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February's Take 5 with Kim Sneum Madsen, CEO with Umbraco

Kim Sneum Madsen

Kim Sneum Madsen
CEO of Umbraco
University of Copenhagen
Degree: Political Science

About Umbrao: With more than 700,000 installations, Umbraco is one of the most deployed Web Content Management Systems on the Microsoft stack. It's in the top five most popular server applications and among the ten most popular open-source tools. 

What makes you excited to go to work each day?

Making a positive difference for people be it customers, employees or our large developer community.  Us being an Open Source Software vendor gives us an enormous reach, as we are giving the software away for free. More than one million websites around the world are based upon Umbraco. The impact our software has for users and implementers is huge. For many their business depends upon our software. Only a fraction of the users are paying for using our software and only because they buy some of our add on services. I would claim that Open Source Companies like Umbraco are the true creators of the sharing economy.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I try to be very transparent in my leadership role, thus not negatively surprising people around me. When I share that I have a background as a firefighter, officer and doing humanitarian emergency relief operations in war zones and hold a degree in political science they are surprised. I guess that such a background is not the most common as CEO for a global IT company. On the personal side of things I enjoy felling trees preferably with an ax. Very inspired by the hardship that lumberjacks endured taking down trees 100 years ago. I have a collection of axes from around the world and the diversity in the format is huge whether the ax comes from North America, Scandinavia or Asia. To most people axes are simple tools, quite contrary. It is a tool refined over the years depending upon specific purpose and culture. This continued refinement of the tools are also what we are trying to do with our software.

Why are you involved with NC TECH and what's your favorite activity or event?

Umbraco’s US headquarter is located in Charlotte, therefore having a local footprint and an opportunity of presenting Umbraco in front of the North Carolina tech community is vital to us as we believe we have something unique to offer. We are newcomers to Charlotte and North Carolina and we need to get out in front of people in order for us to understand the setting, way of working, culture etc we are in. I find NC TECH's annual forward-looking event Outlook for tech particularly interesting as we at Umbraco are very forward thinking and have strong perspectives on the future of tech. It’s therefore an ideal setting to discuss and reflect on the predictions we see for the years ahead. 

What are two things on your bucket list (things you want to accomplish or experience in your lifetime)?

I have a cabin in the middle of a forest in Sweden. I would like to stay there for a full year experiencing the seasons and not as I do now “visiting” during weekends and holidays.

Building my own log cabin using the old techniques like the loggers in Scandinavia or the Frontier did 150 years ago. 

If you were a character from the fictional world (movies, shows, books) who would you be and why?

Glen Allen Walken - played by John Goodman in the HBO series “West Wing”. WW is one of my all time favorite TV series. Learned tons about the American political system. This character stepped down as the speaker of the House to assume the presidency during a personal crisis for the incumbent President. The character displayed courage, integrity and with a steady hand navigated the “ship” US through the storm. I believe that these characteristics are worth striving for.

Interested in submitting a piece for the NC TECH blog?

New in 2022, The Take 5 series features brief 5 question interviews with leaders who are making an impact within their organization and in the community. The interviews are shared in the monthly e-newsletter, blog and through social media.

Visit our Marketing Toolkit page for a submission form. Questions? Contact Rachel Kennedy.
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