“I never stopped playing games. My interests or my preferences might have changed a bit, but I still play a lot of games. I grew up playing a lot of Nintendo games, and point and click adventure games on Mac, Amiga, PC. Games like Zelda and Myst have likely had a huge impact on my life. Nowadays I mostly play smaller games, indie games. The indie scene is usually where I find games that inspire me the most, and right now that’s where you find the most interesting, creative expressions of the medium.”
Having grown up in the 90s, gaming is an old passion of Calle's. After inheriting his older brother’s NES console a new world opened up and that world just kept growing. He later got involved in the booming roleplaying- and wargaming scene in Sweden in the 90s. This led him to start making his own games. He eventually decided to study game design in University, and during his time at the University of Skövde, he finally ventured into the industry.
“Back in 2006/2007, I started a game development studio called Pieces Interactive together with some people from school.” He worked there as a game designer and producer — and did a great deal of pitching and sales work — until the end of 2010. After that tumultuous time he decided to take a break from gaming to learn new things.
“One of my key takeaways from my time in the games industry was how much I enjoyed being in the context of a team; a team with diverse people and skills that I personally don’t possess. Working with people who are good at things you are not, is the best learning experience. That is something that I continue to do and still find very inspiring and motivational.”
Now, Calle’s background is mostly in leading product teams and leading digital products. “Most of it is mainly about how to work with people, having empathy for the user, and honing processes to explore, discover and develop products that bring value/joy."
He gained one such experience of leading product teams in Hong Kong, where he had to build and launch Hulu for the Japanese market. “I have been working with international companies throughout my career, but I hadn’t been living abroad or working abroad. You quickly learn how different Hong Kong is from Sweden in terms of expectations, working hours and in general how people view productivity.”
When asked about what he has learned from Hong Kong’s work culture, Calle describes the experience as a sort of shock to the system. “I think in a lot of cases it validated my beliefs regarding the importance of working sustainably and agile. It was a challenge navigating those kinds of business cultures while having an agile mindset, since that word was hardly uttered. I had to try and convince people to do things differently, whilst keeping people happy. Sometimes you feel like you need to change how things work, but you can’t really change it and to continue trying to realise change can be like fighting windmills. You’re just going to exhaust yourself in the end. But I am still an optimist when it comes to change.”
Not everyone is cut out to become a consultant. “As a consultant, there are generally high expectations placed on you, and that is something that I still find challenging; to enter a new context, always having to learn a lot of new things quickly, in order to achieve productivity. But the great thing about consulting is how much you learn, and that’s what I look for.”
"To anyone who is yearning to grow and learn new things quickly, there’s few better ways than becoming a consultant.”
Words of advice for someone starting a new assignment as a consultant?
“I encourage anyone to really invest the time in the beginning of an assignment, to ask a lot of questions, even if they might sound dumb and really try to understand the full context of what you are doing and the people you will interact with. I think taking your time in the beginning is key to having the foundation to reach productivity as soon as possible.”