Meet Niklas Ingvar, the founder who defines fun as building solutions to match customer needs

April 04, 2024/4 min min read
Niklas Ingvar at a Menti gathering
Image of Maria Tamming
Maria TammingEmployer Branding Specialist

Very early on in Mentimeter’s history the founders, Niklas Ingvar and Johnny Warström, defined the core values they believed would create a safe and productive work environment. Yet, something was still missing. It turned out to be the fun component.

However, since fun means different things to different people it has been important for Niklas and Johnny to highlight that it’s okay to find your kind of fun. That it's perfectly okay to be goofy for example.

“Some people feel that they want to be left alone to sit with their headphones and work seven hours straight and then go home. Others want to play pool or board games, go home or go running with a work friend,” says Niklas, the co-founder and AI Engineer leading the work of utilizing generative AI for the benefit of engaging inclusive meetings.

Building for a good cause feels more fun than playing pool

Niklas is the person who bought both the pool table and the foosball table for Mentimeter’s office but never uses them himself. “It's just not my type of fun. I'm a builder. I love crafting things that people use for hopefully productive or fun reasons. That's why in the early days I wanted to be in the product organization where I can design, build and ship features,” Niklas explains. And it’s not just the new things that he finds exciting. He enjoys improving existing features as long as it’s driven by user demand. “It’s super fun to set goals and tactics, identify solutions, build, test, re-iterate and ship. And when done, celebrate.”. 

“I build for people wanting to use it.”

Currently Niklas is finding joy in maintaining an AI tool that was built for sales people. “I'm doing it almost on the side because it's not really a prioritized initiative, but I believe in it. So I want to keep it alive. It requires me to do things daily, which is a bit disruptive. But for now, it's fun.”

Making work fun doesn’t mean non-stop fun all the time

The goal behind the Mentimeter’s core value ‘Have fun’ is to make work itself more fun. Yes, there are some fun extracurricular activities, and no, it doesn’t mean that work will be super fun all the time. Life is life, as Niklas puts it. 

Niklas’ team is about to launch a new feature called the Menti Builder which is an AI tool that creates slides for you and he enjoys making adjustments and fixing bugs after some early feedback. 

“Then there are parts that are not so fun. There are some meetings that need to happen with the end goal of alignment so that we will do the right things. Uncomfortable meetings are part of the deal. Do I want to eliminate those meetings from my life? Ideally, yes! Do I think it's good to eliminate those meetings from my life? No. It's an investment that you make for the future.”

Also, not having fun is very much connected to not living by the other core values, according to Niklas because it’s not fun when teammates are unprofessional or get stuck perfecting things that don’t need to be perfect. 

Mentimeter's employees engaged in a watching something funny

It’s important to find your way to make work work for you

Of course there are intense work periods when it is difficult to find air in your schedule and there's pressure in terms of different kinds of deliveries. I'm the kind of guy who puts fun on pause,” says Niklas.

He explains: “If I have a plate of food, and there's disgusting parts of the food and there’s good parts, I eat the disgusting parts first so I can enjoy the good stuff at the end of my meal. That's who I am [as a person] and that's who I am at work. So that means I go into Goblin mode and crunch through the things until I finish. And then I do some carrot work after.”

Things have inevitably changed over the last 10 years that Mentimeter has existed and grown from a few guys tinkering with a hobby project to a 400+ people company. “Ejecting myself from the management team is one way of actually coming back to some of the old fun,” says Niklas and continues: “Closer to the customer, closer to the product is what I want.”

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