FierceTelecom: The relationship with ABRY just seemed to happen very fast. In a matter of just days there's a change of management, there's the name change. How was that--on a stress level?
Mahoney: I think the credit goes to Mike.
Sicoli: Leading up to the deal that was announced in March, we had spoken to a number of potential partners. ABRY was the winning bidder for RCN, but there was a lot of interest in RCN from different players and different angles. From March until August, we had several things going on in parallel. We knew that we had a minimum 4-5 month window to get regulatory approvals, and frankly we needed every bit of that to get the separation done and other things done, like who's going to run what and things like that. That all sort of ran in parallel. We also had to raise the money so that it would be there at closing. ABRY actually brought in a new leadership team to run the cable company--an experienced cable management team called Patriot Media. That didn't really all come together until maybe a month before we closed, so there was really a flurry of that last month getting all the intercompany agreements in place so that we could all have what we needed but be true legally separate companies the day of close. The name change was something that we had been thinking of long before obviously last Thursday. That being said, we didn't finalize this until really 30 days ago. These guys did a ton of work in the last 30 days and really the only thing we didn't get done was the bags here at the event--
Mahoney: Which were done in July--
Sicoli: --but they made lemonade out of lemons on that by doing a bag exchange (at the booth) and driving awareness that way. Really, I couldn't have more good things to say about what the team has done in terms of how much they did in a short period of time--the quality, professionalism. The feedback has been universally positive.
I was joking with Maura the other day, I think we both woke up in the middle of the night with the same nightmare which was, oh my God, what if sidera doesn't mean 'constellation?' (laughs)
Mahoney: I had checked it myself, but still--
Sicoli: It was one of those, it's that nightmare that you still have that you walk in and there's a test that day and you haven't studied for it--
FierceTelecom: It seems like a little thing, but it's a huge thing on top of everything else?
Sicoli: Yes--and so, normally you would expect somebody to come and poke fun at you, or say something, but there's really been none of that. We've been extremely well received. So hopefully that momentum will carry through as well. The traffic at the booth has been significant.
Mahoney: What we say about COMPTEL is the deals and the meetings and the value isn't happening on the trade show (floor) necessarily, but what will follow. The traffic that has come to our booth, people are interested, they're interested in hearing about what we have to offer, so it's been a very different experience this show versus past ones we have been at.
Sicoli: And I think that there's a whole lot more that we have planned that's behind this. One of the other things that I think customers will appreciate is we're rethinking our approach to a lot of things. (There are) certain products that we might not have done before that are becoming more and more prevalent for our customers' sake, (like) dark fiber--we had sort of a religion around not selling dark fiber, ever, before, and (now) we're looking to evolve. Some of the comments I heard from people stopping by the booth--'I noticed you have dark fiber.' Yes, as a matter of fact we are. Not to everyone in all places, at any price, but yes we are. We are looking to be a lot more proactive and nimble in terms of the things that we will bid on and the prices that we will come up with. So I'm excited about how much more revenue we can drive as a standalone company.
FierceTelecom: You haven't been one for very long, but how does it feel to be a private company?
Sicoli: For me, having been the public company's CFO, which is the worst job to have in a public company, it feels great. It's exhilarating to be able to spend all of my time running the business and growing value as opposed to investor relations and SEC compliance (and so on)... which are necessary evils in a public company context, but they don't do anything to grow revenue, and that's what's most important.