Our Gent of the Month is Steffen Hedebrandt, who has great experiences from the business life though he is still very young. He has already engaged in entrepreneurship, worked as a counselor and a speaker. Today, Steffen Hedebrandt works as Marketing Director at Airtame that produces wireless HDMI solutions to several companies. Furthermore, he has a blog at Dagbladet Børsen, where he blogs about IT, innovation, entrepreneurship, economy and internalization.
A clear strategy
Before Steffen started at Airtame the company had used the previous year focusing on product development and production. Their aim was to launch the product – a wireless HDMI dongle – in the summer of 2015.
– After my first meeting with Airtame I got aware of the fact that they were not using resources on marketing, which is why it was important to build and form a marketing and communication plan from scratch. Therefore, I developed a plan in 13-points. This plan consist everything from brand and identity, SEO – search engine optimization, Facebook advertisements and Adwords, PR, how to treat customers, which types of employees to hire in our team and under which values etc.
Earlier on the Copenhagen business has created big headlines as the company through crowd funding, the website, Indiegogo.com received support from more than 14.000 stakeholders giving more than 10. Mio. Crowns.
The Northern Jute creating great success
Steffen is born and raised in Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark, with love, safety and lots of sports. Steffen took his Masters Degree with a fine result – especially in the subjects that interested him.
– If I look back in time I have, professionally, been very skilled and lucky to be surrounded with great leaders. Without knowing much about horoscopes I was born as a Libra, which correspond well to how well balanced I am. For example I always try to strive for harmony where ever I go and whatever I do. I always try to create win-win experiences for me as well as everybody else. It makes no sense to win if it may damage potential longsighted relations.
Steffen has, besides his current job at Airtame, worked as CEO at Upwork – the world’s largest platform for freelancers. After he ended his studies he became employed as Chief of Operations at VintageandRare. One of his main job functions here was to handle online marketing – especially search engine optimizations really caught his interest. While working at VintageandRare once in a while he hired freelancers at Etlance.com (today called Upwork).
– One day I read one of Etlance’s newsletters where they called on people to send some of their interesting stories to use on their blog. Instantly I thought that I could bring something to the table here. I wrote a blog post about digital globalization, and Etlance liked my story, and since then they started using me as a reference to try and get journalists to understand how the platform works. One day I asked – a little perky maybe – if they had thought about hiring me instead. To my luck they were about to hire their first employee outside The United States. Therefore, I was headhunted to the team, whom where to establish the world’s largest freelance platform In Europe.
Read Steffen’s blog post HERE
– I must admit I get proud as work organizations around the world keeps mention Upwork as one of the platforms you need to relate to in the future – both in positive and negative ways. While I have been a member of the organization the company has grown ten times in Europe. I love how I am a part of making a difference – especially one I have so strong feeling towards. I worked three years at Upwork, and meanwhile I lived in Oslo. I travelled more than 100 days a year – from Singapore to Silicon Valley. I was moving straight ahead in high speed. I loved my work, and I loved that I had the opportunity to see the world while working. As time passed I started missing my family, friends, Copenhagen, stability and silence. Therefore, in June 2015 I decided to quit my job and turn back home to Denmark.
– Having lived abroad for more than three years while trying to get my personal life to go hand in hand with my professional life was really a challenge, and I have learned so much. After I stopped working at Upwork I felt the need to communicate what I had learned to my network of people around the world. A network I had build up –they needed to know that changes were coming up. It gave med 15-20 requests from companies from in and outside the country whom all wanted to meet for a cop of coffee. Therefore, I cannot say it enough – keep building, helping and using your network.
You can read Steffen’s post about his current job situation HERE – maybe you will find yourself in the same situation.
STEP UP – Put your tie on and welcome the future
Having Steffen’s professional carrier in mind it is not that strange that he cares about how he looks and appears. Steffen likes the idea of Carlo A and their mission to bring back the tie - and the good old classy stile – back to business.
– How I dress and appears is very important to me. I always try to dress up matching my environment, but most important it needs to reflect who I am as a person. Mostly, I am classic minimalistic and I rarely show of a ‘crazy’ look. With that said details about brands, stories or the like are very important to me. It is all about the good story.
– Actually, a tie means something special to me. My dad worked as a bank manager, and each morning he would start his day with an ironed shirt, a suit and a tie. He never forgot the tie. The tie makes you appear serious, professional and neat – and yes sometimes also a bit conservative – someone you can count on. Just like my dad. Therefore, you need to STEP UP, put your tie on and welcome the future. I sense that Carlo A seeks similar values in those men who carries their tie, and because of that I am a fan.
THE 7 SHARP ONES
1) What are your ambitions for the future – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
– Hopefully, Airtame has become a large company. If so, I would be very proud. Moreover, I would love to share my knowledge and find myself in a solid situation where I am capable of choosing whom and what I would like to work with.
2) What is your next big project?
– Seen from a professional point of view it is to ‘win’ together with Airtame. Privately, I would like to continue to climb a mountain and run a marathon a year – and find a girlfriend, whom I can have a beautiful family with. If you are interested in climbing mountains I can recommend refuga.com. It is a travelling company for entrepreneurs and proactive people.
3) What is your best carrier advice?
– Last year I wrote this speech for New Years Eve “2015 awaits – and you are a human being”. It is about daring to choose – about opting in and opting out. You need to choose what you want to do and work for it.
4) What is your largest accomplishment professionally?
– It is all about creating value. If your are good a what you do and is a good guy that treats people with respect, helps where it is possible, meet peoples expectations, and is someone people like to hang out with, I do not think you will ever be unemployed.
5) What is the largest risk, when creating your own carrier?
– Those who forget to be ambitious – both professionally and privately. If you ask me you will never be happy or ‘win’ if you only focus on your professional existence.
6) Do you have a motto?
– “If you can dream it, you can do it” by Walt Disney. I also often think about how you “need to catch the bullet” – something similar to what Wayne Gretzky once said.
7) What book is laying on your nightstand?
– I am almost done with “Don’t despair” by Mathias Møl Dalsgaard (the creator of GoMore). It has made a large impression on me. It takes you into the world of how it feels to be an ambitious man, and how to find personal and true happiness. I can also recommend the book “Four hours working week”. It will tell you how important it is to embrace the digital globalization today.
Name: Steffen Hedebrandt
Lives: Born and raised in Aalborg – lives in Copenhagen
Education: Cand.Merc - CBS
2015 – d.d.: Marketing director - Airtame.com
2012 – 2015: Nordic director - Upwork.com
2010 – 2012: Chief of Operations - Vintageandrare.com
We would like to say thanks to our great photographer Philip Høpner, for all the great photos for this interview: www.philiphopner.com