The Game Changer Point of View

Måns Hultman invested in Qlik in 2000 and stepped in as CEO, growing the business and refining the model until it was investor-ready. From 2004 to 2009 he also served as Chairman. In 2004, Qlik attracted a $12.5m round of funding led by Accel Partners (Sweden’s Industrifonden and Jerusalem Venture Partners also participated).

Not wanting to serve as CEO of a quoted company, Hultman stood down at the end of 2007 (with his CFO taking the helm). At that time Qlik was ready for an IPO, but due to the turbulence on the financial markets in 2008 it didn’t happen until 2010. Since then, Måns has held a number of investor and board positions, at Zobito and 83 North amongst others.

Måns' learnings from being a game changer and investor - game changing skills are hard to learn

It has to be a combination of skill and an intrinsic drive to work hard and succeed.

Intrinsic drive is usually something that people are born with or develop in early childhood, so it’s very hard to learn it as an adult or have an external motivating factor that prompts it. It spills into being an element of commitment to the business, and very much impacts the personal and professional lives of the Game Changer themselves. To be a Game Changer you have to have the intrinsic motivation and commitment to make big sacrifices; kiss your spouse goodbye and get on a plane to the US for three months, or understand that you won’t be able to put your kids to bed during the week.

The skills can be learned, but it has to be a combination of both experience and drive; one of the two is not enough to succeed.

Commitment is key

As an investor you have to work really hard to filter through the conversations with the founder to really get to the core of what their motivations are. Building a business is a huge commitment, both in terms of intensity and longevity.

One of the most gratifying aspects of being an investor is when you choose to back people who really do know how hard the journey is. Many people say that they’re willing to make the sacrifices but very few can actually do it.

Be humble, have fun, and don't give up

Three of the overwhelmingly consistent traits of Game Changers are humility, the ability to have fun, and stubbornness.

When you talk to people who’re average, they often describe themselves as world class. Game Changing people seldom describe themselves as such, they describe themselves as average. Game Changing people are constantly trying to learn. They’re curious by nature, and they’re incredibly humble about how much they actually know versus how much there is to know in the arena of global technology.

Game Changers are more likely to hire world class people and are not afraid of hiring people who are better than they are, while average leaders usually hire people who are on par with themselves, or below.

Game Changers also make things fun - not only for themselves but also for people around them. Their management style, confidence and ease of getting things done will make people feel wanted and like they have a place that they can grow and learn and feel valued. People in organizations that are run by Game Changers usually talk about it like it’s the best job they’ve ever had which, as a leader, is incredibly rewarding.

There’s also a stubbornness with Game Changers. When people say something can’t be done, Game Changers are the people who simply don’t accept it. They just keep working to find a solution or a work around. The curiosity and unwillingness to give up are traits that proliferate across the business.

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