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Kristian Segerstrale, the former CEO of Playfish, a social gaming company before it was sold to Electronic Arts for $300 million back in 2009. Today he leads the Playfish team in EA and invests through some smaller funds, like that of Lifeline Ventures here in Finland. Playfish wasn’t Segerstrale’s first startup. Before Playfish he sucessfully build up Macrospace that since then changed to Glu Mobile and went onto IPO into Nasdaq. Segerstrale was on stage yesterday at the Summer of Startups demo day event. He was energetic, inspiring yet very easy to approach – everything you’d expect from a man of such success and experience.

Most importantly perhaps for the region, he was extremely happy to see the development in the area with many local projects promoting entrepreneurship in the different countries. One thing he mentioned in his chat with the press and echoed through out his talk on stage that many companies still lack – the ambition to aim high and build those $1B companies.

He reflected this in one of his lessons learned through the presentation; “life’s too short and you’re still going to have lots of risks building that $50M company – why not seize the opportunity and build that $1B company instead. It’s not so much about the money, but the dent you make in the universe that matters.”

Other points, shown below, emphasize his experiences he shared on stage.

  1. Build a bold vision, then make it bigger
  2. Raise more money than you need from people you would hire.
  3. Develop strategic capabilities through securing strategic talent.
  4. Keep it simple.
  5. Become or hire a master story teller.

Segerstrale put forward an energetic show with a very different, but highly valid and inspiring points. Perhaps the takeaways from his presentation were that people from Northern Europe need to think bigger and support their huge visions with a great story that they have the ability to tell in an inspiring fashion.

This was Kristian Segerstrale’s first visit in Finland to such a large audience. Close to 400 people had gathered to listen to him in a room that fit a little over 300.

Ilkka Paananen, one of the founders and former CEO of Sumea (later acquired by American based Digital Chocolate) went on to state in his Facebook stream that Kristian Segerstrale is one of the most famous Finnish entrepreneurs out there. After the show – you can only agree.

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