We are pleased to feature Einar Fuglesang Vågmo, Director of Product Strategy at Appear. As head of product strategy, responsible for Appear’s long-term product vision, Einar and his team are defining Appear’s future product portfolio and the approach to get there.
With more than 15 years of experience working globally in the converging sectors of telecommunications, pay-TV, technology and media, you have been exposed to many industry shifts. To date, which of these developments has been the most exciting to follow?
Firstly, I have to say that our industry is extremely exciting and rewarding to be involved in. The advancements are constant, and one really gets the opportunity to be in the co-pilot’s seat. I have been very fortunate to experience firsthand how the industry, technology and business models have been evolving.
I was first introduced to streaming in 2005; back then, we would get feedback from clients whether we really expected consumers to sit in front of their computers to stream content or for them to become “tech geeks” to connect a computer to the TV.
Following streaming services from idea to launch and seeing how something seemingly revolutionary at the time has become the main way to watch content, has been great fun and a truly interesting journey to follow!
Throughout your career, you have always been involved in product development and management. In September 2021, you joined Appear as Director of Product Strategy. Did you already know about Appear and its operations?
I was very familiar with Appear, as they were one of the partners in my previous company. We had established a solid and trustworthy working relationship – we knew that if one of our clients collaborated with Appear, the project would be successful.
I had witnessed Appear’s energy, drive and expertise in delivering high quality projects and as soon as I learned about the scale of the plans and ambitions for the coming years, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
What do you enjoy most about working at Appear?
For me, it’s all about the people. We really do have the most competent experts in our teams, capable of making the impossible possible.
A metaphor I always like to use is that working at Appear is like going on a gold hunt – we often find “gold” in this company because of our great technology and competitive advantage. Determining how we can continue to build on these capabilities through our strategy, marketing initiatives, customer successes, etc. is extremely exciting, challenging and rewarding.
This is indeed an extremely thrilling phase, with what at times seems like endless potential. I’m really looking forward to what is yet to come!
Are you already able to tell that Appear has successfully implemented changes?
Appear has certainly already undergone a major transition, starting with a change in leadership, opening offices in the UK and US, and moving to an agile development framework. 40 new employees have joined in the last year – I would consider that a very positive move!
Naturally, with these opportunities also arise challenges. Have there been any moments that you have considered particularly challenging?
By far, not being able to meet face-to-face has been the most difficult challenge. My role involves getting out of the office, meeting with clients, reviewing competitors, and getting together with potential partners. The pandemic has brought all these activities and exposures to a halt, and I really hope that we will soon return to a new normal.
As mentioned earlier, Appear has undergone a considerable amount of transformation. Where do you see the current focus?
I believe we are in pole position with our current offering. Major changes are taking place in the TV industry, content is changing ownership and streaming is becoming the new norm. How products and services are being delivered and managed has completely changed over the past few years – This shift is having a significant impact on the market dynamics by introducing new global players and shaping the competitive landscape. These changes are what allow us to use our leadership position and impact the way forward.
One other major change we’re witnessing is the cloud and how processing content in the cloud is changing the industry and business models. What is your perception of what this means for broadcasters and customers?
The migration of TV to the cloud has been underway for the past decade. What’s new is the maturity of the technology and its accessibility; this in addition to the pandemic has forced the industry to take leaps forward in cloud computing and remote production. As a result, new innovative solutions and a different approach to the broadcast industry environment have emerged.
The way Appear is positioned with our Ground-to-Cloud capabilities is quite unique in the market, enabling us to leverage the learning curve. We are not just a part of the change: we are leading it.
What is your personal summary of Appear’s key factors looking forward?
We are an extremely transparent and direct company. Our key assets are our workforce, our premium technology and our ability to adapt to any industry changes. Personally, it is the drive for ambition and the mentality of wanting to challenge the status quo that motivates me. The future landscape is a big puzzle and Appear is extremely good at piecing it together.