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#25 Relationships are the most important ingredients for a happy life – Holger Seim

Holger Seim is co-founder & CEO at Blinkist, a service that lets users read the key lessons from the best nonfiction books in 15 minutes or fewer. At Blinkist, he focuses on growth and business development.


  • Holger started Blinkist in 2012 with the idea of summarizing nonfiction books to make learning more accessible. (00:15)
  • Initially, Holger and his co-founders worked on the product, marketing, and technical sides with limited resources and had to learn a lot on their own. (02:39)
  • They struggled to find role models or mentors in the early days due to the undeveloped startup ecosystem. (08:19)
  • They had to learn marketing strategies, tracking, and creative techniques to grow the business, including using Facebook and Instagram for user acquisition. (08:52)
  • Hiring the right people was a challenge, and they focused on building expertise before hiring in various fields. (10:31)
  • They transitioned from a traditional hierarchy to an experimental holacracy organizational model, but it brought new challenges and complications. (16:59)
  • Eventually, they developed their own operating system called “Blinkist Operating System” that simplified and combined the best elements of holacracy to maintain a productive and engaging workplace. (18:37)
  • Challenges they currently face include maintaining the company culture during rapid growth and improving user engagement on the product side. (25:01)
  • Holger’s favorite fiction book is “The Power of One,” and his favorite nonfiction book is “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. (30:24)
  • If Holger could go back to his 20-year-old self, he would advise being confident, doing what he likes, not being afraid, and valuing relationships with others. (32:55)

Interesting Quotes:

Take time to study and travel

If you want something test it practically for example with an internship

Learn as much as you can about a field, develop skills and knowledge  to have the confidence for the hiring process

With your employees, handle expectations in an honest way

Holacracy solves some problems but also brings some new one, everyone thinks about it differently

Growth vs static mindset

Be confident, do what you like

Stay focused on relationships, they are the most important ingredients for a happy life

Book Recommendations:

The Power of One: A Novel – Bryce Courtenay
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck

Link to the Blinkist Summary