Europe, Interviews

Nanna Ulsøe – Founder of Canvas Planner

Meet Nanna Ulsøe – Founder of Canvas Planner, a task a collaboration tool aiming at helping people work smarter in the future.

What role does technology play in your job? 

We use both our own digital tool as well as many other online tools in our daily work. Tech will have an increasingly important part of the future. Because of this, it is really important to stay on top of new tech that is being used so I strongly recommend attending some events where you can get inspiration to enhance the use of tech in your day to day life.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

The greatest tech transformation that I have witnessed must be Google Maps. The amount of services that have been built on this as well as changing the way we get around is enormous.

What is the hardest thing about your job? 

As an entrepreneur with your own product, you will quickly be in a situation where you have to detach yourself from your product. My product is not who I am. The criticism that a new product will be exposed to is not a personal criticism of the founder. It is necessary to be aware of that difference. Otherwise, it can be hard to sleep at night.

Women in the field of technology are definitely in the minority. How are you helping to attract more women to tech?

As a female tech-entrepreneur, I try very hard to be a role model to other women and to be active in different female networks. Whether I am there as a speaker, or just a participant I try and support networks that promote women in tech. I aim to inspire other women, so they believe that it is possible to have a tech company and still balance your work life and personal life. I believe that it is very important that there are examples of different role models if you want more women in tech. If you only picture tech entrepreneurs in a one-sided and often masculine way, then we won’t get more women to participate in tech as a founder.

What would you say are the most important skills women need to bring to the table if they want to be successful in tech?

To succeed as a female tech entrepreneur, you must focus on the opportunities and upsides instead of potential failures. Believe that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed. Be persistent, driven, hardworking but remember to trust your network and seek advice from others.

What and who were the influencers of who you are today?

I jumped into the deep end with my startup, which forced me to learn fast. People around me gave support and asked questions which made me much more reflective about my decisions. I could give a very long list of names who made a difference, but what I think is most interesting is the pattern. They were never online influencers, but people who took some time to drink a coffee and mentor me on the current challenge I was facing.  Some have been there all the way others just briefly. 

What steps should be taken to attract more women to tech? 

More female tech role models in media and on stages at events – both as keynote speakers and in debates. 

I don’t think the fairytale about VC funded chasing unicorns approach always catches the interest of women. The stories we tell in order to inspire need to be more diverse. The reasons for starting a company and ambitions just seems to be more diverse which make the different role models even more important. 

What would be your message/advice to women trying to get into technology? 

That’s a long list, but here are some: 

#1 Believe in yourself. 

#2 Go for it. Seriously, just get started and you’ll figure things out along the way.

#3 Remember that advice is free for others to give but you alone have to live with the consequences.

#4 Everyone makes lots of mistakes when you try to live out the tech dream, so just make sure to recover fast when you fail and don’t be too harsh on yourself.

#5 Don’t try and do it alone. 

#6 Separate your dream and business from you as a person. So, don’t take feedback/criticism of your product or service personally.

#7 Find a niche in the market where you will be the biggest fish and don’t start in a red ocean.

#8 Your product has to be 10 times better than the competitors for customers to make the shift. In tech, 3-4 times better just isn’t enough.

#9 Run your business for as long as possible without external investment – that gives you much more freedom to learn, grow and perform (If you need external investment to get started then do that but you can start with surprisingly little money).

#10 If you are going to eat shit, don’t nibble (From the Hard Thing About Hard Things).

Nanna Ulsøe is the Founder of Canvas Planner, a task a collaboration tool aiming at helping people work smarter in the future.igh-growth technology startups. She is also Co-Founder of Red Lab Experience, a unique learning lab to gain knowledge fast and explore insights.

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