Private Planet: Tales from the Cloud

Revolutionizing the Cloud: A Pioneer's Journey with Private Planet to Conquer the Digital Sky

A story of early days of cloud technology with Private Planet, the pioneering London-based company that set out to redefine digital media interaction

The Cloud

In 2007, the whispers of a technological revolution were beginning to resonate. The concept of the cloud, still embryonic in its development, presented a vast expanse of opportunities waiting to be harnessed.

As I navigated these early waters with Private Planet, a London-based pioneer, we took on an exhilarating challenge: implementing Private Planet's cloud services for T-Mobile Netherlands, aptly named T-Mobile Cloud. This venture wasn't just about integrating technology; it was a melding of minds, a fusion of visions between us and T-Mobile to offer the revolutionary cloud features to the Dutch audience.

It was a time of exploration, of understanding the cloud's potential, and ensuring that potential was realized for every T-Mobile user in the Netherlands.

While today we might regard cloud services like Google Suite or One Drive as commonplace, back then, we were charting a path less traveled.

My role in this odyssey, as a UI/UX consultant, was to ensure the user interface and user experience dovetailed with the innovative aspirations of the products Private Planet envisioned.

Under the guidance of Dr. Janko Mrsic-Flogel, the CEO of Private Planet, we embarked on this ambitious journey, pushing boundaries and imagining a future where digital interaction was seamless, unified, and revolutionary.

On All Platforms

As the UI/UX consultant, my responsibility was to create a user experience that was seamless, intuitive, and visually engaging across all apps and platforms that Private Planet supported.

This included desktop apps for Windows and Linux, Web, iOS, Android, and even Blackberry (which still had a strong presence in business circles at the time).

Each platform presented its unique set of challenges and requirements.

Balancing the nuances of each environment while preserving a unified design language was paramount.Additionally, keeping the user at the forefront of our decisions, we prioritized adaptability and responsiveness, ensuring that the experience felt native and fluid regardless of the device in use.

This holistic approach demanded not only design expertise but also a deep understanding of platform-specific behaviors and user expectations.


For desktop apps, we used the QT framework due to its portability.

However, this was a time when the QT framework and its QSS (v2) style markup were in their infancy, quite rudimentary, and lacking the advanced features of the full CSS 2 specification. Designing an interface that was both attractive and functional posed significant challenges.

Along the way, I learned all the bits and corners of the QT framework, which helped me a lot on various projects later in life.

Yet, the greatest challenges often lead to the most rewarding victories. We navigated around these hurdles, supplementing the gaps with our own code to build a user interface that transcended the limitations of the available tools.


Web and Mobile

The realm of web and mobile platforms presented a different set of challenges and opportunities. Here, we were working within native environments that offered a more robust set of tools for our ambitions. With the ever-evolving landscape of mobile devices, each with their unique screen sizes and system behaviors, achieving a harmonized experience was a nuanced endeavor.

The web, with its vast array of browsers and user preferences, demanded a flexible approach that still retained the core aesthetics and functionalities we envisioned. As the user base shifted dynamically between devices and platforms, our paramount concern was to maintain a cohesive, intuitive experience.

Ensuring that our cloud services seamlessly integrated across these platforms wasn't just about technical alignment but also about delivering a consistently stellar user experience, irrespective of the access point.

The goal was always to deliver a consistent and intuitive experience for users, whether they were accessing our services from a desktop computer or on the go with a mobile device.

Every design choice, every interaction was meticulously crafted with the user in mind, ensuring our cloud services were not only cutting-edge but also user-friendly.


Private Planet

Private Planet was more than just a company; it was a group of skilled people brought together by a common goal. It was a place where creativity and innovation were encouraged, and each member played an important role. I learned priceless lessons during my time there, not only about technology and design but also about the unbeatable drive to innovate.

Dr. Janko Mrsic-Flogel led Private Planet on a journey to various corners of the globe, from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to the headquarters of leading telecom companies. Whether it was T-Com Netherlands, British Telecom, Movistar, and many more, each partnership or potential partnership represented a new frontier, a new challenge to overcome.

Integrating this technology into their infrastructure was no small feat, but we aspired to make Private Planet a staple of their services.

Reflecting on those eight years, I am filled with a deep sense of pride and nostalgia. I was part of a group of pioneers carving a path through an unexplored landscape.

The cloud products we envisioned then are now integral parts of our daily lives, facilitating sharing, collaboration, and creation like never before.

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