🎵 A new episode out 🎵
Building Kahoot! - with Johan Brand
Currently Kahoot! is valued at €6B Euros according to Dealroom, and it is one of the biggest learning companies in the world. Johan remains a strategic advisor to the company.
Many thanks to Jamie Brooker and Michiel Kotting who contributed to the research for this episode.
💃 "You won't be the only one having good product insights and knowing what the market needs. Execution of the idea, and how ruthless you're willing to be in what you don't put into your product is what matters."
🤺 The first 90 seconds encounter between the users and the product are crucial - for Kahoot! it was the lobby
🌲 "by the fact that you are getting resistance is probably why you are on your way to something right. Because you're breaking the norm. And every success when I recognise success is when you are breaking the norm, but you are still focusing on the outcome."
❤️ This was an incredibly honest conversation on building products that users love that any entrepreneur can learn from.
Building a product that users love
*Kahoot! is the fastest growing learning brands with over 70 million unique monthly active users in 200+ countries.
The first - 90 seconds - encounter between the users and the product are crucial - for us it was the lobby
In 2012 Johan Brand and Jamie Brooker met Nir Eyal (author of Hooked) when he was presenting his Desire Engine framework for the first time in Silicon Valley in 2012, during the Tinc program. They used the 4 steps framework (and previous research into play) to make learning awesome again.
They plotted then the core loops on the product canvas just like you would do on the business model canvas. The first thing that they have realised is the need to focus on the onboarding phase. Most companies struggle with the onboarding into the service.
The main innovation was to make the onboarding a play in itself. They wanted to give an instant gratification and they have created the lobby. The were thinking at artists on the stage and the 5 minutes of fame that the lobby would replicate. They added music, pupils started dancing and they were also given the opportunity to choose a cool (or funny) nickname. Because the pupils picked their own nickname, were onboarded with music and 5 seconds of fame, now they were ready to learn algebra. They were motivated, onboarded and engaged. Another element that improved the onboarding was the pin-based login that removed any friction.
The first 90 seconds are key. Looking at another industry, the hotel industry, Johan and Jamie took the learnings from the the "lobby experience". If the lobby experience is bad, everything in the hotel is bad. If the experience is good then everything in the hotel is good.
If you remember only one thing about the learnings from building Kahoot! remember the lobby screen (experience) and the importance of it. ♥️
Getting resistance could be a sign of doing something right
"by the fact that you are getting resistance is probably why you on your way to something right? Because you're breaking the norm. And every success when I recognise success is when you are breaking the norm, but you are still focusing on the outcome."
You won't be the only one having good product insights - execution and simplicity is what counts
"All the way back to mid 2000 I was building things that are now part of Apple and Netflix so I have a good sense of building products. There are a lot of talented entrepreneurs with the same insight at any given time. A product idea doesn't come in isolation, you won't be alone.
The difference is in execution and simplicity. How ruthless are you willing to be with what you don't put into your product?"
I would highly recommend you to listen to the whole episode! 🎵
The Hook by Nir Eyal
Transcript - Not Edited
people, world, realised, behaviour, classroom, works, theory, kahoot, outcome, gamification, company, teachers, product, understand, based, engaged, learning, launch, game, design
Calin Fabri, Johan Brand
Calin Fabri 00:05
Our guest today is Johan brand previous co founder and CEO of Kahoot. Johan Brian is a creative technology entrapreneur based in Oslo, Norway. As a founding partner at we are human in London. He creates purpose driven organisations striving for sustainable social and commercial impact were humans most successful venture to date is Kahoot, one of the world's fastest growing learning brands with over 70 million unique monthly active users in more than 200 countries. Under his leadership Kahoot grew from a research project to a company that captured more than half of us k 12 classrooms, as well as millions of business and social users. During this episode, we're going to talk about building a product that users love. Big thank you to Jamie broker, his business partner for more than 10 years. And me he'll co team partner at North Zone and one of the early investors in coach, they helped me during the research phase of this episode. Thanks a million. This was an amazing discussion on building products that any entrepreneur can learn from, please enjoy my conversation with Johan brand. So let's paint a picture for the audience here. Let's go back to 2013. Like the first days of Kahoot, you just launched tell us how did it all started? And where is it today?
Johan Brand 01:53
So at 2013 It already companies kind of the ideas and the foundations of it was already many years in development. So by the time you launch in 2013, at South by Southwest in March, a private beta and it goes public beta in the fall like back to school, August 20, more September, August 2013. The company has already a lot of the core development has already been going on for many years. So Martin, the CTO developed the core platform, which is still has live code into now he did it from 2016. That's what sorry, 2002 1006. I got mine so long ago. So he'd already been working on that. And this professor, which he had when he was doing that had then been developing a prototype layer on top of that around the idea of is nothing groundbreaking. But by doing increasing in the classrooms, or even using quizzing software, it's already a lot of companies out there doing it. But I'm using creasing on top of Martin's technology made a very interesting kind of prototype for for kind of gaming in the classroom and increasing. So they've already been doing that from year 2006. And then, which is funny, we didn't know about them then. And Jim and I, in our respective world over in London, had been working on games for education within businesses, our theory was around using Play. So we were deep into play, which is of course the foundation of good that accompanies and the modern world had not learned to learn correctly. Like we were teaching inside companies and adults, we were teaching the way we have been taught at school. But actually we were taught that school was not for the modern world that was for the old world. So we have been developing pedagogies and games for large corporates and also businesses, either public facing or internal, where you were training young people and adults and businesses on things. So the time when we meet in 2009, we fall in love with each other because we fall in love with each other's ideas and theories. Finally, someone is seeing the world we're doing it, we start playing around with each other's concepts, we develop new things we track did actually go for Alex out of Google, stolen, got him to leave that job, but he had only ambition see, and we ended up having a successful career starting some other businesses. So it's a lot of people involved a lot of people playing around with students at end to new working on prototypes, and to newest in the region Technology University. So by the time it comes to 2013, we've, we have a lot of ideas, which were distilled into a theory which we then had in 2012, we landed on this opportunity. This is the product vision, this is where we're going to go and by 2013, within 1212 months of development on top of that, but of course we were standing on the shoulder of giants, because all the work that's done before that, and also all the theory in the world, on gaming learning and so on which were taken on board. So I was trying to say to people, when you're launching something like we're a product of the whole society, we just happen to distil it into a one product vision. There's no single genius sitting in the back room developing this and never raced because you always do in the back of other people. The second you recognise that it's also easy to take in impulses. So the beginning for us in 2013 We're talking about that is that was the time and we were ready to unleash to the world our distillation of how to bring play back into classrooms to make learning awesome again. And to address the problems at that time, which was live data for teachers, formative assessment, disengagement from students, that the curriculum didn't align with the world that they were living, that the products that were using didn't look like the world they were in, they didn't look like Facebook, and Twitter, and Google, which are the biggest products in education. So that was all the things that distilled into what we launched in 2013. But as you understand, we spent a lot of mental power, a lot of energy, and most of that was actually them, distilling it into something that's so simple, that people will actually use it. And that was 2013. That's when we started. And then we started the machine of getting in the last co founder Osman joined in March 2013. So he was a half year behind them, getting into there and then leased the thing to the world.
Calin Fabri 05:48
You mentioned two things that kind of grabbed my attention. So one is old, the theory behind gaming is already there. So what do you think that you did different? This is one? And second, like what are the key things in the gamification that you think are very important that you've implemented actually into into the software?
Johan Brand 06:07
And I love the fact you said gamification, because I'm going to tell you why it's not that there's something else, which is one of this is one of the reasons we could actually win. So I'll start with the first one. I think what's also interesting is also why I say yes, to do these talks, as well as that as a company grows, and you ask him where he's at now, it's one of the he's one of the biggest learning companies in the world. Now. AI is acquiring companies. And it's, it's a massive Stock Exchange, you know, listed company has a lot of employees, and it's a machine that's really rocketing. And it's awesome as a founder to see that you can step back and just brilliant people and people are going on and doing stuff we agree with. So we didn't we don't agree with that. So did we do back then. So that's where we are now it is, you know, I can be proud to say we created the proper proper learning machine. But your point is, I'll start with, I'll start with the one with the gamification just because it goes back to the beginning at Kahoot is game based gamification is when you're adding game elements to something that's not game based. And that's actually one of the problems in education in a lot of engagement software is that they think they're doing games, but they're doing implication, you're basically adding points to something that's not a game, you're adding rewards. Now, that's fine. And gamification has its own theory and gamification to be extremely effective. But it you have to remember what it is, is a reward mechanism you put on top of a behaviour. Cahoots is a game based company and is a game based product. And the point of that is because we said we're going to our theory and our insight was that play was lost. Our language we were born with, the thing we're using to acquire all our skills, and all nature have is play. And actually a game is just play with structure is play with rules, structures, it has rewards, the gamification element, and so on, but it has all the other bits, which is empathy, collectiveness you're doing with others, or you're challenging yourself towards a system. Gamification doesn't have that it's just an element games have a gamification element, but it's, you know, you're basically you can't separate it out. So that is as important. And as an insight we have why Kahoot had a wild success is a couple of things. I've done a lot of work a lot on startup theory, I've worked with startup, I've started several companies. So we also knew a lot of things. And he says no probably can say it, because actually, I did say it before I launched it, I said these things. And I was at the conference, National Conference on stage this is recorded. And back then we knew we theory that most large companies come out of a crisis is started in a crisis or just before a crisis. So they're ready to exploit the climate crisis. So when the giants are pulling back, have sunk cost a lot of employees a lot of contracts, they can't move, and they're scared of the future. That's when the Nimble little company can make a decision or someone starts a company. And this happens again, and again, you can look all the way back. So I was at this conference, I was at the conference, we're talking about this. So we saw that in when we met in 2009. We had just had the financial crisis behind us. We knew already then, like Jamie and I left our jobs, we knew that we knew at the back of this crisis is our time to take everything we learned in London and all the angels, everything we've done, this is our time to start. So when we met in 2009, we were already very clear that if we're going to build something big, on the back of what we're learning, it was kind of a commodity and financial crisis is going to happen. Now. It takes years when you're talking about the right side of that, but other parts will happen. That was very interesting, which we spotted while we started doing goods, actually, when we realised it was the learning market and so on, was that America is rewriting his curriculum. That's also typical advantage in any market, when the base kind of framework is removed and something new happens. You can look at mobility, you can look at electrification of cars, whatever it is. So for us it was a reverse rewrite. When you rewrite the curriculum in the US with every state except for Texas, we're going to get the new curriculum is a level playing field, you know what the new stuffs gonna happen? behaviours are gonna change buying circles are gonna go down, blah, blah, blah. So that was another one we realised okay, this is a good timing right? And then the other one that we were very clear on was like the world has already been so frustrated for so long that education is not serving the needs of society. So we were like we have three core things. And we could wrap that all around that around, bringing playing back to the classroom and dressing that a teacher don't get a big engagement they need to see they do formative assessment, which is live data and all these things. So now it's easy for me to say it because what is the these are the founding theory theories, we didn't invent a questing system that was already in the world. We didn't invent the mobile phone, the internet, all those things, but we did was were able to put games structured into the classroom running on technology that before then teachers were scared off the mobile phone. No, you don't do that in classrooms. Music. No, you don't do like classroom reward a competition? No, we don't do that often in the classroom, the teachers had, they had what they called technology and apathy. They were scared of the devices because they didn't have to deal with them. And they were having difficulty. So biggest design decision we had was to make sure that teachers are feeling the first access with technology with our product. So there's a lot of those things when you're asking me about like the founding bits.
Calin Fabri 11:06
This is what it's very fascinating. Because maybe in hindsight, there are like this pivotal moment or all the choices that you've took that nauseam that there were the right choices, but how do you take like a nimble company focusing on consumer where the user actually is a high school student? And then you take it to the stage where you where it is today? When did you feel like okay, this is super important to introduce into our product. And you just see that with this feature, you've created a new growth loop.
Johan Brand 11:36
Now and I think this is super important because we met in the year y'all are near and far and the book hook we met him when he was presenting his model the first time that it was called the desire engine. When we were in the US at this Tink programme in the region innovation programme from innovation. Norway, we were pilot one, we went there because we realised we needed to do steal our ideas, we need to we need to go into some kind of programme, some kind of we're proud, we're like, we had to force ourselves into making some decisions, it was really good to go to Silicon Valley and sit there. And then we met near, we saw in presenting it and Jamie and I particular designers like oh my god, you describing something you put into the model something that we know and I've been struggling to communicate to others and also make effective. And that was the idea of the of the hook. And when we saw that model, and we were looking what we're doing, we can start modelling our ideas for what we need to do around that model. So we very early on, realised we were looking at BJ Fogg, we looked a lot of theory. But now we have the framework, we could plot our product, just like with the business model canvas where you could plot your business model, or is the services on Canvas, all the ones that we can then plot the hook the core loop, which is the winning mechanism of every successful online company who grows via already, but to be honest, offline is when you have understanding the core intrinsic loops. So we designed that intercompany. And there's actually there's a direct point we can talk about which is defining Cahoots, which is probably one of the few things we have innovated, where we haven't just take in everything else and put it in. And that's we realised that most companies in all over the world and most things they will they struggle with is onboarding to the service. Now, if you don't have crazy 1817 year old kids in the classroom, we don't want to learn you're going to onboard them to a software, which ended is really a test to see what you know, I mean, every odds stacked against you. So what do you do them. One is you need to give them an instant gratification. So we were thinking of concerts when the artist is on stage, and you can get your five seconds of fame. So here comes the lobby screen. Okay, the teachers up there, the kids can come up on the login screen they can put in the name is mu six was fun. So we made the login onboarding a game itself, a proper game in itself, which has social recognition, you get your first x of fame, the teacher can have fun with the names. Next one comes in, and you create a reward mechanism. But you want to log on, you want to do this. And then all of a sudden, we set ourselves 90 seconds to get the class logged on because that's what the teacher had before they start getting scared. And then we introduce new six. So they started dancing. So this is big innovation was to understand what is it that unlocks the classroom, meaning the teacher will accept the behaviour the kids want to go in and join in and so on. And then you can launch a quiz about mathematics and algebra and stuff that they normally wouldn't do. But because they're onboarded they're ready, they're engaged. And I think that is probably an I'm I'm scared now that people joined Kahoot to start working on the product, not understanding the importance of the law, basically, and why it's such an important pedagogical tool that I can say is that's and I have all the slides from when we cracked that when we drew out the kind of a person on stage and we were a teacher, but we're using the analogy of the state everyone recognise this kind of you want to be recognised, but you want to be seen by the rest of the people in the audience, all that stuff. So that was the pivotal moment, I think for Kahoot in terms of and we tested lives to see do people want to log in and it worked. And so I would say that is probably the one thing that most people are not aware of which is probably the most key thing for Kahoot success. And that's our login screen our onboarding process that we're using PIN code. And when I was was trying to do all this QR code and everything was just too complicated. And we made everything web based PIN code with numbers easy to get up and talk about. Everything is web based, there is no apps, which is straight in 90 seconds, boom. And I think that, that being that clear on what motivates and what engages them, when if you know them the hook and everything else you understand, then you can do all the reward mechanisms on making investments. And then you can close the loops again and again. And basically every question in cahoots is a small loop, they have success to getting rewards. So they accept the next one, and the next one. And then when you normally land about 10 questions with ideal, then you have had enough of that and then you should close and celebrate the winner, which is not the type of reward and then you could do another one I would say that kind of better pinpoint and understanding those things is what I do a lot when I look at other startups now. Do they understand the hook? Do they understand the engagement factor? Do they understand those first couple of minutes of a service which I learned in hotels in the hotel where I used to I was part of starting a hotel chain with Jamie and what we realised there is if the lobby and walking into this by the way also this is called the lobby good and you walk into the lobby
Johan Brand 16:15
and it's a bad experience. Everything else is bad in the hotel. If you come into Labine, greet and this is perfect. The same experience is really good. So this is also why now I say we call it a lobby screen and we use all our all we have because just before we're like while we're doing the good stuff we had been doing this hotel chain stuff. This is a spend a lot of time on this theory. So there you probably get a lot of those hooks and that's that for me is yeah, if you want to learn something from COVID Learn from the lobby screen and understand and after to think about it in 2013 Not now where things have changed a lot. You have to think about what did we launch it to them? That was not common music in the classroom mobile phones, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now QR codes actually works is different. But yeah,
Calin Fabri 16:55
exactly. No love the story. Of course everyone wants attention. And they would like to be in the lobby or on a stage like a rockstar. Do you remember the first ever nickname that appeared in the lobby screen?
Johan Brand 17:07
No, but I have to say and it's really funny because I'm a sucker for for like bad humour and old humour. So like Ben Dover, right? Of course, it had to come up. There was a lot of jokes around different American presidents. And at that time, 2013 you can look up who was the American President, then? Yeah, there was a lot of that. But also what's really cool is people would normally do nicknames out of their interests or something about themselves. Because this comes from them. Lauren theory, I spend a lot of time in looking at nonverbal communication, a lot of time on what the what makes people engage why social media works, why poking the whole idea of poking, which is one of the foundations of why Facebook works with established nonverbal communication. What we realised
Calin Fabri 17:48
yesterday, I don't know what's what's poking,
Johan Brand 17:50
So when Facebook launched, the way people start engaging with shoulders, you could poke because basically, back in the good old days, when Facebook was young, it was very uncommon to send each other message of writing a book on our pages, and so on the most, the thing that was most likely, like we were kids was poking someone's shoulder. So Facebook introduced the behaviour that you know, now you can think of it now because now you'll just write anything to anyone at that time, we didn't do that. So then you would poke and then what we looked at it was realised that when people commit to something on social media, when they write something, they're very likely to defend it engage further, so by them, allowing them to write their own Nick time, show some personality, they engage and they will stick around. So that's it, that was a reason to do that, and express themselves. So it's a very clear base in theory around what keeps people engaged, why do they go where they go, and they can have fun with each other and they can show personality and, and so I often in conferences with join with CEO of kilohertz, because then people will go, Oh, my God is the CEO of Kahoot in the room, and I thought it was awesome, really good fun. So people can only communicate through nicknames.
Calin Fabri 18:54
Yeah, no, I absolutely love it. It's, it seems that you're very much aware of the behaviour of the users. And you have this finesse to determine if something that it's in the physical world, they will try to maybe bring it into the digital, when did you actually realise that you're creating transformative learning behaviours in your classroom, we
Johan Brand 19:15
set up the company to do that. And I sounds very cocky, we have the original slides, which we wrote for what we were doing that was because we come from behavioural design. It's what I spent so much of my life doing. I've done it before in terms of Luminar launch, like parking services. So I've loan services which are which are kind of tapping into behaviour people have. I've done it many, many times. So this one we did with the BBC, we're done in many places for us, when we were looking at the problem of learning. We were looking at the behaviours of the teacher, of the students, of the group of students, the group of teachers, like all a bit all the dynamics you have and that's also by the way, I think is if you look at Facebook and Snapchat and so on. A lot of these companies are deeply rooted in psychology, and some is Snapchat here. I'm sort of psychology and all a very quickly get into those I Facebook, we were already from day one, we went down the route of that. Remember it was a Saturday we'd studied play very deeply I used to work for a company called playgroup, where whole foundation was the theory of play. So I spent deep engagement into the use of clay and pray and the day is a behavioural study, that is where we're coming from. And that's why we had for a long time and just said, A Kahoot is a behavioural company that happens to making a learning app because it works the parky's, it works, you know, that's the point for us is that if it's a good learning, if this is a good learning tool, it will work as well. And you receive as it does in the classroom. Because the point is, it has his own learning dynamic, like social behaviour is learning. So when you're doing that, and having fun at New Year's Eve, people are learning to get to know each other. That's the whole purpose of that. So understanding the learning outcome you want. And that was the point for us being able to design for the teachers in K 12, or we're designing for universities use, you need to realise what is the outcome they want? What do they want to work define success for them? And I think a lot of people who are designing products who are doing really well, they're really focused on what is it that the customer wants to do in the end, and I'll serve them what they need to get there, not what they think they need, you must have heard this again, and again, about Henry Ford and the horse. The point is, you need to look at what is the outcome, okay, they want students to be engaged. Because teachers recognise engagement as learning, that's what we can design for, we're not going to do like our competitors are designing AI machines, which will tell you when to learn algebra, because that's not recognised from the teachers good learning the teacher recognise engagement. And also there are theory knows that engagement is the foundation of learning, turning your brain on. So it's looking at the outcome of your user. And by the way, it's really interesting when you look at the students, what they want, is to be engaged. But they're not empowered to be engaged because of the environment or whatever it is they want to be. And they're engaged by being recognised by their peers, that the teacher looks at them that they feel seen, that they want abilities are recognised, and that they can be stars when they're good. Like that's engagement. And that's what Kahoot is designed for. The quiz is just the most applicable thing to do. Because it it responds to the need of the administration, formative assessment. And by the way, quizzing is actually a really good learning tool if you want to do those things. But and today, if you look at everything about Kahoot, you can make it really boring quiz. That's not Kahoot Kahoot is what it does. Everything around is everything but the quiz. And I think that's when people aren't talking about it as a quizzing company. No, we're not. We're behavioural company that happen to do quiz thing to get to the where we need to get to,
Calin Fabri 22:26
I'm pretty sure that a lot of our listeners today they've played Kahoot 80% of the people that I know that either they use it during Christmas, or, you know, New Year's Eve during a quiz or in school. So I'm pretty know that they're quite familiar. So this is a last question before we go into a rapid fire round. So this is something that actually Jamie, your co founder said, when I asked him, What do you think some of the intrapreneurs today in Europe should learn from your hand. And he said several things, but I'm going to he said three main things, but I'm going to pick one, which I think is very important. He is a visionary doesn't settle for obvious solutions, and is comfortable working through uncertainty until the optimum ideas, opportunities surface that most people wouldn't see. So what I understand were days as an intrapreneur, you just have to go fast and maybe break things. And it's just very easy once you have a glimpse of a solution to just take it and I think not only as an entrepreneur, but maybe also during life. You just as soon as you get a claims. Okay, this is maybe this is good enough. What do you think is the drive for you to not settle and really stick with it until you find something that it's optimal?
Johan Brand 23:43
Yeah, and I think this is also important. When you give advice and you look at things, everyone has their root two things. So I you know, sometimes you can probably grab the obvious one, but execute better than everyone else, right? So it's kind of hard to remember like, What game are you playing? And what is your ambition? Because I do not want to I definitely want to make sure that when I'm saying next is like there's definitely a big intrapreneurial lesson in just understanding that'd be best execution can be the best way to succeed as well depends on what is your A game. My a game and what I always strive for is probably where I know I'm have the strength. And that's exactly this kind of, I said to people just look through walls, is this idea that I have this another colleague of mine call it that has his ability to recognise success when it comes. What I follow, which works with my mind, and the way I am is, I have a vision of where the world is going to go. I can't tell you exactly what it is. But I'll tell you that once it's there, I'll recognise it. That's it. So having this idea and I think that's a little bit rooted on behaviour. And also like when we're talking about human behaviour, also, then you have to constantly think about the political situation of the world. You have to look at the business. And you have to look at the consumer because when you're looking at that breakthrough idea, you have to map it against all the big trends that will define it. That's why we're saying in the beginning about the curriculum, the financial crisis is the need for consumer behaviour into classrooms, into businesses, the rise of the iPhone, that's the consumer taking over business decisions of buying equipment. So I think my drive is that I consume pretty much all information available to myself at all levels. And I think, to test your ideas across all levels, to be able to say to yourself, how does this idea look politically, because it works perfectly politically, when you're looking at outcome. They don't like mobile phones, music and other stuff. But they do outcome. Okay, it works. And that's what people often do is they settle on things that people will like, that's not right. You need to set the globe what they'll recognise as success, which often is breaking through what they're like, they'll probably they will count to do what they do, they'll probably in the beginning seeing an idiot like when I was on stage with Cambridge and everyone you know, all that was saying, This is bullshit. This is PlayStation, this is not serious. But I got to talk through them and saying the outcome is what you're looking for. And the by the fact that you're getting resistance is probably why you're on your way to something right, because you're breaking the norm. And every success when I recognise success is when you breaking the norm, but you still answering the outcome. And I think that's probably a lesson for a lot of entrepreneurs is to realise is they have to be thought about being ruthless is the outcome if you have to drive a truck through eyeglass store, if the outcome is what the person wants, that's what you do, you know, a good personal trainer will do that. They won't listen to you, they'll get your outcome.
Calin Fabri 26:22
Exactly. And this is this is something actually did me hear from North Zone said that maybe I should ask you. So building a product centric company in Europe focusing on user retention and adoption, first, were to disregard of revenue. And revenue potential seems like a very bold move. So how do you see this? Now looking back,
Johan Brand 26:42
I'll point back in my previous answer, this success that the Europeans wanted was the American success, right? They want to the company that was growing like how they wanted all those things. That's what they recognise. And by the way, we were going to us anyway, we will then take you as markets, we have to play by us rules. Because in our market, if you win in the US, you would win the rest of the world because we could follow the use of or we could look at other products, who was adopting elsewhere, we saw that that is what happens in American classrooms are built this homogeneous is a massive market. They're playful. They're going through this change we talked about. So we have to play by American rules. So the honest law, people call me arrogant and all these things. But basically, in my mind, it was very simple was like, I don't care what Europeans think about what I'm doing. What I care about is what is happening in the US. What do I need to do to win in the US what's going on over here, and that's what the Europeans want anyway, so I don't care that Norwegian press and British press was writing like, don't know how to make money have lots of users, bla bla bla bla, it's not a real business. I can't tell you how much shit and stick I've been getting also from VCs, by the way, but for us, I don't care. Because that's what our competitors are doing. That's what I'm what I'm saying competitors are not thinking about other ad tech companies because they weren't doing this. They were not raising VC money, because it's teachers didn't want to see VC stuff. But I was looking our competitors were the Googles and the Twitter's and those were the guys we were in business against. So we had to follow that path. So that's sort of go back to the point is I was interested in outcome and outcome is they will invest a company that grows like hell, because it has the perfect product centric, so user centric product with retention, and I keeps on growing like I call it getting outta jail card was that we just kept on growing.
Calin Fabri 28:18
So what would be your advice for an intrapreneur? In Europe building a b2c product?
Johan Brand 28:24
Yeah, but this is the thing. Now is 2021 is very different to when we launched in 2013. But I think one thing that hasn't changed is to understand, you have to understand, by the way, where are you launching to by the way we were launching in the US, we're launching globally, but we were targeting the US to then go global, what I what I recognise a lot, we invest across a lot of regions, by the way. So what's interesting when I'm working on that, we're also starting a company now that's going to have global intentions. And, and probably the thing is to think that the behaviours you see in one region is the same as the rest of the world. So a big part of the hurt was to try and boil down even though we're going for the American mark, and we're doing a lot of American things, the base behaviour we were going for, if you're going to go global, the base behaviour needs to be global. And that might be in it's not optimal for Germany, it's not maybe not optimal for Northern Europe. But it may be it's the optimal behaviour in your market that can also go global. So having this idea of understanding what's good enough in one market, not optimal in one market, but optimal in terms of if your recent is going global. So this is always a bit like if you launch an app in Norway, you can charge a lot more than other countries, but it's really stupid if your idea is to have one pricing policy across the whole world and you need to actually get to the cheaper Norway that might allow you to do this and that so that's probably one thing to think about is you cannot look at Europe and get your use of sarin think that is what I can do the rest of the world is to try and understand what is the common denominator that actually can work across everywhere or that you can do small tweaks.
Calin Fabri 29:49
Got I'd got it three, four last questions, rapid fire questions, three things that you recommend intrapreneurs go tomorrow and implement into their processes to build better Product
Johan Brand 30:00
services on Canvas to sit down and map your company against the services on Canvas. So you understand the journey from when before they heard of who you are the journey through when they drop out because they have to go to toilet to come back. And this time out to what happens once they're done. If you map that you'll start realising where you're probably not getting a network effect where you're probably not getting your recommendation where why people are not getting your product or dropping out or whatever it is. So services aren't Canada's
Calin Fabri 30:28
best book you've read in the last six months.
Johan Brand 30:32
This book over the last six months, yeah, I will actually say it isn't that it isn't the book, it is the Explore clubs journal, which talks about it's an it's a scientist who talks all about the funghi. And actually, what's most interesting about the theory of fungus, it's a network organism. And actually, if interest in internet and huge volume is lies in the intelligence of the funghi, and then what pops up, that's just a surface of it. But actually, the intelligence of the funghi is probably one of the best things I've ever read, which just has to do with the natural world we take directly can transfer into my work in an online world.
Calin Fabri 31:05
Beautiful. So explore a class journal, I know that also called explorers,
Johan Brand 31:09
the explorers journal, it's part of the Explorers Club can be bought,
Calin Fabri 31:13
explores journals. I know they're also Charlie Munger, the partner of Warren Buffett, when they invest, they talk quite quite a bit about looking at the natural world and see how they behave. Because probably that's what would make sense. Also in this world. By the way this
Johan Brand 31:27
we did the Kahoot, we looked at what's coming with us and other ones play the way animals are playing. So we were we were looking at the natural world we did, because that's the most if it works with animals, it will work no matter what language or political system we're going into. Right.
Calin Fabri 31:40
Exactly. And you think that you think that is very important when building products that you think we haven't covered?
Johan Brand 31:48
Yeah, I would probably say that the way I think people should really focus now is understanding what it means to be a values based entrepreneur. I think going forward now, there's, it used to be a competitive advantage. Now it's if you don't think value space, and you'll implement values based capital, who will be impact focused, and so on going forward, SDGs, they wanted to go there. But also, by the way also means you'll meet the users at where they are mentally, where they want to get to their outcome, they want to be values based. So I would say understanding what values based is you can head to our website, we are human, and read about value based entrepreneurship. We also done stuff in partnership with slushed on this, I will do more around it. I think that's one of the core trends to really understand this and must have now and I think also and I will keep on banging on this with people is done understanding what it means to working with Inclusive Design. So designing for the edge cases, inclusive design means you design understanding multiple culture we talked about this includes design, it's not just for people who have hearing aids are someone but also different cultures. Maybe it's a it's a group of people who are not misfits in a bigger society. In this sense, it was actually the student who was on the back of the classroom, for the wrong reasons. We want to get them in the front for the right reasons. That's inclusive design. And that's your competitive, that's your competitive advantage and understanding fluid design as a strategy. That's some of the core things we haven't talked about, which I think is on the core things that we did into Kahoot, which we built in there, which is still is the competitive advantage because designing for the edge case, that's also where innovation happens because you're breaking the norm, you're doing something different to engage the disengaged.
Calin Fabri 33:20
You just mentioned that the listeners can read more about the value based intrapreneurship and we are human dodge CC. We are human dots you see
Johan Brand 33:30
we had this idea when we created we are human that we've got to be creative commons so we got CC
Calin Fabri 33:36
got it. Any ask for the audience before we close out the session.
Johan Brand 33:41
No reach out to our social media on we are in stock humans or on Twitter or anything engage and we'll try and respond back.
Calin Fabri 33:49
Perfect. Thank you very much Johan for taking the time. And I wish you Yeah, very much. Good luck in all the end of wars that that you're starting.
Johan Brand 33:59
I appreciate it. Thank you so much.