Name: Jesper Åström
Work: If I want to.
The story of Jesper Åström’s online ventures began in 1998 when he joined forces with some really interesting people at a company called FreeFund.com. The site was targeting Swedish university students, and Jesper’s role was to create a database full of scholarships that the students would want to search in exchange for leaving their contact details. The venture was successful, but the times weren’t. In 2001 everything went to ashes when there was no more VC to dig, and too much of an all in European roll out to hold on too. Liquidity importance learned.
Jesper wasn’t too put down by this first exercise in the world of online business. But he decided, against his gut, to go back to school and explore what the university world had to offer. Econometrics, environmental economics, mathematics, arabic, public administration. The possibilities were endless and the hunger for knowledge to big for Jesper to stay in school past any degree was obtained. He needed to explore freely.
During his years at university he taught university professors as well as other students how to build their own websites. He learned that giving is probably the best way of getting. As he got more and more frustrated in the static nature of the web however, he started dreaming about building a network online, much like the Swedish website Lunarstorm, but with a business purpose instead. Where knowledge could be shared and products could be built. Sharing is caring – learnt!!
In 2005 he thought he had got the break he was longing for. An entrepreneur from Stockholm contacted Jesper after a tip from an old colleague and asked if he would be interested in building a social network called Globy in a team of three people. Jesper’s natural response was !! absolutely yes.
The website was built with more advanced features and technologies than Facebook had to day. In 2006 we had a working Java-IM client, a functioning map with geotargeted event invitations as well as a group/page structure that was suited both for business as well as for people. The only problem was that there was no viral aspects to the website and thus no need for people to invite others. The marketing technique used was basically only event oriented and thus Globy had a short but capital intense life until the point it was sold in 2007. At the same time, ironically enough, Jesper was a part of a team developing viral campaigns through e-mail for clients all over Sweden. Great success and great results. The lesson of viral importance was learned.
The buying company hired Jesper as a product manager for a Swedish discount card. He decided that this was a great thing for him, but also got pretty bored pretty fast as he realized the will to invest in modern web technology was scarce at the company. Thus he only remained there for a year before joining Hallvarsson & Halvarsson – a Swedish PR firm focusing on financial communication. It was a sick transition. Not only did Jesper realize there were too many similarities between certain group behaviors and the stock market, but he also realized the hardship of being a consultant. He loved it at times but felt he wasn’t in his right mind being employed in times of radical change. Social media was hitting it big, and Jesper had been a part of its early evolution. He wanted to reap what he had sown. At H&H things were good, but he thought he wasn’t learning enough. He needed to challenge himself. When clients only want to do what’s already proven to work, you have to go somewhere were the competition is fierce and the learning curve is constantly steep. The lesson of “clients buy what they want, perhaps not what they need” was learned.
Thus, in 2008, 14 months after joining H&H, Jesper went on to working in the gambling industry instead. He got to practice, test and elaborate on some of his inner perversions with regards to Social media and SEO. Somewhere mid year 2008 he got back to reading a lot of economic psychology books as he started seeing patterns. He got completely into building big schemes of how the online world worked and thus got a bit side tracked from the otherwise focused work at the gambling company. In late 2008 he got a phone call that he couldn’t resist taking, nor answering too. Gambling is crazily fun!! – Lesson learned.
The retail giant H&M wanted Jesper to hop onboard to work with social media in the new media team. Although Jesper wasn’t to keen on leaving the great world of gambling, he felt as though he couldn’t resist this opportunity. One of the great ones, wanted to go to work and get down with it. Yey!! He joined up with a rather slimmed team and started getting down with it. After just a few months he decided to leave though. Big companies are always big companies. You need patience. A trait Jesper does not have. Lesson learned!!
He decided that the only way he could get to do what he really wanted was to go Italiano. No underwear, no life reserve jacked, no safety, just go for it. He briefly went back to the gambling industry, but shortly joined forces with some of Sweden’s most creative people in the company Honesty. Finally, Jesper had found his home. In Honesty, Jesper could work in the digital frontline, with clients who’s only aim was to make more money and build better services. He could work both with branding and marketing whilst being deeply involved in product development. Or so he thought…
And as with all other new years, there are new things to do. What I am up to will be uncovered shortly in my blog. But I am not doing advertising… that’s one thing I know…