I’m surrounded by so many talented people

Freedom combined with real accountability is part of the reason why Agnieszka Lasyk is happy to be a part of the Schibsted family – even after eight years. 

Agnieszka is Director of Engineering at Schibsted Tech Polska. She believes that the room the company gives people to try out new things – even if they might fail – is a key strength. 

«The tech culture at Schibsted is inspiring and motivating, but also supportive and allows for learning from mistakes or failures. We trust in each other’s competences and we have a lot of freedom linked with real accountability, which I think is great.»

The teams in Agnieszka Lasyks department are responsible for delivery and maintenance of products and platforms that enable Schibsted to maintain a premium position on the advertising market. «People are really into learning new technologies and trying them out. We have modern tech stacks and we actively work with limiting the tech debt, making sure the solutions we develop are up to date and future proof.», she says. 

“We are almost all software engineers, so the majority of the day is spent on defining problems, solving them, and coding.”

She is happy that Schibsted offers a wide range of both inhouse and external training, and invites inspiring people and organizes various events such as the Product & Tech Festival. However, it’s the input she gets from skilled colleagues that makes the most impact. «I think a key to a great learning culture is the people who work in the company – eager to share not only their knowledge but also about books worth reading, videos worth watching or articles they just read. I have always felt that I am surrounded by very skilled colleagues, which for me personally was, and still is, a huge motivating factor for my personal development, especially in the technology field.»

A positive and supportive culture
Agnieszka says they invest time in increasing both knowledge and skills. «We embrace learning as part of our daily work. We mentor our younger or less experienced colleagues and organise internship programs each year. There are many forums for knowledge and experiences sharing, and everyone who decides to run a presentation or workshops gets a lot of credit and support from others.», she says, and continues: «It’s a safe environment to develop and grow because people aren’t judgemental or jealous – on the contrary, they give a lot of kudos and appreciation for accomplishments and help.» 

Her team also invests in getting to know each other. «Every day, there is time for a coffee chat, virtual or face to face, and occasionally a team lunch. We also like to socialize, so we go out together or play some online games from time to time. We have a lot of fun together and I think amazing people are what makes Schibsted so special!»

“The trainee period was one of the highlights of my life”

A conversation with a former Schibsted trainee at a career fair gave Mari-Marthe Aamold what she calls a “career crush” – a crush that has turned into a lasting love affair.

– I had been curious about Schibsted and the trainee program for a long time when I reached the end of my studies. I can recall a conversation I had with a Schibsted trainee once at a career fair where the curiosity turned into something more similar to a teenager’s crush type of admiration: I really wanted her job, and I really wanted to be her friend. That had to be a winning combination for a workplace I remember thinking, she says.

Now CFO and general manager of the Schibsted news brands Stavanger Aftenblad and Bergens Tidende, that first infatuation has definitely not died down. And her time in the trainee program is still one of the highlights of her life. 

– The experiences, the people I met, all the cool things I got to test and try, goals that I set for myself, and the people that helped me along the way. The group of trainees that I shared the two years with are in themselves probably the biggest highlight. They were both colleagues, lunch friends, some of them roommates, and have become just really good friends. A fellow trainee summed it up quite beautifully at the end of the program when called us «friends that are colleagues, but foremost friends».

Great mentorship

It was not just the other trainees who were a great support and help during the trainee period. Having a good mentor has also been essential in her professional development, Mari-Marthe believes. 

– I once heard a TED talk where the speaker claimed that people that had mentors early in their careers tended to be more successful afterwards. I do not remember the name of the study nor the TED talk, but after having a mentor, and being able to both learn from him, and discuss my own situations and dilemmas along the way, I have no issues believing it can be true. 

The most important learnings

Mari-Marthe is grateful she got such a varied and at times challenging time as a trainee. With four different placements during the two year traineeship, she gained valuable insight in the company – as well as new skills she benefits from in her current position. 

– Being able to experience different situations during four placements was a kickstart to both working life and Schibsted life, and a great way of learning about the different facets of the company. Being the new guy or girl is always a little difficult in the beginning, but it sure was easier the fourth time when I had picked up a thing or two about what could make me more effectively become a part of the team, she says and continues:

 – But the learnings I have found most useful in my current position are probably the ones I did about myself.  What motivated and inspired me, what made me want to skip lunch and work on a Sunday, what gave me energy – and what drained it. 

The former trainee has no issues recommending applying for the trainee program.  – If you want to work within the media, technology, innovation, the trainee program is probably the best kick-off to your career I can think of. 

Read more about the trainee program here

”I understood what I wanted to do in the future.”

Head of Expansion at Lendo Sweden, Michel Dahlberg Traore, thinks the trainee program is the best way to test who you are as a business person – and he doesn’t hesitate to recommend the program to potential candidates: – It’s a no-brainer!

– To me the Schibsted Trainee program had what I was looking for. I wanted to work for a fast paced tech company with many ongoing initiatives that would allow me to learn from the best. I also wanted to have the opportunity to travel and see how business is conducted in other cultures, he says, and continues: – I wanted to get my hands dirty with real projects, not just becoming a slide producer.

The experiences he gained during his time as a Schibsted trainee is knowledge he draws upon every day. – I am currently launching Lendo in new markets around the world. My day to day ranges from people management to product management and sales, and the trainee program was definitely key to building a strong foundation in these disciplines.

Tough selection process with great rewards

Dahlberg Traore experienced the selection rounds as quite demanding. But once he was accepted and met his trainee colleagues, he was happy to have been through it. – I made some amazing friends within the trainee group, he says.

The mentorship provided through the program was also greatly appreciated. Dahlberg Traore is still in contact with his mentor on a regular basis, and he finds great value in the contacts he made through the two year as a trainee. – I built a really strong network within Schibsted. As a former trainee you will have a lot of great contacts that will give you hints on what is bubbling if you are seeking new opportunities within the company.

Future oriented program

Schibsted’s trainees get to contribute to real projects from day one. This was a useful experience for Michel and he is happy that the program was so future-oriented.

– I had two years of operational expertise that gave me learnings I knew I would use in the future. At the start I thought two years was a bit long, but it flew by. The highlights were some of the positions I held that really made me understand what I wanted to do in the future.

Although he was highly motivated throughout the traineeship, Michel Dahlberg Traore admits he had days that were challenging. – I would say it could be hard at times, not knowing exactly where in the world I would be in the coming spring or fall. That said, it is truly a privilege to be able to test four different full time roles.

The former trainee recommends applying to the trainee program and the Schibsted way of working. – I would say that Schibsted lives up to being a hungry and ambitious company, while having a Scandinavian working culture that puts people first, he says.

My placements in the Trainee program:
• Product Manager, Leboncoin, Paris
•  Strategy Manager, Schibsted ASA, Oslo
• Product Manager, Aftonbladet, Stockholm
•  Investment Manager, Schibsted Growth, Stockholm

Read more about the trainee program here

”To try and fail is key to learning”

”You could not ask for a better entrance into the professional life.”
For Schibsted trainee Karsten Gutterød Hauklien, the journey so far has involved stepping outside his comfort zone, broadening his perspective and being given responsibility. He thinks the opportunity and acceptance to try, and sometimes fail, is the key to learning.

Gutterød Hauklien joined Schibsted as a trainee in 2019, with prior experience from both communication and journalism. Now on his fourth and final placement though the trainee program, he is happy he gave it all in the application process and secured himself a golden ticket.

– Thinking back, it’s incredible how much I’ve grown in areas where I would rate myself poorly two years ago. The trainee program gives you the opportunity to discover what truly motivates you, both in general at work and which business areas or functions spark a fire in you.

The soon-to-be alumni applied to the Schibsted’s trainee program to be able to combine his passion for media and technology with his desire to create products that excite people in their daily lives.
– However, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, and I wanted to learn more. The Trainee program sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain experience from different roles and business areas and develop my skills, he says.

His final gig at Schibsted – at least through the trainee program – has led him to collaborate with multiple disciplines on a big project for E24.

– Right now I’m leading a team of in-house people and contractors in E24, developing a financial platform. That involves financial experts, developers, lawyers, designers, salespeople and more. A lot of moving parts, but it’s really exciting to see the progress we’re able to make together.

Fair and thorough selection process

Through the process from when he sent his application to getting the traineeship, Karsten Gutterød Hauklien felt he gained some new insight on himself and his career goals.

– After the last interview, I thought to myself: “Even if I don’t get the job, I have been given every opportunity to show who I am”. I actually learned quite a lot about myself in the process: How do I contribute to make the best possible teams, what are my current strengths, and which areas should I try to develop further going forward?

He has no hesitations in recommending the Schibsted Trainee Program.

– If you like working in teams to achieve great things, and you want to develop yourself through training, feedback and new experiences, this is the place for you. Along the way you learn loads of new skills, establish lasting relationships and become more confident. Could you ask for a better entrance into professional life, he says.

A company that puts people first

Being able to take chances is one of the best things about joining team Schibsted, Gutterød Hauklien feels.

– I think the biggest advantage is the opportunity and acceptance to try and fail. That’s a fast track to learning things at lightning speed, or learning it at all. In addition, you get a rare 360 degree holistic view of Schibsted as a company.

Schibsted is a company where the greatest achievements come from collaboration between the brands, he says and continues:

– Schibsted is a place where you work in teams and collaborate across functions and brands – using each other’s competence and experience. Who wouldn’t want to work in a place where everybody is keen to help each other?

To say Karsten Gutterød Hauklien is won over by the Schibsted way of working would be an understatement.

– I haven’t heard of anywhere else where the work itself is so cool, while the company still is focused on you being able to have a comfortable work-life balance.

My placements in the Trainee program:

• Editorial Business Developer, VG+, Oslo
• Strategy Manager, tori.fi, Helsinki
• Business Developer, Dine Penger, Oslo
• Project Lead, E24, Oslo

Read more about the trainee program here

From trainee to CEO

When Ida Barth Thomassen entered the Schibsted trainee program in 2007, she knew that she had a great journey ahead of her. Today she is the CEO of one of the key media brands in the Schibsted portfolio. Working on real projects, having good mentors and building a strong network, are just a few of her highlights from her traineeship.

During her two year period as a Schibsted trainee, Ida Barth Thomassen connected with people that have been key to her career. She thinks the chance to work at four completely different companies and create your own professional network within two years, is really unique.

– I think that my professional network, and people in general at Schibsted, is one of the main reasons for why I have stayed at Schibsted for such a long time. Of course, in combination with great career opportunities and highly skilled leaders that I look up to.

She recalls her time as a trainee at Schibsted as being a part of a community. – I really enjoyed being a Schibsted Trainee for two years. We got to meet so many interesting and skilled people, work with different brands or projects, travel to other countries and at the same time being a part of a community of other great trainees in the exact same situation.

Professional selection process

Ida Barth Thomassen’s career at Schibsted started when she filled out the application form for the trainee program. She remembers the selection process as tough and demanding, but professional.

– The application process was very professional and thorough. I remember being interviewed several times by different types of people from various brands at Schibsted. We also got cases to solve, which I still today think is the best way to test a candidate during a selection process.

Curious about how to apply for the Schibsted Trainee Program? Read more about the application process here 

Great mentorship

It’s the people, the great support system and the willingness to lift others up that Barth Thomassen values the most at Schibsted – both when she was a trainee and now.

– When I was a trainee, having a mentor was reassuring, inspiring and very helpful. My mentor guided me on several occasions, and it was always good to have a dedicated person that you could be completely open with and ask for advice.

The feeling of having the support of those around her didn’t vanish once she finished the trainee program. – I´ve always been encouraged to seek new and exciting opportunities within Schibsted. And the fact that you not only have the chance to move between companies, but also being recommended and encouraged is of great value. You will discover that there are many various career paths in Schibsted, and I’m certainly not done with my path.

– It’s a unique career opportunity
The former trainee, now CEO, is proud and happy to be a part of a company that encourages growth in their employees. – Schibsted is a good workplace because of its innovative culture, way of doing business, the people and all the exciting brands. Not only will you meet interesting colleagues, but also make friends for life. And you will learn so much about the media industry that you will not find elsewhere.

Ida doesn’t hesitate to recommend the Schibsted Trainee Program to potential candidates. – I encourage others to apply for the trainee program, because it’s a unique career opportunity and you will probably end up having a really meaningful job. Not only in terms of innovation, business management, learning and people, but also because you get to work with products or solutions that really mean something to most people in their everyday life.

My placements in the Trainee program:
• Aftenposten
• Aftonbladet TV
• Svenska Dagbladet
• Schibsted Group

Read more about the trainee program here

Dare to ask – the reason you should join too!

I started Schibsted’s mentorship program with the hopes that I would start building my own network of contacts and prepare myself for my future professional career. However, I was not prepared for the exciting journey I was about to embark on that included so much more than that.

The topics that my mentor and I discussed go beyond the professional field. We go beyond just a few tips on how to apply for a job and how to find the right role. We also discussed how you know what you want to do in life and what has made you the person you are today. Stuff that you don’t really discuss with your friends on a daily basis, but something I found it important to reflect upon.

To have a vision
Early on my buddy explained that it’s OK not to know exactly what you want to do as your profession and that it can change as your life takes its course. On the other hand, what is important is that you know where you want to start and have a vision.

Make mistakes
A scary topic to talk about, but indeed very important. As my buddy shared a mistake in his career, explaining how a mistake doesn’t have to define your career or you as a person made me more comfortable trusting my own path. A mistake can be something that throws you in a new direction and gives you new, important insights. This is something that can be applied to life in general.

Preconceptions about the working life
Something that has been in the back of my head is the preconception that when you start working or begin your “adult life,” your free time disappears. It was a relief to hear that this is far from the truth, it could really be the other way around, and that it is an exciting time in life.Apparently, having kids is the real culprit. Jokes aside 🙂

Dare to ask!
Do you have questions you want answers to but don’t have the courage to ask anyone – apply for Schibsted Connect. It could be the start of an interesting, giving relationship, which I am really glad I got to be a part of. I am convinced you would feel the same if you take the plunge and apply!

Text was written by Jasmine Almer
Schibsted Connect, student buddy, 2021
Uppsala University, Master in Information Systems

Read more about Schibsted Connect here

Learning and networking: From Bergen to Stavanger, Oslo, and Stockholm

My name is Mathias Sagevik and I study for a Master’s in Laws at the University of Bergen. I am a part of Schibsted Connect 2021*, a mutual mentorship program where students are connected with employees at Schibsted. Let me tell you about my key learnings and findings so far.

For the last few months, it feels like I’ve been on a journey far and wide in the Schibsted system. It’s been a journey where I’ve learned about the inherently practical nature of business, the inner workings of one of Scandinavia’s most exciting companies, and all while creating a network along the way.

Business is not theoretical
There are many things in business that are hard to get a grip on from a theoretical viewpoint. Or, at least it makes a lot more sense when you get the chance to discuss real-world cases and stories.

In the Schibsted Connect program, among other things, I’ve learned how to structure a business deal with Disney+ and Netflix from a Business Developer in Tv.nu. I’ve learned how to do better product development by using milestones and beta-testing from a Strategic Project Manager in Schibsted Next, using real-world examples. And I’ve learned about the customer journey from a Sales Manager in Stavanger Aftenblad. How to discover the customers’ needs, tailoring the solution, and making sure the customer increases its sales.

These things are inherently practical, and learning about them through stories and discussions with professionals in Schibsted has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

The inner workings of an exciting company
Further, it’s been great to get insights into how a big and exciting company is organized. Schibsted consists of close to 50 companies in one ecosystem. How does all this fit together? How exactly can one person in one company reach out to another person in another company to do a project? How can one Schibsted company benefit from the competence and resources of another Schibsted company? How does one align the course of all the companies?

An especially exciting part of Schibsted is the Schibsted Next division, which invests in startups and scaleups. Kind of like a VC firm, but not entirely like it. How do they invest? How much do they invest? Do they participate with competence or only money? What type of companies do they invest in? How do they find companies to invest in?

Networking in an international company
While I’ve been on this learning journey, I’ve been able to network with professionals across the different Schibsted companies. A cool part of this journey has been that most of the people I’ve been talking to are based in Stockholm, Sweden, while I’m based in Bergen, Norway. The participants from Schibsted in the Connect program have been generous and welcoming and are always ready to take a meeting to discuss whatever questions I might have.

*Schibsted Connect is a mutual mentorship program where you will be connected with a Schibsted employee as your buddy. The idea is that, through meetings and activities, you will mutually share each other’s thoughts, ideas, and experiences. This is a win-win relationship. You get the chance to get inside Schibsted and build your professional network, and we have the opportunity to get your fresh eyes on things. 

Let’s connect and grow together! Click here to read more about Schibsted Connect.

Embracing digital recruitment

How we created an innovative, thorough, and precise recruitment process for our trainee program, without meeting anyone in person.

The Schibsted Trainee Program has attracted young talents from multiple countries since 1997. We receive hundreds of applicants each year, but usually, only six to eight candidates make it through the loophole. The recruitment process consists of several rounds of testing, group exercises, and interviews.

The sudden occurrence of a global pandemic created an immense task: How do we give a thorough and fair evaluation of all the candidates without meeting in person? Is it even possible?

It is not the first time Schibsted has had to deal with a disruptive change happening overnight. Like the switch from print to digital news or the dotcom bubble before it, we did not merely overcome a seemingly destructive shock – but used it to improve and grow.

For instance: Our need as an employer is to recruit top talents that are best suited for the job. We should not, and do not, care for any other characteristics. We know, however, that human biases easily skew the view of a candidate. If a candidate resembles the interviewer, research tells us they are more likely to get the job.

Can we use digital tools to minimize these biases and inconsistencies? We believe so. And we are going to show you exactly what we did. Let’s start from scratch, although the most exciting part comes later.

Selection and interviews with anonymous applications

As usual, the first step in applying for a Trainee position was the application itself, with a resume and grades. However, we did not accept any cover letters, and everyone fulfilling entry-level requirements (such as finishing a Master’s degree or similar) proceeded to the next stage.

At this point in the process, the recruiter did not know anything about the applicants. Not their name, gender, which universities they attended, or their work experience.

Next, the applicants were subjected to an online test on logical thinking. Those performing above a threshold moved on. Admittedly, there is nothing novel about this particular step.

“But wait! Does that mean grades didn’t matter?” you may ask. A B from Harvard is probably more prestigious than an A from a community college? How about someone with extremely relevant experience?”

This brings us back to the problem of human bias. As an employer, you do not actually care about a grade as a letter written on a fancy piece of paper. You care about what it tells you, and especially about the applicant’s ability to learn and logically apply new information. We believe the test we used uncovers exactly that. The initial scan of the candidates’ grades and resume was merely an entry ticket. It doesn’t matter how prestigious a school the applicant went to is – their performance does.

Then, the applicants received a video-interview with pre-recorded questions. The evaluators did not see the applicants, removing factors such as body language, appearance and gender.

We used an online escape room instead of a physical assessment center

After the interview phase, a selection of applicants was invited to a digital assessment center. This is the exciting part. In previous years, the assessment center has been a physical gathering with groups solving and presenting business cases in addition to personal interviews.

There are a ton of potential biases here. For example, there are bound to be differences in the candidates’ knowledge of the industry in which the business case is set. Just by chance, some candidates might be able to infer several useful analyses by heart, while others have to create arguments on the fly. This does not only affect the outcome but the group dynamics as well.

Our new solution was a digital, online escape room game. While on a video conference, groups of four played an online game much like an escape room. They had to complete several tasks, which were only achieved by working together. Each participant had different parts of the overall clues and solutions. Observers evaluated their team dynamic and performance.

Such a tool removes the problem of prerequisite knowledge and creates a level playing field. Observers and candidates alike have stated how much they liked this way of assessment.

Schibsted is committed to a diverse workforce and an unbiased recruitment process. It would be foolish to believe we are perfect in every area, but we believe this digital transformation has sent us lightyears forward on the path to true unbiasedness. We continue to strive towards this goal.

A selected group of candidates have been invited to a final digital interview. We wish them the best of luck!

Click here to read more about the Schibsted trainee program.

Schibsted trainees, started in 2020

Schibsted trainees, started in 2019


Schibsted – a perfect match for their thesis

How did two Industrial Statistics master students from Umeå University in Sweden experience writing their master thesis at Schibsted during the spring of 2020?

Are you a student with your master thesis ahead of you, or are you simply looking for an exciting opportunity to get professional development? Here’s your chance to be inspired by Alexandra Hägg and Amanda Flöjs, two master students in Industrial Statistics at Umeå University, who wrote their master thesis at Schibsted during the spring of 2020.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, not only did their project have the potential to create a lot of value for Schibsted and a Swedish newspaper within Schibsted, it also turned out to be a great personal experience and professional opportunity for the two students.

When Alexandra and Amanda initially started discussing what kind of thesis they wanted to write, they concluded to do a project within data (since their master focused on data analysis and statistical modelling) with the customer in focus. Schibsted, with its incredible amount of data and customers, was rapidly considered a perfect match.
They were given the chance of working with Schibsted’s Machine Learning team in collaboration with a Swedish newspaper within Schibsted. The topic of the thesis was to try to develop a statistical model to learn more about the newspaper’s digital subscription service churn. In other words, by using predictive models they tried to identify users’ behavior patterns that drive them to unsubscribe.

After several weeks in the Stockholm office and a couple of weeks of remote working (due to the pandemic), they came up with some interesting conclusions. With the help of statistical models their work showed that it is possible to predict which users are in the risk zone of ending their subscription. However, it is difficult for the model to generalize a specific behavioral pattern for the “active subscribers” and those who choose to unsubscribe.
“As long as the model is trying to predict human behavior, it will always be difficult,” Alexandra comments.

They also saw that the variables describing the frequency of use (i.e. how often a user uses the service) had more validity than variables describing the user’s activity in volume (i.e. how many articles a user reads). These are all very useful insights for the Swedish newspaper.

In addition to the results of the thesis results, the experience was fulfilling in several ways. We asked Alexandra and Amanda about their time in Schibsted:

What has it been like writing your master thesis at Schibsted?
Amanda: ”It has been extremely fun and developing. We felt welcome since day one, and we are so thankful to our supervisor who supported us all the way.”
Alexandra: ”I totally agree with Amanda. In addition, we worked with an exciting project that made the weeks go so fast.”

What did a “normal” working day look like for you?
Alexandra: The first six weeks we were in Schibsted’s Stockholm office, where we started each morning with a cup of coffee to go through the TODO’s. Then we often had a sync with either Patrik, our supervisor at the university or someone else at Schibsted. The rest of the days was all about modeling, analyzing and drinking loads of coffee. When we moved home due to the corona pandemic, the days looked very much the same. The only difference was that it took place in either Amanda’s or my apartment instead.

How has the corona pandemic affected your work?
Alexandra: After six weeks, the corona pandemic forced the whole Machine Learning team to work from home. It definitely affected us and our way of working together with them. However, working remotely and running meetings via video calls has gone surprisingly smooth.
Amanda: The result of our thesis was not that much affected by the pandemic. However, the pandemic has delayed the testing of our model in the business.

What was it like collaborating with your supervisor?
Amanda: Our awesome supervisor, Patrik Trelsmo is part of the Machine Learning team. We had regular meetings every week where we discussed and got help to sort out all our thoughts around the project and how to approach different problems. In addition to that, Patrik was always available for spontaneous questions or to support us in programming questions.
Alexandra: Yes, and I would also like to emphasize that everyone in the Machine Learning team has been very supportive and helpful.

Do you have any advice for students with a master’s thesis ahead of them?
Amanda: When it comes to choosing your project and company, my best advice is to choose the option that has a well-defined project and where you will have a committed supervisor who knows that he or she will have time for you.
Alexandra: I couldn’t agree more. I also advise you to dare to trust your university knowledge and not to be afraid to ask if there is something you do not understand!

What is your next adventure?
Alexandra: I will start as a Schibsted trainee in August and my first placement will be at Aftenposten in Oslo
Amanda: And I will also be a part of a Trainee program at SEB.

Thank you so much for the amazing work you have done. We wish you the best of luck!

Meet more of our people and read more Schibsted stories in Schibsted Future Report


Blocket – an idea that started a movement

A digitized bullet board changed our shopping habits for ever – and started a movement for a more sustainable society. Today Blocket has five million visits every week and sister sites all over the world.

1996. Henrik Nordström, born and raised in the small town of Fjälkinge, Skåne, stands in front of the bulletin board in the local ICA grocery store. He finds himself drawn to the small notes pinned up on the board. This is where people from all over town try to advertise things they no longer use. They write a description on a piece of paper, rip it off and pin it up on the bulletin board and hope for by-passers to see it. But this is a rather tedious process, in fact unnecessarily so. This is where Henrik is hit by an idea – the bulletin board should be digitized!

But the road between the physical and the digital world was longer in those days. This was two years before Google’s search engine was developed, Ebay had just launched in a small scale the year before. The Swedish government was about to be digitized and Facebook wasn’t even thought of. The few people who used Internet at the time connected via modem and broadband was not invented yet. Html, the language used to construct websites, was only a few years old and many thought Internet was just a passing trend. But some people believed in the new technology, and that it was going to do great things and change lives. Henrik Nordström was one of those.Quickly after getting the idea of a digitized bulletin board Henrik started coding and only a few weeks later he launched the first version of Blocket.se. The services was solely aimed for people in the Skåne area. The layout of the site was striped to look like the inside of a notebook.

Blocket’s concept is spread all over the world

At the end of 1997 Blocket was being used by Swedes all around the country. Six years later, 2003, Schibsted acquired the company.
Since then, Blocket has grown immensely. At the year of its launch there were two employees and a revenue of 34 million kronor. By 2018 revenues had increased to 988 million and almost 250 employees. Different versions of Blocket are now available in a lot of countries and 8 out of 10 Swedes has bought or sold something at Blocket in Sweden. Amongst families with children, more than 90 percent has used Blocket. On an average week there are five million visitors on site.

Basically every Swede knows about Blocket (98 percent) and few Swedish sites have a bigger impact. On an average day you can browse through 600 000 ads. 10 percent of these ads are marked sold within an hour, 25 percent within a day and 60 percent within a week. The combined worth of all things for sale at Blocket during 2018 was 714 million kronor which corresponds to about 15 percent of Sweden’s GDP. Progress has been fast. Blocket has grown and the interest for secondhand trade has increased rapidly.

Blocket was pioneering at its time and has made imprints on several countries, but is more important now than ever before. We need to adapt to a more sustainable culture of consumption. What Henrik Nordström founded was not only a marketplace on the Internet, it was something bigger.
Above all, it is the financial incentives that has pushed the Swedes to buy and sell secondhand, but lately there is a new factor that has grown in importance – the environment. A survey by Ipsos in 2009 showed that 24 percent of all Swedes think that one of the reasons to buy and sell used things is to be environmentally friendly. Five years later that number had increased to 42 percent. More than every other participant also said that their interest to buy secondhand had increased the last three years. Two out of three Swedes state that they sell things they don’t use mostly because they want them to be recycled. These are clear signs of people wanting to distance themselves from overconsumption.

Circular economy has gained ground

“More and more people are discovering how easy it is to buy and sell used objects and more and more people see the value in buying things that are recycled and that lasts over a long period of time,” says Pernilla Nissler, CEO at Blocket.
One factor that has been pushing the secondhand trend is the fact that climate change and the issues that follows have shown that the current economic culture, in which we constantly buy and produce new things, is unsustainable. Therefore circular economy has gained ground. The idea behind is to use resources in the best possible way, instead of wasting them.
“We have grown accustomed to buying new things. Take Christmas shopping for example, where our consumption hits new records every year. We must change our habits and the way we look at secondhand trade and ownership. Instead of being the final destination for our things we must start viewing ourselves as part of a cycle,” says Pernilla Nissler.
Hopefully this green trend will become even stronger within future generations. The Swedes’ engagement in secondhand trade has already shown results. Every year, we prevent 0.8 million tonnes of GHG emissions because of second-hand trading via Blocket. That effect is as if all the traffic in Stockholm would be at a standstill for a year.

Blocket as a company does its utmost to be environmentally aware and to put the climate first. This involves environment policies, climate compensation and establishing demands towards suppliers, but also a consistency when developing new services. This fall Blocket will launch a new site to get the already many customers to continue to buy and sell used, but also to get new customers to discover the benefits of recycling.
“It has been a lot of hard work. Our 250 employees never stop improving our product, working every day to make the secondhand trade as easy, effective and safe as possible, so that more people can discover the benefits of recycling. It has been an amazing ride for Blocket, and we have only just begun”, says Pernilla Nissler.

Some Blocket numbers

23 – that is how many years Blocket has existed, founded in 1996.
5 millions – the amount of weekly visitors.
98 – the percentage of the Swedish population that knows of Blocket.
1/4 of everything that is advertised on Blocket is sold within a day.
250 – employees at Blocket.
714 billion kronor – the total worth of alla ads on Blocket during 2018.
0,8 million – the amount of GHG emissions Sweden prevents by shopping second-hand at Blocket.

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