Denmark’s largest conference for tech startups, TechBBQ, celebrated its 3rd year in existence with a blast of a conference at the Opera House in Denmark last week.
In case you weren’t at the TechBBQ 2015 conference at the Opera House in Denmark, let me paint a picture of the event for you.
Imagine a circular building, magnificence in every brick, internally decorated with beautiful props from the opera itself. People buzzing around, everyone you see walking looks as if they have somewhere to go to, or someone to talk to. And when you sit and watch the keynotes, it feels as if the speaker is talking directly to you, thanks to the perfect acoustics of the opera.
There were a thousand attendees at this year’s TechBBQ, the third and most attended edition of the yearly event. Among the people at the Tech BBQ, were entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors, many of which were also key speakers.
One of the speakers was CEO of Danish games studio Betadwarf, Steffen Kabbelgaard Grønning. During his talk, he spoke about Betadwarf’s humble beginnings, and about how their first game, Forced, quickly became a massive success. NordicGameBits managed to grab Grønning right after his speech to ask him a few in-depth questions.
One of the things Steffen mentioned in his speech was that he and his partner had always been 100% honest and transparent about how they would run their business. In their early days, while still at University, they hired students that worked nonprofit. These students were already receiving public support for studying at university, and they would greatly benefit from the valuable experience they gained while developing Forced.
“They were already building portfolios, and we gave them tools to build something that would end in a cool showcase. So it’s a win-win”, Steffen Grønning says to Nordic Game Bits.
“We were super honest about it from the beginning, so people knew what they were getting into from the start.”, says Steffen Grønning
Building a business from scratch is a tough thing to do, and sometimes, doing so requires very tough decisions to be made. In his speech, Steffen said that he had actually had to fire someone, even though they technically weren’t even employed. Despite them working voluntarily, they were let go if they didn’t measure up.
“We basically had to let them go, because if they weren’t as focused as everybody else, the ones that were super focused would feel ridiculed because they were giving it everything. And we were aiming at becoming the best as fast as possible, so we gave evaluations out where we would say to the less focused people that they weren’t increasing their skills fast enough, then we wouldn’t expect them to be there in the future. That was just us being super honest again.” – Steffen Grønning explains.
The thing about being in a room with a thousand smart people is that it without a doubt makes you think in new ways yourself too. Knowing that, it seemed very possible for an innovator and entrepreneur like Steffen, to have realized how he could have done things in a better and more efficient way. It’s literally a must-have for any entrepreneur; the ability to see how something could have been done better, and then use that to bring in the day of tomorrow.
“I would start with a way simpler game concept than we did, one that wouldn’t require a big team. For instance, do it in 2D rather than in 3D. And then I would probably try to bootstrap it again, and see if there was any locale I could utilize. I think it’s a good idea to move together some place where you are not disturbed by anyone, and you can just focus on the game. And the burn rate is also really low if you live together like that.”, Steffen Kabbelgaard Grønning from Betadwarf concludes.