Welcome to this exclusive interview with ValiantCEO Magazine.
Today, we’re fortunate to have a conversation with André Christensen, the co-founder and CEO of Quickplay, a leading company in cloud transformations of OTT and in-home experiences for Tier 1 Sports and Entertainment companies.
André is a globe-trotting Norwegian with an impressive and diverse career path. From being a bike messenger, a ski and bike shop owner, an EMT, to being a partner with McKinsey & Company, and a senior executive with Yahoo and AT&T, André’s journey has been anything but linear.
He now calls Toronto, Canada home, where he lives with his wife, three kids, and two dogs.
Quickplay is André’s primary focus, a company that combines the power of cloud-based technology and artificial intelligence to offer flexible and scalable platforms for major media companies.
Under André’s leadership, Quickplay enables these companies to innovate and monetize their content distribution for both live and video-on-demand.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
André Christensen: My name is André Christensen and I am the Co-founder and CEO of Quickplay. I am a Norwegian that has lived or worked in 15+ countries, but now call Toronto, Canada home with my wife, three kids, and two dogs.
My path to founding Quickplay has not been linear; I have been a bike messenger, a ski and bike shop owner, an EMT, a partner with McKinsey & Company, and a senior executive with Yahoo and AT&T. Now, Quickplay is my main focus.
The company is the leader in cloud transformations of OTT and in-home experiences for Tier 1 Sports and Entertainment companies, providing technology for entertainment and streaming.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
André Christensen: I wish Warren Buffet was deep in the technology weeds so I could tell him the specifics of why the large Sports and Entertainment companies are trusting Quickplay to future-proof and monetize their streaming businesses.
In lieu of that, I’d tell him that we are the leading, fast-growing media technology company offering an extremely flexible and scalable platform that allows major media companies to innovate and monetize their content distribution for Live- and Video-on-demand.
We are the “operating system” for next-generation, engaging video streaming and monetization. We enable our customers to capture the benefits of cloud economics, scale globally instantly, radically speed up their product roadmap, and tap into new sources of revenue.
This is done by using the latest generation of cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence, and a very rich set of modules and services.
While we believe our technology is unmatched, our biggest strength lies in our culture. In addition to our teams’ unparalleled experience working on the largest and most complex use cases in the industry, our mindset and behavior distinctively set us apart from the competition.
We are headquartered in Toronto with teams in California and India, as well as hubs all across the U.S. and Asia.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
André Christensen: Saying no is saying yes to something better. In my eagerness to please and prove myself combined with a bias towards action, I could have shortened many cycles and had more impact had I reacted on data that often was available early.
I am a lot faster to pivot away from less desirable paths at this point, but I definitely feel I need to pay attention to this.
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
André Christensen: During my childhood in Norway, I was obsessed with Donald Duck cartoons (okay, I still read them) and Carl Barks’s fantastic story “Lost in the Andes” made a profound impression on me.
Donald and his nephews went on an adventure and discovered a lost valley in the mist where chickens and people were cubical and spoke in a Dixie drawl. It blew my young mind and reading about discoveries of new worlds has stuck with me.
I recently re-read Lewis and Clark’s diaries from their travels through the frontiers of the U.S. in the early 1800s and it gave me some of the same feelings. I just read “Around the World in 80 Days” with my youngest daughter and loved seeing her go through the same emotions. Maybe all this explains my eclectic career choices and eagerness to explore.
My most gifted book is probably “Disgrace” by Coetzee, which I have read a couple of times. It gives a peek into, at least for me, a new world of post-Apartheid and massive societal changes where roles are reversed for a disgracefully fired white professor trying to redeem himself as a person.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
André Christensen: The main challenge right now is maintaining a relentless focus on scaling the business and capturing the fantastic pipeline of opportunities we have worked so hard to build.
With our momentum and so much happening outside our immediate focus, it’s extremely tempting to engage in adjacent growth opportunities that stand alone are very attractive. However, they could potentially put the rest of the business and our effort to scale at risk. T
he tech industry is littered with companies that never found or lost focus–or with those who didn’t invest in maintaining their lead.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
André Christensen: The most underestimated part of running a company is the power of mindset and behavior. No process, KPIs, strategy, documentation or organizational structure can ever compensate for the wrong mindset on your team. However, the right mindset and behavior trump all of that.
At Quickplay, we use a very specific set of mindset and behavior traits that revolve around impact focus, curiosity, supportiveness, and willingness to dissent as the criteria for hiring, performance management, bonuses, incentives, and promotions.
As a result, I see over and over how the team is able to adapt to drive positive outcomes for our customers and our business, adapt to changes, and organically figure out how to best get things done as we scale.
Also, we have an incredibly engaged team that lists culture, people, and job atmosphere as the biggest drivers.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
André Christensen: Success this year means entering 2024 with happy customers, successful platform launches across the world, a continuously growing pipeline of new opportunities, and the same or improved fantastic employee engagement we have now.
I think after 2023, we have the foundation as a team and business to also start tapping into adjacent growth opportunities in geographies and product areas we currently have less focus on. Personally, I aspire to do more things with my family that bring us joy.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank André Christensen for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with André Christensen or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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