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We made a short interview with one of our mentors, Jesper Söderström. He has been the general manager and director of Amadeus and he knows exactly how to make people get out of their comfort zones!

What are you good at?

I am good at seeing trends, understanding complexity and customer challenges and turning them to business ideas. My strength is in business development, understanding customer needs and how we can keep the focus on the customers. Also, I know how to turn the organization into an establishment that keeps the customers in focus along with the online or offline requirements and the new or old technology in mind – I am good at defining the set-up in all these aspects.

Is there anything that upsets you?

Very few things pisses me off at work. There are no bad questions, all questions are asked for a reason.

Do you have a favourite place to travel to?

My place in Mallorca where I have a wonderful view.

How long have you worked in your field?

I am 50 years old, so that is 50 years of experience… I spent around 20-25 years in the industry.

Which traveltech area is the most promising?

There are three areas that are going to completely change the industry: The first one is mobile and its effects, the second is AI. We can also mention the link of traveltech to fintech.

The most interesting technology in travel is probably the peer to peer technology – it has a lot of new structures and a lot of new ways of doing things. Another field is the implication of the mobile and the way it affects how we do things and how we attract customers. I believe that we haven’t even seen the start of it yet. IT allows everybody to be disruptive and this is extremely interesting to see how the old structures are challenged and how the whole industry is about to change.

Why is Amadeus a cool company?

Amadeus is a cool company because it keeps surprising me and keeps reinventing itself. When we started it looked very, very, different than what it looks now. And when I explain the company to someone, I do it in a completely different way than how I did just two years ago. I think that not many „old” companies can  that. We might seem to be old, but it is does not apply to our attitude.

Do you have a nickname or fantasy name? How do your colleagues call you when you are not around?

I don’t have any nicknames, I have never really had one. I don’t want to know how my colleagues call me behind my back. I’d maybe be Fantomen – the Phantom – or Superman. If there was a hero that can get the best out of other people – I want to be that one.

Are you excited to be the mentor of Startup Weekend?

Yes, I am excited about being the mentor of Startup Weekend because it will be interesting to see people who are not held back by old experiences and old truths and see everything with fresh ideas  – I am really looking forward to see this.

I think that Startup Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to try out new ideas and to meet new people. Even if you don’t make a viable startup out of it, you will have a fantastic inspiration. I don’t work often on weekends, but I look forward to this one.

What was the craziest thing that you have done in your professional life?

The craziest thing that I have done in my working place was when I danced ballet in front of my whole staff in order to show that we have to go out of our comfort zones. I was definitely out of mine.

Meet Jesper on Startup Weekend Travel! Get your tickets today at stockholm.up.co !



Klara Stumpf