We recently got Sven HÃ¥lling, VP of Marketing at End2End Content Services to sit down and answer our SMS Text News Q&A. Here’s what he had to say!
What was your first handset and network?
My first phone back in -95 was a big clunky Siemens brick, but it actually worked really great and I had it for a long time! No games on it though…. I do remember selecting Siemens mostly as kind of a symbolic protest as at that time (working in Ericsson) the employees would not get mobile phones. It was still an exclusive thing at the time…
Describe your current mobile setup.
I change phones quite often, currently I am using a Sony Ericsson P1i that I have soon worn out from constant emailing… Push sync with my Outlook account and Salesforce CRM system so I have 3-4 thousand contacts and my whole calendar in there. Great, but the phones gets a bit slow…
How much was your last bill? Good value, do you think?
It’s astronomical, don’t even dare to tell you… We don’t have fixed lines in the office, the mobile is a great replacement that saves a lot of cost actually compared to having a fixed line PBX. I am increasingly using Skype and Skypeout to help keep my mobile bill down though.
What’s your background?
I was CEO for Terraplay for three years until End2End Content Services acquired the company. Before that I ran a mobile games studio for five years, which was great fun! I love the mix of hightech, art and creativity that you have in games company, working with such a weird diversity of people and backgrounds in one project with a simple purpose: Make the best game in the world…
Before that I was selling GSM networks at Ericsson for seven years, living in Mexico, Netherlands and Belgium.
How did you end up with your current company?
After my games studio had been acquired I met some guys from the board of Terraplay, and they asked me what I thought about the company. I said that I thought they had some great tech but did pretty much everything wrong with it, so they asked me if I thought I could do it any better. Couldn’t say no then, could I. So I took the challenge and we changed the company from ‘product’ to ‘service’, and from multiplayer into community. And then alongcame End2End Content Services to buy it.
Give us an overview of what your company does? What are your key clients and services?
End2End Content Services runs game decks for operators as an outsourced service. If you click on the GAMES button on a Vodafone Live portal for example, then there is a good change that we run that shop that you come to. We take on the whole thing, from sourcing of content and managing the catalogue, hosting, to the retailing and managing the games deck. We also add community to the experience, allowing consumers to play and share opinions across operators.
What do you think is right with the mobile industry?
It’s the biggest platform for putting entertainment, information and communication in the hands of the mass market. The market is huge and possibilities are absolutely endless!
And what’s wrong with the mobile industry?
We still have such great problems with fragmentation of handsets and each operator having their own way of doing things, making it very difficult and costly for most companies to enter into the market. Also the consumer fear of ‘bill chock’ and the limitation of walled gardens combined with still poor usability of the handsets are really hampering the market.
Taking your Internet service out on the mobile channel would be a great opportunity for many companies, but it is still just too difficult and won’t make the ROI requirements!
If you had to buy a new mobile handset tomorrow, what would you get?
I have been a Nokia addict for quite some time, but I am very curious on the upcoming Sony Ericsson Experia!
Rate the UK network providers in order of preference with a one line summary of each.
Sorry, I don’t live in the UK so do not really have that much of an opinion. Besides, they are my customers so rather not…
What’s the hottest mobile service to catch your eye recently?
Well, I guess the talk of the town right now is on the Apple App Shop. Interesting to see how that comes out, and how operators will react to it.
Other than that it is interesting to see how some ‘fixed Internet’ phenomena now finally are taking off on mobile, particularly thinking of FaceBook. It’s such an obvious thing to want to bring in your pocket.
Pick 3 people that you admire and rate in the mobile industry and give us 2-3 lines about each.
I have worked quite a lot with EA Mobile’s former CTO Lincoln Wallen, and I admire his intellectual clarity on the complexities of our industry.
Kristian Segerstrahle for being one of the early guys and innovators in mobile gaming, and that has grown with it all the way to IPO. And now has established a new startup that is instantly reaching the headlines again…
Finally I think that Tim Green the chief editor at Mobile Entertainment is a great voice in the industry.
What services do you use the most on your handset?
Push email, can’t live without it…
WAP access to the time table of the Stockholm tube. The best WAP service I know, very easy to use and soooo useful! mobile.sl.se
Also read news on one of the evening newspapers WAP site, mobil.aftonbladet.se
What’s the last thing you saw at the cinema?
This is kind of embarrassing. I actually went to see ‘Sex and the City’ together with my wife. There was me, 3-4 other guys, and then probably 300 teenage girls… Haven’t seen the TV series, but I thought the film was very funny (if filtering out the pathetic parts)!
What’s your ringtone? What wallpaper (if any) do you use for your handset?
James Brown’s ‘I feel good’. Love that song, and a great ringtone that makes people smile.
When did you last send a picture/video message – and who was the recipient?
I actually don’t use that very much at all. MMS has got to be the biggest flop of the mobile industry, at least if you compare the hype vs the actual outcome.
What sites do you read to keep up to date with what’s going on in the mobile industry?
The most important one would be Mobile Entertainment (www.mobile-ent.biz), Moconews and Pocketgamer.
I also follow quite a few of the more general gaming industry news sites, as i think a lot of what is happening there will have bearing on mobile gaming at some stage, so like gamesindustry.biz for example, and also gamasutra.
Anything else we should know?
I am a fanatic snowboarder. Started building my own boards in the mid 80-ies, and me and my buddy were some of the first boarders in Sweden.
Thanks for taking the time Sven!