James Barnes has worked in wireless in New Zealand, the UK and China.
In 2006, James co-founded Morodo, a mobile VoIP company. In 2010 he took a break to catch up on his reading and writing and look for somewhere to put the next 25,000 hours.
Making A Start
Born and bred in the South of England, James emigrated to New Zealand in Spring 1994. Taking a position with Telecom NZ James was enthused to learn networks and product development from the ground up.
Following five years learning the ropes in paradise, James moved back to London in 1999 to further his career. He joined switchless reseller LCR Telecom in September of that year and was not at all suprised when, a few months later, LCR was acquired by Primus Telecommunications Inc.
Working as a Product Manager for Primus, James was instrumental in the development of the company’s European mobile strategy and prepaid VoIP products. Whilst selling and supporting co-branded service provider offers from Vodafone and BT Cellnet (Lumina), he was a key member of teams that: acquired Telstra Mobile UK’s corporate customer-base; designed and developed a proprietary Billing and Operational Support System; created a multi-tiered Non-Geographic Number residential voice service; and built the UK’s first Mobile VoIP gateway product.
In January 2003, James was a founding member of the Primus Mobile team. Primus Mobile was created as a means to capture increasing wireless-originated international call traffic. Pursuing a hardware strategy, James managed design and development of GSM mobile phones in partnership with Chinese State-Owned Enterprises. By January 2004, James was General Manager of Primus Mobiles, seconded to Hangzhou, China.
Over the next two years, James launched six mobile phones. Each device was configured to deliver calls and SMS to the Primus network, regardless of host SIM. You can read the patent James created for this function at WIPO. It has since lapsed. Working with a Bangalore-based Design House, he also built a dual-SIM mobile to pre-production stage, the related patent can be found on this WIPO page.
In December 2005, Primus Inc. closed the European mobile business unit. Taking note of the most common question he had been asked whilst pitching Primus Mobile’s alternative network calling (“This is amazing, when can you make it work on my Nokia?”), James had the notion to make mobile software applications that allowed customers to choose which company they paid for their phone calls.
With Angel Investment on board, Beijing Morodo Technology Development Co., Ltd. was founded in January 2006. James’ team moved swiftly to Minimum Viable Product and a live market trial in the city. Morodo Group Limited was incorporated in October 2006 to take the service worldwide.
What’s He Up To Now?
Following Morodo, James pretty much took a year off before returning to project-based work. He’s now living out of a suitcase and filling up yet another passport.
Why the Affenstunde URL?
Affenstunde is the name of a pioneering album released by German band Popul Vuh in 1970. It’s a towering achievement in electronica – every home should have a copy. You can buy it now from Amazon or iTunes.