Episode 10: Holger Seim - The origin story of Blinkist, growing to 11 million users, and creating a unique company culture

Leap Takers

Nov 18 2019 • 48 mins

Holger Seim (@hlgrsm (https://twitter.com/hlgrsm?s=20)) is the founder and CEO of Blinkist (https://www.blinkist.com/). Blinkist is a book summary app that lets you get the key insights from 3'000+ bestselling non-fiction books that cover leadership, history, psychology and more in 15 minute summaries in text or audio format. Blinkist has over 11million users globally and the book-summarising startup has won positive reviews from the likes of Forbes (“This may be the greatest app you download in 2018”) and The New York Times. In this episode we talk about how Holger and his co-founders came up with the idea for Blinkist, how they took the leap and started the company, his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to find your perfect co-founder / first employees, the most important marketing channels for startups, as well as the importance of designing a unique corporate culture (such as the one of Blinkist), and much more.. Please follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/leaptakerspodcast/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheRemoKyburz), and my Website (http://www.leaptakers.com/), where I post new episodes, share cool stuff & interesting articles I found, and blog occasionally! Sign-up for the mailing list to stay in the loop (https://www.leaptakers.com/subscribe)! Show notes: 03:13 -- Who is Holger 04:40 -- Startup idea generation and how the concept of Blinkist was born 09:01 -- How Holger and his co-founders took the leap and started Blinkist 09:50 -- Pursuing a startup idea full time vs. side hustle 10:59 -- Initial financing choices at Blinkist 12:36 -- Characteristics of a great startup founding team 18:12 -- How to find your perfect co-founder outside of your personal network (e.g. technical co-founder) 20:30 -- Blinkist’s company culture and why Holger places immense value on culture 24:42 -- The Blinkist operating system 27:07 -- Tips on maintaining a corporate culture while you grow as a startup 29:16 -- How Blinkist grew to the first 1000 clients and discussion of marketing strategies 32:46 -- Alternative marketing channels leveraged by Blinkist 34:41 -- Holger’s book recommendations for new startup founders 37:31 -- General book recommendations of the Blinkist founder 39:14 -- Holger’s best investment 40:42 -- Hobbies and habits to decompress from the startup life 41:40 -- Favorite travel location 43:09 -- Advice for university graduates about to start their career 46:23 -- What does courage mean to Holger Resources mentioned: * Blinkist (https://www.blinkist.com/en) * Wunderlist (https://www.wunderlist.com/) * Holacracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holacracy) * Outbrain (https://www.outbrain.com/) * Revcontent (https://www.revcontent.com/) * Facebook Advertising (https://www.facebook.com/business/ads) * Taboola (https://www.taboola.com) * The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Ben Horowitz (https://amzn.to/2KwRSW2) * The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever - Michael Bungay Stanier (https://amzn.to/2CPBDPo) * Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell - Eric Schmidt (https://amzn.to/2qZXQro) * Who - The A-Method of Hiring - Geoff Smart (https://amzn.to/35di9Ai) * Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari (https://amzn.to/2XoEaJJ) * Ready Player One: A Novel - Ernest Cline (https://amzn.to/2NUAYTd) * Dune - Frank Herbert (https://amzn.to/2OmPEtf) If you're enjoying the podcast, the best way to support the show is by leaving a review on Apple Podcast (https://podcasts.apple.com/ch/podcast/the-leap-takers-podcast/id1468975811?l=en) or in your favorite podcast app. Special Guest: Holger Seim.