The Founder Effect
Tomas Pedersen speaks about company culture and how to keep it strong
Not quite ‘an Englishman in New York’ but almost. At least to a local community, Tomas Pedersen has become a common sight when he strolls around the city, taking his long strides.
Poznań has been his permanent base for more than seven years. His home is here, his office and the thriving business he has started back in Denmark and engrafted here. Nordsign, a very well established large format printing house and Kosmonaut, the sister company, are both situated in Poznan.
When confronted with a question why he chose Poznan for his permanent base, Tomas explains:
‘I love it here. It’s so authentic – it doesn’t pretend to be anything that it isn’t. Poznan has everything I need: it’s big enough to never become boring and enables me to have a different adventure every day. It is also compact enough to take an invigorating walk to my favourite spots’.
‘And when Poznan becomes too small, I jump in my car and within three hours, I’m in Berlin. This is another thing I love about this city: it’s location’.
In genetics, the founder effect may be defined as a genetic variation that happens when a new population is established from a larger one in a new place. In business, the notion is used to describe the impact the founder of the company may have in the development of the business.
Running Danish companies in Poland can be challenging. Over the years, everybody working closely to Tomas has learnt his way of thinking and the Scandinavian values he lives by. Building an organization in Poland means to create motivated group of employees that are personally dedicated to the company’s mission.
‘When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial. This allows me some time to do what I like best: developing exciting products, finding inspirations and creating new ideas.
Tomas and his business partner, Michael Overgaard (whom Tomas calls ‘the steam engine of the company’) wanted an organization that would pack Danish creative energy and Polish production potential into one. The goal is simple: manufacturing great products on time with the spirit of reliability and trust.
Visitors from Scandinavia
A lot of visitors from Scandinavia are surprised that the culture they know from home, may exist in a company located in a Polish city. Everybody sees the benefits. Tomas has a curious nature – he can often be seen walking the street and greeting people or having coffee with people he finds interesting. His open mind and approachable manner brought many of his current co-workers and employees to his businesses. At the office, everybody is welcome to stop by for a cake and a chat.
Located almost exactly between Berlin and Warsaw, Poznań is naturally overshadowed by these two major, central European capitals. Poznan however is not full of morose and complexes – far from it. This city knows what it stands for. With just over half a million residents, marvellous history, great architecture, amazing food scene and culture, it becomes home for many foreigners and city of choice for businesses.