Superpowering Teams with Ilkka Paananen


I've been so excited to do this with you for two reasons one. I've been spending so much time thinking about in in kobe. Playing video games with myself and my young son. I think a great way to begin. This conversation is with one of my favorite lines of yours. Which is that you want. Said i am the least powerful. Ceo in the world. I love this concept because it'll introduce the idea of culture teams and people that we're going to spend most of our time talking about which may send a little strange for a video game company. But i think it's amazing and critical. So what did you mean by this line. Why did you say that. What does it mean to super cells. Culture i thanks so much for having me better. I think some are behold point. The ball trays that the more decisions that the snake and i make the better in an ideal were like if i five no decisions then but would make me. I guess is far full. Co the whole idea about supercell on what is at the core of our culture is this idea is small and independent themes that equal cells and these independent gained things sacred inside supercell way to think about them think about smaller start ups bidding raider company. That's why we think about them. I'd love to go back before super cell. Because i think your career up until that point helped inform you in how to build supercell with less focus on command and control and more focused on decentralized trust and i think our lessons today will be applicable across creative pursuits and industries. Not just in gaming what were you doing. Prior to founding supercell and what lessons that you learned or were taught by your experience before this business. I need to go back to the year. Two thousand so. I will still a student at helsinki university of technology. I had a business major vote on my actually like in my early of my studies for some reason. My dream job was to become either a management consultant. Thouray investment banker simply. Because because everybody else in my cloth wanted to catch and so deny then at some point in my studies. I was really interested in about entrepreneurship. And i started to think. Well this would be really cool. You know trying to build your own sing with a group of great people. And then i just looked like super lucky. I happened to bump into this group of people who wanted to found a company and it had to big games company on earlier. Especially in my dna cheers. I had to be a massive game. Iran still played a little gains. And then these guys may creating afford to pay any salary on threes and there was nobody else will what's gonna applying to join them although us nevil gains and they needed somebody else to do everything else and i was probably the only applicant assay and then i got the job done. I didn't get any pay funny. Anything is these guys for that. Okay you gotta do all the sales for us than me to give you like a proper titles and the people would actually like to see you. I guess they didn't know what to call me seven. They decided to call me the ceo. And i think. I was twenty two years of age and absolutely no idea what i was doing at never had a proper job except on summer. Jobs are my parents. They probably never had a proper job. Because all i've done. I've been ceo gaming companies. But anyway that's how they're going to start it. I know i had no idea what we were doing. Learnt by ewing an end eventually managed to graduate some there in bethany. and so. that's how we're gonna start in the thousand so set up a games company on funnily enough Ballgames the time if you recall those days assistant feature phones but they're coming to markets mostly from manufacturers like nokia for example of course based here in finland and of course never snow app stores. Nothing like you would need to distribute this job based gangs through. Carriers was very different at that time. But that's how book started. He founded the company almost exactly at the finding the dot com bubble burst onto members financing available so we basically like financed it bites doing work for hire work and then on the side be developed our own. Ip and our own games. I think miller able cut deals with most of the european carriers in big some of the us based carriers and then a massive amount of these jobs based phone scam the market and actually make some money on the company started to grow and back in two thousand four. We sold our company to company each chocolate. Which will say followed. By game industry legend strip wilkinson funded by sequoia on inclined burke in on the joined forces to them and then over time. The company grew to like four hundred people so relatively sizable game. Developers confident. I would call that down. Nba in guessing entrepreneurship and management learned. Lots of lessons. What were the key lessons that you learn positive and negative all combine the time at both digital chocolate and your company that was acquired by digital chocolate. What were the things that it installed in you that you brought with you into super cell and what were some other things that you reacted to a reacted against when the about how supercell would run as a company that they could've kept and what i learned that all domestic. It's all about the people and digital chocolate. I was very lucky to berkeley luck. Such amazing people. I kinda fought at those times that we are going to like had the best strategy the best plans the best processes in place and digital chocolate and mostly because of my doing so sexy quite a sort of a structured and also when it comes to innovation so we had pros almost forever thing if you off me like okay. How digital chocolate. Think about new games development tenure like a slight dick flex sixty slides expense. Exactly things for and they had all kinds of prose essays fall like how do they green like games the almost full we are myself and mike on leadership team over. There had a crystal ball as he kind of knew the best declare. Send a cornerstone. Humorous won't and then they put together like all kinds of control mechanisms to make sure that the company x. develops products and gains the direction. But then all of the years. I realized that there are a lot of negatives above this type of way of thinking. Because isn't the great the best creative people in the world. They don't get the feeling of ownership and oftentimes the reality is but actually the people who are best. What is best for the game for players. Those people are actually people are building the game. It's bill leadership. The people like me. And all the years. I realized our job as leaders. They should enable people to do their work better. We'll try to control the spent so much time carring the best people in the world also digital trump anything about why on earth tried to control them by. Don't do trust them to do the best thing. One of the things that made me fully realize this at some point. I start to look back with. Okay let's look at the heat gains but our company has pulled out early sort of a coma nominate these gangs. One is that may have really amazing people and raised themes it'd behind the games but interestingly the other thing was that most of these gangs some had nothing to do with all of these fantastic pros instead had besides the usual story was just need into anything else for these guys do their sunbury their on during the corner of the office and they were just doing whatever they want to do. And there's some flying under radar so to speak and then the next thing you know. This amazing game comes out. And then i start seeing whoa that. These amazing games may come out because of me or together they come out despite the spiteful things

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