COO at Digitale Medier 1881 AS – Norway
Geir has an extensive track record in the directory industry, being in charge of the product and marketing related side of operations at both Telenor Media / Findexa (today’s Eniro) and at Digitale Medier 1881 where he has been since 2006. The 1881 brand is the market leader within the Norwegian directory industry, and is represented online via 1881.no, through apps, via voice and SMS. During Geir’s leadership the online offering has advanced from a number 2 to a number 1 position in Norway. For the last few years Geir has also been in charge of all operational divisions including IT, Customer Service, and Backoffice in addition to Product & Marketing.
Q. What is something you try to do every day?
The boring answer would be to exercise or give my wife a nice kiss in the morning when I leave for work. The exciting answer would be Sex! However, what I actually try to do every day in these strange times is not to forget having a facemask in my pocket when I leave the house! Without it you are not allowed into the shops in Oslo. The Siinda facemask has, subsequently, been a «lifesaver» on many an occasion.
Q. You could have dinner with anyone who would it be?
If I could get “Sleepy Joe” and Donald Trump at the same dinner table as me, that would be a blast. Also if you went into history it would be Winston Churchhill, and he liked Champaign so that would be great.
Q. What have you missed the most during the pandemic?
Dinner parties with friends and traveling abroad. Not forgetting listening to the classic Siinda presentations by the one and only Gilsi from the land of ice and fire.
Q. Many people started new hobbies during the lockdown, did you?
Not directly, but my wife took up running as the gyms have been closed and we are now actually training together regularly which has not been the case in the past. I have also developed an extended interest for wine, and have tasted quite a lot of good wine during the last 12 months. Champagne is the favourite, and there is so much variety to choose from. And you can drink it with all types of food, or just enjoy a glass by itself. Just before lock down I visited a fantastic wine shop in London called Hedonism Wines, which I highly recommend to anyone who are in the Mayfair district of London.
Q. What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?
Guess I am obliged to say the telephone directory as I am working at the number 1 directory in Norway😊. Joke aside, I am not that much into books. I tend more to listen to podcasts where there also is a great variety to listen to. Different podcasts on the subject of wine are at the top of the list at the moment.
Q. If you were to write an autobiography what would the title be?
“Living the 1881 brand”.
I have been in the directory industry since 1998, and with Opplysningen 1881 since 2006. Constantly promoting the service and product, creating brand awareness, getting my employees to drive in the same direction with a unified understanding of the company’s values, and trying to be a solid role model with regards to our internal culture and external promotion has been my mantra for many years.
Q. What is something that people may not know about you? ( hobbies, interests etc.)
I am very into a sport called Speedway, which is normally four motorcycle riders racing for four laps around an oval circuit. The bikes have no brakes and accelerate faster than a Formula 1 car. The smell from the methanol fuel is addictive, and the action is great. It is very exciting, and I was introduced to the sport through my dad who used to ride professionally. I was actually not allowed by my mum to start riding myself, but I have always been fascinated and an eager supporter. The sport is not very wide-spread, but is extremely popular in Poland.
Q. What was your first non-desk job?
At the age of 13 I had my first job as a paper delivery boy. I used my bicycle after school and distributed the afternoon issue of a local newspaper to households where I lived on weekdays. During the winter I used a kick-sled, which is basically a chair on skies, as it was too slippery for the bike. That was fun and good exercise too. It was great to earn some extra pocket money, and I felt very rich having a regular income at that age.
Q. If you could try a profession other than the one you have, what would it be?
My childhood ambition, as it was with most other boys, was to become a professional football player, preferably at my favourite team Liverpool. However, I soon realized that this was not to be. I have always been interested in travelling, and my wife is running a group travel/event agency. I am quite a structured person with an appetite for planning and thorough implementation. At the same time I consider myself to be a person with a lot of ideas. Subsequently, I don’t think I would mind having a crack at running a business which specialized in incentive trips and events for companies. That said, the market for such a profession during the Corona pandemic has been close to nothing.
Q. What is your favorite meal or comfort food?
Nothing beats a nice Indian curry, not too spicy but with that extra sting. I am also a great fan of Asian food. As most Norwegians, we tend to have taco every Friday evening. I don’t seem to get tired of it, and it is a meal where we can all join in and participate in the making over a bottle of wine/beer after a hectic week. Really comforting and something the entire family enjoys. Even friends enjoy coming over to our house and preparing the taco with all the trimmings where everyone chips in to help.
Q. Can you cook your favorite meal or food?
I usually leave the cooking for my wife who is very good at it, but with regards to taco this is quite easy to make and I enjoy doing it.
Q. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Winston Churchill springs to mind. He was one of the most important leaders in modern time, and would probably be fascinating to have a chat with. Moreover, he also shared an interest in champagne and we could share a bottle or three😊
Q. What message would you like to give all the Siinda partners and members?
As most of you, I am dying to get to meet people physically. Hang in there, we are approaching the finish line (even though there can be some hills at the end), and will get the opportunity to meet in the not too distant future. At the same time, think about some of the positives which the Corona virus actually has implied and the way we are now working and conducting our life compared to a year ago. We are probably more efficient at work, we have understood that digital meetings in many cases work quite as well or better than physical meetings, much unnecessary travel time has been reduced, we have become even closer with our own family, our pets have had the time of their life with all the attention they have received compared to when we were at the office all the time, we have an enhanced understanding of the importance of hygiene and washing our hands regularly, and most importantly, we have been given the opportunity to appreciate a lot of things which were taken for granted in the past.