Rikard Kjellberg has held several leading positions in the communications and Internet industries over the past 20 years. With a strong technical foundation in the wireless communication domain, he pioneered mobile app store solutions for large scale deployments as the co-founder and CTO of Ellipsus Systems.
Sprint was the first service provider to launch a mobile app store in the U.S. The Ellipsus solution became an integral part of Sprint’s successful service. When Ellipsus was acquired by Openwave Systems in 2002, Rikard continued to lead the business unit that carried the Ellipsus solution. Most recently, Rikard has served as the vice president of products at Venturi Wireless, overseeing all aspects of product development of the Venturi Optimization solution for mobile Internet broadband. The Venturi solution optimizes all Internet-based applications over wireless connections. Earlier, Rikard was CTO at SAAB TransponderTech, a provider of wireless and mobile communication products. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Vaxjö University and a Master of Science degree in computer science from Stockholm University. Rikard writes on the IngBoo blog. You can also follow him on Twitter.
What are you working on right now?
We are currently busy launching our support for Facebook Like which will make it possible to power the Like button with on-site search, article tags and feeds. For the first time, publishers can connect via user-expressed intent and use the Facebook Like button as a personalized connection for ongoing updates and sharing.
3 Trends that excite you?
Publishers’ Use of Social Networks
During the first half of 2010, both Facebook and Twitter launched platforms that created a new social networking experience for the Web. With its Open Graph initiative, Facebook has effectively established itself as the de-facto social platform on the Web. Their social plugins are being adopted aggressively.
Mobile Use Trends
More and more, people are using mobile devices to access the Internet. Some analysts even predict that mobile access will surpass fixed access within a few years.
Mobile Device Convergence
Believe it or not, we are finally seeing some convergence in the mobile device market. I am specifically talking about the form factor, where Apple took the lead with the iPhone. This will greatly help application and content developers who can focus on a certain form factor. I also believe HTML5 will help here.
These trends tell us that social syndication for the mobile audience is increasingly important to publishers. For IngBoo, this presents several opportunities. First, we solve the attention problem inherent in any social network. Secondly, our content organization algorithm is perfect for the mobile form factor, making sure that the most important updates are always at the top and visible.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Great ideas are worth very little until they are realized. Great ideas typically also require several people and resources to implement. I try to validate and build justification for my crazy ideas first. With validation and data in hand, I have the tools I need to rally additional support. It doesn’t really matter how small an idea or how big an effort, the method is the same. In the process of building support, you also can learn new things about your idea and modify it based on the feedback. The outline you start with is never identical to the detailed drawing you end up with.
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
You know you are great, especially early in your career. I have spent an unnecessary amount of time drinking my own Kool-Aid and trying to convince others to do the same. I should have stopped and listened to the smart people around me instead. With the years, I have wisened up in this area. I make sure to surround myself with the best who can challenge ideas and make them better.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
“Invisible Man” by Ralp Ellison is an epic story of life struggle, a roller-coaster of successes and failures, amazing situations and people. This book has helped me see the positives in life during ups and downs.
From a software perspective, I am (sad to say) a PowerPoint junkie. I don’t know how I would convey my ideas, had it not been for Microsoft PowerPoint. Maybe Google Docs?
What is one idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As a parent, I am dreading the day when I have to give my kids a cell phone. (This day is approaching quickly!) Parents need a mobile device remote control, an operations center if you like, where you can check on their location (on a map of course), check what calls they have made, apps they use, if they are texting while moving fast (i.e. driving). You should be able to turn on and off all functions at will. The best function would be the speaker function. At anytime, I should be able to access the speaker of their device and be able to talk, shout or scream. Obviously, the kid shouldn’t have any way to turn it off other than pulling the battery perhaps.
What are your focus areas moving forward?
The adoption of mobile devices for Internet access is very exciting. Clearly, the plethora of mobile applications is becoming an issue. We expect a swing back to mobile browsers, supported by data network improvements and HTML5. The combination of mobile, rich media (e.g. video) and social networking, seem to open up new interesting venues for innovation.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
We live in California, a state with an exceptional amount of great activities to offer. Besides water sports like surfing and windsurfing, we enjoy the mountains. Weekend camping trips are affordable and fun for the whole family in the summer. The Sierra Nevadas also offer a lot of winter fun, with many great ski resorts. We try to go during all seasons.
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