Category: Blog

Plamena Cherneva on women in tech: If you don’t understand it, don’t reject it

PLAMENA CHERNEVA ON WOMEN IN TECH: IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, DON’T REJECT IT

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Webamp spoke with Plamena Cherneva, founder of both WonderCoders and Nordic Women in Tech Awards. Plamena stressed the importance of including women in the world of technology, elaborating on her own journey in the industry and the struggles she has faced (and overcome with good mentorship, confidence, and a willpower to actually go out and change the way things are done).

WonderCoders, founded in 2017, is an NGO with a mission of empowering women: women who want to get into tech, women who are already in tech, and women who have no previous experience but just want to learn. Though the main struggle faced today is a lack of women in tech, WonderCoders is, nonetheless, a safe space for both women and men. As an inclusive environment premised on the need to make the technology industry accessible for everyone, Plamena and her team provide inspiring mentors for the entire community on this one platform. 

One of the most common questions anyone is ever asked is who their role model is – whether in school in the form of an inspirational essay, at university during a motivational letter, or in a professional interview (yes, I did ask Plamena. Spoiler alert: her role model is her grandmother…and the rest of her fierce and badass family). WonderCoders takes this concept of role models to new heights by making sure women who want to get into tech have the ability to look up to not only men in the industry, but also an array of strong and educated women – women who are there to give guidance, support, and the confidence boost many need to propel themselves into the world of technology. 

Women in Tech Awards, founded just in the beginning of this year, follows on perfectly from this focus on role models by actively featuring those women in the tech industry who have made it and proved themselves to be tenacious and persevering, and can, thus, inspire thousands who want the same for themselves. As Plamena says:

“The two different directions we take: WonderCoders is about inspiring people who are taking their first steps in the tech industry, whereas Nordic Women in Tech Awards is about celebrating people who are already accomplished and doing amazing things – more about celebrating these role models.”

Don’t misconstrue empowering women for excluding men 

Discussing empowerment of women across difference industries can, unfortunately, be considered controversial, but why is that? It’s because of individuals who decide to equate female empowerment with excluding men or diminishing their worthiness. This kind of misconception is the most toxic thing standing in the way of completely fair and legitimate missions to balance the playing field between men and women across an array of industries and jobs within those industries. The tech industry is a really important example of this. Plamena mentioned that, when creating WonderCoders, it was of utmost importance that it becomes a safe space for everyone:

“We didn’t want to build an organisation where it was ‘women only’, because if we want to make a difference, absolutely everyone has to be involved. You cannot say you’re going to make a difference when you exclude half of the population on earth. For sure we’re all about empowering women, but in no way should that ever be associated with excluding men. I always want to make sure that everyone is welcome to attend, any age, sex, ethnicity…anyone and everyone is welcome.”

The best way to break this down is by acknowledging the following: the two routes of WonderCoders and Nordic Women in Tech Awards exist for two different reasons. WonderCoders is about actively helping people with their personal journeys of getting more involved or more educated in the tech sector – that’s why it’s only logical that men and women are both included and given a chance to participate in this platform. 

However, when we think about idols in the tech industry, the big superstars that we associate most with technology, what’s the gender of >90% of them? Most likely male. A quick google search of “top figures in the tech industry” will prove this in seconds, with long lists of inspirational and influential people in the industry coming up. After going through the first five lists to show up in the search, the most women mentioned in one list were two (out of 16). 

And it’s because of this that Plamena decided to dedicate the entire Tech Awards platform to women. Women simply need more recognition. Again, this additional recognition for women doesn’t mean taking anything away from men, it’s simply about adding a vital piece to the equation: women. This isn’t synonymous with exclusion of men, however; volunteering, watching, participating in the celebrations – that’s for everyone, as it should be. 

“Two and half years later, and our community is more than 2000 people, we’ve organised over 40 events, big summits, coding intros, meet-ups etc. But what I realised is that when you build a safe environment, where people feel they fit in, magical things happen. It’s not because women don’t want to get into tech, it’s because they don’t feel supported enough. The whole point of the course is that you go to the course AND LEARN THERE.”

From Bulgaria to Denmark: From 50/100 to 1/120 

What does 50/100 and 1/120 mean? It means that when Plamena studied her Bachelor’s in Computer Science in Bulgaria (where she was born), her course, due to university quotas, had an even number of men and women. When she came to Denmark for her Master’s (also in Computer Science), she was the only woman out of 120 people. 

“It was not only that I had the cultural shock of moving to another country, but I also had the shock that I was the only woman. This filled me with doubt that I would make it and I already wanted to drop out in the first semester. I did end up dropping out (only in the first semester, thereafter I completed my studies) because I didn’t feel supported enough and I knew it simply wasn’t an environment I could thrive in.” 

This brings attention to an absolutely essential point: introducing tech to students too late in their life is an omission of the fact that the many education systems are designed in such a way to, essentially, force teenagers (who want to go to university) to decide on their university studies years before they even apply. For example, in the UK, you have to choose your A-level subjects (equivalent to choosing study paths at upper secondary education in Denmark) around the age of 16. This, in practicality, limits the paths you can pursue for higher education. The basic tech lessons that you do get in school should be more than learning how to use Word and Excel. 

“Students at school are not introduced to tech at an early enough age. If you start showing them what tech is at the age of 19/20, it’s too late. At this point, they already know which direction they want to go. Most likely their minds have already been made up. It’s not that I think everyone should become a software developer, but what our goal is, is to introduce people to HOW technology is built, and then they make decisions for themselves about what interests them most and where they could potentially contribute.”

To return back to Plamena’s experience of studying in Denmark: dropping out of her Master’s clearly wasn’t the end for her. As the expression goes, when one door closes, another opens. The door that opened was the opportunity to make a change that no one in Denmark had, thus far, tried to make before: supporting women in tech:

“Thanks to networking shortly after, I met my mentor and he helped me more than I could ever imagine. He came up to me one day and told me: “You are better than you think you are”. This was all I needed to start pushing myself and motivating myself. I realised that if one person could do this for me, what’s stopping me from establishing an organisation where we have plenty of mentors so people can find that one person, or more, to give them that push that I got from my mentor.”

A mentor that Plamena has had from a very young age has been her grandmother (but also her mother, and father…her whole family). 

“I was born into a family where my father was the cook in the house, and my mother has her own business. My grandmother is also a freaking fighter and my role model. She never gave up on anything – she even bungee jumped at the age of 65. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by kickass women in my family. So coming from a very small town, I had a very different vision of what it would be like coming to Denmark.”

Coming to Denmark was the turning point for Plamena, and it was here that she realised just how much of a need there is for organisations to support women in the tech industry. One of the biggest challenges, however, is working out where to focus the energy on making a change. As we discussed, it doesn’t matter how much support, energy, or time you give to women in technology; if this energy isn’t matched by the organisations they end up working for, the support will be able to effectuate little change. And that’s why WonderCoders’ goal for 2021 is the following: shifting some of the focus from women to the organisations that women actually end up working for – kind of like hitting two birds with one stone. 

By helping organisations better themselves and become more open, accepting, and inclusive, the great side effect is not only that women feel more empowered in the workspace, but also that girls and women aspiring to work in the technology sector have something great to look up to. It’s like a self-reinforcing mechanism: the better the tech industry becomes at giving women a platform, the more women will feel inspired and determined to join the industry – this then results in an even more inclusive environment, inspiring more people and so on. 

“We are supposed to help and empower each other. If you don’t understand it, you should not reject it. Women make 85% of the buying decisions in technology, so I will never believe that tech is a ‘man thing’. It’s not enough to only be consumers.”

A special thank you to Plamena Cherneva for taking the time to discuss the great work of WonderCoders and Nordic Women in Tech Awards. You can reach out to Plamena and read more about her journey on LinkedIn

If you want to read more about entrepreneurship, company culture, leadership, or marketing, continue reading Nicolai Vittrup’s blog or reach out to Nicolai Vittrup himself on LinkedIn. For everything SEO-, PPC-, and web-related, see Webamp

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Emil Asmussen on Leadership: “Let’s Give it a Go”

Emil Asmussen on Leadership: “Let’s Give it a Go”

Author: Emily Hunt

Image courtesy of Emil Asmussen.


Emil Asmussen, Creative Director at Virtue Northern Europe, the creative agency by VICE, recently spoke to Webamp about leadership. Asmussen is both a Creative Director and writer working in both advertisement and entertainment. His work has been featured by CNN, BBC, Fox News, World Economic Forum, The Guardian, Wired, and  Fast Company. 

Asumussen did not start out with the intention of becoming a creative director. At university, he studied language and communications. He shares that he became particularly involved with political communications and thought he was going to be working somewhere such as City Hall. However, after a while he found he was bored and the suit and tie world simply was not for him

He knew some people working in creative jobs and thought, ‘It looks like they have the most fun job.’ Asmussen describes his eureka moment recalling, 

“I had a moment when I was in the library writing my thesis when I looked to the wall and noticed an advertising book. I took it down and started flipping through it. I was particularly drawn to copywriting. I thought, ‘I guess I could be a writer.’ I had always done blogging and writing for magazines on the side, so I thought ‘let’s give it a go.’”

Soon after, he helped a friend by doing some writing for a Ford advertisement which ended up being nominated for various awards shows. Then, Asumussen naturally became a copywriter which shifted to a position as an associate creative director to his current position at Virtue as the head Creative Director in Northern Europe. He shares the importance of his foundation in studying language saying, 

“Copywriting and Creative Direction are about simplicity and cutting everything away. So, the better understanding you have of language and grammar the easier it is to determine what is essential for communicating what you have to say.”

Image courtesy of Emil Asmussen.


Keeping Creative in Light of COVID-19

Asmussen shares that in a COVID-19 world working internationally feels natural because everyone is always meeting via call anyways. Although he works with other offices in London, Berlin, Zurich, and Sweden it doesn’t feel any different than working with someone who is 20 minutes away. He emphasizes, 

“I think a key thing is to remember is to keep the creative work fun and to find ways of keeping the process of creating something interesting for the people who are involved. Oftentimes, if the process of creating is not fun, then the chances are that it will not be a fun creative project for the viewers. A lot of my work now is figuring out how to keep the creative spark burning when I am not sitting in the same room as the people I am creating with.” 

 Asmussen shares his team has definitely been working on how to replicate the natural flow and exchange of energy that is so integral to creative collaboration over video calls. He states, 

“The creative process is about both insecurities and confidence. When creating collaboratively it is important to have feedback from those you are working with from body language and other subtle cues. That is much harder to cultivate in a digital space. Questions such as, ‘Did this joke land?’ or ‘Was anyone else touched by this thought?’ are much harder to figure out when communicating digitally. These sorts of explicitly human interactions are very different now.” 

Asmussen shares that letting go of formal meetings and having time to simply hang out on a call or take a socially distanced walk together can help a lot. Allowing people to have time to think creatively on their own and collaboratively before meeting formally about a project can help foster creativity.

If you would like to stay up to date on everything Emil Asmussen is doing, then connect with him on LinkedIn. Additionally, to see more of his work visit his website.

Skal vi tale sammen?



Nanna Schultz on working with your customers instead of for them

NANNA SCHULTZ ON WORKING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS INSTEAD OF FOR THEM.

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke to Nanna Schultz , founder and CEO of Momkind about her experience as an entrepreneur and mother, how to deal with failures and the importance of research before you launch a product.

Nanna Schultz ended up on the path she took into entrepreneurship somewhat by chance, having had the desire to start her own business but with no clear idea what it would be. Her moment of clarity came when listening to a podcast episode during her maternity leave for her second child sparked an idea within her that led her to give life to Momkind, a third child of sorts. Living in New York as a first time mother, she had found her expectations of what the postpartum experience would be like to be way off. The birth had gone well, she just felt a sense of pressure surrounding the fact that she had become somebody’s mother, just like that. She observed that during pregnancy, we have a tendency to focus on our bodies and wellbeing, everyone rushes to take care of us. A shift happens as soon as we give birth, our focus becomes entirely on the baby, the mother’s needs and experiences become secondary, almost forgotten about. Momkind is a way for Nanna to refocus the way we approach motherhood and postpartum life. Born from an idea sparked while listening to the How I Built This podcast by NPR with an American mother who had set up a company collating postpartum boxes with products from different brands for new mothers. Nanna took this a step further with Momkind and set out to create her own products along with a community for new mothers navigating life postpartum. Utilising the time her maternity leave gave her, she started contacting brands and planning what kind of products she wanted her boxes to contain. Her first product was a mesh panty designed specifically for postpartum that was a redesign of the standard hospital ones that often lead new mothers feeling less like themselves, less like women. Being a mother in hospital is a strange paradigm to find oneself in, you’re not an ill patient but you’re sort of treated like one. Nanna set out to change this, ordering 4000 units to her front door with no idea where it would lead her. She soon discovered that she had found a market that spoke to a group of people who are often forgotten about, selling products that weren’t really readily available to anyone yet. And so Nanna was now an entrepreneur. Fast forward a year and the Momkind team has expanded and moved out of her home and into an office that they are rapidly outgrowing as the community builds and the business goes from strength to strength. Becoming an entrepreneur with a young family takes a lot of guts, but Nanna is a testament to the fact that it is possible if you put your mind to it. 

“When you enter the world of entrepreneurship you’re told you’ll have to juggle everything and you’ll have to turn your back on your family and things will get a little crazy. It was very important to me to show that it is possible even with two kids.”

Entering into the world of entrepreneurship means facing the fact that you’re going to fail, often. It’s how you deal with those failures that will determine how far you go. Nanna has perfected the art of having faith in her ability to figure things out. When faced with a roadblock or mistake, she simply breathes through it, choosing not to dwell on it and continuing on her path forwards, even if it is in a slightly different direction than she anticipated. Growth is an ongoing process, with twists and turns, detours and reroutes along the way. It is not easy but seeing something develop from an idea into a close knit community of like minded must feel rather amazing. The community is the foundation of Momkind, without their support and feedback, Nanna’s brainchild would not have grown in the way it has over the short space of a year. In fact that’s where it all began, with her growing the instagram and facebook pages before she even had a product to launch, allowing her to seek valuable insights and feedback from her future customers during the product development process. Nanna has learnt the importance of asking questions, of never assuming you have all the answers and the power of creating with the customer instead of for them. A process that is so far removed from the norm, it’s inspiring to see. 

“Co-creation is at the forefront of everything we do.”

A strong sense of purpose is another thing that the foundations of Momkind are built on. A purpose fuelled by a promise that no mother would ever feel alone, a promise to break taboos by having open and honest conversations about  postpartum experiences. Take a visit to the Momkind instagram and you will find an authentic balance between serious and humorous, setting a tone for open communication within an accepting community. This was something that Nanna has identified that she really wished she’d had access to as a first time mother, overwhelmed by her feelings and emotions that felt like a confusing whirlwind of negative and positive all mixed into one. 

“I felt it was the craziest thing that had ever happened to me and so needed to be able to laugh about it for it to feel less intense.”

At the end of her first year in the world of entrepreneurship, Nanna has learnt a lot. Her advice to those embarking on this journey is this : talk to a lot of people. Talk to people before you take the plunge. Talk to people who don’t necessarily agree with you, they’ll help you to highlight your blind spots and see the things you’d normally miss. Talk to people that don’t look like you, make sure your team includes a variety of perspectives and backgrounds else you may as well be talking to yourself. Talk to people and build your network, it’s important to have people around you that can help you with the things you don’t know anything about yourself. Talk to the people you serve about your ideas and concepts, get their feedback and truly take it on board. It can be so easy to become protective of your ideas, but without these important conversations you run the risk of launching products into a world you know nothing about, for people you know nothing about. And last but not least, talk to yourself, make sure you know what your vision is, your purpose. Tell yourself it’s ok when things don’t go to plan. Tell yourself it’s ok that your business plan changes every five minutes to take into account the craziness of the world you now find yourself in. Without conversations like these Nanna would not be where she is today, with a strong community of mothers behind her and a promise to them that they will never be alone. What a beautiful thing to have built.

Webamp would like to extend its gratitude to Nanna for sharing her journey and words of wisdom. If you were inspired by Nanna’s story, visit Momkind.dk to continue the conversation, become part of the instagram or facebook communities or connect with her on Linkedin

For more stories of entrepreneurship visit the blog, continue the conversation with Nicolai Vittrup on Linkedin and visit webamp.dk for all your seo, ppc and web related needs.

Skal vi tale sammen?



Mindpool and Collective Intelligence: 1+1=3

MINDPOOL AND COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: 1+1=3

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Soren Wiberg Holm, Head of Strategy & Operations and part of the Founding Team at Mindpool, explains the concept of collective intelligence in this interview. Soren communicates the necessity of tapping into, often overlooked, human intelligence within corporate structures, and mobilising this crowd-intelligence through the use of technology – creating endless possibilities for companies. 

Mindpool is a startup which has caught the attention of many since its inception in just 2019. With a mission statement of activating and mobilising collective intelligence within companies, through the use of technology, Mindpool aids organisations by facilitating more insightful, efficient, and sustainable decision-making. By setting up mechanisms and processes through which the unbounded and untapped intelligence of employees can be communicated and transmitted to those in managerial positions, organisations are able to utilise, often omitted, internal resources which exist right under their own noses. 

As a company founded on the basis of highly compelling research, Mindpool is dedicated to making the pursuit of collective intelligence tangible – tangible in the sense that the impressive and convincing research on collective intelligence can be genuinely converted into a pragmatic tool to be used in practice within existing corporate structures. Helping facilitate this process is the diverse experience and knowledge from all founders, and the rest of the excelling Mindpool team.

“Dr. Carina Antonia Hallin, one of our co-founders, has spent over 10 years researching crowd-predictions, and is one of the absolute best in the field. The rest of us came on with commercial backgrounds, creating a golden combination of commercial, operational, and research experience. For example, Mik Thobo-Carlsen, one of our other co-founders, is an experienced serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in building companies that scale. And then there is Bjarke Ingels, also co-founder, and very much a person that truly encompasses the notion of innovation and new ways of thinking. The common denominator is an experience of working with or in companies that really miss out by not tapping into their collective intelligence.”

Thus, what makes Mindpool so unique as an organisation is its ability to leverage an array of competences from an array of fields, with all research being grounded in the reality of organisations and their decision-making processes. 

Collective intelligence ≠ groupthink 

The most logical starting point for this interview was asking Soren what collective intelligence actually means and entails. As a dense and complex term, the Mindpool team views it as imperative to be able to condense collective intelligence into an unambiguous and observable phenomenon, leading to the following definition:

“Collective intelligence is really what we would label an emergent property – a resource that emerges from combining intelligence of groups that can be used for a lot of things, including predicting, solving problems, or discovering new ideas. To me, collective intelligence is the use of distributed human intelligence that is augmented by technology and used for powerful decision-making – it’s the power of combined human and technological capabilities for making better and more informed decisions.”

To boil this definition down into a simplified equation: aggregated human intelligence + technology = collective intelligence, which helps navigate complex organisational cogitation, innovation, and prediction. As such, Mindpool is not only a tool for agglomerating data from employees within a company, it’s also a tool for providing solutions for the most critical decisions that have to be made. 

However, as Soren points out, collective intelligence is not a means to an end. It’s not something designed to be implemented on a one-off occasion. To truly grasp the full potential of the power of combined internal human intelligence, the process of aggregating, processing, and presenting data has to be iterative. This means that the process of garnering collective intelligence has to manifest within the corporate structure – that’s what makes mindpooling sustainable. 

Making sure mindpooling is integrated into the processes of organisations has both intrinsic and instrumental value. Intrinsic value refers to something valuable in and of itself, whereas instrumental value has connotations of producing value externally of the “thing” in question – in this case, collective intelligence vis-à-vis Mindpool’s platform.

Instrumentally, Mindpool offers, as aforementioned, a tool for aggregating, processing, and presenting data – transforming quantitative and qualitative information into predictions and insights with tangible actions for companies. However, the value of the platform doesn’t just end here. In addition to practical and perceptible impacts aiding decision-making, collective intelligence is also, arguably, inherently a tool with unmatched value. Aggregating information from employees across an organisation means the actual process of collective intelligence in itself produces new heights of employee engagement and feelings of worthiness. As Soren summarises:

“Employees are used to being asked about how they feel, if they’re happy being in the company, and what they think of their boss or manager. But with our tool, they’re being asked to contribute with important business insights, what their predictions are for business performance, and why they think this. It creates an extreme facilitation of feeling and being a valuable part of the company and knowing that input matters. So even though we’re not an engagement tool, it’s a significant secondary benefit of activating people for business insights and decision-making.”

Of course, anyone could argue that the effect of employee engagement is just as much an example of instrumental value as intrinsic value. However, to the people who believe this, I would say the following: collective intelligence doesn’t precede employee engagement, it simply is employee engagement. 

Mindpooling the frontline 

“So whose minds are being pooled through the use of Mindpool?”, any inquisitive mind would ask. 

“Any group of people, organization, or parts of a company really have valuable collective intelligence. To give you one concrete example, the frontline is especially relevant – and perhaps the MOST fruitful sources of intelligence, as they are the ones often siloed, unasked, and untapped. Let’s consider a bank – a bank has perhaps 2000 employees on the frontline, which include customer service or sales. Imagine the interactions that these employees experience everyday: talking to customers, clients, stakeholders etc. When they have these interactions, they pick up on what’s called tacit knowledge – hidden knowledge, that relates to intuition. These could be things like whether people are taking money out of the bank because they’re nervous about safety, or because they’re looking at competitors for new solutions. In addition, frontline employees often have a highly relevant understanding of issues, problems, and potential solutions to these.”

This knowledge shouldn’t remain untapped knowledge – tacit knowledge has an abundance of crucial and invaluable information that, when aggregated, can become a powerful tool to guide predictions, insights, and any decision-making. 

The problem with this knowledge – the reason why it is so under-utilised – is that finding an efficient method to collect and process this information is incredibly difficult. That’s why Mindpool decided to come up with a solution for it through the development of their platform. 

“There’s so much to this untapped knowledge, that if you went to a frontline employee, they would often not know what to tell you or where to begin. You wouldn’t be able to ask them to write up a report for management. What you can do with Mindpool is aggregate this information and funnel it up to the decision-makers, presenting a frictionless and intuitive flow for the frontline to pass information through. After aggregating this information, the Mindpool tools, methods, and algorithms process this data for decision-makers so they can use it in a tangible way.”

The collective action problem is a scenario that has long been used to exemplify the problems that arise within groups working towards the same goal. One of the main problems is that, oftentimes, individuals don’t view their individual contributions as holding enough weight to impact the outcome (as long as others contribute), and, thus, they simply don’t contribute. Though organisations don’t necessarily suffer from this collective action problem in a strict sense, comparison to this scenario is still valuable because it highlights the importance of people believing their individual opinions, insights, or actions do in fact matter. 

Soren makes this explicit through talking about how integral the function of feedback loops are. This, also, links back to the importance of mindpooling being an iterative process. To summarise this, imagine the following scenario: you work in the customer service department of an insurance company, and you’re asked about your predictions for the next quarter. After giving your insights and contributions, you have no clue where your information went, how the information you provided impacted those at the top in any way, or whether decisions were taken in consideration of, or despite of, the insights you gave. 

To truly integrate collective intelligence as a sustainable mechanism within organisations, transparency and feedback need to be embedded in every step – which is what Mindpool has done with thoughtfully developed feedback loops. As Soren says: 

“The feedback loops are super important. On our platform, we have both respondents and managers who can look at and use the data in specific ways. But the loops between these two entities are vital. The way that data is fed back, acted upon and communicated makes a crucial difference. If employees don’t have a good experience with these different aspects of the process, then the quality of data decreases and the participation levels become an issue to the point where it doesn’t matter how complex our algorithms are on the backend.”

The difference between an employee who knows their insights were taken into consideration (and maybe even incorporated into decision-making) and an employee who has no idea where their forecasts ended up is the difference between an engaged employee and a disconnected one. The former is much more likely to not just keep giving their insights, but also to want to keep giving their insights. And this contributes to what Mindpool calls the ‘corporate/collective IQ’. 

Corporate IQ: measuring mobilisation of collective intelligence

Soren explains that Mindpool has several mechanisms that are to be set in place overtime to ease the process of aggregating collective intelligence and ensuring its longevity within corporate structures. One of these mechanisms is measuring and providing an organizational-individual and changing ‘corporate IQ’. 

“It’s a measurement of how good an organisation is at mobilising the collective intelligence of their company. This measure has several different parameters to determine whether a company has a higher or lower level of ‘corporate IQ’, such as diversity in answers and demographics, the frequency and level of response, how much people are participating etc. Then based on this, we aim to provide organisations with an assessment of how successful they are at tapping into the collective intelligence of their employees. If the CIQ is dropping, there’s an issue – and we will try to provide advice to ensure organisations are performing to their best ability to utilise the inputs from across the organisation.”

As Soren explains, the process of mindpooling is of little worth if mechanisms, like the one above, are not set in place to make sure all processes are as frictionless and efficient as possible. This is exactly the same principle behind the justification for integrating feedback loops – without this, the complexity of algorithms and data processing hold little value. Communication and transparency; these are the two pillars acting as the foundation of Mindpool’s platform. 

The beauty of all of this is that all knowledge, information, input – however you want to refer to it – is internal. It’s literally an untapped resource manifested within an organisation (the only external element being the Mindpool platform, designed to unlock and mobilise all this wealth of intelligence). To put things into perspective, in 2018, companies from across the world spent an aggregated amount of over $150 billion on consulting services. The cost of mobilising internal, tacit, knowledge, through the use of Mindpool, would be less than a perceivable fraction of this cost. 

However, Soren notes that it’s important to remember that:

“We don’t claim that Mindpool directly has to replace existing processes or data collection, we simply claim it’s a very powerful supplementary source of information for organizations.”

The ingenuity of this is that this ‘supplementary source of information’ is coming from sources right under your nose – it’s coming from all of the employees that make up the organisation in question, and, thus, have a bountiful supply of relevant information. 

1+1=3

At the end of the day, all the work that Mindpool is carrying out is enabled by the advanced technology that we’re surrounded by today. This emerging tech is a strong topic of interest for Soren, and something that has motivated his interest in collective intelligence:

“My background is in strategy consulting, but tech, especially emerging tech, was a large touchpoint. The combination of technology and our complex human intelligence seems like a no-brainer. So with the power of tech, and the power of the human mind – why are we not doing more to combine the two? If we can augment human intelligence with tech, then we’re able to go much further than either or can do on its own. Tech and human intelligence shouldn’t work in parallel, they should be combined to tap into unlimited potential of humans.”

Collective intelligence, ultimately, has unbounded potential in the corporate world with regard to helping inform and influence decision-making. However, CI isn’t constrained to the corporate world, necessarily, Soren points out. The notion of “democratising access to knowledge”, as Soren puts it, should be utilised on all levels throughout society:

“Mindpooling allows us to tap into a deeper collective level of knowledge – you can imagine it as a 1+1=3 scenario. The phenomenon of the use of CI can take a lot of shapes and sizes, with the ability to influence decision-making on both a societal level, as well as an organisational level.”

To unleash all of this wealth of dormant knowledge – collective intelligence – is like discovering new perspectives, new approaches, new ideas etc. And if there’s one thing that Soren stresses, it’s this: “We should never forget the sheer capabilities of the human mind.”

I’d like to extend a very special thank you to Soren for taking the time to explain the importance of collective intelligence, as well as its unbounded potential. If you want to keep up with the Mindpool journey, find them on LinkedIn or their website. You can also reach out to Soren on LinkedIn!

If you want to continue reading about innovative companies, check out the other posts on this blog here. You can also reach out to Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn, or use the contact form on this website to leave any comments or questions. To learn about everything SEO, PPC, and web-related, explore the content produced by Webamp

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Rebecca Thandi Norman – “it will never be less complicated than it is right now.”

REBECCA THANDI NORMAN – “IT WILL NEVER BE LESS COMPLICATED THAN IT IS RIGHT NOW”

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke to Rebecca Thandi Norman, editor in chief of Scandinavia Standard about creating communities, the danger of being consumed by your inbox and learning how to make u-turns in the face of roadblocks. 

Frustration can manifest in many different ways. For some it can paralyse, stop you in your tracks and leave you confused about which direction to go. For others it can be a catalyst for change, an undeniable push away from the way things have always been. In Rebecca’s case it was the latter, frustrated with the lack of a singular platform for internationals in Scandinavia to find all the information they needed in english to live a culturally rich life there. From that frustration Scandinavia Standard was born, brought to life in collaboration with a new friend, Freya McOmish. 

“As immigrants to Denmark, it took us years to figure out how to live culturally rich lives there, because everything is in Danish. We wanted to create a beautiful, functional platform that would show people – locals, travellers, and Scandiphiles around the world – what was going on in the region.”

Since the beginning of their journey as first-time business women, Rebecca and her team have learnt a lot about how to turn an idea into reality. Everything has been done with the intention of building a community and understanding for their readers, all with a touch of fun, of course. This journey hasn’t always been easy but often it’s the times that things go wrong that teach you the most.

“Building a business is all about learning how to make a U-turn when you hit a dead end and find another path.”

Being able to adapt and reroute when faced with difficulty is a skill that will serve you well in the business world. It’s rarely possible to predict how things will pan out, to know the twists and turns you will encounter along your journey. No two stories are the same, but there’s a lot to learn from the stories of others. From Rebecca we can learn how to use stubbornness to our advantage, to use it to propel us forwards even at times when we are close to giving up. 

“When we weren’t making enough money to pay ourselves, it felt so frustrating because we were putting in all this time and effort and passion, but we weren’t getting the outcome we wanted. But I am incredibly stubborn and I love this business. I know that people find it helpful in their lives, I know they find it beautiful, I know it brings people joy. So that’s worthwhile to me.”

Believing in what you do is more important than any action you could take when starting your own business. From belief comes determination and a persistence in the face of challenges. Belief is what keeps you going when things get tough, it is the light at the end of the tunnel when making a dream become reality. And yet all the belief in the world will only get you so far. Despite having made a decision to go out and make it on your own, it is so incredibly important to remember how much we can learn from those around us. It is not weak to ask for help, it is wise. Others can often see the things we miss, a bit of distance can make everything clearer and seeking the opinions of others can help us to look at things from a different perspective. Rebecca is a strong advocate for asking for input from others. 

“I love constructive criticism. I don’t know everything about writing, or editing, and I love understanding how others see our content. The most helpful criticisms have been short messages from readers that show me a totally different way of looking at something, and it makes me change the way we approach that subject.”

Change sees us grow and evolve in ways we could never have imagined, our skills strengthened and diversified by the obstacles and diversions we have encountered along the way. In writing especially, time only makes our voices become clearer, wiser and more insightful. For a publication such as Scandinavia Standard, the audience is just as important as the content it shares. With the aim of building a community comes the responsibility to ensure the voice and topics discussed appeals to the right people. This takes time and experience, the ability to adapt and expand, something that Rebecca and her growing team have had to deal with first hand. 

“I used to write in a much more personal way – you can see that from early articles – and as we grew, that style had to evolve in order to include other writers in our universe. Scandinavia Standard was never meant to be a personal blog, so I had to find that balance of personable but not personal.”

 

As the business grew, so did her team, with new writers being brought on board to discuss an ever widening range of topics. Bringing in new contributors can be tricky and it’s important to make sure their voices and visions align with the existing platform. For Rebecca, the perfect content writer is curious, with specific knowledge in their areas of interest. She looks for people who stick to a deadline and is able to take on board constructive criticism, but perhaps the most important quality is having a unique voice with an understanding of how it fits into the brand universe. No two voices are the same but having a group of people with the same vision and understanding of what is trying to be achieved makes for a publication that has a clear message for its readers. It’s about growing together and being truly passionate in the things you are writing about. 

“One of my mottos is, “it will never be less complicated than it is right now.” As you grow your business, things get more layered and complex. There are more people to think about, the projects get bigger, the stakes get higher. I think it’s important to be grateful for the point you’re at, when you’re there, even if it comes with its own set of problems. It will never get less complicated.”

With growth comes more responsibilities, more people to bring together and more projects to manage. Over time this can become more difficult to manage and it can be easy to become overwhelmed by it all. To stay on top of this, Rebecca starts off every working day by checking her emails. 

“It’s important to me that I respond to people in a timely manner and that I feel on top of my work, but I also hate getting consumed by emails. David Gilboa, the co-founder of Warby Parker, said that “emails are a to-do list others create for you without your consent,” and that really stuck with me. So I give myself an hour for emails, then I move on to content.”

Setting boundaries is important, knowing what time you have to allocate to each thing and making sure you stick to it. In running a business it can quickly become more about what others need from you instead of what you are capable of giving to others. A line must be drawn somewhere. This year, more than ever before, the boundaries have been pushed and the lines have been blurred as we’ve all had to adapt to an unrecognisable outside world. There is no formula to apply to get us through the uncertainty, just as there is also no formula for setting up a successful business no matter what the external circumstances may be. It’s easy to look back in hindsight and see the steps you needed to take to get from A to B. 

“I wish I had known how long it would take in order to make real money. It takes a long time. You have to be prepared for that, and realistic with yourself (and your family) about what’s possible for you, both in terms of time and money commitment.” 

Being realistic and honest about what you’re prepared to give to the drive towards eventually reaching financial security doesn’t mean having a list and sticking to it. Time has a tendency to shift our perspectives, it changes what we’re capable of as we overcome obstacles and learn new skills. Malleability is a secret weapon to have in your entourage as a business owner, the willingness to try something new and push the boundaries of what has been done before. Looking to others for inspiration is a way to stay open minded, to see the vastness of what is possible and learn from those who have gone before us. Inspiration can be found anywhere, in anyone, for Rebecca, that person is artist David Hockney. 

“What I really love about his work is how he’s always willing to try something new. He isn’t tied to any particular medium or subject; it’s so clear that he derives a lot of joy from the process of art. Like Hockney, I believe that all style is essentially an affectation. I love exploring that. That idea has helped me understand that I can change as needed; that my work is a reflection of me in some way, but it isn’t me.”

We can learn so much from each other, from sharing the things that inspire us with others, to bringing each other together in the communities we have built for ourselves. Scandinavia Standard was borne out of frustration but it has blossomed into a beautiful community of people who want to broaden their horizons, make the most of the places they live in and gain insight into the goings on of the Scandinavian region. This is a testament to the determination of two women who had a vision they refused to give up on. Rebecca and Freya are an inspiration to us all. 

We would like to extend our thanks to Rebecca for speaking with us. If you enjoyed hearing about the story behind Scandinavia Standard head over to the site to become part of the community, or connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn. Image Credit: Freya McOmish

If you would like to read more about entrepreneurship and leadership, head over to the blog. Connect with Nicolai Vittrup on Linkedin and check out Webamp.dk for all your web related needs. 

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Making the unique the new standard: ZenseHome’s lighting revolution

MAKING THE UNIQUE THE NEW STANDARD: ZENSEHOME’S LIGHTING REVOLUTION

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Webamp interviewed Nicklas Pedersen, marketing manager of ZenseHome. Nicklas shared what he’s learned along the way, the importance of being unique in everything you do, challenging the status quo, and redefining the way people approach things.

ZenseHome, founded in 2006, is an ‘intelligent traditional electrical installation company’, providing an entire package within which consumers can control the light systems in their homes, with features from dimming to measuring power consumption. What ZenseHome is trying to do with lighting can be compared to what IBM did with the Simon Personal Communicator – the first smartphone ever launched, redefining the playing field of phones and consumer spending patterns. ZenseHome is on a mission to transform their unique, bold, and intelligent idea into the new norm in the realm of lighting. 

Making the unique the new standard 

Making something new and innovative into the new standard is a challenge, but a feat made more likely when the idea propelling the change is truly a smart one.

“Considering the popularity of technological products in general, the smart lighting suppliers haven’t succeeded yet. Due to this fact, we like to focus on the traditional electrical installation as our main competitor. When thinking about it this way it differs a lot from a phone brand in the current market for phones and smartphones especially. Going years back we had a market where the smartphones were the unique models and clap phones etc had the majority of the market. Today the generic word for a phone has turned into the smartphone and we would like to make ZenseHome or intelligent lighting the new generic word for electrical installation.”

ZenseHome goes above and beyond the other smart lighting suppliers out there by providing a complete package whereby customers don’t need to purchase specialised wiring and installation, but, rather, a package of smart lighting components as an add-on to their traditional electrical installation. This is part of the company’s adamant mission to make the entire lighting process less complex to the layperson, removing the stigmas from electrical installations. 

This is just one of the ways ZenseHome is trying to make itself stand out from other companies in the same industry, according to Nicklas. It’s no secret that companies, in order to set themselves apart from their competitors, need a unique selling point (USP). When asking Nicklas was ZenseHome’s USP was, this was his response:

“First off, Danish technology, in addition to sustainable electricity. But if I should choose an overall USP for ZenseHome, it would be: the ability to simplify the complexity of intelligent lighting control.” 

This links to an incredibly important point: when you sell a product, often overlooked, or taken for granted, is that you don’t just sell a product – you’re also selling an experience. You could have the technically best pair of headphones out there, but if you provide crappy customer service, make it impossible for people to understand the tech behind the product, or simply complicate any process leading up to, and including, the sale itself, you’re doing something wrong. This is what ZenseHome is trying to challenge – it should be simple, easy, and convenient to get the lighting you want in your home, and you don’t need to be a tech geek to get the job done. 

The marketing behind lighting

One of the biggest components of being able to make intelligent lighting the new standard is good marketing. That’s where Nicklas steps in as marketing manager at ZenseHome. 

ZenseHome is an example of a company which hasn’t been negatively affected by COVID. In fact, with lockdowns and people being forced to stay more indoors, people have started taking more time to contemplate home improvements and renovations – enter ZenseHome. 

Despite the company not being adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic, Nicklas still has to make sure ZenseHome’s marketing strategy is stronger than ever before. 

“My main goal as a marketing manager is to optimize our communication and customer journey so customers buy our products through online channels rather than through the electricians, which is the way it has always been done.”

This links back to redefining the way things are done. It’s not just the product itself, it’s the entire journey and process of finding, considering, investing in, installing, and enjoying intelligent light systems; ZenseHome is stepping in at every point in this journey to help redefine, simplify, and innovate. But doing this is a lot easier said than done. Nicklas mentions that timing is absolutely essential to implementing a bulletproof marketing strategy. 

“The toughest part of being a marketing manager is keeping up with the many new possibilities within marketing and to execute these at the same time. If you do it right, you are the first mover in your market and will be able to take some market share. I have also learned the importance of thinking about different marketing tools in the overall marketing strategy. The synergy of using the right tools together can be the difference between success and failure.”  

Being the first mover is tough, but not impossible. To be able to be the first mover means capturing a crucial segment of the market and reaping the benefits before anyone else, namely, your competitors, can. As also illuminated by Nicklas, there are, the majority of the time, several aspects to a marketing strategy. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. With the right pieces, and enough haste, you can build an incredibly strong and competitive strategy, but remove one of the pieces and all of a sudden, the puzzle is incomplete and, thus, weakened. 

But the next puzzle is: how much should strategies be based on evidence or experimentation? This was Nicklas’s two cents on the matter:

“‘Never change a winning strategy’, but if you want to challenge the status quo you’ll need to experiment alongside your winning strategy. In our market none of our competitors have found the winning strategy yet, so it is all about balancing between the main parts of online marketing and testing new ideas.”

A massive thank you to Nicklas Pedersen for sharing his thoughts on staying innovative and challenging the status quo. You can find him on LinkedIn, as well as ZenseHome (alternatively, find them on their website). 

If you’re interested in reading more on the topic, check out the other posts on this blog here. You can also reach out to Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn, or use the contact form on this website to leave any comments or questions. To learn about everything SEO, PPC, and web-related, explore the content over at Webamp

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Felicity Wingrove : “The more I learn, the more I realise there are more questions.”

FELICITY WINGROVE: “THE MORE I LEARN, THE MORE I REALISE THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS.”

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke to Felicity Wingrove, managing director of Zen Communications, master of language and PR wizard about doing the right thing, the power of communication and the magic that can occur when you listen to your inner voice.

Felicity always assumed she would be a speech writer, growing up engrossed in the speeches of people such as Martin Luther King Jr and Winston Churchill when her peers had their noses within the pages of More Magazine. She spent her time trying to work out how these influential figures had not just changed their world but THE world through the simplest act of carefully selecting their words. She studied English Language Linguistics at University and upon graduating found herself working for a PR agency, embarking on a 22 year long career (so far) in the PR world. She has continued her studies alongside her career, obtaining a slew of qualifications in a variety of fields including neuro-linguistic programming, behavioural psychology, and psycholinguistics. Felicity launched her own agency thirteen years ago after becoming increasingly frustrated with a two dimensional way of doing things in the world of public relations. 

“I wanted to do things differently and bring in the appreciation for the power of language that is missing from traditional PR.”

Fed up with things always being based around competition between the two sides rather than collaboration, Felicity always felt there was never a true partnership between agencies and their clients. People told her she was too idealistic, that it sounded great on a greetings card but it would never work in real life. Yet she had this idea that PR should be about genuine partnerships, where you can have honest conversations and remove the combative competition with the client. You can achieve so much more when you’re not afraid of failing. Zen Communications was born from a yearning to sit in integrity, to do the right thing for the right reasons even if no one’s watching, a personal mantra that Felicity has lived by since childhood. She built her own agency where she could really partner with her clients, where she absolutely cared about them and where she could become embedded in their businesses. For her it wasn’t about being a cheerleader, it was about being a bodyguard. Magic happens when your clients trust you and you have built a relationship that allows the client to be vulnerable. The foundations of Zen are built upon a desire to empower others, to help people and organisations to communicate with mastery. 

“When you communicate with absolute mastery, you’re standing in your power, you’re standing in your authenticity. It’s a beautiful gift to give someone- the ability to fully understand and be understood.”

Most of the issues in our world come from miscommunication. The whole process of communication is a minefield littered with all sorts of challenges to be overcome. 

We have to overcome our own individual view of the world, the sunglasses through which we see everything and that’s ever changing. It’s changed by your nutrition, the things you’ve seen on television, whether you’ve studied, what you’ve studied and the life experiences you have.

“As a master communicator, my role is to pick up on that, to notice cues and adapt and flex the descriptors that I use. I can do that using all sorts of tools and tactics and models that I know. By teaching business owners, and leaders in particular how to do exactly the same, I’m giving them and their teams the ability to feel that wonderful sensation of mastery of communication.” 

Being clear on what you want to say and how you want to say it is the cornerstone of successful communication. Communicating clearly and effectively is about more than stringing words together to form a sentence. It’s about making everyone feel held by the message that you’re giving them. Felicity’s driver is helping the people she works with be curious about their communication. It isn’t just what we were taught in school. It’s not prescribed rules and communicating in a way that is correct, it’s an entire suite of tools and tactics that can be deployed deliberately to achieve specific aims and create emotional connection. 

The way we communicate is ever changing, ever evolving as the world we live in. It can take a while for us all to catch up. The lives of our parents and their parents and their parents before that looked very different to the world we live in today, and so the ways in which we live, work and communicate must be adjusted accordingly. The rulebooks that worked for them no longer apply to us. Felicity calls herself a renowned rule breaker. Not in the legal sense, rest assured but in a sense of striving for more, for better, for change. She actively chooses to go against the status quo in favour of fuelling her curiosity, intellectually and psychologically. This wasn’t always the case. It’s something she has learnt to do, a muscle she has strengthened over time. 

“When I started my career I always did what I thought I needed to do and I didn’t always listen to my inner voice. If I’m really honest I knew before I even joined the national agency that the traditional PR world wasn’t for me. I needed to do something differently.”

Her advice to those at the beginning of their journey : listen and act on your internal voice. Recognise what is completely non negotiable for you and chase it, otherwise you’re going to end up feeling like you’re selling your soul to Satan doing a job that makes you feel the need to shower every time you come home from work. That voice inside of you asking for more, asking for better, the one you keep hushing and ignoring? Listen to it and it will lead you to great things. It worked for Felicity. 

Each work day begins with selecting three things to get done by the end of the day. Not by checking her emails or jumping straight into meetings. Felicity sits down and looks at what SHE needs to do, not what someone else needs her to do. As a woman this is a very important boundary to set, what with a tendency to look back at the end of the day and feel unsatisfied with what has been achieved despite the fact of having an unrealistic pile to begin with. Three things keeps it manageable, realistic and within the boundaries of how much work should be done in a day. It helps to keep the balance between work and home life, one that, in the world of COVID-19 is ever difficult to juggle. More than ever, we have to be clear on when we’re working and when we’re not, else the lines will blur and boundaries will be broken down completely. This year has seen us moving the workplace into the spaces in which we cook, eat, sleep and relax with little time for prior planning. This shift has been difficult for us all, Felicity’s team at Zen included. Changes had to be made and so she made the swift move to abolish the concept of the working week as the UK found itself in its initial lockdown. Monday to Friday was no more, there were no set requirements to work from 9-5. Her workforce was left with the freedom to adapt their work day to suit them and their families’ needs as the world around them was turned upside down. This is just one example of the kind of leadership that Felicity embodies as managing director, building a workplace that exudes a positive company culture. 

“We’re so proud of our culture. We have thrown everything in terms of heart and soul at the culture. Our values are on the wall but they’re not just on the wall. We live and breathe them. We introduce them to things like personal development plans, we talk about how they are embodying our core values such as collaboration, asking them to recall a time they have truly collaborated with others and that’s what they get their pay rise on, that’s what they get their promotion for, is truly living the values.”

A challenge every company faces when developing its culture is ensuring that their values don’t just exist on a plaque on the wall. Culture can be well meaning but it’s all too easy to get swept up in making everything sound and look pretty. You can come up with beautiful images and beautiful words to embody the company culture but without a clear understanding within the workforce of how this translates into working life, it’s all just words and pictures plastered on the wall. As human beings we tend to believe that the way we see the world is how everyone else does as well. According to Felicity, a way we can get past this is ensuring that the culture is explained using all four communication styles, using 4mat. This technique works on the basis that there are how, what, why and what if people among us. Why people want a one liner, the purpose statement with all of the juice in that one line. What people want the chunky paragraph underneath, a bit more context. How people want 4-5 bullet points breaking down the specifics. What if people want to know what happens if it’s raining or if it happens on a tuesday. This is where most businesses make mistakes, they put too much emphasis on the overarching statement and don’t take the time to break it down in a way that ensures each employee understands. 

“The biggest challenge that businesses have from a culture perspective is to communicate that culture in a way that resounds with their team and that their team can take ownership of and move it away from something on the wall and towards something that exists in real life.”

When your employees can take ownership of the fact that they are truly a part of the company, that they are a part of building a positive working environment, everything else becomes easier. Communicating clearly in a way everyone can understand is a magical power that should be invested in more. 

Speaking of investments, Felicity is a strong believer in the importance of investing in yourself. An advocate for lifelong learning, growth is a personal value of hers that she takes very seriously. So seriously in fact that she and her partner could be mortgage free right now if it weren’t for their hunger to learn and deepen their knowledge. It’s an investment they will never regret. For Felicity this hunger for learning is spurred on by her sense of curiosity, the urge to ask questions and find the answers to them. She has actively sought out people who are an expert in what they do and she’s learned everything she can from them. This is a quest she will feel is never complete : “The more I learn the more I realise there are more questions.” In a world that tells you that if you go to school, get good grades, go to university and get a degree under your belt, you will have everything you need to start your career, it’s certainly refreshing to come across someone who openly admits they will never have all the answers. Someone who actively seeks opportunities to ask more questions. What’s more inspiring still is that she is consciously passing this curiosity onto her children, leaving a legacy behind in the form of an appreciation for learning that so few people have nowadays. Kids don’t do what we say, they do as we do. In modelling them for curiosity and lifelong learning, you give them a hunger for developing themselves that will benefit them in every aspect of their lives. Recounting a conversation with her five year old son on the walk to school, Felicity stresses the impact of this narrative. He explained that he found learning hard work and asked if they could go home instead, that she didn’t want to go to work just as he didn’t want to go to school. 

Her response was this: “I do want to go to work, it’s such a privilege to be able to go there. I’ve worked hard to be brilliant at what I do and I get to do it for a living. If you go to school and you study hard you can empower yourself not just to get a job but to follow your calling, to find your place in the world, to be whoever and whatever you want to be. But you can’t do that unless you’ve got this learning behind you, you need these tools to do it.” 

A small breadcrumb of the lessons she hopes to teach her children and one that emphasises the power mindset can have over your day to day existence. Shifting the narrative from ‘having’ to go to work to ‘getting’ to go to work really brings home the impact of the words we choose to communicate with. Using the word “have” is binary, it’s closed. “Get” triggers curiosity, it prompts you to process gratitude for even the smallest of things and suddenly putting on a load of washing becomes something to be grateful for, in the knowledge that you have beautiful clothes and you get to wear them. If there’s one thing that 2020 has prompted any of us to do, it’s to appreciate what we have. To appreciate the people we see, the homes we live in, the work we do, the lessons we hope to teach our children. It seems as though Felicity embodies this mindset of gratitude and curiosity in all that she does. We should all be more like Felicity. 

We’d like to thank Felicity for all her invaluable insights into the power of communication. To keep up with her work visit zen-communications.co.uk, connect with her on LinkedIn or like the company page. 

If you were inspired by the world of entrepreneurship and company culture, find more on the Blog, connect with Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn or go to Webamp.dk for all your web related needs. 

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Anita Klausen on the importance of believing in yourself.

ANITA KLAUSEN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BELIEVING IN YOURSELF

Author:  Sophie Moore


Webamp picked the brains of Neuromarketing expert Anita Klausen about what really makes her tick, how the world of marketing can benefit from the work she does and the importance of believing in yourself.

If you’d asked a younger Anita if she ever saw herself immersed in the marketing world she would have thought you were crazy. And yet here she is, embarking on a new journey as a self employed neuro-marketer, doing what she loves for a living. Her story begins during her studies where her dream was to become a multilingual simultaneous interpreter until her path took an unexpected turn once she came into contact with the world of marketing during her bachelor’s studies. At this time she did everything by the books, having two marketing jobs before becoming a board member, volunteering in the marketing departments of four organisations all while maintaining a very active blog that served as a news site for all things marketing. It all changed when she began focusing on her thesis, entitled ‘The role of Dopamine in Social Media interaction and CRM’ and she found her niche in the world of Neuromarketing. Once this interest was sparked, it grew within Anita like a wildfire. She became more and more rooted in the Neuromarketing world, being invited to speak at some of the largest marketing conferences, offered teaching positions, all pushing her to realise this was her calling. She ‘set up shop’ and founded her own company that would allow her to pursue these passion projects seriously as a professional alongside her regular job working at Bolius – where she had worked her way up to become their Head of Social, running social media campaigns and working closely with project managers and project management teams. She found herself feeling a little restless and frustrated, leading her to take a bold move and take a leap of faith in her own business, leaving her position at Bolius. Sometimes it takes hitting a wall to remind us of what’s important, to give us a push towards chasing our dreams rather than putting them to the side while we play it safe. Sometimes it takes realising we’re putting our potential on hold and denying ourselves the time and energy to focus on what truly matters to us. And so in August Anita decided to turn the focus on her own work, and start working for herself. 

It felt like a gamble in light of COVID-19, but so far it’s been a great decision both personally and professionally. It feels like the most natural thing and it’s definitely been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

It allows her to focus even more on neuromarketing while still being able to focus on advertising and paid media.  This year has seen a lot of us having to learn how to think outside of the box, to come up with new ways of working in an attempt to stay afloat amidst the crashing waves of uncertainty that 2020 has forced upon us all. Businesses are finding new ways of doing things, evolving and adapting like never before and changing their perspectives. It’s refreshing to see despite the circumstances under which these changes had to be made. 

As Anita puts it : “It’s safe and easy to do exactly the same as everybody else, but thinking outside the box changes the game completely.

So after all this talk about neuromarketing, what is it exactly? Neuromarketing is having insight from neuroscience and applying it to marketing. It’s about knowing why certain things work, as opposed to just knowing what works and what doesn’t. 

For most of us, this seems a very niche area of a very broad concept. Anita’s journey towards specialising in Neuromarketing began with a fascination with a debate that was going on at the time. A debate about Social Media and addiction that drew her in with a need to research it further. She had always associated addiction with alcohol and drugs and knew what effect it could have on people but this idea of addiction to social media was a new concept, she had never seen it affect people in a way substance addiction can. The deeper she delved into research, the clearer it became that no one had ever made a clear connection with actual evidence that it was even possible to become addicted to social media. In fact, no study existed that explored the link between social media and dopamine and how one triggers the other (an overstimulation of dopamine during a longer period of time is what causes addiction). This was when she knew this had to be the topic of her thesis, one which led her to win an award for her research.

However it wasn’t an easy ride towards recognition. She suffered from countless rejections from lecturers who thought the topic was too ambitious to be a successful thesis before finding a PhD who was willing to be her supervisor. If it weren’t for that one person who was willing to take a chance on Anita and trust in her to deliver on what she thought was possible, she would not be where she is today. She would never have specialised in Neuromarketing. It goes to show how important it is to have people behind us, believing in us and  our vision. It’s about having the drive not to give up when we encounter people who don’t understand our passion for something, who are unwilling to see the potential we hold within us. Just because one person, two people or a whole group of people can’t see past their own projections of what is and isn’t possible, it does not mean it is not possible for you. You know within your heart what you are capable of, just as Anita did and you owe it to yourself to keep on going until you achieve it. Giving up means a waste of potential. Giving up means you value others opinions and beliefs about the possibilities more than your own. Imagine what creations and businesses and collaborations could be possible if we stopped getting in our own way and refused to give up. 

Marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated or scary as it can often seem. It’s all about playing to your strengths and outsourcing when your weaknesses require you to. Anita’s advice to those just starting out without their own marketing guru is this : 

“Work with specialists. Hire a nerd or find a freelancer. If you’re new to marketing and have a limited budget you’re better off going with a very, very small agency or a dedicated freelancer, you’re easily overlooked at a large agency. And if you do hire a nerd you should fully hand over the reins to them. Let them tell you what to do, and not the other way around. They know what they’re doing, you have to let them do their thing. 

And last but not least, prioritise your strategy and tactics before you go to war. Sure, you can start throwing money at Facebook and Google for Ads, but you’ll be shooting blanks if you haven’t pinpointed your enemies, kings and queens. You can’t go to war if you don’t know who you’re up against. You can’t win if you don’t know who you’re battling.”

It’s about knowing who you’re trying to communicate with, how exactly you want to communicate with them and understanding the ways in which you can do so. This takes a special kind of confidence in yourself and your work. It takes having a clear vision of who you are and what you have to offer, to clients, to customers and to employers. During her time at Bolius, Anita faced this challenge herself. She observed that the marketing agency they were using was underperforming. She felt in her gut that she herself could do a better job and took a bold move in deciding to say exactly that to the CEO of the company. She told him that compared to the performance of their marketing agency she’d be able to deliver double the results with half the budget they were given. He looked at her quietly for what seemed like forever. Then he said: ‘Okay, I’ll give you a chance. But you better deliver!”. Not many people would have had the guts to have such unwavering confidence and their abilities. But it paid off. 

“He fired the marketing agency. I remember being so sure of my statement until the CEO actually gave me a chance. Then suddenly I doubted myself and was constantly trying to convince myself. In the end I delivered more than promised and the CEO never hired an agency to do my job again. I think of that experience whenever I start doubting myself. Why change my mind if I was at one point so sure of myself?” 

In a world that is more often than not male dominated, Anita has found a place for herself. She has believed in herself when others haven’t and she’s refused to play small in the face of uncertainty. 

“At times I can tell that I have to make an effort to show my know-how or put my experience and expertise to show. Like there’s an assumption that I’m not as ‘nerdy’ as the guys because I’m a woman. I become aware of it when I’m assumed to be a ‘he’ because I work in marketing, e.g. when people recommend me to others. “Oh, he sounds like a match”. However, people are more surprised by the fact that I ride a motorcycle or play table football than they are about me working in marketing.”

It would be wrong to say that there isn’t a disparity between men and women within the marketing world nonetheless. In 9 out of 10 settings Anita finds herself being the only woman in the room, her network consists of more men than women and it is not uncommon to see marketing offices that only have male employees. There is clearly a problem. 

“I very often see females in marketing not promoting themselves. It’s simply not something we’re raised to do – we’re raised dressing up dolls and being straight A-students. Not climbing trees and learning what it feels like to fall or riding fast on our bikes and learning to feel confident in taking risks. I’ve definitely worked on myself – and I still do – in order to teach myself to be more bold, learning that opinions and disagreements aren’t a failure, that self-promotion isn’t a death sentence and that very often the limits to your success are only defined by how self-restricted you are.”

If that isn’t a mindset to admire, what is? It’s people like Anita, who identify the ways in which we are held back, to push back against them and refuse to live in the way we were raised, that have the power to inspire change in us all. A change in the way we treat ourselves, a change in the way we show up for ourselves and each other and a change in the things we believe we are capable of. Imagine what kind of world we could be living in if we just commit to unlearning the lessons society has taught us about ourselves. Imagine a world in which we all had the confidence in ourselves to be bold and no longer fear failure. What a world that would be.

Webamp offers its thanks to Anita for taking the time to share her insights and journey to become the expert that she now is in the Neuromarketing world. If you were inspired by the world of neuromarketing, go to Anita’s site anitalk.dk to learn more about the work she does, or connect with Anita on Linkedin. All images in this post are courtesy of Christina Jensen, find more of her work on instagram @chris1million.

If you enjoyed reading about entrepreneurship, find more posts on the Blog, connect with Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn or go to Webamp for all your SEO, PPC and web related needs.

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Anne Rosholm on fearing failure, working for free and dreaming of a better future for everyone.

ANNE ROSHOLM ON FEARING FAILURE, WORKING FOR FREE AND DREAMING OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.

Author: Sophie Moore


Webamp spoke to Anne Rosholm, CEO of ANNRO, a sustainable fashion brand based in Copenhagen about following your own dreams and the power that can be found in rejecting the way things have always been done. 

Since she was a child Anne Rosholm has dreamt of becoming a fashion designer, designing and making clothes for herself, even then. When she finished her education as a design technologist from KEA in 2015, she worked for a fashion brand for a year and a half, gaining insight and experience in the world of fashion. However it made it clear to her that it was not an option to spend her life making the dreams of others become a reality, she would at some point have to pursue dreams of her own. And so ANNRO was born, out of a love for fashion and a passion for making a change in the way it exists in the world. 

“Choosing a sustainable path was a given for me, as the fashion Industry is one of the most polluting in the world. It wouldn’t make sense for me to found a company that doesn’t try to make the world better in some way.”

Anne’s dreams and vision for a better future for us all has seen her grow her business up from the ground, often having to wear many hats and master the skills of the people she didn’t have the budget to hire in the very beginning. This juggling of different roles only deepened her curiosity and thirst for new knowledge and understanding of the way things can be done. A deep determination has been the recipe for success as an entrepreneur : “If I wasn’t willing to work for free for many years, I would never have been able to take this journey.”  Becoming an entrepreneur is a commitment to many things. To your vision. To do whatever it takes to make it a reality. To learn as you go along. To admit you don’t have all of the answers. Reflecting on her own journey as an entrepreneur, Anne reflects on what she wishes she’d known. 

“I definitely wish I would have known that it’s unavoidable and downright necessary to make a lot of mistakes along the way. The fear of failing was holding me back at the beginning and I definitely wasn’t great at receiving advice and criticism. I’m still working on that, but I’m slowly starting to accept that I can’t and don’t know everything and that growth only comes from realising that – in yourself as well as in your business.” 

Letting go of fear and criticism is key to reaching your potential. If you don’t you risk being held back by the invisible strands that latch onto your subconscious and guide you along the safest path. But playing it safe is not always the best option. There’s magic to be found in the inky darkness of the unknown. Dreaming big is the only way to induce change on any level. We don’t evolve or grow by sticking to the status quo and we don’t solve problems by continuing to do things in the way they have always been done. This idea of change is firmly rooted in Anne’s vision, with a dream for a more conscious consumption of fashion and a revolution in the way we treat the people who make it. 

“Something needs to change on a larger scale, and we need to stop asking why sustainable options are expensive and start asking how everything else can be so cheap.”

ANNRO is a brand with a vision. A vision of providing sustainable, conscious clothing to people who truly care about the world they live in. Anne believes wholeheartedly that to make a real change she needs her brand to speak to as many people as possible. It needs to inspire those who love fashion but who are more inclined to buy into the world of fast fashion rather than sustainable alternatives. Her hope is to inspire them just as much as the ones who already buy sustainable clothing. 

“If we are not able to inspire these people with our clothes, then we will not be able to make them choose the sustainable brands over the fast fashion brands – and thereby are we not able to actually make a change.”

A lot of sustainable brands sometimes tend to go with colorless, shapeless designs and thereby only speak to people who love this specific style. Anne is striving to be an actual alternative to fast fashion brands by creating designs that people buy, because they are beautiful and desirable – not because they are sustainable. By knowing exactly who you are speaking to with your products you are embodying the message you wish to give to them. It will come across in the things you make, the words you say and the connections you form. You will bring people together that your brand speaks to on a deeper level. The message for ANNRO is simple : “Sustainability should be a given, not an option.” This encapsulates the message of the change Anne wishes to make in the world. 

“I believe that we need to get to a place, where you should not have to put the word “sustainable” in front of “fashion” (or any other product for that matter) when browsing Google for conscious brands to shop from. And to make this change we need to try and guide the way for other brands and inspire businesses as well as consumers in ways to be sustainable.”

What is, for now, the exception, Anne hopes will become the norm through the communication of this message and through leading by example. It is this bold rejection of the status quo that is bubbling up to the surface in the actions and visions of the younger generations. There are more entrepreneurs than ever before, many of them young and ambitious with strong sets of values and clear visions for a better future. Idealistic and optimistic about their goals and possibilities for their careers, these generations seek to optimise and improve rather than adapting to existing ineffective ways of doing things. There is an intention of raising awareness, of sharing information and tools consumers need to be critical when buying goods. We need to all make a choice to stop looking for quantity over quality and hopefully over time, we can force the largest fast fashion brands worldwide to follow our example, because the consumers start choosing sustainable brands over non-sustainable brands. We need to be more intentional, more informed about where and how things are made and the impact they are going to have on the world and the people in it. 

“We are still a tiny company with a small voice, but the more we grow over time, hopefully we can reach out even further and inspire consumers to choose a more sustainable path.”

Webamp offers its thanks to Anne for taking the time to share her insights and journey towards a more sustainable future. If you were inspired by the world of sustainability and intentional fashion, go to ANNRO.dk, find them on Instagram or connect with Anne on Linkedin.

If you enjoyed reading about entrepreneurship, find more posts on the Blog, connect with Nicolai Vittrup on LinkedIn or go to Webamp for all your SEO, PPC and web related needs.

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The words of a founder & CEO: “We don’t strive to be the best, we strive to be better than we were yesterday.”

THE WORDS OF A FOUNDER & CEO: “WE DON’T STRIVE TO BE THE BEST, WE STRIVE TO BE BETTER THAN WE WERE YESTERDAY.”

Author: Gabriella Anesio


Nicolai Vittrup, founder and CEO of Webamp, shared in this interview his approach to being a leader, an entrepreneur, and the shaper of a company culture premised on trust and having fun. 

In the journey of creating something truly amazing out of the company you’ve put years of hard work into making, dedicated personal resources to, and sacrificed a social life for, it can become tricky to keep a balanced perspective. It can become tempting to want to “beat the rest” playing the same game, namely your competitors. But remaining humble and reminding yourself of why you entered the game in the first place is so important with regard to keeping the integrity of your company intact. 

Being top dog is an instinctive desire, but that kind of mentality could potentially fall into the trap of putting too much focus on forces outside of the company, when the majority of attention should be paid to what’s happening within. As Nicolai says, 

“Here it’s all about challenging ourselves, not our competitors. We don’t strive to be the best, we strive to be better than we were yesterday.”

Striving to be the best is about the external vs. the internal, namely competitors vs. yourself. Striving to be better than you were yesterday is about the internal vs. the internal, namely pushing yourself to keep getting better, finding new methods, redefining approaches, and making work more fun. 

Naturally, comparison to other companies is not only a natural instinct, it’s also necessary to become better yourself, as you learn more, challenge previous perceptions, and rethink approaches implemented. However, the issue arises when you premise the success of your company entirely on how it ranks in relation to others – as Nicolai hints at, you’re successful when the company has improved in itself, not necessarily overtaken a competitor in the market. 

Train hard enough to avoid penalties 

When your mission is to be better every single day than you were before, the “training” never stops. That’s not to say you have to work round the clock and get a crappy three hours of sleep per night, but rather it’s about always making sure to utilise the time you have in a working day and dedicate that time to creating outstanding work. 

“As we are in the super league, we have a responsibility to train as much as we possibly can, which I expect from everyone. You have to look at it like a training ground: if you train less one week, you are either under-performing or you need to make up for lost time in the coming weeks. There is always work to be done and there is always the responsibility to be better, so, theoretically, you can’t ever “be done with all tasks”. There is always more to be done.”

In essence, if you say you have “nothing else to do”, you’re saying that there’s no room for improvement – which there always is. However, even though Nicolai expects his employees to “train” hard, he also expects people to have fun along the way. 

After all, a clear indication of whether you’re in the right job role is if you’re not just doing work for the sake of doing it, but doing it because you love it and get a rewarding feeling from doing it. Essentially, “training” should be fun and fuel you to constantly want to improve on your individual work and the work output of the company. 

Having fun along the way is clearly of utmost importance for Nicolai, as this was his response when asking him to summarise the company ethos:

“Webamp is a playground where we develop talent.”

Helping his employees thrive in their positions and learn more every day has nothing to do with beating others, it’s a personal journey which will help Webamp keep its humility and moral roots – this is also a large part of the company identity which clients can see and instantly fall in love with. Good companies, at the end of the day, are made up of people who love their job, not a bunch of shallow statistics. 

The unspoken deal: do your job well and in return you get trust

To say you trust your employees is easier said than done, but keeping employees on a tight leash has the repercussion of prohibiting innovation and freedom to experiment. That’s why Nicolai has always made it his goal to give as much trust as he can. The reward = a thriving company culture where people are simultaneously working hard and having fun in the process. 

I have full trust in my employees to be responsible for themselves, and it’s up to them to prove me wrong, not for me to prove them wrong. We have an unspoken deal and if you go against your word, it’s on you and there will be repercussions if not dealt with. I believe in second and third chances, but if it becomes a pattern in behaviour I can’t carry on being lenient.”

So crucial in this is that it’s never a boss’s job to prove their employees wrong. By giving trust, all you can do is hope employees will prove you right by showing how hard they work and the successful results with it. On occasion, however, people can prove you wrong by turning mistakes and lack of work ethic into a trait, as opposed to a fleeting mistake – and it’s in moments like this that Nicolai has to tighten the leash.

However, the majority of the time, everyone at Webamp proves Nicolai right with their relentless efforts in improving themselves as well as the company as a whole. That’s what fuels Nicolai to continue trusting his employees.

A big thanks to Nicolai Vittrup for taking the time to share his insights on Webamp and trusting your team. You can find him on LinkedIn – alternatively, you can use the contact form on this blog

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