Olle Lindholm works as Marketing Manager at Spoon Agency in Stockholm, Sweden. Here is how he learns. 

Name: Olle Lindholm
Location: Stockholm
Title: Marketing Manager
Work: Spoon
Background: Previously, I’ve worked as a Marketing Project Manager, editor, translator, and writer.

What is a typical day of work like for you?
– There is no such thing as a ‘typical day of work,’ which is what I like. I can do anything from coordinating our events and speaking at conferences, to managing the blog, newsletters, and social media together with our fantastic editorial team. I also do more strategic, long-term planning and execution.

One sentence that describes your learning style?
– Sleep on it! (Seriously, it helps.). In general, I’m a visual learner, though. I like to read, discuss, do, and reflect.

How do you learn new things in your professional role?
– By trying them out. I try to run small pilot projects, so I can test an assumption or concept and see how it lands ‘in the real world’. I also learn a lot from working together with smart colleagues and teaching others what I know. That’s a great way to know how much (or how little) you know about a subject.

Where do you go to stay up to date with what’s happening in your field?
– I read Copyblogger, Content Marketing Institute, and industry press on a regular basis. I also listen to various marketing podcasts, follow industry leaders such as Seth Godin, so I can keep a pulse on what’s going on in the industry.

– But I’m also aware that it’s increasingly important for marketers to expand their horizons and go to other resources for learning more about general trends in society. I read broadly and learn from a variety of people and places.

How do you learn new things in your private life?
– I like to read in my spare time. I’m a book nerd! I’ve recently joined a book club over at Farnam Street. So far, I’ve got a lot of value out of the learning community there.

– Finding others who share your interests – whether they be friends, colleagues, or strangers – is a good way to learn. This African proverb sums it up well:  “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

What was the last beneficial thing you learned?
– Learning about mental models was probably one of the most useful things I’ve learned lately. What I like about them is that you can use these models in a variety of ways to improve your thinking, decision-making, and quality of life.

– Having an inner scorecard helps, too. The idea is simple and powerful: rather than letting others’ yardsticks impact your decisions, you follow your own internal compass.

–In our current media landscape, it’s important to know what matters to you on a personal, deeper level. It’s easy to get carried away on social media, where we mainly see the highlight of other people’s lives. You’re much better off focusing on your own scorecard – compare yourself with yourself.

What’s your favourite work-related shortcut or hack? And how did you learn it?
– Maybe it’s a bit cliché, but I’m a fan of the Pomodoro Technique. I set a timer for 25 minutes, and I have a clearly stated objective, something like: “write a paragraph about X.” Then I get to work and won’t stop until the timer rings. I get a lot of work done this way.

– I picked up the technique while I was working at Spoon and writing my master’s thesis at the same time. It was a way for me to make progress on the thesis – one Pomodoro block at a time!

Do you have a strategy or trick for coming up with new ideas or concepts?
– Change your environment is a good trigger for coming up with new ideas. Go for a walk! Do the dishes, fold your laundry, sing in the shower… I never get the best ideas while sitting behind a desk.

What tool, app, software or service help you learn?
– Headspace is a good meditation app, which I’ve used for the past one and a half years. It helps me learn and put things in perspective.

What resource, book, online video or similar would you recommend to other marketers right now?
University of Helsinki is hosting a really good course on AI.

– I would also recommend the book Thinking in Systems: A Primer, by Donna Meadows. It gives marketers a different way to look at our jobs and our roles. Donna was an environmental scientist, but her work on systems offers a different perspective to marketing.

What would you like to learn more about right now?
– Artificial Intelligence, systems design, and first principles, so I can make better decisions for myself, the organization I work for, and the world at large. By upgrading my thinking and challenging my assumptions, I’m hoping to make better progress. As Einstein would have said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

What do you think other marketers should learn right now?
– Whatever they’re interested in! The greatest breakthroughs often happen when you combine knowledge from different fields. That’s when innovative ideas are born, and a new way of doing (and seeing) things take place. So, burst your bubble, and go ahead and learn something new!

/Johan Larsson