Profitable Innovation With Bruno Pešec

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today, we have Bruno Pešec. Bruno, welcome.

Happy to be here.

Happy to have you, would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?

Absolutely. So as Thomas said, my name is Bruno Pešec. I’m Croatian, living and working in Norway. And what I’ve been specialising in for the last couple of years is helping business leaders, you know, profitably, and I’ll share a bit more about that while we’re having the conversation. But I think that that’s enough for the introduction. I don’t want to steal too much time on that. Well, I looked over some of the things that you discussed and there’s some stuff that sort of popped out at me at a looks like an interesting topic and One of the things is nine big don’t biggest innovation mistakes and how to avoid them. Would you like to open with what those biggest mistakes are? Yeah, I’d love to. But before that I just like to share because people sometimes scratch their head like Bruno, why do you focus so much on kind of failure and mistakes and errors et cetera?

And the reason for that is there is something called halo effect and survivor bias. So halo effect is basically a bias when we look at the leaders and luminaries, you know like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk Jeff Bezos, people like that and we think, you know because they’re successful. If I copy their practices, then I will be successful as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that well another, another side of that coin is so called survivor bias, which is again, looking at those that have succeeded or survived and trying to copy their behaviours. And there was a great study looking at kind of the people that have survived airplane crashes and they were looking at the characteristics, did it matter how physically active they were? You know, did it matter how quickly they left the airplane? What mattered? And what they found out was that it didn’t matter physical attributes at all. But what mattered was people that tried to get their luggage. So everybody who tried to recover their luggage did not manage to actually vacate the airplane and unfortunately perished.

So they managed to then improve the survivability. And that’s why we hear those messages, you know, in case of emergency, just leave the airplane, don’t take your luggage. So the point of all of this is that we can actually gain more by studying failure and then deliberately avoiding the mistakes than necessarily trying to emulate and copying best practices. Because the thing with best practices is they’re usually unique to context to business to the individual person because we’re all a little bit different. And that is kind of the backdrop why I decided to look into from my experience in studying, okay, what are the big innovation mistakes and kind of, I mean, I could go for hours, but let’s be brief here. So number one thing is mistaken thought for an idea. So if innovation is a process about taking an idea into a business or something that can be monetised, then the first big mistake people often make is they think a thought is equal to an idea.

What I mean by that is the thought is unfinished unstructured. You cannot communicate it to someone, but people think, you know, oh I just thought that we could do a B. And C. For customer D. That they suddenly have a brilliant idea but until they actually put it down on paper and they’re able to write, okay, this is what it does for someone. There’s nothing really to invest in. And that’s especially problematic when people have employees and people reporting to them, it can be an SME, it can be in a large corporate. So, for example, a boss comes, comes up with something he believes is brilliant idea and then goes Bruno, this is what I’ve been thinking about. How about you go test it or making into reality very difficult to happen if that actually hasn’t been processed into an idea. To give you more specific example, a thought would be how about we have chips on bracelets that we can pay with. Now that sounds like almost like an idea but what you need to do to take it from that thought into idea is we need to specify actually who is it for?

What is it about? And how will it make their life a little bit different. And you might be thinking, okay, Bruno, but you said bracelets for paying. Yes, but let’s be more specific. So this thing went okay. We’re actually talking about bracelets for paying at the beach instead of carrying a wallet. So people are afraid to lose their wallet. They’re uncomfortable to live the wallet in their clothes when they go for a swim etcetera. So okay, now we’re talking about a more specific idea. Nothing if it’s good or bad, but we have an idea that we can do something with. Again, the reason I start focusing with that big down first is because if you don’t cross that threshold, you’re really investing into nothing. And that really can burn out people money, resources and time and that’s why we don’t want that. It’s a great, great introduction. And it makes me feel a little bit better about getting on a plane. For some reason I like that. I can share that sort of reminds me of sort of winging it and what you’re teaching is sort of better planning, better maybe use of resources.

So I think it’s it does. I think it does help because you want to go into the mistakes. Yeah. Well, so what I’m thinking and I would like to continue on what you actually said right now, people often when they hear innovation, creativity, words like that, they think that that is a process that shouldn’t or cannot be planned or shouldn’t or cannot be managed in some way. And that is a big, big source of friction because these two aren’t polar opposites. You know, like the whole thing, left brain, right brain. I sometimes think Especially when people start talking about creativity and analytical thinking are two opposites. So you need 2-3 people to get some project off the ground. But it’s nonsense. Like if you look, every person in the world has the capability to be creative, how creative is different from person to person. That’s normal. It’s like, you know, like physical attributes, they are different from person to person.

But everyone can try it and everyone can be creative. When people tell me, oh Bruno, I’m not a creative person. I asked them, have you ever made a dish without following a recipe? If you did? Yes. You have some creativity in you. Maybe it was a horrible dish. That doesn’t matter. But if you were able to go to your fridge, pick up some leftovers and come up with some dish. Yes, that’s creativity. You were hungry. Use what you have and you fed yourself, that’s it. We don’t need to make it into nuclear science where I’m going with this is when we’re talking about innovation, which is, as I said to me, is turning ideas into money at the end of the story or some impact. If you’re for change, you know, environmental goals, etcetera, then absolutely. You need to plan part of the process. You need to standardise part of the process where it gets, let’s say Freeform is what do you want to pay attention? What do you want to standardise what we’re just talking about?

What’s an idea. That’s a way to standardise things without limiting yourself? Because when I shared the example, I didn’t say anything about what’s allowed to be idea what’s allowed to present itself as an idea. And that’s, that’s very important. And this is where in my experience, people start tripping because they think, you know, I either need a big massive process or I’m not creative or I need a very clinical approach. You know, it’s, it’s like a B. C. D. Give me a playbook and I’m going to follow it. This isn’t a big mistake I’d like to talk about, but I was just triggered with like the words that you used and I think it’s, it’s something worth pointing out for anyone who may be, is listening and it’s feeling like, hey, I’m not a creative person or maybe I need a very specific playbook to follow. Unfortunately, it’s the middle ground. It’s always the middle ground. But I do what my interpretation was from, let’s say, the topic that you teach is that most people when they look to innovate or improve things don’t actually have a process that they follow.

So would you say that you teach that process? Absolutely. You’re correct. The process is often implicit or emergent. I’m winging it. And the thing is when we specifically talk about innovation, there are processes, but they are closer to kind of thinking in maturity than necessarily linear A, B and C and D. When you have an idea, your first reaction should be. I need to check if this idea makes sense, your first reactions or first instinct shouldn’t be. I need to find money for this idea to you know, to pump it out and bring it to the world at all costs. So yes, that is to some extent process thinking, but it’s not necessarily what people would always assume. You know, like there is a linear process to it. There’s a stage gate model. Like I need to do A, B, C, D. But at least it gives us some framing. And when we talk, when we talk about this type of, let’s say maturity levels, what’s usually my recommendation is start from what I just call, you know, market audition validation exploration, et cetera.

Figure out if your idea makes any sense at all. And very, very and cheap practices are you know, mankind is very inventive and creative your idea or something similar to it has probably been made in the past. Figure out does it exist right now? If it does figure out who is buying it, why are they buying it? What are they doing with it etcetera, like small things like that that people overlook are very easy ways to start with your innovation project. To test it out to figure out is it worth your time at all? That’s your first check. Not if you can make millions with it, but should Bruno and Thomas spend any more of their precious time on this idea, ideas are cheap. Time goes only one direction for now, if you know a way to reverse it, please let me know. But if time is the most precious thing you have, then you must realise that ideas are nothing but commodity. And this is where innovators and heck people that are not even innovators, you know, they get an idea and they hold it close to their heart and they feel it’s something precious.

It’s it always stays close to them, but it never gets exposed to the real world. And they hold this false belief that this idea is just there’s and they have only one chance at it. In most cases, that’s not true. If it’s good, it will come back, it’s very, very rare. That idea is so brilliant, unique and at the same time so easy to copy because Thomas, you might have the best idea in the world, but it’s in your head and we are not perfect communicators. So even if you say it to me, I won’t be able to grasp really everything that you’re thinking. And there will be so much more hidden behind that idea because you did much more thinking about it than I did. So there is very little reason to hold ideas so secret. Because if you hold them secret, you never expose them to the world. You never get feedback. You never can develop your idea. It makes me think that people are afraid to get that kind of feedback. That’s why they hold it close to their chest. Do you think that’s true? Absolutely.

100%. And it’s different types of fear. So, in my experience, there is definitely this fear of being mocked. You know, being ridiculed All this is a silly idea why you’re working on that. This is not worth your time. That’s one fear. And to that I always say what your friends say, doesn’t matter. The only feedback that matters is from your potential customers or benefactors of your ideas. So, if you’re working on teddy bears for adult men, then only feedback from adult men is what you should care about, not your neighbour, not even your wife. To some extent, it’s kind of, you know, people that this idea for are the people you want feedback from. So that’s it. Of course, I mean, every innovator is going to be ridicule at least once in life. So that’s normal, relaxed. And then the second one is of course, fear of failure is my idea good enough. Will anyone react to it? And to that, I go back to the story I shared earlier ideas are commodities, if nobody wants it, that doesn’t mean that you failed as a person.

It just means that at this moment in time, people don’t want it if you want, you can test it later in life or you can just put it on your shelf and be at peace because you tested the idea and maybe you didn’t get the response you wanted it to, but you can at least know that you tried. And the third one, which is quite fascinating, is actually fear of success. So in my experience, a lot of leaders and especially founders of startup companies, once they get to the red line meaning, you know, their first big contract or maybe the 1st 10,000 or 100,000 customers. The gravity of success starts setting in, they start realising, okay now I have responsibility to deliver my product or product or service or whatever to all these people and I have responsibility to keep delivering to them, you know, over years and years and years and not only that, but I will need to hire people and I will need to grow the company and I will need to, you know, I always think about their livelihood because I mean their job is very rarely to make company extremely successful.

Their job is part of their business, it’s just how we are. So that fear to that, I can only say we’ll never fear success, but always find a peer group, peer groups are the best thing, you know, find people in similar position and speak with them. I wouldn’t call it a therapy, but it is, it is a sort of sort of therapy so that people are aware, who is it that typically hires you? What does that conversation look like? Yeah. So what I like to say is I help business leaders in a bit profitably. I make my living from big companies, that’s where I make most of my living. I work with managers and executives in companies that have multiple business units and I help them basically monetise their ideas for SMEs, small business owners etcetera. I create a lot of materials and I’m always happy to have a chat if they are struggling in their specific industry, in their specific domain etcetera.

I’m always willing to help out because to me that’s very important. It is the community I came out of. I was very fortunate to work with some very smart people to get coached and mentored and etcetera. And I’m always trying to, you know, give back to the community, so whomever is trying to bring the idea to reality, Happy to at least share something. We’ve got some examples where you’ve helped one of those big companies innovate something that perhaps was beneficial to them of course, of course. So, just and minimising a little bit, you know, how it is with bigger players financial institution. I was looking into making themselves more innovative and it was a financial institution that basically provides all types of financial services, I think from loans, retail banking to advisory on investments to be corporate funding etcetera. And what they were looking into is okay, how can we actually live and recreate ourselves in this world of fast movers, disruptors, the tech companies trying to enter into financial space, all the fin techs regulation changes.

So anyone who is into space, they will know about PSD two, then looking at the GDPR privacy laws, et cetera. How do we, how do we become more innovative? And the approach that we’ve used with success is something I like to call innovation vanguard or vertical slides instead of trying to change the whole organisation at once because that doesn’t really work with big companies. You know, trying to change hearts and minds of 10 or 100,000 people at once. It really works unless it’s a highly traumatic event. So what we did instead is we took a vertical slice of a company. We said a few select executives, few select middle managers and few select frontline teams. Hey, let’s go together and let’s figure out, you know, how to be more innovative, What are some of the solutions we could be working on in the future. So it wasn’t just bringing ideas to life, but it was bringing to life new way of work and organising, moving forward together, doing innovation strategy together, measuring these projects, running teams a little bit differently and I know this is very abstract, but I’ll keep it at that level just for confidentiality reasons for you know, specific products and services and etcetera.

Thanks. Don’t mind when you reveal confidential information do they? I’m not willing to find out. So um, I got one on the bold growth and the quote is how to craft fearless strategy in a world of disruptors. Fast movers and copycats. Have you got thoughts there? Absolutely first Always start from where you are. I know this sounds silly or maybe it sounds overly simplistic, but so much advice is, you know, try to imagine the future, 2030, 50 years work backwards, etc. The thing is when we’re talking about specifically innovation and growth, the best is to look okay, who are you serving right now? Who are these people and then start working out okay what are actually their jobs to be done, their desired outcomes etcetera. Because the thing is those things change very, very, very slow. New iPhone might come out New Year, New smartphone might come out new year but need to communicate which each other won’t change the next 100 years, how we communicate with each other.

That is changing sometimes faster, sometimes slower. That’s why if you want to really create like bold strategy actually the best approach is to develop really, really, really, really deep understanding of your customer base and then you can be adding things either serving more of the same needs or expanding and serving the same needs, but for a different group of people and somebody said, oh, how is this ball? How is this disruptive? Bold and disruptive isn’t the same? So again, if you’re focused on the people you’re serving, it’s much, much easier to avoid disruption itself, disruption happens when company starts looking to internally to introspective or we have introduced new products because we decided to introduce new products that is introspection. That is when big companies start failing. Not only that, but now I’m talking specifically about larger companies, mergers and acquisitions are really popular mechanism, but majority of mergers and acquisitions actually end up in value destruction.

So people think that, okay, we’re going to acquire a very successful startup or unicorn or someone who has been growing in specific domain and therefore we bought those customers or market penetration or whatever. It rarely works out. And that’s, that’s why I always say you want bold strategy start with where you are and then figure out how to grow Concentric lee instead of trying to figure out something that doesn’t exist. The only thing you’ll be correct is that you’re wrong because at least as far as I know, there’s no function in crystal balls, but if you have one, I’d like to buy one, I think I share your opinion on that one. It sounds like a very, very interesting job or interesting work. How did you get into this space? It sounds like something that you created for yourself through some sort of innovation strategy. Unfortunately, it was not innovation strategy, but it was the process that was highly emergent and adaptive. I like to say that I am an accidental consultant.

I basically started as engineer and I was working on some very, very difficult projects bringing some quite innovative ideas to life. And one of them failed quite miserably, but not on the technical side. So this is what happened. We have the customer that asks for impossible and me being a young engineer working in a team of young engineers, we took it very personally and we did everything we could, you know, to come up with what the customer asked and we managed after a lot of prototypes, a lot of testing, but I think was customers don’t believe us. They themselves did not believe that what they asked for was possible and we couldn’t convince them. And then we had to send our product across on a tour across the world so that customers can actually see for themselves that this is really possible that this really exists now the trouble and everybody who has ever worked in a physical business will know this. If you get good enough engineers, they can reverse engineer any physical product, guess what happened in two years?

Well, for me that was a big trigger because I did everything right from the perspective of what I’ve been taught about product development, innovation management, you know, the whole process. And yet this was creating a big flop commercially. And that’s triggered me to start thinking, okay, what is that innovation? I mean, we did everything we could have, we used all the modern methods, all the approaches everything. And that’s where I started figuring, oh, it’s the human side as well. It’s how we talk about things, it’s how we network with each other, it’s how we sell things, it’s how we organise whole structures and then it was just like a rabbit hole from there and here I am, 10 years later, it was interesting because it sounds like a sales problem more than anything. and also I’m interested to know about your thoughts away about going away from engineering because I would imagine it’s quite a engineers strike me as, as people who it kind of integrates into their life.

Like if someone has a profession, their job or something, they don’t necessarily take that into their life. But with engineers, I think that’s slightly different. So I’ve got thoughts there. Yeah, yeah, there’s something now that you mention it. There is truth to it. Of course it’s important to share as well that there are different branches of engineering as well. So I guess what contributed to the way I was developing is that I studied specific branch called industrial engineering which is about systems. So industrial engineering was kind of a response to kind of combining mechanical and production engineering with organisational and management side of businesses. So it had this more systemic and more holistically, let’s say, view on it. But what you say, I think that definitely spilled in other areas of my life. So I would say that in some regards I’m what you would expect from stereotypical engineer. Like pedantic thinking about systems you know there is a process A, B, C, D.

But what really helped me at least from industrial engineering perspective was the whole systems thinking and systems approach like the sum is bigger than the whole than the parts etcetera and all those small things. And what about the sales side of things do you think that if your product that you’re referring to, if there was a different sales approach would it have been a different outcome? Most likely? Most likely. I think that’s so it’s all interconnected. Of course. in in my example the technical team was almost separate from the other processes and this was also what triggered me later to reflect and think okay obviously if the whole marketing process was different if the whole sales process was different, if the whole account management process was different, it probably would have turned out differently at the same time, the customer wasn’t so alien to us.

So we were able to show him the thing, but we were not able to appreciate him that this actually this actually is what he was asking for. So I can tell you for me as an engineer, like stepping out of that engine engineering cocoon, I had to invest a lot of energy to understand sales and marketing and branding and I’m no expert in that, but they’re all important processes in the big picture of things and that is kind of when, when we look at innovation, it’s, it’s really a confluence of a lot of different approaches and methods and bodies of knowledge. You cannot be successful at innovation without understanding at least a little bit of a sales process of a marketing process, of a branding process, product development process. It’s all intertwined, How we talk about value is as important, how we create value. One without the other is out of balance and will probably not be as successful as, as people are hoping for, reminds me of a little lesson that I learned about books and about bestselling books and how the bestselling book is not necessarily the best written book.

Whereas it sounds like your product, there was probably the better product, but the book which is the bestselling book is the book which has been sold the best and I was wondering what you thought about that. And also in relation to the fact that you have a new book and I don’t know what your thoughts are in relation to the point I made. I completely agree and talking about product wrapping an explanation how it’s phrased. So I have two bookshelves behind me, some of them are best sellers, some of them aren’t, but they’re still genius and books are fascinating. So I love reading, I think reading is underappreciated, there’s so much to learn from past generations and I love discovering old books and what I’m always fascinated is okay, you can immediately see books that are popular and were written to be popular, like its specific language specific product packaging etcetera. Then you can see books that are popular but are not people written or are very, very dense.

So for example thinking fast and slow, it’s not a bad book, I’m not saying it’s poorly written, but it’s a dense book that’s very popular but very few people actually read it even if they might have bought it. So that’s another example where we have a book that’s actually good and dense but isn’t actually read. And of course then then there’s the long, long trail of bad books poorly sold. and great books poorly sold and I have, I have some of those here, like the Corporate Startup Strategy, you know, the Strategic logic, brilliant book about just Strategic logic written in accessible manner, but never really sold at all. I tried to take my lessons for the book that I’ve written. So one of the things that that I looked and together with my quarter is that today people are so busy, We don’t want to write a book that’s 400 pages. We want to write a book that people can read. So we put a very strict design criteria on ourselves.

We said it has to be 100 pages like what we have to say has to be no longer than 100 pages. And let me tell you for talking about strategy and data and improving decision-making processes. That wasn’t the easiest, but we managed to do it. So we managed to actually put it in 100 pages using what we believe is plain language speaking directly to people, executives and business leaders that want to use data to make better decisions in terms of sales. So I did learn something hopefully from, from all my experiences and what I’m happy to report is that we’ve been selling it or it’s been selling on Amazon Yes Amazon for a month or two and it already has like 15 5 star reviews. So I’m very happy for that that that I said to myself, okay, this means that we’re at least a little bit close to what we tried to achieve if it will be a best seller.

I don’t know but I honestly also don’t care. It’s like it’s out there. People that need it. I hope they find it. I don’t want to see it on New York, you know, stalls. It’s not that kind of work. Have you got any moments or let’s say chapters that are favourite chapters that you would mention? Okay, yep. One of the, well, one of my favourite chapters, not sure about Dominic might be his as well is when we go specifically into four data sources that any company and any business has but it’s very rarely leveraged to the full extent. So when we look specifically about the data that we have out there, we never had more data in history of mankind. One company like eBay produces more data in single year than all of mankind up to that year and they’re just looking at one company like eBay now imagine added Amazon, Facebook, all of these massive amounts of data.

But our decisions aren’t getting better. Why? Well, because we are drowning in data. The answer is , look at specific data sources to improve decisions. So the four data sources. One operational data, that’s all about, you know, success of your business number of products sold, economic data like turnover revenue income sales margins, et cetera, easy. Everybody follows that. And when you say yeah we have it good Then the next one is customer experience another one that’s been gaining a lot of traction in the last 10, 20 years. But it’s still unfortunately not tracked as much as possible, but customer experience. How are people reacting to your products and services? What are they doing? It’s everything we discussed in the last half an hour or what and then two more that are equally important but often overlooked ecosystem data. So it’s not just your competitors, but what society around you’re doing? How is the planet changing how our regulations changing all those things?

And then the 4th one most often overlooked is expert knowledge. I’m not talking about external experts like myself, I’m talking about internal expertise. If your company has 100 people and let’s say I’m one of the employees. If 99 people cannot access me, then your company doesn’t have the skills I have. You cannot say that we are innovative company or that we have skills of that. If the company has you Thomas and people cannot access you, then the company cannot say that really what you know, is what the company knows and that’s often overlooked because a knee jerk reaction, especially for bigger companies, is like, let’s get external expertise. Let’s buy insight, let’s buy, you know, market intelligence, let’s look at some research and let’s see what’s been happening. Well, most often including insight from the people on the front line is the most valuable impact. You asked me about bold strategy and I told you start from the inside, start from the inside with people that are closest to the customer, you don’t need to go out and hire an external marketing or PR agency to do that work for you.

You can start with the people that you have right now. Your employees know the most about your customers. Now. These four data sources, they work together in conjunction because what they’re telling you, they’re telling you about the things that have happened and that our signals for the things that might happen and they’re telling you something both about yourself as a company, as a business and the external environment, how it’s changing. So when you have this four, then you can be making informed decisions without feeling overwhelmed with the billions or millions of data and things that you have been measuring and tracking accidentally or purposefully or whatever. So that that is kind of, let’s say one of my most favourite chapters because in my experience when you show something to someone, when you raise their awareness of something, it becomes impossible for them to not see it again. If you think about those, you know, visual tricks, you know, when they show you a messy picture and then someone says, well there’s actually a giraffe there and then you always see a giraffe there, that’s kind of the thing.

And that’s what I love doing with people, you know, point their attention and help them notice something they haven’t noticed before because when they become aware of it, of course there’s discipline to them improving that. But once you’re aware of it, you can start improving. If you’re not aware of it, then even if you get better, it’s going to be accidental. And unfortunately if you want to build a successful business, it cannot be a string of happy accidents. You can have one or two happy accidents. But if you want to repeatable success, you must be aware of the things that you have sold or improved in order to be able to repeat the success again. But that was a long way around. No, no, you’re fine. I wanted to pick up on something which I’m interested to get your take on and you mentioned discipline and we’ve been talking about, let’s say that a better process to innovate things and it makes me think, if you thought about or covered, let’s say how committed someone is to actually make the success of a particular idea or innovation because there’s, there’s the approach that you take to, um, let’s say make it successful and then maybe behind that there is someone’s actual commitment and their ability to follow through on it.

Do you spend any time there at all? Absolutely. It’s, it ties back to, uh, at the beginning when you asked me about nine big don’ts. So one of the big don’ts is I say never invest in orphan ideas. And what I mean by that is ideas don’t get executed out of thin air, just like you were talking about now it requires commitment, it requires discipline. So when it comes specifically to innovation again, it’s not the most pleasant journey like putting yourself out there, testing your idea, getting that feedback which isn’t always pleasant. It’s not always a very joyful journey, although there’s nothing, you know that is the adrenaline rush of actually creating something in that process. What’s very important is okay if the person coming up with the idea is the one executing it, it’s easy. But if you’re an organisation and let’s say Thomas you come up with the idea and give it to me, then we already have much bigger risk to fail with this whole idea because I might take it to a certain extent.

But you know, if it becomes too much for me, be it emotionally bit However else I might give it up or I might, you know, bring it back to you whatever. If you look at the venture capital world. One thing that they learned really, really well is that what matters more for investment is the quality of team, the necessarily equality of idea because better team is actually going to find another idea to execute and most likely build a startup that will do returns than necessarily a weaker team with a brilliant idea, A brilliant idea that never materialises has no value. A mediocre idea that materialises has value. So that is, I completely agree with what you said. It is very important to have people that are actually committed to is also another discussion. What do you commit yourself to? I mentioned that earlier, but I’ll repeat it. You might have a big idea, but what you have to commit yourself in the beginning is to see if that idea is worth of your time and then the next commitment is okay, uh, is it worth of someone else’s time?

Then? The next commitment is okay, Can I get money for it? And then the next commitment is okay, can I build a company around it? So you stagger those commitments as they go instead of saying, okay, I commit myself to bring this idea to life or die trying not, not good to extremely, extremely great answer. And it does make me think about the difference between, let’s say, because when you’ve been answering, I’ve been thinking about my own experience and then obviously you’re to some degree, you’ve got experience with massive companies rather than small businesses. What’s the difference in approach for you between working with a big company and working with a small business? So as I told you, I make most of my living with big companies where I volunteer a lot of time is actually working with start-ups and entrepreneurs and etcetera. So in Norway I brought founder institute to Norway, which is a startup accelerator. I’m running a big startup community several 1000 members and what I’ve repeatedly experienced is one big benefit of every small company or a startup is focus.

They have only one product, only one strategy, only one direction. Sometimes that might feel limiting, but that is the biggest advantage. They don’t need a strategy for buying, buying toilet paper. They don’t need a strategy for engaging with vendors. They only need to figure out one thing. Who is my customer segment and what do I do for them and do that again and again. Where actually founders start stumbling is they start focusing on everything that doesn’t matter. Accounting and bookkeeping is important. You don’t want to end up in prison. But if you spend eight hours a week bookkeeping, that means that you wasted eight hours, that you could have spent understanding how to create value for your customers. And startup owners often do that. They go and they try to learn marketing themselves. They try to learn, you know, designing themselves how to use, I don’t know, Photoshop build websites etcetera. It’s okay. It’s a waste of your time. Like spend, I don’t know $50 by a template.

Get over it. Your customer will not hate you because you have a crappy website. They will hate you if you don’t do for them what you promised to do for them. So startup owners’ time is always best spent getting the next customer or testing if they still don’t have a product testing their product with the customer and that is something I keep repeating to them. Like, your job number one as a young CEO or a business owner is to bring in the business. That’s your job number one, everything else you need to find time to delegate as soon as possible. Of course, if you’re bootstrapping, yes you need to do something yourself, of course. If you have some skills that you can use them, but if you want to actually create the business doesn’t matter. Small startup, whatever is the ambition, you must learn how to delegate all these tasks that are important for the business but aren’t important for the success of the business. That’s my experience also.

Would you encourage people to also ah use the board game playing lean. Yeah, well I would suggest them to find someone and to run the game for them. So the board game you mentioned, we actually did make for that purpose. Exactly for people that that would like to learn a little bit more of this lean startup approach to developing their businesses but don’t necessarily have time to study a lot of books or to attend a lot of courses. So then they can play a game, It is made to be run by facilitators and we have over 200 facilitators across the globe. So if anyone in their country is interested, I suggest to you know, hook up with one of the facilitators and asked them when the next game is going to be run. And since you mentioned it, Thomas, anyone listening can check that list on playing Okay, What made you do that? Just have interest, what made you create it? Well, I, I guess it’s, it’s the same thing as a lot of things, curiosity, fun, joy of, of creating something so plainly in actually came out of uh, oh, needs scratching our own age.

So my friend Simon was giving a workshop to a group of I. T. Executives and he was teaching them a specific method from agile called Cambon and he was using, let’s say a board game for it. And he wanted to do the same with the lean startup method, but there was no games out there for it. So then we said, well, why don’t we try and make our own? And from then a lot of prototypes, a lot of failure as well. So first when we created after many prototypes, we decided to use crowdfunding, but we failed. We didn’t manage to do it. But what we did is we looked at everybody who supported it and we realised that our actual customers are facilitators consultants, coaches, not people that would play the game because you want to play the game wants to learn the method and then you want to go and make money. You don’t want to keep playing the game into infinity. But it is teachers, educators that would use the game again and again and again. What we also learned is okay if these people are actually the customer segment, what is most important to them.

It has to look professional. It has to look good on the bookshelf. It has to be supported by the thought leaders. Now if you, if you’ve been listening carefully, not you Thomas, but the person in the audience, I always said, look at what the customers need and then meet them there. That’s what brings success, and that’s exactly what we did because once we realised educators require these things. Then we partnered with one of the best illustrators in the world, whole grain mills paul. We partnered with thought leaders like Alexander, Calder, Malaria, et cetera, all these things that we found that customers need and that customers value and are willing to pay for it. Since then it’s been sold out twice. We updated it and we just keep doing it and it’s to me it’s a very fun side project that I really enjoy doing and you know, people have fun and learn something new. You can’t beat that. Yeah. Normally it’s one or the other. Either entertainment or education, but you’ve, you’ve managed to put it together so well done.

What are your goals? So uh, very simple. My goal at least, from what I’ve been doing for the last number of years. What I said is, I had very good fortune of having supportive environment. My parents always let me know son study whatever you want, we’re going to support you. Do what you want. We’re going to support you. And I had the good fortune of studying things. I loved then doing the job, I loved and just following my interests and what I said in that process is what really helped me is learning from people, learning from the books, learning in the community and then I said, I want to keep giving back. So that’s why I write regularly, if you go to my website, you will see like three block posts a week. I make all the resources, everything I do, I make it available for free. The book that I mentioned is, I don’t know, $4 or $5, some, something like that, the very minimum that can be put, etc.

And my goal is actually very humble. I always say like one person, if I help one person, I’m happy, I’m not dreaming of, you know, changing a million minds and hearts just one. And I also hope, you know, just one listener, just one listener from this episode that tries something different. I met my goal. That’s it. Well, I certainly think, I mean I’ve been in the position where we’ve attempted to innovate multiple times and you know, some sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t and I think now that I’m aware that I mean honestly it was just, you know, just I suppose doing the best you can, might be the approach now that I know that there is an approach. I think when it does come time to actually innovate again, I might think about looking up some of those blog posts. So I think you’ve helped me in that way and I’m sure you will help me again when I attempt to innovate next time. Is there anything that I should have asked you about today? should No, I wouldn’t say I think this has been a very natural conversation and I this is a topic I could be talking about for many, many hours, but you asked great things with very specific focus.

And I really think, you know, we could spend more hours, but we don’t have to because what you ask is great. Bruno, where’s the best place for people to find you? You know, I guess it will be in in the notes as well. If not Thomas has my contact. You can always reach out to him and I’ll be happy to help out. Well, thank you very much for the value today. I’ve enjoyed it and I hope you have too and thank you for your time.

Thank you for having me.