We talked to Jonas Åradsson of Driversnote on how to track trips, and get tax compliant mileage reports ready to hand over anytime and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jonas Åradsson: We’re doing good. We have a 5-year-old and a 10-month-old in our apartment so it can feel a bit confined sometimes but we’re enjoying having more time together – just the four of us – than usual and we try to use the outdoors a lot even though now it’s pretty cold here in Denmark.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Driversnote.
Jonas Åradsson: Before meeting Martin Poulsen who originally founded Driversnote, I had another startup – Boliga.dk – together with 3 other founders. It went on to become Denmark’s largest real estate portal, something like Trulia or Zillow, but only in Denmark. We exited that company in a few different stages and after I left Boliga in January 2016, I joined Driversnote as a co-founder that summer after meeting Martin who was looking for someone to help build the app. Back then we were 4 people in Driversnote, now we’re 15.
How does Driversnote innovate?
Jonas Åradsson: Innovation is a funny word, a bit hyped if you ask me. We try to generally just listen to the needs of our users – or even better, interview them so we can figure out what are the problems they need to solve and build solutions to those problems.
I believe there is something to be won in doing one thing really well, instead of focussing on innovation as being the holy grail of product development. That being said, we do try to look a bit ahead to figure out what the “next big thing” might be that would replace the need for our product, so we don’t get run over by a small team like we were ourselves 4 years ago!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jonas Åradsson: We’re of course working from home. And since people in most countries are doing the same, then they also drive less and have fewer customers to visit or meetings to go to, so our product is used less. Therefore we did not grow as much as we had hoped and projected, but we’re very fortunate to have a lot of loyal customers who think our product is worth keeping, even if they don’t need it as much these days. Overall, the business has grown in 2020 despite the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jonas Åradsson: We’ve definitely learned to be better at working together remotely and we’ve learned to appreciate the company of our colleagues even more. We all miss coming back to the office, collaborating more closely together and sharing cake in the office! In terms of difficult choices we’ve had to scale down a bit on the expansion of the team that we had planned, but we’ve been pretty lucky to not have to do any cutbacks this year.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Jonas Åradsson: For me personally, cooking for my family and working out are hobbies that both give me joy and relieve stress. In general, at Driversnote we try to create a workplace where there is room for spending time with your family, friends and generally having a life outside of work. After all, we do work to live, not the other way around. We appreciate hard-working coworkers just as much as any other company, but we believe people do their best work when they’re energized, motivated and have space to do other things, not when they are forced to work 10 hours a day chasing deadline after deadline.
We are motivated to get things done and to help our customers, but we’re running a marathon here, not a sprint. I guess you can say we really have strong roots in Danish work culture and we respect the 37,5 hours per week that is the standard here.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jonas Åradsson: We sometimes say that our biggest competitor is pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet because so many people around the world still use these to keep their mileage log. We believe that we’re the only company trying to create a product for keeping a mileage log which works well internationally and supports the needs of our users in most major countries.
We also do take really good care of our customers when they run into issues with the product because let’s face it; we’re dealing with technology here and it sometimes breaks. So our Customer Support is very important to us and works closely with the developers. I will have to quote Seth Godin and say that we have an unfair advantage: We care more!
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