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"I look forward to Mondays"

People keep asking, “What’s it like to work for Skype?”

Rather than doling out a general answer, we tracked down an expert, Karlheinz Wurm, to get his story.

Karlheinz joined Skype in 2005 and is currently the Product Engineering Director for Audio/Video Developments. He is also the site leader for the Stockholm office, meaning that he plays an essential role is the culture and morale of Skype’s presence in Stockholm.

Check out our following interview with Karlheinz – the man, the mystery, the legend:


Karlheinz, what’s your favorite thing about working at Skype?
I love working at Skype, but there are two things that especially stand out. The first is that I get to create the new technologies that help people communicate more effectively all around the world. The second is that I get to work with people at the top of the Audio/Video development field who are just as passionate about their work as I am.

What is the source of your motivation and passion?
Three weeks after my wife gave birth to our baby girl, I had to go on a business trip. With video calling, I could see my little one reacting to my voice and see how much she developed in that short period of time while I was away.

The memory of these calls motivates me every day. Every morning I wake up and feel thankful that I can work on a product that I love and that has given me such special moments. I’m lucky; my job is very different – I actually look forward to Mondays!

Tell us about some of the other cool things you do for Skype.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to the European Parliament. We discussed what governments and their staff can do to increase their efficiency and engage citizens with online communication tools.

I gave them a feel for all that Skype has to offer, both in our personal lives and in the workplace through instant messaging, file transfers and desktop sharing. I then showed them a live demo of group video calling – and of how easy it is to use – by linking the event with our offices in Tallinn and Stockholm.

So are they all using Skype now?
I think we did a great job of convincing them to start using Skype and other online communication tools for greater efficiency and increased engagement with citizens.
Additionally, we were able to get the word out that Skype is actively recruiting top engineers to accommodate our growth, fuel innovation and further revolutionize the way people interact, the world over. I think we might’ve even persuaded some of the members of Parliament to have their sons and daughters apply for our open engineering positions.

Tell us about the Stockholm Skype office?
It’s incredibly diverse. Only about 40% of my colleagues are from Sweden–the rest come from all around the world. This diversity means we bring many different perspectives to the table when tackling a problem. As a result, we are able to arrive at novel solutions that a more homogenous team may not have reached.

Thanks Karlheinz.

My pleasure. Keep an eye out for my other interviews about working at Skype in coming weeks.

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