08 Mar Nils Mattisson – The comeback kid – Betahaus
THE COMEBACK KID
Nils Mattisson grew up in a small town in southern Sweden, went to university nearby and studied engineering with some industrial design and economics on the side. During University he worked in the computer science department and spent the summers working with mobile phones at Ericsson. After graduating he moved to California and started working for Apple. He was in the Exploratory Design group with a truly amazing set of people. “We worked in the very early stages of product development across more or less all the product lines. It was a great experience. I got to see the development of everything from the iPhone to the Apple Watch and learned a tremendous amount.” Q
You worked at Apple, that seems like one of the coolest places to work, why you decided to leave the company and start a project of your own?
A I loved working at Apple, but there is an allure that comes with being part of something small. It takes a bit of crazy to leave, but I have no regrets.
What is Point? Where did the idea come from?
A Point is a home monitor that allows you to stay connected to your home when you’re away. Before Point, your only option to know that things were fine was to install a surveillance camera. Cameras make people uncomfortable and don’t belong in a home environment. The idea for Point came from seeing Airbnb changing how we share our homes. The divide between private and the public is blurring and we created Point for this new territory, but it turned out to have appeal far beyond our initial target.
You run a successful Kickstarter (raised $238,366) and also you were part of Hax.co the worlds ‘largest’ hardware accelerator based in China. What did you learn across all the process that you didn’t know before?
A There is a big difference between what’s possible in small and large companies. You’re working with a whole different set of constraints and have to be more inventive. Apart from prototyping and manufacturing at the small scale we also learned methods for getting things done quickly and test markets before committing to developing products. Q
You were one of the earliest Betahaus BCN members. What do you remember from that early stage prototyping at Beta?
A I’ve always been very hands-on and remember building prototypes out of styrofoam, soldering on my desk and building proofs-of-concept that looked like something bad had happened in the lab. What was most important though was the community. I came from a big company and had a special set of skills, but to make a complete product I needed to learn a lot of things from a diverse set of people. Betahaus had a community that allowed me to learn a lot of new things quickly. I learnt enough to get by about everything from mobile apps, backends—even all the way to some graphic design.
What’s the best advice you can give to people developing ‘IoT’?
A I think the most important thing is to work on solving real problems. Technology and design are means to an end and all too often people develop products for their own sake.