Transforming ideas into action
At Ambronite, we're open to put great ideas into action. In addition to talking to experienced people, I read quite a lot of books. I feel that I can learn a lot from books when I read a right book at the right time. I measure the quality of business literature in the amount of “action points” it generates to my todo list. When fundraising, Venture Deals is great. To understand more about recruiting, I’ve got great ideas from Hiring for Attitude and How to Hire A-players. I usually finish a book in 2 days. That means I can spend a whole day reading one book. This usually happens during the weekend or when I’m travelling.
I recently read Delivering Happiness, a book by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. It had a huge impact on me. Delivering Happiness is partly a personal biography of Tony Hsieh, a history of his first venture LinkExchange, and most importantly, it tells the story behind Zappos and its special company culture. Actually the book was so great that I ordered it to our new team members Valerie and Silja and encouraged them to use their working time to read it.
If you're a startup co-founder, Delivering Happiness should be next on your reading list. It definitely generated “actions point” to my todo list. I'll give you an example:
Discovering Ambronite company culture
Culture exists in every organization. The questions is whether it is recognized, nourished and cultivated to its ultimate potential. In the spirit of Tony Hsieh I sent out the following email to our Ambronite team:
As I mentioned yesterday in the weekly meeting, we’ll be putting together a small mini-book about Ambronite culture, which we can use internally and for e.g. in recruiting. Ambronite culture is the combination of all of the team members’ ideas about the culture, so we’d like to include everyone’s thoughts in this mini-book.
Please email me 100-500 words about what Ambronite culture means to you. (What is Ambronite culture? What’s different about it compared to other company cultures? What do you like about our culture?)
We will compile everyone’s contribution into the mini-book. The idea is that when I get all of your responses, I’ll simply put them together, and distribute the whole package back to you transparently.
Also, please don’t talk to anyone about what you will be writing or what anyone else wrote. We want to know what Ambronite culture means to you specifically, as it will be different for everyone. Remember, there are no wrong answers here.
Download Ambronite Culture Mini-Book
Sharing is caring - here's the Ambronite Culture Mini-Book for you to download (PDF). The answers are provide as is, without any rewriting. Only small spelling errors have been fixed.
There is a distinct Ambronite Culture:
A key finding for me was to realize that we had many same ideas in different wording. There is a distinct Ambronite culture. I got affirmation to some of my own thoughts when I compiled our team's writings on paper.
To sum it up, Ambronite is a way of life to its team members. We strive to make everyone’s lives healthier, happier and more enjoyable. Leading a healthy and adventurous lifestyle is part of the vibe at Ambronite. If you prefer weekly pizzas and Friday beers to team adventure days or a stand up paddling trip with the team, Ambronite probably wouldn’t be a great fit for you.
Trust and a getting-things-done mentality was another point that popped up on everybody’s answer. We trust in our team members’ decisions and evaluations. That means autonomy for everyone to find the best way to get work done. Whether it’s working from a cafeteria, having walking meeting or having a nap on the sofa, it’s up to you. That doesn't mean you'd need to work alone. Family spirit is part of our culture, and there is always somebody to get support from.
A small team needs many talents. This leaves room for professional growth and discovering and developing skills you didn’t know to had. I was glad to notice that even though things get pretty hectic sometimes, people feel that there’s a playground to try, experiment and make mistakes, too.
What did this lead to?
It’s only been a few days since we got it compiled together, so it’s still too early to say. However, the process already brought up some areas that need development, too. Having the culture book in front of you helps having an honest discussion.
I'm sure this won't be our last exercise related to nourishing Ambronite culture. If you're a startup founder and you'd like to learn more, I'm happy to help & give additional pointers. Just drop me an email at email@example.com.
PS. We’re recruiting full-time Full-Stack Online Marketer (San Francisco Bay Area, US).
We've got plenty of reorderers recently which is great! I reached out to first ones to learn a bit more about how people use the product. It's been amazing to read the stories how Ambronite saves people days. Hope this serves as an inspiration how to use Ambronite. Few of the most interesting ones:
"Previously Ambronite saved my day two minutes to a taxi pickup when I was hungry. Normally, I have Ambronite for lunch time when working from home. Nearby restaurants are not very good and are quite far away. Ambronite has replaced occasional use of convenience foods in this situation", says Mika from Finland.
"Ambronite saves my day every morning because I'm late for work and I only have time to shake my ambronite and drink it while walking to work. No idea what else I could have for breakfast so quickly... I used to starve until lunch, not anymore.", says Tom from Swizerland.
"I throw together my magic potion, using one cup of water and one cup of apple juice, then blend in a cup of blueberries. Fantastic!", says Mark from Washington, US.
Amazing to hear these stories :-) Keep em coming!
On 10-12 of April Ambronite joined NASA SpaceApps Challenge, a two-day hackathon where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists, developers and students from all over the world unite forces to design innovative solutions for global challenges.
During the weekend over 50 people from various backgrounds were competing for the global prize - a live spot to NASA’s space launch. The event hosted amazing keynote speakers, who inspired the participants with personal stories and provided facts needed to complete the project. We were there to help the space hackers to achieve their dream by offering free meals for better brainwork.
The winner of the Space hackathon was team LiftOff. A team of 4 designed and prototyped a game aimed at children where they learn how to launch rockets in space. The user’s mission is to launch a rocket by following real guidelines set by NASA.
It's hard to describe how thrilled we were to see that LiftOff chose Ambronite to be one of the elements of the spacecraft launch.
“In our opinion Ambronite was an essential component when living in outer space”, comments Ornela Bardhi, Computer Science student and a member of the LiftOff team.
Ambronite team - Mikko, Valerie, Simo, Silja and Arno
We're pleased to welcome Valerie Vlasenko and Silja Suoheimo to the Ambronite team.
Valerie will be taking care of our community and fans on social media. She's also been preparing an Ambronite booklet and you can expect her exceptional assistance when contacting our Ambronite Customer Happiness. Valerie is passionate about everything related to art, sustainability, health, aerospace, yoga and she speaks 6 languages.
Silja will be joining the Ambronite Customer Happiness and will help you make the most of your Ambronite experience. She is passionate about music and plays several instruments, including the piano in a popular live band.
We're stunned to have such a talent in our team. Let's welcome both Silja & Valerie to the drinkable meal movement!
All aboard, drinkable supermeals now ship instantly!
We're proud to announce that Ambronite orders are now fulfilled and shipped right away! This means that all orders will ship on the next business day, at the latest. We have plenty of Ambronite now in our warehouse waiting to fill your stomach and energize your day.
Have a tasty week!
It's now roughly one month when we shipped all of our crowdfunding orders to 800 backers around the world, yay! It's been very motivating to see reorders coming from the same people. This really has made our team happy, as placing a second Ambronite order really signals that people like our product :-) It's been very motivating to the team, and makes us work hard, too.
The web order shipments are also on schedule. All rest of the orders will be fulfilled by the last week of Feb and should arrive 1-2 weeks after that.
We've just shipped over 15,000 Ambronite meals around the world. People have reached out to us for more recipe suggestions, so here are a few ideas on how to tune your Ambronite experience.
Try berries like bilberries, blueberries and strawberries for taste and bananas and avocado for a deliciously smooth texture. Coconut water is great for adding even more electrolytes to hydrate your body after sports and also adds a splash of fresh taste to the mix. Ambronite mixes well with a wide variety of flavors and we'd love to hear about your recipes as well!
We will share more recipe ideas in our Ambronite booklet soon. Since we topped our target and reached the stretch goal during our crowdfunding campaign, we promised to create an Ambronite booklet with recipes, ingredient information and customer interviews. Stay tuned for a few more weeks!
If you've already ordered Ambronite, you can join the Ambronite Insider Facebook group to share your recipe experiences and learn from other Insiders. You can find the URL to the group in the leaflet which is included in your shipment.
Greetings from SLUSH 2014, one of the largest and definitely the most stunning startup conferences organised on the planet.
For those of you who haven't heard about it yet, SLUSH 2014 is the largest startup conference of its kind in Europe and definitely the most amazing one we've seen so far. It's organized in Helsinki, attracts over 2,500 companies and more then 10,000 visitors from 98 countries. The atmosphere at SLUSH is similar to an underground rave club: lasers going on the roof, colour lights transforming your mind to parallel reality. And of course, positive spirit is buzzing everywhere around you.
This is the optimal place for Ambronite to spread some gorilla love.
We wanted to organise a different experience for people visiting the Ambronite booth. While people recognized our traditional huge green Ambronite balloon, we also spread lots of gorilla love and handed out fresh samples of Ambronite to hundreds of people. It was very inspiring to have a chat with every one of you! Especially, it is always very motivating to high'five our good'n'old fans and customers, who live Ambronite lifestyle and come to tell stories about how they enjoy our product. Personally, this gives me lots of energy. Thanks to all of you - you know who you are!
Below, some gorilla love for all of our fans around the world. Click for larger pics and enjoy the smiles :)
This is the first post of a series where fans can learn more about the Ambronite team. We interview each other one-on-one, and keep it as open and honest as possible. The first post of the series is Simo's interview written by Mikko.
During the journey with Ambronite, I have had the chance to get to know Simo, my co-founder and friend, and we’ve had many interesting conversations outside of work. I think one of the best parts about being an entrepreneur is that you can choose the people you work with. It's truly been a privilege to be able to work with Simo and our other outstanding team members. I decided to sit down with Simo to have a chat about his background, values and ambitions.
Simo, I know that you have a fairly international background, can you expand on this?
“That’s true. As a kid, around 6 years old, I lived in Africa and Nepal. I went to kindergarten in Zimbabwe for two years and started primary school in Kathmandu. The first language I studied at school was English, but we also studied some basics in Hindi and Nepalese. Today, I often reflect on how much that experience has shaped me. I continue to look for adventure. I think my kid-self is well reflected in me today.”
Right now our Ambronite team is living in San Sebastian for five weeks, as part of the Dig Eat All accelerator program, which focuses on food start-ups. Simo tells me that it feels very natural to sit on balcony in Spain and do this interview, even though we’ve only been here for a day.
What makes you smile and full of energy all the time?
“That’s a really great question. I’ve been asking myself this since I was a little kid. I have always felt like doing wacky stuff even when everything around was serious. I want to bring the best out of the people who I spend time with.”
I think the following really describes Simo’s personality:
“Whenever you are with a group, there are always two types of people. The ones who take everything for granted; and the others, who have the balls to question what is happening around them, and to have fun in that very moment. I like to try and have fun with what happens around me, and very often, this makes the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone, and also makes the first type open up and have fun with me.”
I was happy to get to know to you on Aalto on Tracks, a journey of a lifetime. Aalto on Tracks was very personal for me, as I was the chief organizer of the trip. You’re one of the few, who also participated in Aalto on Waves and Aalto in Africa. These trips had a huge impact on me, I’m wondering how they’ve changed your perspective on life?
Aalto on Tracks was a unique and passion-based learning experience organized by Aalto University students, where we rented a private train and travelled almost 10,000 km from Finland, through Siberia and Mongolia, to the World Expo in Shanghai, China in 2010. There were nearly 100 students and professors on board.
“Aalto on Tracks was a hugely impactful journey. Many of the things I have been looking for were brought together by all of these trips. They opened my eyes to how differently people manage their lives. Every one of the Aalto trips led to a random collision with extremely interesting people.”
“I think one of the important things, was not having an Internet connection or Facebook on the train. People tend to cling to technology, because it’s sort of a support pillar and keeps people within their comfort bubbles. However, being face to face without the possibility of escaping the tin can, really opened up the channels to make real friends during the journey.”
“Most importantly, Aalto on Tracks was crucial to forming the Ambronite team, and that impacts my life every day. I’ve sometimes wondered if my life would have been the same without these trips.”
I know you have a special connection with nature, done quite a bit of hiking and guided hikes as well. How did this build up within you and what is it about nature that invites you back time and again?
“My first hometown is Lapland, Kemijärvi, above the polar circle. So it’s clear that the root of this calling to nature is in arctic north of Finland. I think it began when my dad would take me on wilderness hikes to pick berries and see birds and animals. Ever since, and as long as I can remember, this has been an integral part of my life. Nature connects me to my inner self, brings things into perspective.”
“I joined scouts when I was 6. It is an experience where a small kid is given a lot of responsibility. When I was on 7th or 8th grade, I was a patrol leader in our scout troop and took care of weekly meetings and organized hikes and camps. This was powerful in shaping my personality. Also, it’s has been a significant volunteering experience; to share a common goal, and bring out the best in people in many ways. That also led me to guide outdoor expeditions in Lapland later on. I really enjoy interacting with people through transformational experiences like these, and especially ones they've never expected to have…”
I’ve noticed that an integral part of how I lead my life is memorizing and repeating different mantras and aphorisms, which help me to stick to the values I have in life. Do you do this? What are some you’d like to share?
“This one I really like, but it’s not so easy to translate into English, in Finnish it’s ‘Tosissaan, mutta ei vakavasti’. Something like “Be earnest, but never serious”. Even as a kid, when I hadn’t heard this yet, I still used this lens at the playgrounds. And that really hasn’t changed at all, to be honest.” (Note from Mikko: Simo just bursted in laughter after saying this :)
“Definitely, during my adult life becoming a better version of myself has been one of my key mantras. Finding that honesty. Always looking for version 2.0 and 3.0 of myself.”
“Paying it forward is one great value I also try to live up to. First of all, everyone has something to teach you. That has always been essential for me, always keeping that thought close. Expanding on that, many of us might need a nudge to get there. The potential to give and learn are very interconnected. The people who are keen to learn also seem to be the ones who are constantly giving and passing it forward. To me, that has shown in volunteering and of course in entrepreneurship, and everyday life, really.”
We’ve been drinking Ambronite every day at the office for lunch. But when it is not Ambronite, what does your daily cooking look like?
“I’m a really big fan of raw and smokey stuff. I love stake tartare and cold-smoked salmon. These are the staples that I like to keep in the kitchen. Much of my everyday cooking is inspired by hiking, by the simplicity when you cook in the wilderness. Very straight forward, doing honour to the flavours of every ingredient, without soaking them with a strong combination of spices. My all-time favourite food is self-caught wild perch pan-fried in butter: simple and tasty”
What do you look forward to with Ambronite over the next 6 months?
“From a personal point of view, I’m really keen on meeting our fans and especially our crowdfunding backers. I’ve already had a chance to talk with many of them over phone, when we sent out the first samples, as a part of our customer development process. Such great stories and personalities. I’m really looking forward to understanding how their daily routines are combined with Ambronite.”
“Also, it will be great to hear people’s feedback when they receive and open Ambronite boxes. I’m really looking forward to someone making an unboxing video! :-D”
Whoa, that was quite an interview. I hope this gave more personal touch about the people behind Ambronite :-)
Many of you are curious about how we develop our recipe and manufacture Ambronite. Here's a brief post about how we do it.
You are what you eat
First of all, we have one fundamental belief and guideline at Ambronite: You are what you eat. You should give your body everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t.
This leads to our core principles in recipe development:
These are values that all of the Ambronite co-founders already shared before we started the company. We asked ourselves would it be possible to have all the essential nutrients from one drink without adding a vitamin pill or other nasties? Ever since proving this to be possible, we have been perfecting the product and recipe. When we set up the company, we didn't want to downgrade the guidelines at the least.
Hard science & having fun in the kitchen
Before the mixing of ingredients in the kitchen can happen, we make careful calculations to ensure that new iterations also fulfill daily nutrition recommendations. Even if it might seem like random mixing in the video, there are many days of pre-work done before the actual kitchen day.
Besides iterating with the ingredients, we know that there is always time for some amazing dance moves, as you can see in the video. Having fun helps you stay focused.
One significant factor that defines the taste of the product, is where the ingredients are sourced. As an example, there is an immense difference in the quality of oats, plus different variations and particle sizes of each ingredient. We have been fortunate to have knowledgeable partners to help us with that.
After the recipe is finalized in the kitchen, there is a significant amount of work to translate that into manufacturing scale. We source the ingredients, work closely with our manufacturing partner and make sure to prepare everything from labels and sourcing to mixing and final packaging.
Sometimes our fellow food entrepreneurs are shocked when they see that we use more then 20 ingredients, all of which follow the above core principles. They are amazed at how we can manage to source all of them. But then again, if it were easy, anybody could do it ;-)
Ambronite in the future
We developed Ambronite for like-minded, ambitious people, who know and care about their health and time. That’s the way we want to keep developing Ambronite in the future. Thanks to close interaction with our customers, our feedback loop is simple. We are developing a product we use every day ourselves. Ambronite enables us to lead an unlimited life!