Ilkka Paananen – Superpowering Teams – [Founder’s Field Guide, EP.17]
Play • 45 min

My guest today is Ilkka Paananen, Founder and CEO of Supercell, a mobile game developer based in Finland. Supercell has built hugely successful games like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale that have reached over 100 million daily active users. What interests me most about the company is Supercell's unique culture built on decentralized, autonomous teams with nearly total creative control. Ilkka and I talk about how Supercell hires and designs teams, why they incorporate as little process as possible, and the rise of global, social games. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Ilkka.


For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out 


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Show Notes

[00:02:51] – [First question] – Why he is the “least powerful CEO in the world.”

[00:04:03] – His career prior to Supercell

[00:07:53] – Lessons from his prior career that he brought to Supercell

[00:11:49] – What he looks for in identifying and recruiting the best people

[00:13:46] – The funnel of getting great people into the business through the rest of the team

[00:15:44] – The Supercell recruitment team

[00:17:33] – Interviewing and screening applicants

[00:18:39] – Building teams and how they are the driving force behind the company

[00:21:29] – The culture of trust throughout the company

[00:24:13] – Ensuring teams know when to kill a project

[00:26:11] – Celebrating after a project gets shutdown

[00:28:15] – Why retention is such an important focus of the company

[00:30:40] – How reach and depth lead to a game’s success

[00:32:21] – The teams outside of development and how they operate

            [00:33:36] - LOST & CROWNED | A Clash Short Film

[00:34:53] – His day-to-day

[00:35:49] – Biggest surprises within Supercell since its founding

[00:36:38] – What makes for a good game

[00:37:59] – The notion of infinite games

[00:39:28] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

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