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Boss Level is a podcast on people and organizations aiming for the boss level. Boss level is the status a person or an organization achieves by making a better quality of life for themselves and others by doing what they need to do regardless of all the haters and obstacles out there.
Yhteensä 45 jaksoa, joista ensimmäinen julkaistu 21.9.2015.
For this episode, my guest is Henrik Kniberg. Henrik is a prominent figure in the agile community. If you’ve seen the video on Spotify engineering culture, that video is created by him. He has also authored several books on agile. Henrik is also one of the early guests of the the podcast and the previous episode we did was about two years ago. Back then we discussed Henrik’s agile coaching work at Lego and Spotify and how he helped his kids win a robot battle against experienced programmers. But now, recently, he has shifted his professional focus towards something more important. He’s focusing on reducing the impact of climate change. We talk about how to be climate neutral, how to invest in climate projects, the community Henrik is running called Climate Crisplet, and how companies should deal with climate change.
Today Boss Level Podcast is covering one of the biggest problems in the world, poverty. My guest is Leila Janah who runs two companies aimed at helping the extremely poor by giving them work. One of her companies, Samasource, provides digital work in developing countries, and the other, LXMI, is an organic and fair trade skin care brand employing women. In addition to talking about businesses, we discuss how companies can measure impact.
I’m interviewing Bjarte Bogsnes. Bjarte is one of the key people behind the adaptive management model called Beyond Budgeting. If there’s one person you want to learn about Beyond Budgeting from, it’s Bjarte. Bjarte is one of the key people who have been leading Statoil’s journey from traditional corporate budgeting to a completely new management style. Along the way, he’s authored books on the things he has learned. What’s good to know before we get started is that despite the name, Beyond Budgeting is not only about getting rid of budgeting. It is a new approach to management that emphasizes empowerment and adaptivity. Beyond Budgeting’s 12 principles cover topics such as purpose, values, transparency, autonomy, targets and resource allocation. It is much larger than just budgets.
This is my interview with Harri Valpola. Harri is the CEO of Curious AI, a Helsinki-based 20 person startup that’s aiming to build a general artificial intelligence. Now that’s a pretty bold goal when Facebook’s head of AI research just recently said that in terms of general intelligence, we’re not even close to a rat. Harri is a respected researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. He knows his stuff. The previous company he founded, ZenRobotics, builds robots so that’s pretty cool too. We talk about what general artificial intelligence would be like, whether we should try to simulate the human brain or not and how curiosity is a great guide in life.
Today’s guest is Bengt Holmström. Bengt is Finnish, but he’s spent the last 40 years living in the US. Currently he’s a professor of economics at MIT. Bengt was recently awarded the Nobel prize in economic sciences together with his Harvard colleague Oliver Hart for their contribution to contract theory. Essentially, Bengt has spent decades studying incentives and trying to figure out how to design better incentive structures. This has been a recurring theme on the podcast so I’m sure you can appreciate how excited I am to have Bengt on as a guest. We talk about what it feels like to win the Nobel prize, incentives (obviously), and how transparency isn’t necessarily always a good thing.
Today’s topic is machine learning and I’m talking to one of the brightest minds in the field, Hilary Mason. She’s the founder of Fast Forward Labs, a machine intelligence research company. She also advises startups through Accel, a prominent venture capital firm. If you’re interested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this episode.
While I was in Australia in June to keynote the Agile Australia conference I had the privilege to interview Troy Magennis. When I first heard Troy speak at a conference years ago I remember how impressed I was with his deep understanding of the mathematics involved in forecasting. After listening to this episode I think you’ll be equally impressed. Troy is the founder of Focused Objective, a consultancy that helps companies with forecasting, portfolio planning, risk management and metric selection. We talk about why 3 to 7 recent samples is often better than thousands of samples from last year, how we need several opposing metrics to prevent local optimization and how we’ve lost the art of post mortems. Troy has a ton of resources that are freely available for you to download and try out. For example, you might like the team dashboard Troy has built. After listening to the episode you can use his tools to take your forecasting to the boss level.
My guest today is Katri Saarikivi. Katri is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Helsinki. She studies empathy in digital environments. Essentially she’s trying to figure out how we could better express ourselves in digital conversations.
Today, I’m chatting with Sara Öhrvall. Sara is the Co-founder and Senior Advisor at Mindmill Network. Mindmill helps companies understand how digital technologies impact their business. Before Mindmill Sara was the Senior Vice President of R&D at the Bonnier Group. Sara sits on several boards. For example, she’s on the board of SEB, a Nordic corporate bank and Investor, the leading owner of Nordic-based international companies. She also writes a column for Dagens Industri, which is the financial daily of Sweden. In 2017 Sara was selected for Wired’s list of 50 most inspiring female influencers from across Europe. She’s one of the best and brightest women in technology. We talk about the impact technology will have on people and businesses and how our companies should adapt to that change.
John Seddon is the inventor of The Vanguard Method. The Vanguard Method is a way of helping organizations move from command and control towards systems design. Seddon is the author of books such as Freedom from Command and Control and The Whitehall Effect. He’s currently working on a book titled Beyond Command and Control. Seddon’s work has provoked a lot of thought and has significantly deepened my understanding of how organizations function. We talk about organizations as systems, value and failure demand, incentives, system conditions, budgeting and how the system drives behavior.
Today's guest is Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay is an online index of digital content often used for sharing copyrighted material such as movies, TV shows or music. The Pirate Bay is possibly one of the world’s most resilient websites, since the authorities have been trying to take it down for more than a decade and yet it’s still running. ince The Pirate Bay Peter has worked on several things, such as Flattr, a way of making micropayments to content creators and Njalla, a privacy-oriented domain registrar. We discuss how Peter got into The Pirate Bay, how The Pirate Bay operated, what the trial was like and what Peter is up to nowadays.
For this episode I sat down for a chat with Tim Hwang. Tim has been labeled by Forbes magazine as the ’Busiest Man on the Internet’. First, he started ROFLcon, which stands for Rolling On the Floor Laughing Conference. It was a conference that studied internet culture through memes. After ROFLcon, he founded The Awesome Foundation For Arts And Sciences. The foundation’s sole aim is to promote awesomeness in the universe. It has donated over 2,5 million dollars to various projects through grants. The foundation operates through autonomous chapters that independently fund the grants and make decisions on recipients. He then started a law firm called Robot, Robot and Hwang to study how lawyers could be automated. Currently he advises Google on the impacts of artificial intelligence on public policy. Tim has done a lot considering he just turned 30. At the end of the interview I asked him what his next project is going to be and his answer was not exactly the kind of answer you normally get.
My guest today is Risto Siilasmaa. Risto is first and foremost an entrepreneur and a paranoid optimist. He’s the founder and former CEO of cybersecurity company F-Secure. His current role in the company is Chairman of the Board. Risto is also Chairman of the Board at Nokia. He took on the role in 2012 when Nokia was in a very difficult situation and actually one topics we discuss is how he came to accept the offer. We start off with Risto’s programming background, then move on to the early days of F-Secure and explore how the company was founded and how it grew. Regarding Nokia, we talk about the people side of the transformation Risto has led, the disadvantages of being a public company and whether structures drive behavior or the other way around.
Start of the new, fourth season! My first guest for this season is James Hewitt. James is the Head of Science and Innovation at Hintsa Performance. He’s a sports scientist and performance coach searching for fresh perspectives and new approaches to enhance the performance of people, products and projects. We talk about the Circle of Better Life, which is a model that covers all the important aspects of well-being. We talk about the science behind the methods they use and new and interesting research in measuring cognitive load in knowledge work. Towards the end you’ll hear some pretty simple tips for improving your brain’s performance.
As is suitable for the season finale, I have a very special guest. I’m interviewing retired four-star general Stan McChrystal. Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates described McChrystal as "perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat”. McChrystal took command of an elite military organization, Joint Special Operations Task Force, and transformed it from a rigid hierarchy to a network of autonomous teams. The teams were encouraged to act autonomously as long as their actions served the purpose and were not immoral or illegal. For such a high level of autonomy to function the organization had to start sharing data extensively in order to create a shared concisousness. The story of the transformation is laid out in the book Team of Teams. What I especially love about the story is that it basically takes away all the excuses. If a military bureauacracy can transform itself to an agile network of teams, so can any business organization, no matter how large or traditional.
My guest is Sari Baldauf. Sari was selected as the most influential female executive in the year 1998 by Fortune magazine. In 2002 the Wall Street Journal named Baldauf as Europe's most successful female executive. Sari joined Nokia in 1983 and held several executive positions there. From 1998 to 2005 she was the General Manager of Nokia’s Networks business. She sat on the Executive Board of Nokia from 1994 until January 2005. In the end of 2004 she resigned from Nokia for personal reasons. Since then she’s moved on to become a respected board professional, working as the chairwoman of the board at Fortum, the Finnish energy giant, and as a member of the board at Daimler, among other roles. We talk about her defining moments, her happiest and saddest times during her career and her lessons learned on strategy and leadership.
In this episode I’m interviewing Joshua Spodek. He teaches leadership at New York University, has a PhD in astrophysics and does burpees everyday. I think that’s a pretty amazing one line description for anyone. His book Leadership Step by Step will be released in a couple of weeks. We talk about his principles for getting things done, his routines, his views on leadership, and we do a five minute walk-through of his book. We end the interview with some empathy and book recommendations.
My guest is Akiko Naka. She is the CEO of Wantedly, a Japanese social recruiting platform with 1,2 million monthly active users and a 100 employees. She’s passionate about helping people find work they love doing. We discuss her bold career moves, Wantedly’s business, decision making in organizations and strategies for finding a job you love.
If I’m concerned about privacy, my guest today is probably ten times more so. Aral is an activist, a designer and a software developer. He’s one of the founders of Indie, a tiny social enterprise working for social justice in the digital age. He’s also the man behind the Ethical Design Manifesto. We talk about Aral’s view on the evolution of computing, current business models of cloud services and venture capital. We cover the Ethical Design Manifesto and its implications on the software we build.
An interview with Jim Benson, the creator of Personal Kanban and Lean Coffee. We delve into Personal Kanban, which is an approach to dealing with the overload of stuff you need to deal with. We dig into into its two simple rules, visualizing work and limiting work in progress. We then walk through Lean Coffee, which is a simple and effective way to run your meetings. In the end we discuss Jim’s lessons on collaboration from his years in working to improve it in organizations.
On this episode I’m interviewing Simon Wardley and we’re talking about Wardley maps, which are Simon’s method for co-creating strategy with visual and context-specific maps.
My guest for this episode is Will Evans. He’s the Chief Design Officer at PraxisFlow. We talk about New York, entrepreneurship, company culture and major transformation programs.
Today my guest is Stephen Bungay. Stephen is the author of The Art of Action, a book on strategy execution under uncertainty. The book draws from lessons learned in military organizations where they’ve had to deal with complex situations 200 years before businesses needed to. I personally always cringe a little when I hear people talking about military leadership in the context of knowledge work, but Stephen knows where to draw the line of applicability, and that’s actually one of the topics we discuss. We also talk about why our plans don’t always lead to the outcomes we want or why our plans don’t always lead to the actions we want. And what to do about it.
The interview you’re about to hear was recorded in Paris, France. I interviewed Dominique Turcq. Dominique is a French consultant and researcher who wants to help companies get ready for the future. We talk about upcoming technologies, endless beta culture, individual evaluation systems, his lessons from McKinsey, and many other topics. We also cover his book, Augmented Management, which looks at the trends companies should be aware of and the skills that individuals should develop to be better equipped to deal with the future.
For this episode my guest is Alf Rehn, a professor of management from the Åbo Academi University. When appointed, Alf was the youngest chair in Finland. Now after more than ten years on the job he has gained a wealth of knowledge especially on the topic of innovation. In addition to his academic endeavours Alf sits on boards of several companies, for example Veikkaus, the Finnish gambling monopoly. Alf thinks we’re spending our innovation resources on the wrong things. We’re inventing gadgets when we should be solving poverty. In his opinion, we need better discourse on innovation. During the interview Alf also shares some of the things that he has seen that can make a company more innovative. In addition to innovation we discuss management. I was trying to get him to dis the bureaucracy at the university, but I failed to do so. Alf is definitely not a fan of bureauaracy, but he sees plenty of benefits arising from the traditional uninnovate parts of organizations.
In 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto released bitcoin, a peer-to-peer digital currency. Bitcoin is based on the concept of a blockchain. The blockchain makes bitcoin decentralized. So that means money moves from one account to another without banks in between. Now that’s huge. Regardless of whether you see bitcoin as a viable currency the technology underneath it is impressive to say the least. My guest today is Martti Malmi who was the first after Satoshi to start working on bitcoin. He’s also the co-founder of MONI, a fintech startup and he runs his own global address service called identi.fi. In this episode you you’ll learn about decentralization, blockchain, smart contracts and you’ll know if there’s any merit to the hype.
Today’s guest is Esko Kilpi. During previous interviews at least three of the guests have asked me if I know Esko since we’re both from Finland. Esko has created quite a following for himself through his blog posts and his talks on the future of work. We discuss how value is nowadays created in networks through interaction. How the experience and the context are key elements in value creation. And how selling should not be seen as a single transaction, but as a continuous mutual learning process. We then explore how these concepts should be reflected in our organizations.
Today’s guest is Jabe Bloom. A few years ago, he walked in to the Carnegie Mellon University library, approached the Design section and picked up a book starting with the letter A. His plan is to keep reading until he gets to Z. His definition of design is “the intentional formation of a purposeful system”. He says science has no intention towards the future, but design does.
Today’s guest is Lori Schwanbeck. Among other things she’s one of the teachers of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, which started out as Google’s internal program to teach mindfulness. So the topic for this episode is mindfulness. Why has Google embraced it? How are they embracing it? What’s the research behind mindfulness? What is mindfulness and how can I get started?
Today’s topic is product management and lean startup. My guest is Melissa Perri. When I asked around for tips on who to interview while in New York her name came up frequently. I’ve met her at several conferences and knew her to be an expert on product management. I was sure we’d have a fun chat so I reached out and she agreed to sit down for an interview! We talk about how to get from business requirements, which often aren’t really requirements at all, to validated learning. We discuss validation, experiments, user research, a weekly cadence and how top management and product management should work together.
For this episode of Boss Level I took the ferry over to Tallinn to visit the office of TransferWise. TransferWise is creating a fast and cost-effective way of sending money from a country to another. It’s valuation in its previous round of funding was close to a billion. The way they operate is inspiring. Teams have a Key Performance Indicator or KPI that they try to improve. The KPI’s are as customer-facing as possible. How the teams improve that KPI is totally up to them. And just to make it even more complex, but effective teams can also change the KPI they use. I’m talking to Nilan Peiris, their VP of Growth.
I'm visiting New York and interviewing Aaron Dignan, the founder of a company called The Ready. We discuss the future of work and complex, adaptive systems. We try to figure out why cities thrive when they grow and why companies don't. In the end, we reveal the formula for the next unicorn startup.
Today we have a very special guest. Jari Sarasvuo. Jari first became known for his work in radio and TV. Then in 1990 he founded a company called Trainers’ House that delivers management consulting and training for executives. Jari is still one of the biggest owners of Trainers House, but he now has a new endeavour, called Stronghold. Stronghold caters to a broader audience with a combination of digital and face-to-face trainings. Our talk covers Jari’s Twitter mania, his troubled relationship with technology, his digital training business and we close off by discussing self-organizing companies and performance targets.
The first guest for the second season of Boss Level is Linda Liukas. She’s changing the world by helping kids learn technology. Her TEDx talk is just about to reach a million views. We discuss learning, education, writing and technology. A word of warning though, her enthusiasm is pretty infectious. Enjoy.
This episode is about the simple, but powerful concept of Toyota Kata and how it’s applied at the gaming company King. I’m interviewing Håkan Forss, an agile coach, working for King in Stockholm. This episode is the end of Season 1 of Boss Level. The next episode will be out on the 14th of March 2016.
10 000 employees. No managers. Great results. Founded in 2006 Buurtzorg has taken the home care industry in Holland by storm. It has a lion’s share of the market. Clients rate Buurtzorg as 9.1 out of 10. Buurtzorg has been selected as the best place to work in Holland 5 times in a row. This is an interview with the CEO and founder, Jos de Blok.
Most people fear snakes. A lot of people fear public speaking. Some companies are lead with fear. Why do we fear? What is fear? When is fear harmful and when is it beneficial? Henkka Hyppönen, today’s guest, is an expert on fear. He recently wrote a book about it called “Why we fear”. At the end of the episode, I’ll tell you how you can win a free copy of the book.
Today’s guest is Kathrine Kirk, an independent consultant who often finds herself working with conflict-ridden teams that are deemed hopeless. She gave an interesting keynote at the Lean Agile Scotland conference on why team happiness might not be a good thing to aim for.
Today’s guest is Dave Snowden. Dave is the man behind Cynefin, a decision support framework that’s based on complexity theory and cognitive science. In addition to Cynefin we discuss strategy, budgeting, performance targets and other important management concepts. Dave also shares research that shows which is more accurate in predicting human behavior: Myers-Briggs personality types or astrology.
Today my guest is Henrik Kniberg. Henrik is well known for his books and for his work with Spotify, Lego and many others. Henrik works through Crisp, a Swedish consultancy that has published their company DNA online. The DNA consists of all the essential principles, processes and agreements with which the company operates. We discuss the unorthodox organizational model at Crisp, Henrik’s work with his clients, and how his kids, aged 10 and 11, won a robot battle against teams of professional programmers.
This a special bonus episode on online privacy. I’m talking to Mikko Hyppönen, the Chief Research Officer at F-Secure. Mikko is geek who has over the years become a security celebrity. We discuss privacy, tracking, Reddit, TED and viruses.
An interview with Niklas Modig, author of This is Lean. This episode is a neat package of insights on lean. Here’s a few questions you should be able to answer after this episode if you listen close: What is lean? What is resource efficiency? What is flow efficiency? Why is flow important? How can we increase flow? And even if you already know the answer to those questions there’s plenty of great examples and bits of wisdom to learn from.
This episode is an interview with Nilofer Merchant. She was in Helsinki speaking at the Nordic Business Forum 2015 a few weeks back. She’s an author of two books, she has received the Future Thinker award from Thinkers 50. Nilofer also has a popular TED talk and she’s a writer for publications such as Harvard Business Review.
An interview with Spotify's VP of Operations, Simon Marcus. We discuss the concept of a minimum viable company, how Scrum and Kanban are a gateway drug and who should do the thinking in organizations. Regarding Spotify we cover the hierarchy in the company and how the chapters, tribes and squads model is essentially just a matrix with fancy names.
An introduction to the podcast