The importance of having a strong product & tech community

My name is Sven Størmer Thaulow and according to my long title I work as the Chief Data and Technology Officer at Schibsted. I would like to take 5 minutes of your time to tell you about the product & tech community at Schibsted and how we work to keep it strong and competent for years to come.

For 10 years our biggest tech hub in Poland – Schibsted Tech Polska – has paved the way for better collaboration across brands and units in Schibsted. Today around 1300 people work with product, tech, data and UX in Schibsted. It’s a huge and unique pool of talents by any count – and an indispensable force for building Schibsted and our brands. 

Who are these people? Some work for individual brands, like FINN in Norway, Blocket in Sweden, VG, Aftonbladet, and Prisjakt. Some are in country-based multi-brand setups like Schibsted Finland or Schibsted Denmark. Then you have multi-brand cross-country teams like Media Product & Tech. Others work for joint units like Schibsted Data & Tech. They are all teams of software engineers, product managers, data scientists, analytics, UX designers, and much more. 

A strong product & tech community
One of our ambitions is to create an even stronger joint product & tech community in Schibsted. We have a lot to gain by learning from each other and building professional networks across the brands and units in Schibsted. 

A unique culture of collaboration
Schibsted Tech Polska is one-of-a-kind in Schibsted. Since it was started in 2011, it has been a meeting place for product & tech teams from all over Schibsted. Over the years a unique culture of collaboration has developed in Krakow and Gdansk. Teams from different brands sit next to each other – 280 employees in total. There is extensive knowledge-sharing. If a software engineer is stuck with a problem, he/she can easily reach out to a colleague from another team to get help.

That is the type of product & tech culture we would like to have in all of Schibsted. And I think we are progressing well in that direction. There are positive initiatives happening all over Schibsted – and there is a strong will to learn from each other. 

Learning from each other
There are many benefits from having a joint product & tech culture:

We learn from each other. By active knowledge sharing, Schibsted as a group will be more able to adapt quickly to the rapid changes in technology and user needs.

  • It’s easier to help each other to solve the same type of problems
  • Schibsted is a more attractive employer for top talents
  • It is easier to move between units and we have a large internal job market

We have a lot of activities that encourage people to get to know each other across brands and units. Let me mention some of them. All have the objective to bring us closer to each other.

Events
Schibsted Product, Tech & UX Festival was organised for the fifth time in early May. More than 800 colleagues from all over Schibsted took part in either the Inspiration Day, with world-class speakers, or the Schibsted Hackday. This year we could finally meet physically in the different cities for the festival. The festival aims to bring colleagues from different brands and units together.

  • Cyber Security Day is another event which has just been organized with lots of interesting topics and speakers. 
  • Data Days
  • AI Days and more.


Dominic Stengård and Lisa Marie Løvoll hosted the fifth Schibsted Product, Tech & UX Festival in May.

Forums and meeting places
We also build culture through a number of different forums across Schibsted. For instance we have a CTO Forum (Chief Technology Officers), a CPO Forum (Chief Product Officers) and a Data Security Forum. These forums are important meeting places for product & tech managers across Schibsted – and help us implement initiatives that will strengthen our joint culture. We also have an ambition to create internal communities of experts in different areas. So far we have established an AI community – and more are under way.

These are just a few examples of what is going on. We have many strong and very competent product & tech teams all across Schibsted. Interacting even more and sharing our knowledge with each other will make both each team and Schibsted as a whole a more attractive workplace for talents.

 

Thank you for your time.

Sven Størmer Thaulow
Chief Data and Technology Officer at Schibsted