join the ranks are Vivian Lee, a mobile product marketing exec formerly with Electronic Arts, and Sid Murlidhar, formerly with Facebook.

Lee will take the position of Vice President of Marketing, while Murlidhar will handle “third-party integrations into Cyanogen software.” At Facebook, Murlidhar headed Facebook Zero, the initiative to make a basic version of the service available free of charge for mobile users in developing countries, as well as partner relationships for the ill-fated Facebook Home project.

Cyanogen’s move to install a marketing boss seems welcome in the light of the flack that the startup caught (indirectly) because of OnePlus’ PR blunders. When OnePlus put up and quickly cancelled the cringe-worthy Ladies First promo, Cyanogen publicly distanced itself from its hardware partner. Moving forward, Lee will have to make sure that the startup’s name isn’t dragged in any other embarrassing debacles.

The Re/code report also includes an interesting little snippet from Cyanogen’s CEO:

“Everyone in the world wants an open Android,” McMaster said. “They want to get outside of Google’s tyranny, if you will.”

Update: in light of Francisco’s comment below, I edited the last paragraph of this post to clarify what I meant –Bogdan.

It’s likely that it was just a poor choice of words, and we don’t know the larger context of the discussion. But if he really meant it, McMaster’s statement comes off as a little bizarre. Cyanogen can’t really help fight the tyranny (Google’s closely held control over its apps), and complaining about it while building on Google’s platform could come off as ungrateful.

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