Lost time is never found.
- Mickey Ristroph guides Mutual Mobile’s research and development efforts for next-generation tools and platforms. He consults on the strategic direction of the company and has been the driving force behind Mutual Mobile’s ability to extend both the technological and market impact of the mobile platform.
- Before founding Mutual Mobile, Mickey wrote software for a global data mining initiative by the Department of Defense, designed the infrastructure and reporting tools for automated high frequency financial trading systems, and performed computational research in bioinformatics. Mickey co-founded AccessAble Systems, LLC, for which he won the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, and made it to the finals of the DARPA Grand Challenge for his work on autonomous vehicles. He has also designed multiple games and utilities for the iPhone, including the successful telephony app SparkPhone.
- At Mutual Mobile, Mickey advises clients on enterprise mobility and leads the consulting team to devise both short- and long-term strategies for every customer’s mobile initiatives. His intimacy with financial services and Big Data has enabled him to deploy secure, highly scalable mobile solutions for such organizations as Cisco and BancVue.
- HOW DID YOU COME TO AUSTIN?
- I moved to Austin in 2004 to attend the University of Texas and I didn't have specific plans to stay or go at the time and of course in the last few years being at the university started a few different businesses and that's kind of, was a compelling reason to stay and found a very receptive home for that.
- So, I graduated the university in 2008 and at that point in time, I knew that I owed it to myself to really explore in earnest what it meant to try to start a great company. I felt that you know, it didn't matter how long it took.
- It wasn't, you know a lot of dollars that was attractive. I felt like if I, you know, was making ten thousand dollars a year but able to eek by, I could -- but I had my own freedom, I could do that forever.
- TALK ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF MUTUAL MOBILE.
- We started with this objective to to make one dollar and we hit that objective and then we set and objective, you know, to make ten dollars and then a hundred under dollars and so on. And it just, you know it kind of, every bit of success flows from what you've already done, from your own experiences. So it really was a, that sort of a bootstrap story.
- I met my co-founders while I was at the University of Texas. It was pretty clear that we had this shared passion and we'd talked in initially kind of hypotheticals about the business we would start one day.
- We didn't have a time frame around it, but I think we all kind of in the back of our minds felt like we would know when the moment was right. And that moment came along and that's when we got started.
- WHAT IS MUTUAL MOBILE?
- So Mutual Mobile is a consulting company. What we do is create these mobile experiences for the world's leading companies. And what that means is you have this very interesting set of transformational technologies and it's more than just the technologies, it's a lot of the, kind of the common market trends that you see right now around mobility.
- Consumers are going back to well-designed software and that's an affect of mobility outside of just, you know, mobile phones, the device themselves. They have that expectation everywhere.
- So, it's the technology as well as kind of a broader set of market conditions that create interesting opportunities for our clients and what we do is we kind of create a conversation.
- We know quite a bit about mobility, our clients know quite a bit about their business... Turns out when you kind of sit on either side of a table and have a conversation about what you could do, you end up finding out some pretty interesting things to bring to their markets.
- And so we have those conversations and then we build them. And we bring them to market and there's users who end up liking what we've built.
- TALK ABOUT HOW THE COMPANY RUNS.
- A couple of kind of north stars for us that I think were very helpful for making sure that we weren't just a bubble company were the following: one, you have to recognize that for these sorts of things the market is so big that if you just, if you just focus on delivering real value you will succeed and you will grow and it really doesn't matter if other people are doing that also, that's all the better.
- So, you have to just stay true to your core, and for us, you know, that means delivering real value to our customers, it means not compromising with respect to the talent density of the people that we want working together, and it means, you know, making sure that you're creating a, an environment where great people can thrive and prosper and want other great people to come join as well.
- So for the first many years of Mutual Mobile, we definitely... we kind of had our heads down, we were focusing on our core mission and we were not, we were certainly not you know, out in the streets kind of tooting our own horn.
- And I think that last year for us has been, been a little bit of a shift in the sense that we're now, there's this kind of broader recognition for what we're doing and there's a lot of awards for all of us that are creating kind of a broader awareness about what it is we're doing.
- And that's, you know, that's been phenomenal in terms of attracting new talent, new potential customers, conversations that we're creating this kind of brand awareness not just in Austin but now even at a national scale.
- The way I think about is there's really two things that you should really focus on when you're starting out. And it's a density and a diversity of experience, meaning put yourself in every situation you can where you're gonna have a new experience because that's the most valuable thing, that's more valuable than capital, that's more value than anything else is your own experience and it's often free if you're willing to go get it.
- And have as many different sorts of those as possible so every opportunity for a new and different experience, take it.