Gary Hermansen: The 'real geeky side' of VoIP

As the CEO of Global IP Solutions, a media-processing company specializing in Voice over Internet Protocol products, one would think Gary Hermansen’s business model would deal with state-of-the-art technological developments and complex industry materials. Instead, Hermansen prefers to theorize with much simpler objects — rocks.

 “I think of our company as I would a field full of rocks,” said Hermansen, who heads GIPS’ San Francisco headquarters in the SoMa district. “You don’t know want to pick up every little rock you see because you won’t be able to hold all of them, and you don’t want to pick up the big rocks, because you’ll be weighted down. It’s all about finding the balance between the big and little rocks.”

It’s that straightforward philosophy that has helped Hermansen lead GIPS into a series of fruitful relationships creating programs for such business heavies as Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), and Oracle (ORCL).

High-profile endeavors such as GoogleTalk and Microsoft Messenger have created public awareness of the benefits of VoIP, which allows users to audibly communicate instantly through Internet technology. GIPS has been the company in the background that makes those applications possible.

“We work on the real geeky side of VoIP,” said Hermansen, who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from DeVry Institute. “We specialize in transforming analog information into digital information to make the programs possible. VoIP sends all these packets of information in a random fashion through the Internet. Our job is to organize these packets and turn them into productive information.”

Some of GIPS’ recent contributions include voice modifications that allow users to control aural intonations and specifications that erased time gaps once prevalent in conversations between people thousands of miles away from each other.

GIPS was founded in Stockholm in 1999 by a quartet of Danish technology entrepreneurs. Looking to expand the business in 2002, they sought to enlist the help of Hermansen, who had experience on the CEO level at Brightmail, an anti-spam vendor that was later sold to Symantec for $370 million.

Since Hermansen’s arrival, GIPS has blossomed into a powerful company in the emerging technology industry, doubling annual profits in the past several years while continually expanding employee numbers and customer partnerships.

“We’re a tech company, so if we’re not growing, we’re dying,” Hermansen said. “We want to continue to experience growth both externally and organically, by building more technology, and by acquiring whatever companies and models we feel have the potential to positively develop emerging technology.”

Business

New project: Selling video with voice

Last project: Acquisition of an Enterprise software solutions company in Santa Barbara

Number of e-mails a day: About 200

Essential Web site: CNET.com

Best perk: GIPS office is full of gadget enthusiasts like me

Gadgets: Nokia cell phone adapted with BlackBerry

Education: B.Sc. in electrical engineering

Last conference: Spoke to GIPS shareholders, analysts, press in Oslo

First job: Reliability engineer

Career objective: Commercial success

Personal

Details: I’m never more than six inches from my cell phone, even in my sleep

Hometown: Racine, Wis.

Sports/hobbies: Motorcycling, baseball and football fanatic

Transportation: Three motorcycles

Computer: Sony Vaio and IBM ThinkPad

Vacation spot: Never really make it on vacation. My last vacation was my family watching me work in Miami.

Clothing: Motorcycle gear

Role Model: Vince Lombardi

Reading: Best Sports Stories of 2005

Worst fear: Failure

Motivation: The need to improve

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