Pop Quiz, Monday with Mie Haraldsted

Mie Haraldsted

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Mie Haraldsted

Mie Haraldsted
Photo credit: Mie Haraldsted

What is your job role?
CTO / Head of R&D: my role is to ensure that all aspects of the product are being developed to specifications, as well as ensuring all is aligned with industrial design, mechanical and electronics specifications. I also make certain the product lives up to all requirements and will be ready for launch.

Tell us about your company?
I work for Copenhagen Industries located to no-one’s surprise, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The company is a young startup and is determined to bring a safer alternative to real firearms for use in the entertainment and defense industries.

Currently, it is common practice to use real firearms shooting with blanks in the movie and entertainment industry. This is still dangerous, and therefore there have to be safety measures in place to ensure the safety of the actors and crew on set. Another issue using this solution is that there is a real need for the transport of real firearm sand bullets across country and borders to arrive at the necessary locations.

Another alternative is to ‘fix it in post’ which means that the actors will be pretending to shoot and the muzzle flash and sound will be added afterward.

Our solution offers a realistic yet safe muzzle flash which gives the actor and director something ‘real’ to react against. Also, being safer, fewer restrictions are applied, giving the director the creative freedom to film a shot aimed directly at the actors or the camera.

What do you love most about your job?
I love using my experience with new product fields and within startup companies where everything needs to be re-defined. I specifically enjoy trying to make my way around a problem and finding the best solution, not necessarily using the known route.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The notion of shaping something from scratch that will be on the market for someone to use and be excited about.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I get inspired by my co-workers that surprise me positively – when they deliver something towards our greater goal that I know that I wouldn’t be able to do myself. Also, co-workers that have a passion in life – something that is enough to drive them out of bed on a freezing raining Monday morning. People that are willing to put in the effort it takes to get somewhere.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We have a very laid back culture at work with a lot of chat in the morning to welcome each other in the office. We do joke a lot and bring up subjects where we can add humor and jokes between us.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Keeping the momentum going – and keeping focus. Our company is still early stage still which means nothing has been defined. This can lead to people getting derailed into new areas or get excited about something that is not within the scope and, considering we are working to a tight deadline, it is not great.
It is also a challenge making sure that decisions are made at the right time to ensure the product specification is agreed on.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I believe it is essential to have a focus, goals, and deadlines so that you as a team can celebrate reaching those goals together.

Visual communication: It is also very important to ensure everyone has the same understanding on issues. I practice making every big decision or product specification into a visual one-pager that will be kept for reference and maybe as a poster on the wall to refer to at any time. They should be printed out and not only digital.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
My advice to anyone starting or joining a startup is to ensure that you have matching personalities and precise arrangements. Also to have a person that will make the ‘low’ days more fun as it is an emotional rollercoaster.

To start within my industry of engineering, I would wish for all to be open-minded and never take the ‘this is how it is done’ mindset for the law.

As a woman in my industry, I would like to remind you to stay true to yourself, stay every bit YOU as you are, even if it means that you are different. Different is good. Being and acting like your male co-workers does not change anything for you or the other women that will follow.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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