CEO Interview: Fixmo's Rick Segal Is a Crackberry User's Best Friend
For years, PC users have filled in the holes in the performance or usability of their operating system with bundles of utilities and anti-virus software. Companies like Symantec, McAfee and TuneUp package tools to scan attachments, manage cookies, and optimize your hard drive. As mobile devices become more like handheld personal computers, consumers will also want to optimize and extend capabilities of their smartphone’s operating system, according to Rick Segal, Founder and CEO of Fixmo, a Toronto-based mobile applications startup.
Segal founded Fixmo “to enhance and maximize the usability of your smartphone”, by adding features like Flame Retardant, to alert users who mistakenly “Reply All” after receiving a “blind” copy (BCC) of an email and Silencer, which can be set to silence your phone automatically when your calendar notices you are in a meeting. “We’re not trying to be fear mongers,” says Segal. “Our goal is to focus on productivity improvements, email management, and phone management tools."
Those are bold goals for a company which has focused its first application suite on the Blackberry platform, an operating system that built its base on the support of IT managers interested in secure email solutions for mobile employees. But Segal says he has many years of experience with Blackberry users as a partner in the Blackberry Partners Fund, an investment group that primarily focused on supporting the ecosystem of third-party application developers on the Research in Motion operating system.
Despite being a mature operating system shipping version 4.5 of the platform, Blackberry has had trouble finding its consumer “cool” in an Android and iPhone world. Many early Pearl customers complained about its arcane language and challenging UI. But it remains the mobile email solution of choice for many corporate road warriors. This customer, Segal maintains, is willing to pay for quality and hassle-free productivity solutions. They are also an active user group, which makes them strong at giving feedback.
Segal took an unusual approach to launching the beta version of Fixmo by posting a link on the Crackberry site in December. He got so much feedback that he has already released another beta version and will continue to iterate releases through the site till launch. On his blog, Segal writes,