Earlier this year I was asked to give a TED Talk during the TEDxYouth. An event held in Helsingborg, at Dunkers Kulturhus. I wanted to find a theme that I thought could help the audience, both young- and old adults, to find inspiration in life. So I sat down, and looked thru notes I had taken over all the years, about small insights and details that I realised are important. Some things are self-tought, others have come to my realisation thru books or long discussions with smart people.
I boiled it all down to: 9 rules for an awesome life. Watch below (but please endure the first minute of not-so-good introduction, it gets better)
Loved doing the talk, and got nice and very positive respons. Made me, and still makes me, happy.
With those that have had discussion about management, I often say that I recommend reading “The Seven-day weekend”, a book about a Brazilian company that is radically democraticed. When I read that book, I went “wow, this is exactly what I have thought about running a business”. I have however not had the guts to push it all the way, but I still believe it is the right path. Now I saw that the author has done a TED talk, and just watched it. I recommend it, if you want an alternative look at how to live life, and run a company. It is not all gold. But I think it is a very interesting approach. I wish I could be more extreme myself in this.
I have talked about community building before. Recently I gave a talk at Foo Café about my experience and observations from being part of, and creating, different communities. From volunteer organisations such as CreativeLab, to business communities such as Mindpark and E-commerce Park. But also wider and more organic ones, such as #cphftw, #malmostartups and YEoS. I draw on a lot of different experiences. Recommended for anyone who runs or is an important part of any community.
I was invited as a guest to the Internet Freedom Weekend ’15, held in Gothenburg, to talk about community building. I have never really made a public session about the topic, but it is something I have realized I have worked with a lot – both in my ‘own’ projects, such as Mindpark and CreativeLab, but also as a part of #cphftw and #malmostartups. And I have observed communities and their evolution from the inside, within a wide variety of circumstances, such as Young Entrepreneurs of Sweden, Burning Man and Round Table.
So I collected and distilled some wisdom from the last couple of years, into a presentation of 30 minutes. It was filmed, but is not online yet, but I will try to link to it once it is. I think it went OK – always hard to know the first time you present on a topic how to bring it across the best.
Some of the things I talked about where the difference of starting a community with a strong leader, in contrast to a community that has a large ‘buy-in’, not having one leader but many that believe in the same thing. Both are definitely options that can create good communities, but they require different strategies to prosper. A topic that is very interesting for me.
Last week I was invited to join a small group from the City of Helsingborg that explored inspiration for a new creative meeting spot in the city. The group made a trip to Berlin. As Joakim Jardenberg was a part of that group, a lunch was arranged with Eric Wahlfors from Soundcloud.
Together with Emma and Dimitrij we talked with Eric for an hour about Berlin as a startup city (even thou it probably was a question he had answered too many times already) as well as co-working, entrepreneurship and startup community.
One of the takeaways was the opinion that Rocket Internets and Zalandos IPOs had an unnecessary flaw – that the IPO only made the investors and the three owners rich. If instead key employees, or maybe even all employees, had owned shares, then Berlin would now have 100 or even 1000s of new business angels. Something that would have propelled the citys startup environment in unprecedented ways. A very interesting insight, that I think is important when reflecting about building good communities for startups.
It was also very inspiring to hear Erics opinion that he will make sure Soundcloud does not make a similar ‘mistake’. Great business angels, but even better, great entrepreneurs, are really what builds a community at it’s core.
And really nice for Eric to take the time, from his no doubt extremely busy schedule.
Great answer on Quora, about company culture, from Chamath Palihapitiya. The post is the final email he sent out, the day he resigned from Facebook. The question and the answer where this quote came up can be found on Quora.
“i leave with incredible hope for how you will continue to make this place awesome. every tuesday, i talk to the n00bs. and i generally tell them the following, which i leave for you as a reminder:
its easy to get distracted. everyone thinks we are much better than we actually are. be humble and honest about the fact that more is left to do than has already been done. keep moving quickly and don’t get bogged down in the things that don’t matter.
we risk becoming like everyone else. the only chance we have is the discipline and resolve of the silent majority who needs to and MUST become more vocal as the company gets bigger. fight for the culture the way it should be…not the way it was or the way its becoming.
be afraid of the company you don’t know. there is someone out there lurking with a small idea that will grow into a giant. don’t ignore that which you don’t immediately understand and keep pushing to evolve faster than what people expect. it can create unease at times but its our only path to long term relevance.
speak the truth. its too easy to “manage” – upwards, sideways, downwards and be rewarded for it. this is death. speak candidly especially when it means it won’t be well received. respect the person but don’t let bad ideas go unchallenged.
their is more valor in failure than success. success is hard to define and hard to isolate root causes when it happens. its rare to learn much of anything from success except to conflate luck and skill, but you learn tons in failure. take enough risks that you continue to fail…and celebrate those so that it becomes the battle scars you talk about when you do eventually succeed.
don’t be a douchebag. this is pretty self-explanatory but its not about the right to ripstik or the quality of the candy bars in the office. its about winning. everything else comes second….a distant second. and the perceived correlation between winning and the rest is only in your mind. interestingly so is the resolve and focus to win.
i’ve really enjoyed my time here. thanks again for the chance to always say what’s on my mind. its a rare place that allows everyone to do that and our results speak to the values of risk taking, openness and transparency. don’t betray them as we move along.