Karma’s CEO Steven Van Wel On The Future Of Mobile Connectivity

In 2015, SMW will explore the power and potential of human connectivity through its global theme “Upwardly Mobile”.

  • Today there are almost 3 billion people connected to each other through the Internet, Social Media and Mobile Technology.
  • A billion new mobile subscribers were added in the last 4 year.
  • By 2022 the total number of connected humans will increase to 6 billion.

Through Upwardly Mobile we want to ask the fundamental question: how can humans achieve more in a connected world?  In this piece, we spoke to Steven van Wel, Co-Founder and CEO of Karma, to find out how our ubiquitous connectivity will change the ways we live, work and create.

1. How will smart devices seamlessly connect our daily lives and help to change our habits?

It all comes down to taking away friction. That’s the biggest thing. We have to make a lot of choices and face a lot of barriers to reach connectivity. What can we do as technology companies to make this a seamless process? As a user you want to focus on the things you want to do, not the things you have to do. The less we interrupt users with complexity, the more they can accomplish.

2. How will our ability to connect, share and exchange information with many more human beings positively impact our connection to humanity?

I have no idea! Our job isn’t to define what humanity is. WiFi alone, or internet connectivity alone will not change humanity. We just want to let people do whatever the hell they want, and stay out of their way so great things can be accomplished. We love humanity, but our technology sort of needs to be humanity agnostic. We’re facilitating a connection, and when we try to do more than that we get in the way.

3. What opportunities are available to entrepreneurs to build products and services for 6 billion connected citizens?

I think what’s hugely important is educating people about what they can do with the internet. It’s not just posting on Facebook. Online schools like Khan Academy and Codecademy are incredible examples, because they expand that horizon. The internet isn’t limited to just the services that have been invented, but to the services and applications and use cases that *can* be invented. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs, and whenever we can show people how they can invent new uses for the internet, we’re expanding what the internet can be for all of us.

4. How will our ease in communications, no longer limited by time or distance, allow for improved collaboration?

Karma as a company is present in eight or nine different locations: New York, Asia, Europe. As a company, location is not a restricting factor anymore. One of the big advantages is that we can work around the clock without working 24/7. If we come up with something at the end of day in New York, people are working on that feature in Europe overnight. When we wake up, we pick up where they left off. It creates a continuous stream of work. It allows us to iterate better, with a continuously fresh set of eyes. Which ultimately allows us to innovate more.


On Wednesday February 25, join Karma‘s CEO and Cofounder Steven van Wel and Social Media Week Executive Director Toby Daniels for a discussion exploring what the future mobile connectivity, advances in WiFi innovation and what it all means, for you, your business and for our globally connected society.


About Karma

Karma is the simplest way to get online. The pocket sized device seamlessly connects you to the internet and data is pay as you go–that means no expiration dates, no contracts, no subscriptions. Stay connected by preordering Karma.