Startup Notes

Niklas Jansen on how Blinkist built an inspiring high-performance startup culture

October 18, 2017

Niklas Jansen co-founded one of the hottest companies in Berlin. His startup Blinkist summarizes the key insights of over 2,500 bestselling non-fiction books in short 15-minute reads and audio format. With this idea that resulted from a personal problem (Niklas and his co-founders wanted to read more books but just didn’t have the time to read them completely), Blinkist has raised over 15 million US$ from German and international VCs (, Greycroft Partners) and already reached over 3 million users all around the world.

Apart from its impressive growth, Blinkist is known for its outstanding company culture. On Glassdoor and on Niklas’ personal LinkedIn profile, you can find comments like “I love going to work every morning” and “This environment helped me to explode in terms of personal development”.

In this episode, we accordingly dive deeply into the topic of “company culture” with Niklas being the architect of Blinkist’s HR philosophy. We talk about why culture is so important for Blinkist, how they measure it and how the startup’s culture impacts hiring and firing.

Here is the full list of topics that we cover with successful ‘startup culture’ expert Niklas Jansen:

[01:05 - 03:12] On Blinkist and the founding story behind it

[03:13 - 06:04] How Niklas as a founder of Blinkist defines “company culture”

[06:05 - 10:36] Why culture is so important for Blinkist and how the founders came up with theirs

[10:37 - 12:36] How the company culture at Blinkist is managed

[12:37 - 15:10] The KPIs that Niklas and his team use to manage their company culture

[15:11 - 17:36 ] On the importance of being intentional about culture to be successful as a company

[17:37 - 19:30] How culture influences business decisions like hiring

[19:31 - 22:38] How Blinkist executes the importance of its culture during its hiring process

[22:39 - 24:14] What it means when ‘everyone owns the culture’ in a startup

[24:15 - 27:41] Niklas’ view and best practices on firing decisions

[27:42 - 31:12] How Blinkist fosters personal development among its employees

[31:13 - 34:03] On how to to give feedback the right way

[34:04 - 35:37] Open job positions at Blinkist and tips on how to apply

Play this podcast on Podbean App