Questionmark on who I am


Who are you?

I am Roy-Andre Tollefsen (40), born, raised and lives on the beautiful westcoast of Norway, where I have worked within most diciplines related to technology.

As a professional nerd, I have been using computers since long before the internet (yes it is actually possible to use a computer without the internet).

Later in life I became a relatively successful serial-entrepreneur.

Today I help companies navigating and surviving on the technology super highway in various ways, from being on the board of directors or leading efficient advisory boards to simply being hired by the hour for short-term navy seal missions. I also have a few hobbies and a family with three kids.

What do you do for a living?

I somewhat retired at the age of 39, after succeeding in the world of business, and becoming somewhat famous in what I do.

I've founded several companies, with the most successful to date being Trollweb Solutions, which got acquired by Visma, Europe's largest software company, back in 2017, making me in principle not having to work every again (yey).

I am still a very passionate entrepreneur, inventing new exciting stuff for a better world, and one of my next startups is nothing smaller than a potential Facebook-killer. OfflinePal, served both as a native app and web-version, collects and structures tens of thousands of activities, ranging from concerts to mountain hiking to personal hangouts with friends, with the simple goal to get more people offline and out into the real (?) world, plus helt organizers market their events and arrangements more efficiently. Launched in Norway in 2019, the masterplan is to conquer country-by-country starting in 2020.

I am also an investor through my own investment company Troll Ventures, where I primarily invest in tech companies, from startups to companies moving over to the Series A/B/C funding rounds, all the way up to the lucky ones going for an IPO or already listed on a stock exchange somewhere.

And finally, I can be hired as a hands-on advisor to try to help your company also succeed, using approaches like Cut The Crap and Get Shit Done, with a touch of good old fashion Common Sense and what we in Norway call "Sunt bondevett" (english: Healthy Farmers Sense, kindoff).

Any education?

I am an examined computer engineer, and have been working with everything related to computers and internet technology since the early 90s.

My most important education however is the school of life, where I have had long-time hands-on experience with tons of various topics for hundreds of fantastic and demanding customers over the past 25 or so years.

Job positions you have covered?

As a serial-entrepreneur I have covered most tech-related positions; R&D. Development. Infrastructure. Consultancy. Advisory. Strategy. Design. Sales. Customer service. Accounting. Heck, even some HR.

Naturally, I have also been CEO, CTO, and had similar leadership roles over many years.

My business card titles has been ranging from Systems Engineer to CEO to CTO to Head of R&D to Troll in Chief, though I stopped wearing business cards long ago, and so should you.

Interests, business-wise?

Most definitely. One of my absolute favorites is conducting great and brilliant developers and designers to make amazing and useful products and services.

I am also extremely curious, and love R&D, deep-diving into the abyss of possibilities, most often with too little air to complete the dive, which is what R&D is all about.

I love usability and UX, and basically have my best periods when sitting in Sketch or some other UX/drawing software being creative and drawing up useful stuff.

I am also very much into topics like SEO, and I working on writing an SEO bible in-between (no deadline for that book).

And so, I also love to write. All kinds of things, from business-related meeting rules to technically-oriented stuff, to the stuff that matter the most. I even have on my todo to write some fiction and children's books.

And, I am super-interested in improving everything related to business, both as a leader and not least as an employer, and recommend all leaders- or coming leaders to take the Masterclass with Bob Iger, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Disney.

And private hobbies?

A few I guess. I play squash in a somewhat serious squash league (at least I pay for playing + someone maintains online results lists). I play football (with alike in the same physical condition). I try to run some half-marathons and such. I am teaching myself playing piano, making music and stuff like that. I coach kids in football and volleyball. I enjoy working with wood, making all kinds of wood'ish things for our cabin (all Norwegians have our own cabin up in the mountains to get away from the daily stress). I love travelling, visiting great places around the world. And, most importantly, I love being with my fantastic family.

How do you get the time for this?

It would be super-cool to say I am a super-talented multi-disiplin juggler with dozens of brains working simultaneously in parallell dimensions. Unfortunately, the human brain is terrible at multi-tasking, and my brain is very much like yours, working for the most in serial mode.

An important part of being able to do lots of stuff however is to prioritize, hard. For example, my hours of watching TV-related stuff (series, movies, news, etc) per week is really pathetic. Like, 1-2 hours, I guess. My Netflix- and HBO backlog of series to watch is just.. long.

Secondly, most of what I do I do because I love to, not because I have to, and I think we as humans are 18x more efficient when doing stuff we love to do. So be sure your employees are set to for the most do tasks they love to do!

Do you give talks at conferences?

No. I am still that super-nerd with more introvert- than extrovert cells, and so I let others handle that part.

What are your limitations and weaknesses?

Unless you are insanely hungry, don't ever ask me to cook you dinner, as a first. Really.

Left-side driving is also something that doesn't come natural to me at all.

Overly dressed-up sales staff is also something my brain struggle hard to handle.

I am also a perfectionist in most I do, though I yet still go by "Great is better than Perfect" - at least in some cases, specially with a tight deadline.

And, yea, I have no patience. Zero. Null.

And lastly, definitely do not invite me into meetings with no agenda pre-meeting, or no conclusions post-meeting (and be sure to read my Meeting Rules of Engagement).

Have you ever been burned out?

Still waiting for it. Fasten the seatbelt. Guess it's gonna be a rough landing.

If there was no computers or internet, what would you do?

Most likely working on helping inventing it. I ran a few BBS'es (Bulletin Board Systems) back in the very early 90s, with people dialing in to my "local internet", waiting for the internet to arrive a couple of years later.

Do you read?

A lot. Every day. Tech. Business. Politics. Strategy. Comics. Oh, how I love Don Rosa's stories and drawings.

I am in the progress of structuring my reading, or ever-lasting-self-studying. Stay tuned if you want to see what I am reading. In the meantime you can read my 2019 summer holiday book recommendations.

How do you structure your days?

I would call it a semi-controlled chaos. Good thing I usually don't forget things, though some tasks might take months or even years to complete.

More questions? Feel free to drop me a line and I'll see if I post it here.

Roy-Andre Tollefsen