QX: You’ve been with XING for seven years and since 2012 you’ve been working as Principle Corporate Development at Goodgame Studios. You seem to have a sixth sense in finding the rough diamonds within the Start-up scene. How is that?
Stephanie: I am constantly watching the digital market – ever since 1999 when I was involved in the first new economy gold rush in Berlin. Testing out new products or business models is something I truly love. I still think that the internet company Yellout had a great idea – but then this is where I experienced an insolvency of a startup firsthand as an employee. Back then I was actually thinking about building a startup myself with 3 friends and a poor business idea. But in the end my friends and I ended up writing our PhD-Thesis instead.
Studying the paradigms of the formerly called New Economy is the other side of my passion for digital business models. I was writing a diploma thesis and a PhD thesis about growing pains and first-mover-advantages of internet startups. As a scientist in strategic management and organizational behavior I was able to visit about 30 companies and interviewed the founders, their employees and investors. After this experience I never wanted to return to the classic banking industry where I started my career. When I started working for XING social networking was an absolutely innovative idea – I think Mark Zuckerberg hadn´t even enrolled at Harvard University at this time. Xing was able to set a standard in a new market segment, try out new parts of the business model and learn from failures. The social networking market segment is full of players now and the first-mover/innovative time is over. With Goodgame I have really found a rough diamond a few years back - but since then a lot of growth has happened and I really love being part of that.
QX: What in particular is so fascinating about your job at Goodgame Studios?
Stephanie: Goodgame Studios was founded five years ago in Hamburg and it has been the most fascinating journey to see the organization reach such heights of success in such a short time span.
At Goodgame Studios I can still feel the startup vibe and we are constantly striving to preserve this culture even now that we are growing by over 50 employees per month. The exciting part is that there are so many fascinating projects where you can really make a difference and take on responsibility. Hence the learning curve is very high and the organization maintains a very positive work culture, which is a great value add.
That is something that makes my job so exciting. I never know what my next project might be. While I was training all executives in our company on leadership skills, the need for an organizational structure, clear role definitions and the institution of a monthly meeting for all executive became clear. So there were my next projects, where I could contribute with all my experience.
QX: We have been part of your personal and professional development for almost 15 years now. How have your requirements of the QX-network as a member changed over time?
Stephanie: They have changed quite a bit because I joined such a long time ago. Even Thomas might not remember how I got to QX: I was asked to become the COO of a startup. Instead of an entrepreneur I became a member of QX. In the beginning I was attending every rhetorical or assessment center training, now I am much more interested in meeting inspiring professionals and sharing best practices. Of course now I also constantly use QX as a source for finding top-talent for Goodgame - i.e. at the Entrées in Hamburg or the QX-Quality Time.
QX: You just came back from a 2-month sabbatical trip to Canada and the US with your husband and the two kids?
Stephanie: Yes, I am grateful that Goodgame made this possible. It was an idea I actually developed with Verena Delius (QX member) on a leadership conference. I always had the dream to spend some time with my family abroad before my daughter would go to school. So we took a 2-month sabbatical and visited the pacific coast and the Rocky Mountains.
QX: And of course the question we want to know: What is your vanity?
Stephanie: I love jewelry from Tiffany & Co. So every now and then I buy myself a little piece in a blue box…