TAT founder leaves RIM to pursue other projects

Hampus Jakobsson
By Adam Zeis on 1 Aug 2012 09:40 am EDT

TAT founder Hampus Jakobsson announced via Twitter that he is leaving RIM. Jakobsson has been a part of RIM since The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) was acquired back in December of 2010. TAT has been working hard on the BlackBerry 10 UI due out early next year and has contributed much to the upcoming OS. The TAT team at RIM is pretty much in place by now, so his departure shouldn't really affect what comes in BlackBerry 10.

I'm handing over this to others in RIM now. but if you want to follow me as an ex-TAT-founder I'm at: @hajak

It's unclear as to why Jakobsson decided to leave RIM, but on his new Twitter account he noted "cause I'm a startup-guy and even if I really liked the company and the people, I felt it was time to start another one ...".

Source: N4BB

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

TAT founder leaves RIM to pursue other projects


Many times when a company is bought, there is a contractual obligation for certain management to stay with the purchasing company for a specific anount of time. This time may have finally ended and this guy has new ideas that he wants to try to make money on. Think about it, a successful business man came up with an idea and made a lot of money on that idea. Of course he is going to want to reinvest some of that money into a new idea!

I see this as nothing negative about RIM or BB10. Sure it could be, but it very well could not be anything negative.

Read the comments below, This site is just disgusting. The most reasonable interpretation of this is the UI of BB10 is pretty much done and he's moving on. The negative comments on this site are horrible. Disgusted.

I can already see how this news will be spun in a negative manner in the blogosphere. TAT head guy leaves and BB10 is doomed.

I don't see how this piece of news is going to be spun in a "positive" manner.
More and more, it is evident RIM is done. There is no way one can believe that moral is up at RIM and enthusiasm is like it's never been before when people that are key leave. To me this is equal to a CEO selling all his/her stock shares of the company that person currently runs.
Put differently, if i am genuiunly pumped about something, why would i leave? I'd be staying to see it through.

"Put differently, if i am genuiunly pumped about something, why would i leave? I'd be staying to see it through."

Simple, when you have an idea that would be the next startup that can be successful.

If you have something that you can do now that will make millions, why would you put that on hold just to see something through.

Successful founders usually seize the moment.

No one outside of RIM/TAT knowns why he's leaving. Nowhere I said about spinning the news positively. If you read, I said that it will be negatively spun by people who have no knowledge of the situation. All I'm saying is to just report the news for what it is...he is leaving RIM/TAT, nothing else like saying because he is leaving BB10 is now screwed or serve as a reflection of RIM dying.

BGR is also in a transition!
From Blackberry-BGR (which made him/his team successfull)
To iBGR now to becoming SamsungBGR.

This site was used be a great source of information on upcoming products, but it turned to a diss-site for products they don't like.
BGR is turning more and more to a nonsense page.

Ever since Jonathan Gellar's tantrum from not getting an Alpha Device at Blackberry World, I lost all respect for BGR and have boycotted them eversince...
He actually dropped f'bombs and the whole nine yards and then went on a silly childish tryraid against RIM. It was so unprofessional... BGR lost a lot of readers after that.. Blackberry fans and non fans alike.

BB10 was doomed from the beginning...if, BIG if, it makes it out to consumers it will be too little to late with bugs, old hardware and no apps.

Founders usually go on to start other businesses.

I am sure he misses being his own boss. Plus if successful the payout is great!

Exactly. If you're creative enough to start your own companies, you certainly don't want to keep working for a big bureaucratic machine where you're not the top decision maker.

Yep, same thing stood out to me. So he would have left anyway, but the fact that he didn't like them definitely didn't help?

When asked why he decided to leave, he replied, “cause I’m a startup-guy and even if I really liked the company and the people, I felt it was time to start another one.”

Does anyone else notice the "even if" in that statement? The foundation for an "even if I really liked the company and the people" statement has to be that he doesn't really like them, right? I mean if he did enjoy working for the company it would have read: I really liked the company and the people, but I felt it was time to start another one. "Even if" is a subjective conditional modifier indicating something that isn't in the external world, but even if it were in one's mind it wouldn't matter.

As a huge RIM supporter, this development and subsequent statement rattle my confidence in them even further! This is more than just a founder of a company running of to start another one. Discontent is at the root of this move.

Dude...perhaps English as a second language issue? Don't read too much into the "subjective conditional modifier" of a non-native speaker. :-)

Startup creators usually keep moving. Get it up, get it going, get out of the way for the sake of the company. Same has happened many times in the startup cycles.

@Adam, I'm not sure I understand why you say that 'he may not have been getting along too well with RIM lately.' I see no reason to suggest as much. I'm sure he finished what he had to finish for BB10 UI and realized that he wanted to start something new. The TAT team is in place so now he can go on to starting something new.

No Biggie..founders leave all the time once acquired...they like the thrill of starting not finishing. The TAT team, technical framework and knowledge transfer is well in place.

I wouldn't read too much into "even if...". The difference between that and "even though..." is enormous to most of us, but I believe English might not be his first language.

Holy mother of fuck.

HOW is it, that CRACKBERRY put the most negative spin on this?

"From the sounds of it he may not have been getting along too well with RIM lately."

He's a start-up guy. TAT was acquired, he wasn't an owner, he had to work in a more corporate environment which--being a start-up guy--likely didn't work out too well for him.

Seriously though, fuck me. Why throw in the dumb opinion BS and add to the drivel of other opinionated media-related fucktards out there?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Yeah meeting deadlines probably wasnt in his DNA....aka working in a normal job like the rest of the planet. Adapt or move on, Heins continues to push RIM to the next level.

"Yeah meeting deadlines probably wasnt in his DNA."

Obviously! He should have fit in great for that reason alone. All he's had to do in two years is push out a partially finished scrapbook app and a couple of updates to it. Match made in heaven. ;)

You guys are cool and all. But I think if Thorstein himself were to step down you all would find a way to see that as a positive thing.

Engadget has the following update:

Update: We've learned that Jakobsson had been a Director of Strategic Alliances at RIM since TAT was acquired; while the company he brought into the fold is clearly working on BlackBerry interface design, he hasn't been guiding the work himself. The departure still has an impact -- it's just at the corporate level rather than in design.

because he does not get big salary by the time RIM announced statement about financial loss and lay off the workforce. He scare it will happen to him, that is why he decide to get a new job which as good prospect for him in the future.Am i right>

Here it comes....wait for it....

He's leaving because he sees the writing on the walls. He's knows where all the bodies are buried. He privy to what's going on behind the scenes at RIM (and he doesn't like what he's seeing). He wants to get out before the job market is flooded other RIM people looking for work...

He is a start up guy, used to running his own show, please remember, he built his company and sold it. By definition he is not a corporate guy. If he wanted to do that he would not have cashed his chips. I am sure he had an agreement to stay for a certain length of time, it is very often part of the deal. He wants to do it again.

I have a friend who, with his partners, put together a tech start up 7 years ago, and from day one, the plan was to build it, get several years of growth and sell it. They did that several months ago, and are now looking for the next one. Does he ever have to work another day, no. What are they doing now? After a couple of months off, they are looking for the next one. It is in the DNA.

Lastly, he is with the company they sold to now as a consultant. He has to stay for a period of time, not compete with who they sold to, and help with he and his partners being transitioned out. That was all agreed to as part of the sale.

This is no big deal, RIM bought the technology, not him.

I totally identify with the TAT founder. There is something addictive about having ideas and bringing them to the commericalization plate. However, once there, it's sort of a boring mechanical process of product number and dollars. Good luck.

If anything, this has to be a moral hit for a company that placed a lot of confidence behind TAT as a part of their saving grace. TAT+QNX=BB10
Here's hoping that most of the TAT interface is completed by now, even if he wasn't directly involved. I have to wonder how many people he brought with him will want to follow him out.

A lot of you are forgetting he's probably Swedish and English is not the first language. Although fluent, there is always a risk of things being phrased differently. I interpret what he said as "even when I like where I'm at, the pull of being engaged in start-ups is stronger" - that's my 2 cents.

To each his own.. I don't think you can put a negative or a postive spin to this announcement. Bottomline, we the readers and the media for that matter, don't have a clue of exactly why he's moving on.

If he likes starting up new ventures then he would want to make a move anyway whether it he's at RIM or another company. Maybe he feels at this stage of BB10 he's done all he can do and wants something new.

Some founders do not make for good leaders.. sometimes it not their "thing". Take Jim and Mike.. they did a great job founding and launching RIM but not so good at all when RIM got bigger.

So we need to just relax with news like this and ask ourselves how does this effect Cascades at RIM with their development phase fully underway, tool kits primarily in place and 6 months from launching it in BB10,

Unless someone knows some real truth from the "inside", we shouldn't be screaming "the sky is falling"

Probably he felt it was a mistake to sell TAT to RIM and now he wants to get out and start another company.

From whaat I gather from his tweets,this guy is passionate about his work and tat was his baby but its now Rims. He just wants to venture into something new , fresh and most importantly ALL HIS OWN! Nothing wrong with that. I wish him luck.

Maybe he will create something jaw fropping again and RIM can buy him out again ;)

Someone asked about the demos in 2011 and he replied. "you should ask RIM about that"

Were are all those astonishing demos at RIM!?!?!?

This is not unusual for any start-up type person. I know plenty of people who startup companies, get acquired, make their money, then leave to start up another one. Being your own boss and guiding direction of an idea is very different than following someone else's direction.

Looks like he just gave some insight on what his new start up will be focused on

@hajak- visualization of enterprise data so that a company can improve ops. Think google analytics for internal info. But beautiful :)

Isn't it possible that many of the employees who are jettisoning are doing so because the stock value has been decimated so the years of options and restricted shares they were awarded will never benefit them financially?You know that sales guy in England had millions under water, as do presumably scores and scores of other employees. Was TAT purchased with shares? If yes,perhaps this is a source of discontent precipitating Hampus exodus?

"Above all a knowing deep in the bone that beauty and loss are one."
--Cormac McCarthy

Not good news anyway you look at it for the main BB10 guy to be leaving way before BB10 is released....

The departure of a key employee at any company will almost certainly be a blow; the departure of a key employee from RIMM is a blow.

Regardless of whether he’s startup guy or a corporate guy, the message isn’t good. BB10 is less than 6 months away, why leave now, because he’s got a brilliant idea and can’t wait to strike while the iron is hot? If BB10 is as great as people here want to believe, then wouldn’t it be easier for him to raise seed capital for his next company w/ a major win under his belt?

I’d argue that he either doesn’t know what the future holds for RIMM or knows what the future is and doesn’t like either option and is checking out.

Remember, guys at his level get paid partially in stock (options), so if RIMM’s prospects are great (or getting better), then why would he leave that on the table 6 months early?

When one company acquires a services provider like TAT, the goal is usually to tie-down the talent at the services provider and prevent specific individuals from working with competitors. In this case, it's doubtful that TAT had any real assets that RIMM wanted other than the talent of their team, an important member of which is now leaving.

(1) Was Hampus the lead designer and/or creative genius behind TAT or just a "founder" who had ceased to be "hands-on?" If he was the source of the GUI magic, than this makes RIMM's investment in TAT more questionable.

(2) What did RIMM get out of the TAT acquisition? I've always suspected that a big part of the struggle with BB10's release was the interface design and TAT's presence in Europe. It can be difficult managing creatives who work in a community of their own on another continent. The Cascades SDK took a long time to launch and I'm not quite sure it was worth what RIMM paid. Did the TAT team / founder take the money and hold back their best work for a future "startup" opportunity?

(3) Does anyone know if he's taking any other TAT employees with him for his new "startup?"

(4) Will the startup compete with TAT / Blackberry?

(5) How have the other acquisitions for talent fared? Are the other Tungle.me guys still with the team? What about the gist guys? It was always going to be difficult managing a team from all over the world, but we really don't know whether RIMM has managed to keep them together or even managed to get decent output from them, at all. After all the BB10 delays, do we know whether or not Hampus' departure could have simply been frustrations boiling over and RIMM finally having to fire him in order to get something done and ready for market.

I just do not see why this TAT guy is so praised?!
Yes, alpha device is different from the old BBs but barely enough to be a design leader nowdays.
There are others much better ones.
For example, Jon Anastasiadis who did this (white) one: http://www.coroflot.com/janastasiadis
I mean, it's good that TAT "left the building" - his design was NOT good ENOUGH.