C-suite career advice: Simen Teigre, Neat

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? “Keep an open mind, stay positive. Find ways to help other people and they will pay you back in dividends.”


Name: Simen Teigre

Company: Neat

Job Title: Founder and CEO

Location: Oslo, Norway

Norwegian-born Simen Teigre is the Founder and CEO of Neat. The two-year old start-up pioneering elegant video devices for Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Studying computer science at the University of Oslo and industrial economics at NTNU, Teigre knew exactly where he wanted to land a career. Before founding Neat, Teigre has been a director and VP at Tandberg, a senior director at Cisco, but recollects his first role as a strawberry picker in a farm just outside of Oslo. Realising his niche skills in technology, Teigre is a leading voice for telecommunications technology- advising McKinsey & Co. clients as an associate in 2003, and co-founding Pexip before it was listed on the Oslo stock exchange in 2020.

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Never burn bridges - make sure to maintain working relationships as you never know who may lend a hand to make ambitions into something of tangible value.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? The worst piece of advice I received was to never trust salespeople. A vital role at Neat is our salespeople, who are critical to the growth of a business. Harbour and foster those talented individuals who commit to the purpose.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Keep an open mind, stay positive. Find ways to help other people and they will pay you back in dividends.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? I’ve always been gravitated to tech. I knew it would be a part of our every day, and I wanted to find out how.

What was your first job in IT/tech? My first job in tech was in TANDBERG, but my first ever job was strawberry picking for a local farm in my hometown that’s north of Oslo. 

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? Films depict the industry to be all fun and glory. It’s only with investing the time and experimenting with creativity do you realise it’s also thrilling and rewarding crafting the future of technology

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? Don’t aim for a C-level position, focus on how you need to develop and what you need to learn to set yourself up to potentially earn a C-level position.

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? I love building stuff and creating value while having fun. I am fortunate enough to be able to do that every day. I don’t think I’ll ever be done with that.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? Yes. One great thing from flexible working is being able to spend that time I would use to commute to the office to spend some quality time with my family, making sure the five of us have breakfast together.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? Nothing. And I don’t know why I would even ask myself that question... You can’t change the past, but you can influence the future, so keep your focus on that.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? Both are fun and rewarding, so do them both.

How important are specific certifications? Some certifications are really important. Like having the CE certification when you want to ship a product to the EU. Or if you want to pilot a jumbo jet, I would recommend having the pilot certification required. I’m sure there are other certifications out there you can do without.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? I look for more than just three things. Some of the most important are humility, passion, drive, curiosity, a good heart and integrity.

What would put you off a candidate? We’re all well aware there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Cockiness is a tell-tale sign of either immaturity or insecurity. But sometimes they may just be very nervous. I’m intrigued by the candidates who balance their humility and confidence when presenting.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? Trying to be someone else than themselves. Be yourself, and try to be the true version of yourself- I know interviews can be very daunting.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? There is no universal answer to that. It all depends on what your passion is. For me, I love the mix. But you should always pursue what you love, not what some random CEO would suggest to you in a career advice column!