Every great idea starts somewhere – and the Schibsted Product & Tech festival has definitely proven to be such a spot! December 1, we’ll kick off yet another edition of our internal festival, which is dedicated to all our 1300 superstars working with product, UX and tech. In this event we celebrate creativity, inject inspiration from world-class keynote speakers and learn from lots of exciting internal cases.
When the dust has settled, many have gotten new acquaintances, and we have tons of new cool projects and ideas from our employees. So, where did the idea of this festival start, and what can we expect in the years to come? To shed some light on this, we’ve taken a chat with one of the initiators behind the festival, Magnus Tholin, who works as a Community Manager for Product & Tech in Schibsted.
What exactly is the Schibsted Product & Tech festival?
It’s a biannual, three-day festival packed with tons of inspiration, networking, and great fun for all our amazing product and tech colleagues, working across 50+ brands, and in five different countries!
Cool, and what is the story behind it? How did it all start?
It all started back in late 2019! Marty Cagan, a godfather within the product development space, had released the second edition of his book Inspired – How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (which I can really recommend btw). The book created a lot of engagement among top executive managers across Schibsted, and rather quickly, four of them, Kaija Ommundsen from FINN.no, Laila Dahlen from News Media, Nicolai Høge from FINN.no and Sven Thaulow from Data & Tech, started to talk about getting Marty Cagan to Oslo. As an Event Manager in FINN.no, back then, I was set on the task and started working on the event, booking an amazing venue. And as you all know – Covid-19 happened! It was pretty frustrating, but Marty is a cool guy and offered to do it virtually. This sparked some new opportunities for us – as we, after all, are present in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland and Norway.
We turned around quickly and with the help of some brilliant colleagues, we hosted a successful first festival only a few months later. The feedback made us realize that this was something that we should do more regularly.
Magnus Tholin, Community Manager for Product & Tech in Schibsted.
How has the festival initiative evolved?
It’s been SO much fun and an incredible journey! We started out with 300-ish participants back in May 2020, then in November the same year, we almost doubled that amount to 500, and in our third edition of the festival in May 2021 – we had 900, which is really cool.
Numbers are numbers, but more importantly, I want to say that the main reason behind our growth is the project group, which consists of nine amazing colleagues, who all contribute heavily, on the side of their daily responsibilities. We also have a great steering committee of executives from all of Schibsted’s business areas, giving us support, helping us get the attention of the employees, and of course: funding for all the fun.
At the first festival it was just a couple of hours with inspirational presentations. But in Schibsted there are so many cool grassroots initiatives, so we figured out that we needed to bring one of them – the legendary hackathon Schibsted Hackday, under the umbrella. So at the moment, the festival consists of three elements: an inspiration day, a hackathon, and a demo day where we showcase all the cool stuff that we’ve made!
For the fourth edition, it’s still a three-day festival, but now you have the opportunity to either watch it remotely or in person, together with your colleagues. There are a lot of talented former Schibsted employees, so we invited a few of them to the festival, to come and share their journey, and what they are working on now.
Why do we need a festival for product & tech? What is your goal?
You know what they say, when you put people in a room, magic things happen – and that goes for both physical and digital rooms!
I think a festival, like this one, is a great way of interconnecting Product & Tech employees in the group. After all, we’re 1300 people across five countries and 50+ companies. They are all extremely talented, and by networking and sharing cool stuff that they develop or work on, they inspire each other. I believe this initiative contributes on top of all the great stuff that all our brands are doing locally, making Schibsted and all its brands an amazing place to work.
As for the goal, we want to create a European-leading Product & Tech environment and culture. And we do this by making sure that Schibsted and its brands are places where you can solve hard and complicated problems, grow and build a career, but most importantly, have tons of fun whilst you’re here!
If you want to participate in our next festival, why don’t you check out our career opportunities here. Join the Schibsted Product & Tech family!