Stefan is Skype’s Director of Product and highlights aspects about his work at Skype and also experiences as a regular daily user in this interview. The whole Product function at Skype encompasses all the people responsible for bringing out new versions of the software and making sure you’re getting a high-quality enjoyable experience, and Stefan is the one leading them.
This interview is also the first in our *”People visiting Skype Tallinn office”* series — Stefan is based in London, but spends a lot of his time in Tallinn where all of the engineering happens, where we also took the pictures.
Download this interview as [MP3](http://download.skype.com/share/audio/stefanoberg.mp3) or [OGG](http://download.skype.com/share/audio/stefanoberg.ogg) (length 7:05).
**So for all our readers and listeners, this is an interview with Stefan Öberg, who’s Skype’s Director of Product and will tell us a bit about himself and his work. The first thing I’d like to ask you is, where do you come from? Where were you born and raised and where has your life and work taken you?**
I was born and raised in the northen part of Sweden. My interests and my work have taken me around the world, but I’ve lived in Italy, and in Estonia and in Russia and now moving to England.
**Please tell us about your work as Director of Product. What does it mean and what are your responsibilities?**
Right, so the Product Management function at Skype really sits between the market and Engineering, and it is our responsibility to receive demands from the market and prioritize them and feed them to engineering, then follow up on the development work that is done.
**What was your first experience with Skype? When did you first hear about it and when did you first use it yourself?**
Well, I knew the founders and some other key people, so I think I knew about it before it came to the market. I downloaded a very early version and my first impression was that this will change the world of telecom.
**One more question about your own work and responsibilities is, what would be the one single most interesting thing — as much as you can tell — that you are currently working on?**
Well, I think it’s very interesting what we’re doing to broaden the reach of Skype. To go from the PC and the Internet platform to other devices like mobile phones and embedded systems.
**How do you yourself daily use Skype and what features do you use most?**
I use Skype for most of my communication nowadays. I find that most of my calls I make when I am at my computer at home, at work or when I’m travelling in a hotel, and at all those places I have Internet access, so I do most of my calls via Skype. A feature that I really like is presence. I find it’s a great productivity tool to be able to see if the person I want to talk to is available to talk.
**Who do you talk to mostly everydays? It’s fairly obvious that we internally use it a lot, but who else do you talk to?**
Oh, like I said, I call most of my friends. Most of my communications goes over Skype. When I’m travelling, I always call home via Skype and I make sure I stay in hotels where I have Internet connection. It’s very relaxing to be able to spend all the time I need or my kids want on the phone without being stressed by a high phone bill.
**We as Skype people move through a lot of information related to Skype we get from the outer world. So I would like to ask you what’s the one most interesting or strange or most weird thing that you have heard about how someone is using Skype, that you’d like to share with others?**
I heard a story just the other day of a person sitting with his laptop on an airplane with Internet connectivity, and he was making phone calls all across from Japan coming to Europe, and there were a number of people on that same plane that saw him and heard him make those calls, and that downloaded the Skype client right in the airplane and set it up and started calling. And that to me is a great example of how Skype is a different telecom solution.
**Skype as a company and as an employer. You’ve had a lot of work experience in the telecom sector, so how would you characterize Skype and compare it to your previous positions?**
Most of the companies I’ve been in before have been larger than Skype and they have also been in a more mature state of their business. I find it very challenging, very interesting to be in Skype in this early stage of development. It is a great team of people, it’s small and we all work very hard to a common goal — not always the case in larger companies.
**And my final question is, what would your message be to people who are just reading and listening to this and learning about Skype. The analogy would be that you meet with someone on the street who hasn’t really heard that much about Skype, and he gives you one minute, or just a few words to explain what Skype is and why he should care about it.**
Well, like our slogan says, Skype is free Internet telephony that just works. I would encourage anyone to download our software and install it — it will take you a couple of minutes. Try it and I’m quite sure you will find it a great product.
Photos by Siim Teller