Meet Pouria Ruhi
My name is Pouria. I have a lot of (too much?) knowledge about Britpop and American sport, and when I’m not diving into knowledge rabbit-holes I’m running several companies with some pretty fantastic teams (if I do say so myself) consisting of what I would humbly describe as real life human unicorns.
Which team and when did you graduate?
I was part of the amazing team 12, which I believe was the first truly international team at KP. I graduated so long ago that I don’t remember the exact year, could it have been 2008? Time flies…
What have you been doing since you graduated as a Kaospilot?
Several things actually. With a fellow KP from team 11 we launched the first live video broadcasting app from mobile phones called Bambuser and I lived in Malmo. Mind you this was before the iPhone era, so using phones for advanced tech wasn’t so common back then. After that I fancied a change of scene, so I moved back home to Norway and worked as a communication advisor for Petter Stordalen and Nordic Choice Hotels a couple of years before becoming the head of marketing for one of the hotel chains in the same company. Working in a grown up job was fun, but I felt the urge to run my own company again, and 5 years ago I quit.
Today my day to day activities are divided between LastCall, Kör, Overvision and MoveMeMusic. They are really different companies within different sectors, but they allow me to learn a lot and have fun working with really talented and smart colleagues.
…And yeah, I published a children’s book a while ago. The second one is work in progress. Watch this space.
What is important for you in your job?
For me the most important factor, both when I worked for Nordic Choice Hotels and now, is to have fun. And I define fun at work as an environment where I can learn something new almost every day, I don’t have the same routine tasks, interact with colleagues that are smarter than me, and really see the result of our work. I want to go from solving operational problems to discussing my favorite taco fillings and then jump straight into important issues in the world. Having colleagues that can bring energy to any and all of these kinds of topics makes for a well rounded and honest collaboration.
What major learnings would you point out from your experience that have shaped you as a leader?
My major learning has been to listen well to what is being said in any circumstance. Sounds easy but most people really struggle with it. I focus on understanding problems and asking questions to fully visualise the complexity of a problem or challenge. From there, there should be no idea that is too far fetched or too big- I’m a fan of letting the creativity flow. In creative settings like this it’s also really important to see people and give them credit. Too often the louder voices and characters dominate and I’ve learned to look beyond that and challenge the power imbalances… lastly, for god sake, never ever say “I am gonna be devil’s advocate”, that’s just a B… S…. way of saving your negative ass and saying what you know is ultimately not helpful to the people in the room.
What is your biggest source for inspiration right now?
It’s very cheesy, but it has to be my wife, dr. Pardis Shafafi. She has a keen eye on how our world is shaped and why the constructed systems that we live in must be questioned and changed if we want any hope for a habitable planet for those who come after us.
What would be an example of a learning or an experience from your time at Kaospilot that has been important to you?
I loved my time there and abroad with the Kaospilots. The whole experience and the setup of the Kaospilot, the physical parts included, the people, both the teams and the staff, the lecturers, the parties, it was just a magical ride- borderline cultish at times- and an experience that I enjoyed and still cherish. I have some of my best friends from this period and my professional journey would must likely look very different without the KP.
For that reason I can’t point out one or two specific learnings that stand out, the sum of everything that I’ve learned has made me who I am. I feel like I have somehow managed to implement all of those learning into how I act and how I am these days, it’s become very natural, I don’t have think about it anymore.
That being said, I don’t think Kaospilot is an education that fits everybody, and I do think that there is room for improvement, but at its core it’s the best education for being a great member of any project and for learning to be a decent human being, both professionally and otherwise.
What is a piece of advice that you would like to give future Kaospilot graduates?
Before you graduate, spend time discovering and learning as much as possible. Work with as many people in your team as you can and get out of your comfort zone in every project. Enjoy the time you have at KP to the maximum and squeeze that experience for all it’s worth.
Don’t stress too much about the future, most likely you will not start in your dream job right away, it will take time, but know that you’re very well equipped to succeed in the real ‘adult’ world out there after your time in KP. And stay curious and creative and ask questions. The KP education doesn’t end with your program.