[VoiceOps] Exclusive: Quitting the fast life of open-source SIP

Alex Balashov abalashov at evaristesys.com
Sat Apr 1 01:11:34 EDT 2017

(Filed by UC Celeb Talk - 1 Apr 2017.)

BERLIN (Tegel), GERMANY--In the now-infamous breakdown episode on the
VIP tarmac at Berlin's Tegel Airport, Alex Balashov shocked the IP
telecoms celebrity world last month. 

Shielding his eyes from the punishingly bright daylight of an overcast
day in northern Germany, Balashov climbed out of his Gulfstream G650
jet, clutching a half-finished bottle of Woodford Reserve, and announced
his sudden retirement from the "fast life" of open-source SIP consulting
to a waiting gathering of tech business reporters. 

"I'm not with this 'live fast, die young' VoIP s*** anymore," he
reportedly shouted, before collapsing and vomiting profusely on the red

UC Celeb Talk's own Benjamin Brant sat down with Balashov in an
exclusive interview to learn more about what happened, even as the
telecoms industry continues to digest the shock meltdown. 


BRANT: Everyone's dying to know, what was going through your head at
that moment?

BALASHOV: Funny how you mention dying. I want to live to see 35, man. I
can't handle the SIP biz anymore. 

BRANT: What do you mean? You seemed to have all the makings of an
open-source SIP superstar.

BALASHOV: I can't keep up with the drinks anymore, the three day-long
parties, the paparazzi, always watchin' my back at ClueCon...

BRANT: When'd you realise it might be time to call it?

BALASHOV: I'll tell you when. It was Kamailio World '16. Man, those
vodka + Club Mate drinks they pour down at Fokus are something else.
They'll really get you thinking about things. 

BRANT: So you had a cocktail and thought better of your entire life as a
SIP celebrity? The fans, the adulation, the glory? 

BALASHOV: When you wake up at 3 PM at the Park Inn on Alexanderplatz
with a $31,000 room service bill on your AMEX, a goat wandering around,
and reporters in your face, you tell me with a straight face you're not
gonna take stock of your life and make some changes.

BRANT: That really happened?

BALASHOV: That's what I'm trying to tell you! That's Kamailio World,
dude. That's the SIP software engineering culture. You wanna ITSP and
WebRTC? You're gonna have to bro down!

BRANT: Surely not everywhere. What about the IETF?

BALASHOV: Those guys drink more than ANYONE. Have you seen the SIP
Outbound RFC?

BRANT: That's the work-product of an alcohol-fuelled creative orgy?

BALASHOV: It's the work product of something-something. I don't know if
I'm allowed to identify the uh, substance in question.

BRANT: How are you going to live without the private jet? If I had a G6,
I wouldn't just turn over the keys.

BALASHOV: Yeah, I mean, open-source VoIP consulting has its upsides.
It's a fine way to make a living. But it's just not worth it. Besides,
hourly operating costs are through the roof. 

BRANT: But you were an icon, and quite a ladies' man too! How do you
walk away from that?

BALASHOV: Look man, of course women are gonna mob you when you're a SIP
consulting star. That's just part of the open-source tech life in

But it's fake, man. They don't love you. They don't want to know who you
are inside. They just want you 'cause you know all about the SIP
transaction state machine, loose vs. strict routing, cross-compiling
Kamailio. They just got a crush on you 'cause you know presence and
parallel forking race conditions.  I want something real.

BRANT: But that's part of the social bargain of being an open-source SIP
celebrity. Didn't you once boast of having uh, lady friends, "in
different geographic and non-geographic operator codes"?

BALASHOV: Yeah, and that's cool, but I want to come home to a woman who
loves me for me, not Mr.  3...

... 02, Moved Temporarily, but not happy necessarily. Feel me?

BRANT: What happened at ClueCon?

BALASHOV: You talking about the bullets Acme Packet ventilated me with?

BRANT: Five of them, as I heard.

BALASHOV: Well I'm still standin'. Took those shots and smiled.

BRANT: I know you guys have a kind of omertà about this stuff, but I've
got to ask: why?

BALASHOV: I ain't worried, kids growing up in today's world need to
learn the truth. 

They act like I was dealing transcoding licences on their block. O.G. 729.

BRANT: But that wasn't what gave you a wake-up call that the SIP game is
sharper than a razor blade?

BALASHOV: Hell no, it wasn't their block. That fake-ass east coast
channel partner crew can cash me outside howboudah?

BRANT: How exclusive is Kamailio World?

BALASHOV: It's one of the most exclusive clubs I've ever hit up. Lines
wrapping around blocks. And the bouncers. Damn.

BRANT: The bouncers?

BALASHOV: Those dudes are harsh.

BRANT: On a scale of 1 to Berghain, how bad is it?

BALASHOV: All I know is, one time some squirrely guy in the audience
asked a moderately new-blood question like, "If a Record-Route header
has been added by an intermediate proxy, is it proper of a SIP User
Agent to populate the Request URI of subsequent in-dialog requests with
the Record-Route URI, or should it be the remote Contact?" 

Half the room got up like it was ready to curb-stomp that little face.
Guy didn't know what he got himself into--a room full of elites.

BRANT: So what happened?

BALASHOV: Someone was like, "Bounce this fool! He don't know how to

So these three muscular Kaiser Wilhelm-looking dudes--moustaches and
all--in sunglasses roll up and drag this guy through the Atrium, out the
doors and dump him straight out onto Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße. 

BRANT: Damn. Ejected out of the saloon.

BALASHOV: Yo, that dude was dismissed from the premises.

BRANT: So what do you see in your future post-SIP life?

BALASHOV: I'm thinking about starting a bakery. A friend threw it out
there as a way to kind of atone for all this and get straight with
Jesus. Gonna bake really big cookies. You know, huge ones, like small
pizzas? But recognise--they're actually cookies.

BRANT: Got any advice for those who bright young upstarts who haven't
turned over a new leaf and thrown in the towel yet?

BALASHOV: Come on down to Kamailio World #5, May 8-10 2017 in Berlin.
You'll see your life in a new way.

Registration and more information online at

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