Last week, I had a chance to pitch for the Linköping Dragon Nest competition. It made me reflect on going outside my comfort zone. I am going to record here my impression of the event as well as what worked for me in the past to get more comfortable with public speaking.

Dragon nest

The format of the event was similar to that of a TV show. Five people representing five projects pitched to judges—the dragons. Judges were representatives of an energy company and a municipality, as well as property developers and managers of Linköping.

We each pitched for 10 minutes and then were left to fend for ourselves during the question round. In the end, each of the judges was asked if they wanted to continue the discussion with the potential to get a testbed voucher of value 20000 SEK.

The theme was sustainability, and the goal was to find partners willing to work on innovative projects.


I pitched our Blive project with the hope of getting some chargers we would get to work with. While waiting for my turn to pitch, I was of course nervous. My hands shook, and my breaths were short.

At the same time, I thought to myself how far I have come regarding stage fright.

I am quite an introverted person like many engineers are. I prefer to sit behind my laptop in my basement and solve puzzles for a living. So what was I doing in a room full of strangers during the event in a language I am not fluent in (I did get to pitch in English luckily, but the rest of the event was in Swedish)?

What worked

Many of the individual pushes came naturally, but they were all incremental and continued to push me further out of my comfort zone.


Moving out from my parents’ home was the first big step on this journey. I don’t think I appreciated at the time how helpful this aspect of my studies was going to be for my career and life in general. I actually think that the quality of school matters way less than the fact that I had to learn to plan stuff like groceries, time management, and transportation when thrust into a completely foreign town.

Moving to Sweden

Moving to another town within the same country was a challenge. The next step was to move to a country where I didn’t speak the local language. Everyday things are different, too. For example, not only traditional milk is sold in milk cartons—I vividly remember the breakfast I found out!

Starting a Meetup Group

After hearing another version of the advice about creating your luck, I started my meetup group. I highly recommend doing that. It helped me to find friends, see many cool locations and push me to train public speaking.

Founding a Business

Founding Beaver Codes not only taught me about things such as accounting and contracts but also allowed me to interact with people outside of my software bubble. The people I met that way count as my best friends now.

Giving YouTube a Try

When I was learning about blockchain, I started building up a YouTube channel that made me more comfortable with the small number of potential viewers. Although that one didn’t really stick, I am still very happy I did it.

Taking on a Business Role

This point was true when I worked for companies but was accelerated especially now with Blive. My co-founder Simon and I are responsible for making the business work, which means cold calling, presenting at events, and talking about the charging space.


To sum up, I am very glad I went through this journey of increasing short-term discomfort. 🙂 The result of last week’s pitch is connections to folks we might work with in the future, which was the main goal for us! So, although I still prefer to solve the puzzles in my basement due to the continuous push out of my comfort zone, I get to work on more fun puzzles!