Peder Linder

April 16, 2024

Peder Linder, the Founder of Cillers, is transforming how software systems are being built, backed by some of the world's top software technology companies like Databricks, Couchbase, and Kong. He has been a personal advisor to the CEO of one world's largest tech companies and coached senior leaders at Google and Apple. The world's fastest-growing B2B software companies, WIZ and Deel, have turned to him to help them with their go-to-market activities in the Nordics.

1. How many days per week do you prefer to work from home and why?

I love going for walks in nature, so I love working in an office where I am less than 5 minutes away from doing that. Working at Microsoft's HQ in Redmond was awesome because they have a forest on their campus and lots of green open spaces. I used to take my team out on BBQ lunches by a beautiful lake nearby, which was amazing and very much appreciated.

Studying at Stanford was also amazing because their campus is so beautiful, also with lots of trees and green open spaces, as well as soul filling sculptures all over campus. Now, I work from home every day of the week, which is just next door to Djurgården's forest.

2. What is a hidden treasure among apps for you — a favorite application of yours that might be unknown to many?

PeakPath.com has a great combination of biometric measurements, habit tracking, and professional coaching. I've had issues with going to sleep at a proper time, even though I am convinced that getting consistent good sleep is one of the most essential fundamentals of health and happiness. But, now, thanks to PeakPath, I'm finally getting this habit in place. It will be interesting to see if I can keep it up and stack some more good habits on top.

3. Any tips on how to use AI in daily life or work? What is your company policy around it?

I don't think about how to use AI, because that is way too abstract for me. It's like thinking about how I should use water or how I should use the Internet. I like to think about what approach I should take to achieve my priorities and which technologies will be best for the job.

I've found AI tools very helpful for writing great code quickly. My coding ability has increased dramatically thanks to AI. The quality of my code has become much better because I use AI as a way to get ideas for how I can simplify my code and make it run more efficiently. It's also great for generating a draft that helps me overcome my procrastination.

Our company policy is to always look at how we can optimize our most business-critical processes and the business-critical process that we are targeting with our product. We consider the suboptimalities in the execution of these processes and try to figure out new approaches that will unlock faster execution, higher quality, and more cost-effectiveness. We use AI when it can help us make substantial optimizations.

4. What's your most important work tool, making you productive?

While studying at Stanford Business School, I had the privilege to learn the Objectives & Key Results (OKR) goal management framework first-hand from Dr Andrew Grove, CEO of Intel, who invented it. The OKR framework was a revolutionary improvement for goal management when it came and has been an important contributing factor to the enormous success of Silicon Valley tech companies. E.g. Google used OKRs from very early on and its founders attribute a large part of their success to making use of OKRs. After returning back to Sweden, I implemented the OKR framework at my startup Advisa with great success and also helped other companies, such as SEB, adopt the framework.

Working with OKRs, however, led me to see that there are significant problems with this framework, so I came up with a new approach that I think works much better. I call the new framework Critical Process Execution & Optimization (CPEO) and we use it to structure all of our work at Cillers.

5. What career tips would you give your younger self?

Get a job just to identify a business-critical process that you think can be significantly optimized with a new approach. Then talk to lots of people for which this process is business critical and listen to their perspective. Produce a sales pitch and talk to more people to get their feedback. Don't get discouraged by people that don't see what you see, but use their feedback to improve your thinking about your new approach and messaging.

Then you need to get shit done with very high velocity, which primarily depends on figuring out how to keep things simple and not getting bogged down with doing things in the "right" way. Be willing to make a fool out of yourself and accept that you may not seem to be on top of things. Adopt a growth mindset and understand that you and the way that you do things will improve over time. And, see that people are so much more forgiving than you think they will be. And those that are not forgiving, although you have acted with the best of intentions, you may not want to have in your life anyway.

6. What is your view on employee choice, i.e. flexibility for employees to choose their hardware and software?

One of my primary aims is always to slash complexity. Employee choice can lead to a huge amount of complexity that doesn't provide much value. But, individual contributors, at the bottom of the organizations, are the ones that have the best information about what is really going on and what is needed. So top-led decision-making without getting the insights from the front lines is even worse.

I think the Toyota Production System got this right. Toyota started to heavily encourage factory workers to provide ideas for how their production processes could be improved, and they really listened and considered each idea, but they didn't allow anyone to deviate from the current best practice until an improvement was formally approved centrally. And, then the new improvement was rolled out to all factories globally.

7. What is an ideal new employee onboarding experience?

You should help new employees clearly understand which business-critical processes they are expected to deliver on and either teach them your best practice for how to be successful or give them the resources and time to learn the best practices from somewhere else if they are not yet established at your company.

I think frequent personal coaching from highly qualified coaches is one of the most effective ways to get people to quickly be able to deliver great results and thus gain confidence and have a great experience. Personal coaching is often considered a big cost, but it's actually really small compared to the alternative costs.

Have you read?  Voices & Choices # 8: Interview with Daniel Eisenberg, Head of Expansion Nordics at Deel

"Voices and Choices" is a weekly interview series where we dig into how top talents, founders and leaders work and what makes them productive.