Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk organised by KTH innovation. They had invited Fredrik Wester who is the CEO of Paradox Interactive as the speaker for the evening. He was to share about his entrepreneurial journey of building a company from scratch. When I first arrived the room was full and you could feel the excitement in the air. This might be due to the fact that KTH is full of nerds who are gamers.
The talk started with the CEO talking about the history of the company. Paradox Interactive was founded in 1998 and is based in Stockholm. It is a video game publisher and is well known for historical strategy games computer games. They are well known worldwide for games like Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron. If you don’t know about these two games, then you are definitely not a Gamer nor a nerd ;).
The CEO went on to talk about why he went into entrepreneurship and why he encourages us to join the entrepreneurial game. He talked about many the pros and cons of starting a business and how rewarding it can be if you manage to succeed. He mentioned that as an entrepreneur you have the freedom something that you can’t have if you work for a company. You also get to select your team which is key to success. You pick the people you feel you can work with efficiently and produce results. He also mentioned that the Entrepreneur owns the risk of the company. This is important as you know your strength and weaknesses.
He went further into philosophy of a business. The culture you set in the business is very important. As the leader you have to behave in the right way to foster a good culture in the company. He mentioned that flexibility and efficiency in a new venture is key. You have to learn to adapt to the market fast. In his view a business plan is the most important than the technology or solution you provide. He took an example in his company and said he puts 100% in business and 50% in developing because cash flow for the company is very important for the smooth running of the business. He also mentioned that actions are more important than ideas. If you have a good idea and do nothing, then its worthless
He proceeded to talk about leadership in a company. One of my favourite quotes from the talk was when he said that “ you as the entrepreneur are the biggest bottleneck of your organisation. You build the atmosphere and you have to lead from the front’’. He said also leadership is defined by results and not attributes. Your Rank in the organisations does not confer privilege or power but imposes responsibility. The higher the rank the more the responsibility.
At the end of the talk we had a mingle session and unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity of talking to him because of many people who wanted to do the same. I went home thinking about 3 things, your actions, business model and leadership is key for a start-up.