Meet Erik Mats
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This week we catch up with Erik Mats, a Support Engineer out of Uppsala, Sweden. For the past five years, Erik has been supporting modeling clients in the US defense sector but he is now moving to the European team where he will be working with clients in the enterprise architecture and software development sectors. Read on for an interesting look into Erik's daily routines and passions! And don't forget to check out some of our previous interviews too!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I work at the European help desk for modeling products, focusing on tools for enterprise architecture and software development. If you are meeting challenges in SysML, UML or data modeling, or using defense architecture frameworks, I’m there to help. For the past ten years, I have used social software to work with colleagues and clients from East Asia through California in the west, largely out of my home in Uppsala, Sweden.
I am married with two children, and spend most of my spare time at the playground or jogging or cycling on trails in the nearby woods.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
Ten years ago I joined Telelogic Modeling Support. At first I was working for the Malmö, Sweden office with US customers, but I shortly moved to Dallas, TX. I also had a chance to enjoy a couple of years in suburban New Jersey before returning to my native Sweden.
I have been part of the Rational Client Support family since IBM acquired Telelogic AB about two years ago.
What are you currently working on?
For the past ten years, I have worked for the US modeling help desk, but quite recently I have shifted to its European counterpart. My most important mission right now is to deepen my knowledge of customization, compilation and SysML coverage in Rational Rhapsody.
Describe a normal day for you.
Most days, after I have a solid dose of coffee, read the daily paper and drop off the kids at daycare, I sit down in our spare bedr
I spend a few hours on questions or problems that have come in from around the world. In the morning I often spend some time online with colleagues in India, Korea, Australia. In the afternoon I mostly deal with problems that pop up in Europe or North America. I shut down my laptop at 3pm, unless I’m working the evening in which case I may be online until midnight.
I rarely spend more than a couple of hours at a time on any given problem or project. Instead I context shift around and let the trickier issues grow at the back of my mind. I try to go jogging or cycling during the day to gather my thoughts.
After my kids go to bed at night I sometimes have a chance to revisit some of the trickier problems of the day, or to simply chat a bit with my US colleagues.
Whenever I wrap up a problem, be it a defect report, a request for enhancement, a question, I write up some kind of a summary of the issue. Many of these are published to www.ibm.com as tech notes, others are kept for internal reference.
A few days a week I venture into the IBM office in Kista, a 40 minute train ride. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve recently shifted my focus towards more interaction with European clients, so now it makes more sense for me to go into an actual physical office.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support? What inspires you in your work? What are you passionate about?
My favorite part of working for Rational Client Support is all the chances I get to educate clients and co-workers in new tools and methodologies. I know that the benefits I help roll out in their organizations will later make it into the healthcare, automotive or communications applications that surround us today. GSM and 3G technology would be two concrete examples.
I also love solving seemingly unsolvable mysteries, and building lasting relationships with clients doing interesting work.
Over the last few years I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about game theory, decision theory and models for problem solving. I’m excited about the Kepner-Tregoe processes for situational analysis and problem solving that we use in Rational Support, but I have also come across a lot of other interesting frameworks, such as those used by the High Council of Sweden in the 17th century.
What project are you the most proud of?
My favorite projects have been when I've been able to help clients adopt new and exciting technology or methodologies. Around 2001-03 I did a lot of work in UML 2.0 tools, mostly in the telecom sector in the Americas. I fondly remember heated discussions about readability, value semantics, computational efficiency and other geeky stuff. Geeky, but incredibly important for a lot of the smart handheld devices and appliances we use today.
I have also been involved in some really tricky but rewarding trouble-shooting around FLEXnet licensing.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
My smart phone; WLAN. Camera. Spotify. E-mail. Diary. Calendar. Alarm clock. Podcasts. Exercise journal. Oh, and sometimes it even rings! I only wish it would handle online TV better.
I see a strong trend towards ubiquitous and free wireless broadband. A few years from now I expect our handhelds will act as portals into the cloud. There will be no sense carrying around computational capacity when the network becomes more accessible.
The way I see, as information and intellectual property becomes increasingly accessible, we will re-evaluate how we value, purchase, license, store and share information. It is quite clear that music and movies will be in the cloud rather than crowding our living rooms, but how will we value the literally thousands of baby pictures we take today.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I am incredibly fascinated by consumerism. How we decide what to purchase, the mild neuroses and intense marketing that tend to go into each decision. A few semesters of business studies along with early experiences as a father has given me some very striking insights in this field. I can discuss this stuff for hours on end.
Music. In fact, my most unexpected job accomplishment ever was when one of my songs was used for an office event in India!
I am an avid Scrabble player. In fact I love word games in general. I did spend a few years at Uppsala university majoring in linguistics but I just can’t seem to get enough!
I spend a lot of my time baking and cooking, vegetarian and as healthy as I practically can. As an experiment, I have even tried making housecleaning a hobby, but I hate to report so far this hasn’t been a great success.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
I’m a bit of a knowledge junkie, so I read mostly non-fiction. Right now on my nightstand and along for my train rides to the office:
How are you using social networking today?
I use LinkedIn to keep track of former colleagues, Facebook to keep up with the extended family and old friends.
For work I use Lotus Sametime (a chat client), Lotus Connections (our internal community platform), wikis, IP telephony, Lotus webcam conferencing.
Only the other day I was at an Italian restaurant trying to figure out what kind of a fish dentice is. Wiktionary and Wikipedia to the rescue.
I use the streaming music service Spotify to find out what my friends are listening to. Of course, there is also a risk that your street cred will go down in flames when people find out what music you actually listen to.