It's an Inside Job

The Tough Path to Success: Leadership and Entrepreneurship Lessons with Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xenata.

March 25, 2024 Season 5 Episode 13
The Tough Path to Success: Leadership and Entrepreneurship Lessons with Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xenata.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
The Tough Path to Success: Leadership and Entrepreneurship Lessons with Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xenata.
Mar 25, 2024 Season 5 Episode 13

In this episode, featuring guest Patrik Berglund CEO and cofounder of Xenata, we delve into the true essence of successful entrepreneurship and leadership. Highlighting the importance of empathy, emotional intelligence, and a genuine care for team members, Patrik shares insights on how leadership extends beyond mere skills and knowledge. It involves actively listening to and understanding the individual challenges within a team.

Patrik emphasizes the critical role of motivation and inspiration in unlocking team potential and discusses the importance of assessing one's passion for the leadership role. Emotional intelligence is spotlighted as a key element for building trust and collaboration, alongside the necessity of balancing a clear vision with the flexibility to adapt to changes.

The conversation also covers the inherent challenges of entrepreneurship, including the need for grit, resilience, and the importance of seeking support and fostering collaboration. Patrik Berglund's perspectives provide a comprehensive view on leadership as a journey of caring, motivating, and inspiring others, underscored by a commitment to personal and collective growth.

Patrik Berglund

episode, qualities of a successful leader, caring for people, motivating, inspiring, balancing vision, flexibility, emotional intelligence, resilience, collaboration, effective leadership

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, featuring guest Patrik Berglund CEO and cofounder of Xenata, we delve into the true essence of successful entrepreneurship and leadership. Highlighting the importance of empathy, emotional intelligence, and a genuine care for team members, Patrik shares insights on how leadership extends beyond mere skills and knowledge. It involves actively listening to and understanding the individual challenges within a team.

Patrik emphasizes the critical role of motivation and inspiration in unlocking team potential and discusses the importance of assessing one's passion for the leadership role. Emotional intelligence is spotlighted as a key element for building trust and collaboration, alongside the necessity of balancing a clear vision with the flexibility to adapt to changes.

The conversation also covers the inherent challenges of entrepreneurship, including the need for grit, resilience, and the importance of seeking support and fostering collaboration. Patrik Berglund's perspectives provide a comprehensive view on leadership as a journey of caring, motivating, and inspiring others, underscored by a commitment to personal and collective growth.

Patrik Berglund

episode, qualities of a successful leader, caring for people, motivating, inspiring, balancing vision, flexibility, emotional intelligence, resilience, collaboration, effective leadership

Support the Show.

Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday


[0:00] Music. 

Introducing It's an Inside Job podcast with Jason Liem

[0:09] Back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionallyresilient so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience into practical advice, skills, and strategies thatyou can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into to the stream.

[0:37] Music. 

Introducing Patrik Berglund, CEO of Zanetta

[0:45] Well, welcome to the top of a new episode and welcome back to It's an Inside Job. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Well, today I am very privileged and pleased to be able to introduce you to an interesting guy, Patrik Berglund.
Now, he's the CEO and co-founder of Xeneta.
Now, Xeneta is a trailblazing company in the industries of logistics and supply chain management.
Now, we're not going to explore Xeneta so much. I'll let Patrick speak to that.
But in today's conversation, we're going to dive deeper than the surface level success of Xeneta.
We're exploring the very essence of entrepreneurship through Patrik's journey, from the highs and the lows of building acompany from the ground up to facing the unpredictable tides of the business world.
Patrik shares his invaluable insights.
We'll discuss overcoming adversity, navigating through uncertainty, managing conflict, and the relentless pursuit ofmotivation and inspiration.
You know, Patrick's story is not just about the success of a company.
It's about the relentless spirit of entrepreneur or being an entrepreneur.
So whether you're a budding entrepreneur yourself, a seasoned business leader, or simply intrigued by the mindset it takesto turn vision into reality, I think this conversation promises to be very enlightening, inspiring, and intriguing for you all.
And so without further ado, let's slip into the stream and meet Patrick.

[2:06] Music. 

Introduction: Patrick Bergman and Zanetta's Mission

[2:16] Thank you, Jason. It's an honor to be here. I was wondering if we could maybe kick off the conversation by youintroducing who you are and what you're about and what you do.

[2:27] Cool. Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Patrick Bergman and I'm a founder of Zanetta.
I'm also a father of two girls. I just want to put that in. So it's more than just business in life.
But my background is from transportation and logistics supply chain.
And 11 years ago, I started a company called Zanetta.
And the basic principle of Zanetta is it's built to solve a couple of problems in shipping primarily.
So air freight and ocean freight is what we're targeting.
And these are industries that collectively move more than 70% of global trade.
Most people don't relate too much to these industries but it's it's incredibly important for global economy i describe it asthe main archery of global economy because they move so much of everything we consume right and and the basicproblem in the industry is that it's an incredibly volatile market so prices changes all the time right and then it's opaqueopaque.
So if you imagine you being one of the big brands in the world, whether it's Amazon or Ikea or Adidas or any of thesecompanies, Pfizer, pharma companies, automotive, whichever one, you need to ship your product around.
The challenge you're facing is that you never know what the going rate is in the market.

[3:54] And the reason for that is that all prices are individually negotiated.
So you will have one company negotiating with the shipping line or a freight forwarder to reach an agreement for a pricebetween, let's say, Shanghai to Hamburg or Los Angeles.

[4:10] And what that causes is that not only do you have volatility in the market, but you have a huge spread becauseeverybody's achieving something different in their individual negotiations.

[4:21] So, what we decided with Zanetta is that if you can imagine almost a room with 500 or so big Fortune 1000customers type of businesses, if you imagine them sitting in the same room and you ask them one question, what do youall pay today between Shanghai to Los Angeles?
And they would all share, they would be all informed as to whether their price is good or bad in the current market.
Right so what i find interesting is that we chose a crowdsourcing principle in a business to business world where wemanaged to get proprietary data at scale enough that you fill the room with enough participants so that you statisticallycan say as per today this is the average this is the high this is the low and then they get to see themselves within thatmarket and that's the the core value of what Zanetta offers, right?

Shifting Information Asymmetry and Building Partnerships

[5:18] Now, we have then built a market intelligence platform that sort of takes on the buy side.
But we always knew that if we could get enough buy side to go into negotiations, leveraging our market data, then thatwould shift information asymmetry between the buyers and sellers in favor of the buyers, which indirectly would forcethe the sell side to also join in order to balance that information asymmetry, right?

[5:48] And for the past five years, we brought on board a majority of the big shipping lines globally.
We have eight of the top 10 global freight forwarding companies leveraging our platform, all headquarter level.
We've never gone for local branch offices or anything like that, because we knew that if we're truly going to get a footholdin this industry, we need the core key decision makers to embrace it.
And that's been sort of the journey. Now, if you pause that for a bit, I would like to add one more thing because we saidthat.

[6:23] That there's a problem that they're buying and selling somewhere between $300 and $800 billion a year of ocean andairframe.
And there's no visibility on it. Now, if you think about those individual negotiations, they are very inefficient.
There is no central clearinghouse that will tell all participants in the market, here's where the market is, and you can strikea price very efficiently.

[6:46] So we said, if we can get our hands on that data, get buyers and sellers on board, then eventually we can change howthey buy and sell because there is no reason for them to do that manual cumbersome process to figure out where themarket is when we can tell them with a simple click of a button.
Right so as per now we have built a platform that allows buyers and sellers to more seamlessly agree to which price theyshould ship their products at on the all the different trade routes around the world and then on top of that we've bolted onadditional complementary data sets which would be reliability capacity emission data right and my ultimate goal withwith this company is to enable the buyers to be fully informed 24-7, to sit down with any carrier in the world and say, ifyou're going to move from Valparaiso to Jebel Ali with this shipping line versus this shipping line, here's the pollutionyou're going to have.
Here's the price points you can achieve.
Here's the reliability you're buying. And that is unprecedented in this industry.
There is no company that can provide any equivalent visibility and transparency that Senera does today.

[8:03] And yeah, that's a bit of a long introduction to what we built.
No, but I mean, when you're talking about such a complicated industry, I think it's good to give it time and breath to speakto the details.
As you said, most of us just, you know, we order something, you know, as a private citizen and it ends up in our mailbox,regardless if it's coming from China or the States or Brazil or wherever it's coming from.
And we don't see the veins and the arteries that puts this global machinery together.
And so that's why I think it's so fascinating to be able to have a conversation with you today, Patrick, because I'd like toexplore two things. Obviously, it's the...

[8:43] Foundation and the road to build Zenetta. But it's also sort of the entrepreneurial mindset, the challenges and theadversities and triumphs that you and the company have made small or big that I'd like to explore today to understand,how you created or how your team, how your company created together a very resilient presence on this marketplace.
Because I'm sure you didn't make a lot of friends putting putting all this together along the way and that you had yourtrials and your tribulations.
I'm just a little side to it. I was just wondering, where'd you come up with that name? And does it mean somethingspecific?
Is it a combination of words or what have you?
Yeah, that's a good question. I always wished and dreamed I had a really compelling story behind the name, but, but, youknow, when we, we, we kicked it off and we called it the C rate to begin with. And we realized that there wassome sexy. sexy.
There was a much bigger demand for this than we anticipated.

[9:46] So we realized we needed a brand name. And then we wanted a .com domain that was short.
And if you started looking for that in this modern day and age, everything is taken, right?
So at some point, we just stumbled across Xerox, if you're familiar with the copy machines and the brand.
And I thought about it, they pulled off two Xs in a name. And for some reason, I found it somewhat powerful.
So we started searching for .com domains with X to begin with, because it was more availability. And that's the story.

Curiosity about the Entrepreneur's Journey

[10:22] Yeah. Okay. Okay. So that's interesting. It was more of a curiosity.
It's a little side note I was just curious about.
I was wondering, maybe you could speak a little to, to, you know, you've had the insight, you've built the company andyou've kind of crawled, you've been climbing this hill to where you guys are.
How was it as an entrepreneur? Maybe could you rewind and tell us a little about your story as an entrepreneur?
And obviously you saw the insights, but maybe some of the trials and the tribulations, some of the adversity you foundalong the road.

[10:56] Yeah, I mean, I usually share internally that it's been like a long journey of doing things you had no idea about howit should be done.
I'm a first time entrepreneur on a VC backed journey. I've done one company before, which was like brick by brick, right?So it's very, very different.
And we had four years of zero revenue, right?
Because if you go back to that analogy of people sitting in the room and sharing their prices to be more informed, youactually start off with zero companies in that room.
So the first one you go to is tell them, hey, I want to build this thing.
It all it all it requires is for you an x amount of other companies that ships on the same trade route with the same containerbox same contract duration to join me in this room and share proprietary data so it's such a chicken and egg problem inthe beginning which means that you you reach out you might find somebody who's like an early adapter and understandsthe problem you trying to solve and wants to buy in and help you. So they give the data.
Obviously, you can't charge because you have no other matching data to stack it up against.
So there is zero value for a good period of time.

[12:18] And for years and years, we kept on fundraising with zero proof points that this data would eventually be valuable,right?
That's a pretty tough pitch to make to investors.

[12:33] And then we kept on losing data. because say you convince Electrolux or Nestle or whichever big brand you canimagine that this will be a good outcome for them eventually.
So they join you for a year maybe or half a year, but you don't find other companies that are willing.
So by the time you get to the one-year period or six-month period, their data expires.
The prices they paid and negotiated with the shipping lines are now outdated and they saw no value in giving it to you.
So they don't want to give it again right because it's again confidential sensitive data, and those four i would say years tobegin with they were just grueling and i remember you know plenty of conversations with my co-founder where wewould we would leave the office uh go to like a cafe or somewhere to sit in a park and just like bitch and complain to behonest like this is never gonna work it would because we were like bringing in stuff and bleeding it on the the other endwhen it comes to data and then you needed that data because that fits the narrative, towards investors as to hey look at thedata is growing more and more companies are willing to give this data at some point we're going to turn the key andcharge a subscription.

Grit, Persistence, and Conviction in Building the Company

[13:51] Right so in parallel with that um and and just it required an enormous enormous amount of grit, and persistencyand conviction that ultimately when it come together it comes together it will work and it will yield substantial value rightnow my experience from being on sort of the buy and sell side of the industry, from that I knew how I theoretically wouldleverage this data if I could get my hand on it.
That's why I could have a pretty compelling story to the big brands, right?
Because I could explain to them, if I get enough of this, I would use it to set your budgets.
I would use it to assess the risk in your supply chains. And I would use it as leverage when going to negotiate the rightdeals.
And if they buy from, let's say, $10 million a year to $1 billion a year, then if you can optimize that with 10%, 20%, 30%,40%, depending on the market condition, it's a huge amount of money.
And in parallel, as I was saying, these four or five years when we're building it up in the beginning, the supply side hatedour guts.
Because if you think about it, if you're selling anything to anyone and they have no idea what the going price is, you havesuch an advantage.
So the idea of the market becoming transparent.

[15:21] Easily easy to navigate for their customers was not something they were pleased about so, we've had some of thebiggest shipping lines in the world threatening with lawsuits we've had the forwarders the same and the freight forwardingcompanies and the beautiful thing which i.

[15:38] Understood pretty early on is that we could tell the shipping lines and freight forwarders that if you don't want us tohave this data you've got to go to your biggest and most important important clients globally.
And you've got to tell them that they can't put the pricing contracts into Zanetta.

[15:55] Now, when you do that, you're also telling them that you're ripping them off, but you just don't want them to see it.That's all. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. So we managed to sort of play around these core stakeholders and convince them, ultimately, as per today, to moreor less all join.
And I've always said internally, they all will join this makes no sense to stand on the outside you're losing out so muchand the opportunity to create efficiencies do more data-driven decisions for for for companies of this stature just isconnected and associated with so much um money and and win so yeah it's as per today it's coming together very nicelyit's very sticky we're not bleeding out the ones who comes in anymore and we built an entirely different product andoffering but but it's been a long journey of um disappointments i guess and always i've always thought about it as one nois closer to a yes at some point right and you just got to keep on grinding it and then refine the approach that you're takingand learn from the nose to increase the amount of yeses that you're you're getting for every no.

Shifting to a Constructive Mindset in the Face of Challenges

[17:12] Yeah, because I think that's what I want to get into. I'm going to get to the DNA of your thinking, because I canunderstand the first 12, 24 months, you're hit with adversity, you're hit with challenges, but you're thinking that's the shortterm and you keep going.
But then you hit the third year, then you hit the fourth year, but obviously you've got maybe small successes along theway.
I'd like to return to that park bench where you and your business partner are venting and you're whinging and you'recomplaining about the difficulties, which is completely normal mindset.
And as you said, you were driven by a compelling story to tell to the clients, to your customers, and that kept you going.
I was wondering, you know, when we get into a negative mindset, we can tell ourselves stories that can actually tank us,that can actually sink us and derail us.
What was the compelling story you told yourself? I know you said for every no, there's a possibility to get closer to theyes.
I was wondering if we could elaborate and explore more what you and your business partner did to try to get back on thehorse, because maybe it wasn't so positive, but you needed to have shifted to some sort of constructive mindset.
Could you walk us through that? Yeah, I think that's a good question.
I think there's a few things that sort of drives me on.

[18:29] And I can even see this coming to play when we've had periods of stagnation.
So I think I have a huge curiosity and hunger for learnings.
Right so irrespectful of irrespective of the sort of timeline component here what i've cared mostly about is what does itgive me in terms of development and learnings and i told my chairman this several times as well that it's the mostexpensive education i could possibly dream of right we raised 130 or so million years dollars right to build this companyand i have i've had had the privilege of of going through seven funding rounds with venture capital firms hedge fundprivate equity it's um i've been i've traveled the world i met executives from the biggest companies in the world it's like icouldn't dream of that so if my motivation was primarily the financial reward i think i would struggle for periods of timewhen the the company's not performed well, right?

Focus on Learning and Development as Motivation

[19:39] So every time it's been a bit more tough, which is, it's been very cyclical, right?
Two, three good years, one bad year. Then again, two, three good years, one bad year. And it's like getting through those.

[19:54] Rough periods, I would say the first four years and then the cyclicality after that and staying composed.
It's helped a lot for me to focus on, OK, but what did I learn? What did I develop?
And then, like an example today, we have our annual kickoff.
It's digital this time in January and then in person next week.
But today it's digital. and one of the things I'm going to focus on is what have we achieved over the past six-ish years.
And when you do take a step back and you look at what we've accomplished, then that fuels me a lot as well.

[20:34] We started doing what we call the Zanetta Customer Summit seven years ago, I think.
And I started looking back at photos. The first one was an audience of 40 people.
And now, last year, we had more than 500 people flying into Amsterdam from the biggest companies in the world, fromthe U.S., from all continents, actually, continents, into Amsterdam where we hosted this, where we had the CEO of HapagLloyd doing a keynote, which is the fourth biggest shipping line in the world.
We're talking about the ones who hated our guts, who's now accepting our invitation, showing up in person. Yeah.
On stage with their name behind it the sort of biggest influencers in this industry uh and it's it's all it's it's mesmerizing tome to see that position like now with the suez canal situation yeah um we're in reuters bloomberg c uh cnbc bbc uhfinancial times just for the past two weeks every day in mainstream media my chief analyst is directly transferred on.

[21:45] Arabic tv as he shows up in in the newsroom it's it's that sort of like position within our what i would call a giganticniche that makes me convinced that we're moving in the right direction so i try to sort of look past these sort of shorterterm hurdles and mistakes because we do We make mistakes all the time.
All I care about is not making the same mistakes again.
So what did we learn from it? How quickly did we react? And what did we change?
And going from 22 to 23, we had a great example where we spent like six months readjusting our messaging and way ofselling.
Because through COVID, the market skyrocketed. Made 900% up in terms of prices for a container box from Shanghai toHamburg.
Hamburg insane budget increases for our customers now as that dropped off from 22 to 23 we didn't adjust how we soldand went to market it took us months and quarters and we lost out a massive opportunity now with the red sea we'veadjusted in two weeks and on wednesday yesterday i told my team, this is exactly what I care about.
I don't care that we spend two, three quarters and what it cost us.
That was a huge mistake. But now we're showing that we learned from it.
Next thing I want to see is us adjusting in days.

[23:13] And that's the way I try to focus and not be sort of worn down and bogged down about the mistakes and challengesthat we're constantly sort of finding ourselves trying to solve.
Yeah because what i like about what you're telling me is this is very pragmatic because back on that park bench back inthat cafe when things weren't going as well now with hindsight you see the the red thread and all the the right choices andthe wrong choices and how you adapted to those wrong choices to make better decisions along the way but back back inwell whatever those four or five years you guys were struggling you had no crystal ball as you said at the top of this thisconversation, everything was uncertain.
Everything was a new step. We didn't, you know, it was completely unmapped territory.
And so what I heard was, it was not so much maybe a compelling story you told yourself, but a compelling question tohelp you focus. And as you said, it's like.

[24:13] It's such an expensive education it's given me such deep learning and insights into how to grow things and youcould never learn this at a university and i really like the way you created a compelling question because in a sense whenwhen i used to work it's reframing what you've done is reframed because a lot of the times you couldn't change thesituation per se but what you and your business partner did was you know after the venting and and the whinging which isallowed then you got up back on the horse and decided okay how do we reframe this and what i hear is that you couldn'tchange the situation but you changed the perception or how you perceive that situation and by changing that perceptionthat changes your emotions from disengaging to more engaging as you said grit right and then obviously that leads toaction and there's only two actions as we said engaging disengaging and this this compelled you forward now i really likethat because what i also heard you say you know especially with this the sort of the zenitha summit you have and whereyou have the traditional way of looking back but this case it'll be all over the last six years i think that's also very good tocelebrate the wins but understanding those wins did not come easily it took effort and um and and investment and andmindset to do this because i think that is so important because a lot of us a lot of the times are constantly looking forwardwhich.

[25:41] Is healthy but looking forward that's like an unpainted canvas those are things.

[25:46] That have yet to come to fruition but what i also hear what you and your organization.

[25:51] Do uh do um patrick is that you look over your shoulder and you see the road that you've walked, that hard.

[26:00] Tumultuous road, but nobody can take that away from you because those are facts.
Those are things that are etched in stone.
And sometimes that, when we're facing a tough future, that we can't see our way forward, just to know that we've walkedthat hard road and that we've learned and we've gained insights can create, as for you, a compelling question or maybe it'sa compelling narrative to move us forward.
I just wanted to encapsulate that because I think that's the nuts and bolts of what I like to get in this podcast is talking tomen and women of your caliber and to understand the DNA of their mindset and how they come through adversity.

[26:41] Yeah, that's a good point. And I think it's the difference of sort of being

Reflecting on achievements and embracing failure for future success

[26:46] stuck in the past and looking back to see whether you actually achieved something.
Even if you failed, even if last year was like a long string of failures, most likely that's very rare to happen, right?
If you do enough stuff, if you work hard enough, you'll find some things that you actually achieved and did well.
But i think it's it's worth worthwhile thinking about two things all the stuff that went well but all the stuff that you triedbecause my hypothesis is if and i i'm not alone thinking this way but if you can try as many things as possible as fast aspossible then the odds of succeeding increases right but if i put my all my bets on like one thing for 2024 and we don'tsucceed and that's it. Then I'm at huge risk.
So breaking it down into like a hundred things we're going to do as an organization, but all tied to our sort of bigger visionand longer term aspirations, then that allows us to quickly churn through a lot of failures before you hit something thatworks.

[27:53] And most processes is like this.
Now, obviously, one caveat that I want to mention is that With time and with growth and size of the business, we've alsobeen able to attract completely different people.
Not that the ones we didn't attract in the beginning was great, but now we can find people who've done the journey beforefrom scratch.

[28:19] A tiny company to a billion dollar valuation plus, right?
We can attract people who come from the biggest tech organizations, whether it's Google, Facebook, Amazon, and soforth, right?
And what I found is that as the company matures, more and more weight can be taken off my shoulders, right?
Whereas in the early days, it's way more scrappy.
You don't have any resources. You're always constrained and you've got to compromise and fill the gaps yourself, whichmeans that you surround yourselves with, let's say, a lot of talent who hasn't seen and done it before.
So the journey is very, very different at this stage than it was in the beginning.
And the requirements from me or any of the ones who's been with us from the early days and just to be clear we have likefive people out of the 240 working with us that was with us in the first one two years so you you also churned through alot of people and relationships and i'm a pretty.

Transitioning from small team to large team challenges relationships

[29:25] Relationship driven person so it's been one of the hardest things that i've gone through realizing that you've got topart ways with people you've been shoulder to shoulder work with working you know around the clock to make thingshappen achieve great things but what used to work it not is not necessarily what's going to take you forward so there'svery few individuals who can do that transition from from let's say three five ten twenty people to 250 people, and i wouldassume from the learnings i have so far that that's going to continue which means that you're also going to in some wayburn yourself a little bit on a lot of relationships because you care i i care about people so it's very hard to sit down andsay this is the end of the journey for you and obviously you don't do that from overnight right it's a it's a process and yougot to try and make it work but it's it's got to be driven by the individuals that level of development because it's the samefor me every year i sit sit down with our chairman and I assess whether I think I'm the right one for the coming 12 monthsto run this business, right?

Evaluating Gaps and Building a Leadership Team

[30:33] When I look at this, I look at these are probably the areas where I have gaps, right?
And then it's a matter of how do you bridge them? How do I figure out how it's going to look like when we're 350 people,500 people? What are the initiatives I need to start now?
And what is the team I have around me in order for us to reach that?
So that means that I'm constantly or once a year evaluating my own position, but I'm constantly looking at the org andespecially my leadership team.

[31:03] Whether it's the right one to take us where we need to go, and what kind of gaps do I have.
And my approach to that is either finding entrepreneurs who's further ahead in the journey.
So double the size, triple the size, so that you can sit down and chat with them about this stage.
Because what is very clear is that there is a lot of things that is sort of common denominator is the same way of buildingthat works for a lot of SaaS businesses.
So you don't need to reinvent the wheel. And by speaking to them, investors who's involved and hiring more people who'sdone the journey before, then you have an opportunity to understand what is your own sort of self-development that youneed to ensure happens in order to remain relevant.
And this is why so many people fall off because they start off doing a job and they continue doing that job.
And at some point, the company don't need that job anymore to be done in the same way as before.

[32:05] Music. 

Patrick's Journey: Challenges, Grit, and Vision

[32:10] In the first part of our conversation, Patrick shares his journey through the early challenges of founding Zanetta,emphasizing a period of four years without revenue.
He underlines the necessity of grit, persistence and the conviction that their vision would ultimately succeed despite initialresistance especially from the supply side which benefit from opaque pricing you know Patrick's motivation was fueled bya hunger for learning seeing every challenge as an opportunity for growth and likening the journey to the most valuableeducation he could imagine he navigated this path by consistently asking three critical questions what did we learn fromour our mistakes?
How quickly did we react? And what did we change?
You know, this reflective approach helped him and his team to learn to adapt and stay focused on progress, viewing everysetback as a step forward.
We all face trials and tribulations in our private and professional lives.
The question is, can we take on board maybe these three questions that Patrick asked himself and his team? And this willallow us to be more reflective, resilient, and robust moving forward through our own challenges.
So now let's slip back into the stream with part two with my fascinating conversation.

[33:27] Music. 

Sorting Through Thoughts and Emotions in a Busy Life

[33:36] How do you get outside your own head? How do you sort through your own thoughts?
Because as you said, you're a father of two daughters.
Obviously, you're running a huge business, a very complicated with a lot of moving parts kind of business.
You know, you've got your health, you've got your social life and such.
But how do you sort through your own emotions and sort through your own head with such a complicated, I'm assuming acomplicated life with a lot of moving parts?
Yeah it's a it's a great question so that i'm trying to push my services on you.

[34:11] Different periods of times i've done different things just to be clear yeah if i focus on the last six months and ifound a new coach psychiatrist that i regularly speak speak with um i'm i have had different sort of sparring partners fordifferent stages and different also in some way but quite often i can find myself meeting somebody who's very interestingand very relevant for a period of time and i think i've been good at sort of exchanging them switching them out so that ihave something and no ill intentions right but at some point you sort of extracted a lot and the additional gain is morenominal than than in the beginning but the coach has been phenomenal or a psychiatrist and we worked on simple thingslike how defining your dream sort of every day like how does it look like because with the amount of work i must admiti've worked a lot more than what is i would say normal working life right and how do you how do you still reserve sometime to spend with family but also being mentally.

[35:25] And with them when you're with them yeah and it's been a huge challenge it's taken me many many years i'm notthere yet even i still have a lot to improve but i've done anything from pragmatic stuff like i have a smartphone at home inthe weekend saturday i put up like a dumb phone I have like one of those old Nokia's and I put it away.
Otherwise I'm constantly on. Right.
So do those kind of like strict rules.

[35:52] Boundaries as to like how you behave and treat your uh your spare time relative to work time then um small i formany many years i always just worked a little bit harder to get stuff done now my mantra is a little bit less not because idon't want to work a lot but the switching of the mantra to a little bit less forces me to prioritize a little bit harder right andthen i always i've I've never, since we started, never gotten through my to-do list.
So what my chairman told me early on is like, you'll never get through it.
Your main responsibility is to constantly sort it so that on the top of the list, you have the most critical stuff and the restwill burn.
And you will need to live with everything that's constantly burning and the disappointment of that, right?
Because you simply cannot get through it. And then one final thing, another sort of analogy I like to think about is Ialways sort of thought about Zenera as a vessel with so many holes in it.
And you are, as a founder who's so deeply involved, you're aware of all the holes.

[37:05] And when you step back and look at it, you can either panic or you can decide which ones are the biggest holeswho's taking in the most water, which if I plug them will move faster.
And then I'll go back, take a new look at it, and assess the holes again.

[37:23] So, yeah, it's a bit of a stretched answer.

[37:28] No, but it's very specific because what I hear is a man who is not searching for balance because I think balance isjust a complete misnomer.
It doesn't capture what we're trying to do in complex lives. lives.
And I think an entrepreneur such as yourself and some of the entrepreneurs that listen to this, I think it's about integration.
And it's actually, as you said, creating boundaries and understanding that, you know, today, this Tuesday, I have to work12 hours on the business.
But tomorrow, I spend time with my girls, seeing them in gymnastics or soccer, and I'm fully pressed with a Nokia flipphone, a dumb phone, as you said, and.

[38:09] And it's finding this integration and then being, okay, coming to peace with that.
And that sounds as you said, you're part of your mantra, maybe part of your personal philosophy.
And I guess you've had to learn this. As you said, you're not fully there.
You're an iterative process.
And as you go along, you learn and you gain insights just like you have with building the business.
It's also about understanding how to integrate your private and professional spheres of your life in a way.

Finding Integration and Optimizing Energy in Personal and Professional Life

[38:37] Is this what I understand you're saying? Yeah, I would actually add one more thing that I've learned is that I'vebecome much more critical as to what gives and what steals energy.
Because I figured out it's not the amount of hours, it's what I do, what I'm involved in.
And this is also one of the things I discussed with my coach recently.
It's like, how do you optimize your time so that you're as energized as you can?
Because ultimately, that's beneficial for Zanetta.

[39:08] And that means that for everything else, I should do as little as I possibly can and distribute that and give that awayto others.
And this is a little bit what I meant about finding the right team around you so you can take off the weights from yourshoulder.
Because that has allowed me to do things I'm also good at.
Right so that it sort of creates a cycle where you get more energized you feel more.

[39:33] Fulfilled because you're doing stuff that you're mastering and and and obviously stuff that i think is very importantfor the business as well it's almost like when i described my calendar a while back it was like i complained about it andwe agreed that the goal is going to be to have a calendar that you're excited about and look forward to and that means thatif you prioritize it to us correctly and with the mantra of doing a little less then you've got to be even more strict, of whatyou put in there and i think that's been tremendously helpful for me and it's very like a pragmatic thing to do just pull upyour calendar re-look at it what is it i should do and i've been very clear to my team for the past especially six monthsthese are the things i'm not good at these are the things i've hired you for these are things i'll hire you for you'll carry withthat you make all the decisions don't bother me with it if you need somebody to spar with i'll chat with you otherwise i'mgonna go and focus on these things.

[40:30] What is very interesting is when you gave the analogy of, you know, Zenonata being a boat and a boat has someholes and, you know, it's a patch up job.
And in a sense, there's an English word called triage.
It's like, you know, when soldiers get injured and the sort of the doctors have to deal with it.
Sometimes they have to look at the most serious wounds first and treat those while the smaller ones just have to wait orthey're able to survive for a time.
And so that's what I hear you doing. You need to be actually self-aware.
You need to be able to articulate, okay, what are the biggest holes and why do I need to deal with that?
And then you said, then I have to, or your chairman suggested, you have to be at peace with that.
Some things are just going to have to burn or fill up a little bit with water.
And I think that comes back down to a very eloquent word in English called equanimity.
It's understanding that you are not able to deal with everything, that you need to find some sort of collectiveness orcalmness in the uncertainty.
You know, there are going to be fires that burn, but they will burn at maybe a slower rate and you have to put out this firefirst.

[41:43] And I just want to say that because that in itself, it sounds quite, sounds quite, oh yeah, that's easy to do, but it isn't.That takes some mental gymnastics, and it takes experience to learn this.
It's not something you can pick up from a textbook.
That's something you've talked to your psychiatrist or your corporate coach with to understand these things.
And it sounds like this has evolved as part of your learning insight into your own personal philosophy.
Yeah, and when you do put – one thing to add to the mix, actually, that I think is also worthwhile is when you do putfamily on top you end up being stretched stretched even worse right so this is one of the conversations i've had with mywife who's been phenomenal through this journey as well that i really like to do things sort of wholeheartedly i i i knowthat i can like put in a hundred percent of what's required in order to do something that's like the self-belief And thenwhether I'm great at it or not can be discussed.
But when I got family, I realized that there isn't enough hours in the day where they are awake and I'm awake.
So she told me, you'll do 80% of what you would dream of doing on both arenas.

Balancing Work, Family, and Social Life

[43:03] That means that you'll never be fully satisfied with what you're doing with Zanetta and never fully satisfied withyour role as a dad unless you change this, unless you decide to retire and go 100% here.
And that conundrum has been very, very hard to accept.
But i think because obviously if i can cut off family and just do zanetta with like no other focus i would do even betterarguably right you can debate whether it would be mentally sound in in the long run but but but accepting that there is likeyou got you got it you you got a bite bite on this and accept that you cannot possibly do 100 here and 100 here in in termsof your own ambitions, right?
And that's hard. Then finally, social life. Like my social life sucks.
It's like it exists, but that's where I've paid the biggest price by far.
I trimmed down to like a few friends that truly matters to me.
And that's been great. And it works for me. I'm very confident that that's what I want to do, but I can see other peopleliving very meaningful lives with a very different setup.

[44:23] Yeah, but I mean, at the level, you know, that you sit and what you work with on a daily basis, you have 24-7, likeall of us.
And, you know, what I've learned over the years that life, again, this is a little black and white, maybe oversimplistic, butlife is sort of four buckets.
You have your health, you have your family, you have your social, and you have your professional.
And for most people who have very very complicated lives such as yourself as an example usually we can choose three ofthose four buckets and we need to be able to prioritize of course you know if you're a good father and a good husbandyou're going to one of those buckets is going to be your family because by giving to your family in a sense that you feel asense of contribution you feel a togetherness and then obviously you need to take care of your health physically andmentally in order to be there for the family, for the business.
And the third buck in your case is the professional life.
And so sometimes, and that's what I mean by we need to have integrations.
We need to be good with trade-offs.
Working with so many different professionals over so long, I've seen this play out time and time again.
It's almost like these hard-learned traditional ways of thinking.
These are core things that sometimes we need to be able to do.
And as you said, your business, it's also your brainchild, right?

[45:47] It's almost like your third child, per se, right?
Maybe, you know what I'm saying? Because you want to dedicate time.
You want to see it, Zanetta, grow and prosper and develop and become something healthier, something that adds to thesocial fabric of this community, right?
So I can see that. So I just really like to do that. But as you said, it's been, you know, my question is.

Accepting Trade-offs and Finding Equilibrium

[46:15] What kind of mental gymnastics or acrobatics did you have to make to accept that maybe my social life has to, Ihave to, you know, dampen down the temperature there.
And I have to focus on these other three spheres that we've been talking about.
I mean, you said that was difficult and a challenge for you to accept.
Can I ask you more nuts and bolts?
What do you say to yourself? yourself it's about it's about picking what you think is most important for you personallydeep inside seriously ultimately it's you i wouldn't do this if i constantly sort of yearn for something else right and that'swhat i knew that to me this opportunity is so exciting so fulfilling so.

[47:04] Educational that i want to go on this journey and i want to try it out and that comes with with the price of X, Y, andZ.
Now, in order to minimize X, Y, and Z, I'm going to pick some of it, right? So I don't feel necessarily alone entirely, right?
And then I think I also deliberately decided to invest enough time in family and my wife that that is, and this is how Idescribe it to her, it's like, that's my platform.
And then when I go out and spread my wings and do the stuff that I'm excited about, that's primarily Zanetta. Every oncein a while, really, I'll do some social stuff to stay in touch with those few friends that I genuinely, deeply care about.

[47:46] So that's purely a prioritization thing in terms of what fuels you the most.
And I think also another point I'd just like to address is that, you know, the successful entrepreneurs that I've talked to,men and women, a lot of the times their success comes back down to having the support at home.
Their wife or their husband, you know, it's not always an easy road, but they are there, they have their six, they have theirback, they feel that support.
So when they have to make that trade-off where tell their significant other, you know, this Thursday, I have to be 110%dedicated to the job, but that they are able to share their expectations and clarify their expectations.
And their wife or husband says, you do what you got to do. I'll take care of the kids or the dog or the cat or whatever it is,the house.
But then there's this sort of give and take, right?
And so if you have this sweet balance, if you have this integration at home where you can play on each other and supporteach other, I found that a lot of that is the fuel that can create that equanimity for people to deal with complex lives.
So I just want to say kudos to your wife, even though I don't know her.

[49:02] Yeah, listen, but it hasn't been easy. She's a very ambitious person as well.
And the sacrifices she has needed to make hasn't come lightly for neither her nor me, right?

[49:21] And the added response, you collectively decide to get kids, right?
And my father ran a business as well, and he worked, you know, back when it was no opportunity to work remotely,right?
So he was just gone, right? And I never wanted that for me, my kids, nor my wife. So...

Balancing work and family responsibilities

[49:45] Personally putting that pressure on somebody else who have their own aspirations who's doing great where in theirprofession to take the additional burden of controlling more at home because i'm traveling like january syrish marbellahamburg and yeah and one more paris and and then comes February, right?
And it's month after month after month, year after year.
And that amount of additional strain on one individual in that relationship where it's supposed to be the common decisionto get those kids is pretty hard.
So it's been some deep conversations as to do we really want this as a family, right?
But then on the other side, it's been this phenomenal experiences.
When we opened up the New York office in 2016, we took both kids and me and went for three months to live inManhattan, right?
So we've gotten so many of these experiences that most people don't get, right? Also together.
So, yeah. But it's still something that, you know, I think going from 30 to 40 has been.

[51:02] A massive eye-opener for me in so many ways as to how how short and how long life is right because when i wasearly 30s i felt everything needs to be done now immediately and with such a rush then when i got to like 35 40 i thinkboth my wife and me become also became also way more patient realizing that if you want you can work to maybeprobably 70 years old so doing making some calls now posing something maybe for her now for a while to free up moreflexibility between us and as a family uh is something we finally pulled the trigger on and she started part-time studying.

[51:43] After last summer and we that's a decision we should have done when we were 30 when we got our first kid but allwe could think about is like holy shit we're in a rush and she she got a high level position within her business uhmanaging 70 people or so so it's like we were both working our socks off while getting kids but we had no perspectiveand back then i had a coach she was 75 years old she was phenomenal i kept for like four years and she gave me this sortof perspective that you you have no idea when you're 30 years old you think everything is it needs to be done immediatelybut you once you get into 60 you look back and it's like what are these young ones stressing about so it's been it's takenme i would say five to ten years to get more perspective as to like we don't need to do everything in in one go we canfocus now maybe i'll do this for a few years then you can go and do something else and so forth so yeah.

The beauty of experience and evolving values

[52:43] Well that's the beauty of experience because it shapes us it's constantly molding us like Like, as you said, if you'regoing to Marbella or Paris, the man who jumps on that plane and then comes back at the end of January is going to be adifferent man shaped by his experience.

[52:57] But what I also hear is that, you know, when you're in your 30s, you're just a completely different headspace.
And by the time you're 40, another decade under your belt, you have more wisdom gain.
And so it's not to detract from the man or the woman, your wife, back in your 30s because you were driven by differentsets of values.
But those values have maybe matured or they have evolved based on your experiences.
And so the man who's 40 now will not be the same man in a decade when he's 50.
He'll look back with even more wisdom, with more insight, with more learnings.
Yeah, that's what I realized. It's always backwards, isn't it?
So you never get smart enough to understand how it's going to look forward.
Sometimes I wonder if when we have more technology with DNA and we extend our lives to 150, maybe 200 years atsome point.
But imagine how much wisdom a human being would have picked up over 200 200 years than the sort of normal 80, 85years in the West, right?
But anyways, that's a whole different podcast.
I'm just very respectful of your time, Patrick. I was wondering, you've shared a lot of advice, a lot of the learnings you'vetaken up along the way to shift your mental game.
What advice would you give to any aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Or leaders, just leaders themselves?

[54:23] Yeah, there's so many things. What I actually think is...

Genuine Care for People as a Leader

[54:32] If I were to say anything, I would say, don't even consider being a leader if you don't genuinely care about people.
It's going to be about them and not about you. Sometimes it feels like you're a trash can.
In my one-on-ones, a substantial amount of time is sitting in and sort of taking in everything that is problematic for theother person.
So you become almost like an adult in the room and you need to contain all of that emotionally, which means that if yougenuinely don't care about them and you as people and human beings, it's going to be hard for you to sit there and take allof that in.
And I believe once we part ways, once we can sort of go out of those one-on-ones, they've had a chance to empty all theshit.
We've talked about everything they need to do. And my job is then to motivate them and inspire them to go and execute asgood as they possibly can on that.

[55:37] That means that there is very little time for me to tell my sort of burdens and complaints.
And that's what I mean about caring about people. That would be one of my biggest points in order to try and avoid someof the traditional gibberish that goes around.
But I would really challenge everyone.
You can obviously build a company and then find somebody else to run it. Go for it, right?
But if your intention is to go build it and lead it and run it, then you should carefully consider your appetite to deal withpeople's challenges professionally and personally.
Because that is, holy shit, whether it's their mom died of cancer or whatever it is, it's going to come so many of thosethings.
And you've got to carry the relationship emotionally and inspire them professionally.

[56:31] It sounds like you have to develop your psychosocial-emotional intelligence and be able to apply that tocommunicate and be there for people, to actually listen to them so they feel valued and heard.
And when you do that over and over and over again, you should think about whether that is something you enjoy andreally aspire to do.

[56:53] Otherwise, you should find somebody else to do it. so it doesn't mean don't build a company and go for it but reallythink about who's the ideal one to lead it as it grows and get people on board then you know you we could talk aboutbeing harsh on and strict on the sort of vision and sticking to it but being flexible enough to adjust it when you reallyrealize it doesn't work there's so many things that we already touched upon and the grit and resilience and finding thingsthat you know motivates you gives you energy there's so many of these things but i would assume most of them will befound for those who go looking but thinking about that people component because you won't be able to build it alone rightwell that's.

[57:41] Very very good advice you know what we've talked about is being very pragmatic and i appreciate yourvulnerability and talking about the tough road that you and your business partner how to climb but your ability tointegrate with your life and you know as you said you you communicate your wife you support each other but it's it's notalways be an easy road but all these different elements have add to the dynamics of this conversation i think there's somuch to pull from this because there are time-tested values here that we speak of that any of us can employ and apply toour lives and so i think you're a living example not to compliment you but as an observation you're a living example of alot of the philosophies we've talked about today and a lot of touch points a lot of us could adopt into our lives and weaveit into our lives.

[58:28] Music. 

Patrick's Strategies for Entrepreneurial Growth and Balance

[58:39] To wrap up today's brilliant conversation with Patrick Berglund, we've transversed the landscape ofentrepreneurship from the challenges and the learning curves to the personal strategies that sustain growth and balance.
Patrick credits much of his personal management to having an external coach who created a space for reflection and freshperspective on challenges.
In our conversation today, he also emphasized the importance of setting boundaries between work and life, leveraging adumb phone to disconnect, and living by the mantra, a little bit less, which forces him to prioritize.

[59:14] Patrick also candidly shared that not all tasks will be completed, comparing his to-do list to a leaking ship thatrequires prioritizing the largest leaks first.
You know, this journey has taught him to be more conscious and critical about where he invests his energy and his time.
A lesson that's invaluable for any entrepreneur.
And Patrick, a personal thank you from me to you for sharing your time and insights with us today.
Your journey and the wisdom you've imparted will offer invaluable lessons not only for entrepreneurs, but for anyoneseeking to navigate challenges with resilience and foresight.
Your approach to learning, prioritization, and self-management serves as a recipe that any of us can adopt.
So Patrick, I'm deeply grateful for the depth of our conversation today and the perspective you've shared.
So thank you. Well, folks, if any of you are interested in contacting Patrick or exploring Zanetta, I will leave all the linksand contact information in the show notes.
And as we cross the finishing line of yet another episode, if I may ask you for a call to action.
If you enjoy the content of this show, this episode, the podcast, could you kindly share it with colleagues, relatives,family, friends?
You'd be doing me a huge solid on that front.
Because it's sometimes hard to get the word out there since there's so many podcasts, so many brilliant podcasts.

[1:00:39] And I'd like to think my content has helped you.
Has helped you in some way giving you some insights knowledge some skills so for example if you have a profile onLinkedIn maybe you could take a couple of minutes just to create a short post suggesting people listen subscribe and ratemy podcast you'd be doing me a great favor well folks thank you for your time and thank you for your listenership untilthe next time we meet.

[1:01:04] Music. 

Introducing It's an Inside Job podcast with Jason Lim
Introducing Patrick Berglund, CEO of Zanetta
Introduction: Patrick Bergman and Zanetta's Mission
Shifting Information Asymmetry and Building Partnerships
Curiosity about the Entrepreneur's Journey
Grit, Persistence, and Conviction in Building the Company
Shifting to a Constructive Mindset in the Face of Challenges
Focus on Learning and Development as Motivation
Reflecting on achievements and embracing failure for future success
Transitioning from small team to large team challenges relationships
Evaluating Gaps and Building a Leadership Team
Patrick's Journey: Challenges, Grit, and Vision
Sorting Through Thoughts and Emotions in a Busy Life
Finding Integration and Optimizing Energy in Personal and Professional Life
Balancing Work, Family, and Social Life
Accepting Trade-offs and Finding Equilibrium
Balancing work and family responsibilities
The beauty of experience and evolving values
Genuine Care for People as a Leader
Patrick's Strategies for Entrepreneurial Growth and Balance