Taavet Hinrikus

Scar Tissue

I started as the first employee of Skype in 2002. Little did I know about building companies then, however when I left 7 years later I had gone through a whirlwind tour of  product and company building. Next up I cofounded TransferWise. It made no sense to us as founders that moving money around the world should be as expensive and slow as it was. Powered by a little bit of naivety and lots of entrepreneurial drive we started building in 2010 and then launched the first version in early 2011. Today Wise has more than 3000 employees and went public in the first ever direct listing in Europe in 2021. Scaling a company at this speed is inevitable a journey full of highs and lows that leaves you feeling a bit numb in the end. While Wise looks like a story that went always from strength to strength and up and to the right inside there are many dozens of episodes of failures that are less celebrated. The mistakes I made of hiring wrong people or  being overly aggressive on marketing have been compensated by the right hires who’ve been given room to execute and decisions about expanding the product in multiple dimensions.

What sparks joy

In the end this comes down to people for me – I’m attracted to entrepreneurs that have the desire to change their industries and keep learning and iterating at a very high speed. People building products that are not 10% better, but 10x better in multiple dimensions. In order to make a dent we need to channel the best entrepreneurs to the biggest problems we’re facing. And there’s an opportunity in the cross section of the biggest problems and practical solutions that turn into huge viable businesses.

Khaled Helioui

Scar tissue

I joined Bigpoint as Chief Games Officer in 2012, taking over a 450 strong department of a fast growing & profitable gaming leader whose titles were played by hundreds of millions of gamers. In a few months I had to step up as CEO to prevent what looked like the end of the group which wasn’t prepared to face the quick rise of social games & mobile games. With the support of devoted & driven colleagues we restarted from scratch, setting up a new vision, bringing new leadership, building a new board with world class operators & product leaders and rebuilding the trust of our teams & players eventually releasing award winning titles across multiple platforms. We faced death more times than I can count but the passion to keep pushing the boundaries of gaming and the impact we had on our gamers kept us all going. I only realised then what it meant to fight and give everything for something bigger than oneself.

What sparks joy

“It has become clear to me that every great philosophy up till now has consisted of the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography“ What drives me most is backing people who refuse to bend their will nor sacrifice their drive to see their vision through against all odds. Fighting for something bigger than oneself to correct an aspect of society that is fundamentally broken & prevents people from living a more meaningful life – lending my experience and reach to help founders, rarely fitting the mould, make their vision true is what keeps me going.

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