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The V3 Hot Seat: Raspberry Pi Foundation executive director, Eben Upton

03 Jul 2012


In his 'day job' Eben Upton is an ASIC architect for Broadcom, but is most famous in the IT industry for founding the Raspberry Pi Foundation. There he has led the development of a £22 microcomputer that aims to revitalise the teaching of computer science. 

The Raspberry Pi device has garnered unprecedented attention, with its promise to deliver a low-cost platform for students to get to grips with programming.

Upton previously lectured in computer science at the University of Cambridge and was a visiting researcher at Intel where he focussed on areas such as human-computer interaction and ad-hoc networking. Upton has also founded a number of tech companies, including Ideaworks3D and Podfun.

Upton follows the likes of Bletchley Park chief executive Iain Standen and OpenStack founder Jonathan Bryce in the Hot Seat as part of V3's weekly insight into what makes those in the IT industry tick.

V3: Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?

Eben Upton: I have a Blackberry Bold 9780. I don't use a tablet.

Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?

Elon Musk, the founder and ex-chief executive of PayPal. He's not in the IT industry any more, but he's taken an IT industry mindset and applied it to other industries such as aerospace and automotive to create great companies like SpaceX and Tesla.

Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?

Probably mobile telephony. My first two startups were both mobile middleware vendors; they gave me the experience and the freedom to do more adventurous stuff later on.

What's been the highlight of your career so far?

Launching the Raspberry Pi computer earlier this year.

What was your first job?

I was a software engineer at IBM Warwick in my gap year.

What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?

Cheap wide-area wireless networking. Companies like Neul are doing amazing stuff in this area today that should bear fruit in 2014-2015.

What keeps you awake at night?

Wondering when we'll get to the point where someone can order a Raspberry Pi today and have it ship tomorrow, rather than having to join a queue. A nice problem to have, I guess.

What was the last book you read and was it any good?

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. Yes, it was absolutely mindblowing.

Do you prefer e-readers or real books?

Real books for me, e-readers for my wife. As she's a fast reader, this saves a lot of luggage weight, which suits me just fine.

Twitter, Facebook or Google+?

None of them. I've never really got the social media bug. I'm lucky to have my wife around to run the community side of Raspberry Pi, otherwise nobody would ever have heard of us.

If you want to volunteer for V3's Hot Seat, or want to suggest an IT leader you think should take part, please email for more details.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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