My research on Enron Broadband Services (EBS) is bearing fruit. Rex Shelby ended up at EBS because his software company, Modulus Technologies, was acquired by EBS at the end of 1998. The key executives at Modulus were Rex Shelby, Larry Ciscon, and David Berberian — I call this group the “Modulus Three.”
The seminal document for the original EBS direction is a Modulus PowerPoint presentation, created by the Modulus Three, titled Changing the Rules of the Telecom Game, presented by the Modulus Three to EBS (then ECI) in June 1998. This was before Modulus was acquired by EBS — back then, Modulus assumed the deal with EBS would be an InterAgent licensing deal (InterAgent was Modulus’ commercial software product) rather than an acquisition.
That presentation analyzed the state of the communications industry, pointed out areas of opportunity for improvement, proposed a business model and technology for EBS, and put forth a list of 6-month and long-term business steps. It included the first presentation of the Broadband Operating System (BOS) idea to EBS — in that PowerPoint, it was referred to as a “WAN-OS”. It also set forth the basic concept of what an “intelligent network” meant.
The Enron Task Force (ETF) prosecutors and the Judge managed to keep that document out of evidence at the EBS trial. It exonerates Shelby and the other EBS defendants by showing that the definitions of technology terms that the ETF and their sorry witnesses tried to use at trial were not the definitions used by the people at EBS who actually created the concepts and built the technology. It also shows that the engineers at EBS accomplished exactly what they proposed in that presentation and that EBS public statements were utterly consistent with both the concept and the status of the BOS technology.
The seminal document on the Enron Intelligent Network (EIN) is a December 1998 white paper, authored by Ciscon and edited by Berberian and Shelby, titled The Enron Intelligent Network — Software Concepts. Again, everything in that document is completely consistent with what EBS actually developed and with what was said publicly about the technology.
There is also an excellent video of a presentation by Rex Shelby at a big EBS training meeting in August 1999. It explains the high points of the EBS business model and describes how the business model drove the technology approach. Scott Yeager talks right after Shelby at that meeting. It’s a pretty good primer, I think. And it was also kept out of evidence by the ETF and the Judge at the EBS trial.
These key documents were based on an even earlier presentation by the Modulus Three, titled Changing the Industry: It’s the Applications, Stupid. The modern concepts of services embedded in the network, cloud computing, “we have an app for that”, etc. are in those materials. What the Modulus Three wrote about back then is now the preferred architecture of today’s most successful technology companies!
Oh, and one other thing. EBS received a patent on the BOS. The primary patent author was Larry Ciscon — other contributing authors included Steven Reynolds (another Modulus guy) and Scott Yeager. The writing of the patent application was begun as soon as Modulus was acquired by EBS, and it was finalized in 2000 and submitted in 2001. Ironically, final approval of the BOS patent was granted in 2005, just a few months before the EBS trial began. Again, the BOS patent exonerates Shelby and the other EBS defendants by showing that the definitions of technology terms that the ETF tried to use at trial were not the definitions that EBS had documented in the BOS patent. The depth of the ETF’s incompetence (or misconduct) is seen in the fact that these definitions were submitted to the government in 2001 (years before the EBS indictments) and, yet, the ETF still insisted on using false definitions at the EBS trial.
The more I research EBS and the EBS indictments, the more angry I become. People may choose to quibble over the witch hunt aspects of the Skilling/Lay indictments, but the misconduct of the Feds in the EBS indictments is stark. And the tactics used by the ETF in the EBS case are essentially the same ones practiced by the ETF in the Skilling/Lay case. At a minimum, the obvious abuse in the EBS case should motivate people to examine all the Enron-related cases with a more objective and skeptical eye.