Presenting Mentors: Patrik “paf” Faltstrom

If any of you need help with some serious backend questions, we are especially happy to present our mentor Patrik Faltstrom.

Patrik is Head of Research and Development at Netnod, a Swedish not-for-profit company providing wholesale services to ISPs and top level domains in mainly the domain name and exchange point businesses. It is one of only three organizations outside of the USA running a so-called “root nameserver”. Not just anyone does that.

Previously, Patrik was a distinguished engineer at Cisco and researcher at Bunyip Information Systems in Montreal, Canada. He has been working with UNIX since 1985, DNS since 1987, and has been involved in Internet related standardization since 1989.

For those of you who do not know the organizations in the Internet sphere, the value of the following sections might elude you. But if you know them, you can identify a close to complete list of entities that have built the actual Internet – and kept it running.

So, here we go: Patrik is one of the editors of the standards of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and E.164 number mapping in DNS (ENUM) created in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and was one of two area directors of the applications area for five years, followed by being a member of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) for three years and member of ISOC Board of Trustees 2006-2009.

Regarding Internet Governance issues, in 1998 he was a member of the gTLD Policy Oversight Committee that discussed the gTLD process, a process that later turned into ICANN. After the WSIS process, in 2006, he was involved in the creation of the Internet Governance Forum where he was a member of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group for three years and then advisor to the Chair for two years.

He has been a member of ICANN Security and Stability Committee since 2005 and has served as its Chair since 2011. In 2014 he was appointed to the Research Advisory Network of the Global Commission of Internet Governance. He is and has been a member of numerous other advisory groups and investigations related to the Internet during the years including the US and Swedish Governments as well as the European Commission.

Patrik lives on an airplane en route to an international conference or meeting regarding the future of the Internet. At least that is very close to the truth. We asked him a few questions:

How did you become interested in food?
Thanks to my parents. Today I guess you would have called them “foodies”, although the word did not exist in those days. They would rather spend money on good food than a vacation for example, which sometimes annoyed me, but afterwards I thanked them. It is also the case that they brought to me the idea that for good food you need good ingredients and you cook everything from ground up. No “tubes with bearnaise sauce” or such.

How would you describe the challenges for food?
I guess there are two main challenges. One is to ensure the food production itself is such that we get high quality base ingredients in enough quantity. We must increase the volume of produced food without decreasing quality. The other challenge is that people, contrary to what I personally like, buy more and more half produced, or even pre-made food that they just heat up at home. And call it cooking! This implies a higher number of intermediaries that each try to minimize their production cost, and makes tracing the source of the food harder, which in turn makes it harder to ensure food security.

Which are the most interesting tech areas to watch for food entrepreneurs?
I think tracing food items is key. For this tagging must be cheap, so it does not add to the production cost. With tags it should be possible to trace food items both in time and space and that should increase the value for the buyer more than the cost for the tagging and tracing itself.

What topic will you mentor on?
Namespace management and scaling, by ensuring the standards we use are open, well working and implementable, from various angles, including IPR.

Most interesting development you have seen in the food-tech space?
The tests on printing food on a 3D printer at home. When Gopher [a system that existed pre web – editor’s remark] was invented we joked about the ability to take a “picture” with a cell phone of something, and record not only the image but also the smell. That would then be transmitted to friends that could get the same smell generated. And you should be able to store the smell just like photos in an archive. That was 25 years ago, but we are closer now than ever.

What do you hope to get out of the USA Pavilion innovation program?
I hope people participating and visiting (both the food industry and buyers/consumers of food) understand that we need to work together to get working solutions. Having single silos like today’s Internet of Things or Social Media landscape is not a working path forward. We need to have open standards that make the Internet of Food as open as the email and web area. That is what drives innovation and evolution.



Patrik Faltstrom