Antti Huima is president and CEO of Conformiq. In this interview, he discusses what brought him to where he is now, his company's strategy, and his current interests.
Suzanne Douglas: In May, you were named CEO of Conformiq after serving a number of years as CTO. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with the company?
Antti Huima: I joined Conformiq in 2002, originally as an algorithm designer, and then served as the CEO in Finland until the company moved to Silicon Valley in 2008. At that point, I moved to the US as CTO for about one-and-a-half years. So this is the second time I've been CEO, but now I'm running the US headquarters.
SD: When you wake up each morning, what gets you up and energized for the day?
AH: Well, first, it's difficult for me to get up in the morning because I'm an evening person. But, I think every day offers the possibility of some kind of new success somewhere, so that's what I look forward to when I wake up—that maybe today all the hard work we're doing every day will bring new success to the company. That's what mentally drives me for the day, but, unfortunately, my body doesn't really want to follow.
SD: How did you figure out what you wanted to do in life?
AH: I've never really had a life plan. I'd been playing with computers since I was seven years old, so when I got out of high school in Finland, it was kind of an obvious choice to study computer science. Once I began, I realized that I was interested in two things—software verification and artificial intelligence. I was spending a lot of time hanging around the university computer lab at night and met a guy there who recruited me as an engineer for a company he founded around the SSH terminal security solution. I worked there for about five years, and when I eventually began to look for a new job, Conformiq was a good fit with my interests and skills, and I've been there ever since.
My guiding goal in life is "to live wisely and to die in faith," but I've also learned along the way that regardless of whether you make lots of money or very little money, it doesn't matter. I think the important thing is that you have a good conscience, that you feel good about yourself, that you are understanding toward others, and that you have enough time to actually share with the important people in your life.
SD: What is your proudest achievement at Conformiq?
AH: My proudest achievement at Conformiq is not actually my achievement—it's my customer's achievement. Of course, it makes me proud because it's based on a product that I originally programmed and is still engineered according to my vision, but it's really the end-user who actually makes it work.
We have a long-term telecom vendor customer who changed their whole budget for functional testing once they began using our tool. They are now budgeting 40 percent less, and that's impressive because that's a bottom-line achievement. You can actually see it when you add up your costs.
What's cool is that if you just look at the test design phase, we deliver a productivity improvement of about 5X to 10X, which translates to about 80 percent to 90 percent cost reduction. But, what's interesting is that using our technology also generated a 40 percent cost reduction in the whole functional testing process, which means they're realizing secondary benefits outside the test design phase. Their test execution and analysis became more efficient through our systematically computer-generated tests.
SD: How do you see Conformiq changing over the next few years to adapt to