Peter Sorgenfrei is trying to change the world of work, leading the team at Somewhere.com. After seeing how companies and people never ‘found’ their perfect match in each other, he figured there had to be a better way. Somewhere had built a platform and needed someone to take the message into corporates around the world. That is what Peter does, he helps corporates see the future. Previously at companies like UBS, Toyota and his own consultancy, he helped introduce hybrid cars, created new payment systems, and made beer sweeter (yes, that is his fault).
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
Because companies as institutions have forgotten what drives them forward and how that (the people) have moved faster intellectually and computationally than companies themselves. Companies are not organizing in a way that fit how people are organizing their lives. So for ‘companies’ to produce any output they need to change the way they organize OR we will see less and less companies in the traditional sense and more and more of individuals and small groups organizing around projects and flexing in and out of constellations that produce output.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
We are building a platform that accommodates individuals and companies to find each other based on culture and values. That enables people to find the right opportunities and collaborators thus further enabling the future of project based work that we believe in.
Why do you do what you do?
After years of helping companies sell more ‘stuff’ as a product and service development consultant I wanted to do something meaningful. Something that would make the world a better place. Something I could be proud of. I’m a business person, I build businesses, and so building a business that could make a difference is what I was looking to do. I love small teams and nimble businesses. And that is what Somewhere is.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
For a recent birthday I got a painting by Marie-Louise Miller. it’s a bit abstract and I love it because it is alive, bright and engaging. Secondarily I can never get enough of walking around Stom King — an outdoor art center with giant in nature sculptures, 90 minutes north of New York city.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
Culture is what we do — it’s our mission.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
Education, inspiring because the people in it are driven by a mission, it is a hard, unforgiving job to teach, yet teachers thrown themselves into it and passionately pursue educating a group of people who at that moment don’t necessarily appreciate it. That is inspiring. In my work it leads me to think about how I can have an impact on someone who’s future I am trying to improve, impact at a time when they are not necessarily thinking about that future and/or see me as a resource to get to that future
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Leaders asking how was your day towards the end of the day. Simple question, great impact.
What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
I tried out for the American Ballet in Paris once. Not very gracefully — they needed athletes for a performance I qualified. They did not end up using me though…
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
My watch. I want to be on time and respect the time of others. My watch does that for me.
What does your preferred work environment look like?
Bright, by the window, at a table across and next to colleagues
What do you do for fun?
Play with my son, play sports
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
Use todoist and post its to have something to cross off. Eat fruit and nuts. Drink water and walk around.
What time of the day do you do your best work?
Mornings. After 3pm I start to fade. Although after 8pm I have an activity spurt for a few hours.
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?
- Simon Sinek – Start with Why https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE
- Anything by Avinash Dixit here: http://www.princeton.edu/~dixitak/home/wrkps.html
- And Flowingdata http://flowingdata.com/ for random data driven conversations
Where in the world are you?
London, United Kingdom