Gustav von Sydow and Burt's Accidental World Domination

I met up with Gustav von Sydow founder of Burt, which creates products and tools for advertising agencies like Rich Metrics (we've talked about those here before).

The firm which is Swedish by origin, is making progessive strides into the US market, and Gustav is racking up the miles on his frequent flyer cards bouncing around the world.

- You have a lot of clients already, and I know that you have a quite a few US clients. Are they more open to Burt than fellow Swedes?

"Swedish agencies work different than say, a US agency or a UK agency. They are far more cut-throat in the US and UK, as they work on a bonus system. They're always looking for ways of improving things, they're money oriented. Swedish agencies are partners, not working on a bonus, they're creative oriented and want to do good work. "

- But this helps them do good work, this helps them see what works.

"Exactly, so the US agencies can see that if they use this, they have another service to show their clients what they can do. Which means they can get a bigger cut of the client's budget. We do have Swedish agencies, but they aren't driven by the economic aspect. They're driven by the work."

- Which might explain why they are cleaning up tonight in the Cyber awards.

"That's great, it's really good to see that. I'm glad to see Sweden doing so well.

"It's not like we are avoiding Sweden, it's just a very small area, and the tool we're making is useful to so many. Nobody is doing anything like us in Sweden. At the same time, we are in a town with the greatest technical university, so we have a great pool of talent to choose from. Creative and technology-wise, Sweden has been on top of internet for a while. At first it was the internet companies then these talents gravitated toward cyber advertising, now we are beginning to see more internet startups companies form again."

- Is it difficult to get your foot in the door over in the US?

"No, I think they like us Swedes. We're polite, 'non-threatening' as we're neutral. We have a similar work ethic in startups to Americans, and they like that."

- Last year when you were at what suddenly became CP&B Europe, people must have thought you were crazy to leave at that time and start something on your own.

"Yes. Everyone thought it was nuts. With the crisis and all. But I see that the economic crisis is a good time to launch something new, because everyone wants to find new solutions, try something different, see what they can change, and to make more money or save money. Had we launched while the economy was booming it would probably have been harder, as people wouldn't change.

"Now everyone is a lot more open to finding new solutions. They're looking for new ways of doing things and improving their results."

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