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If people aren't nice, it doesn't matter how smart they are.

This interview with Patrik Hellstrand, CEO at by CHLOE + Founder & Author at thrivewired + Advisor at KingsCrowd, is part of Inspirations, a regular series from Helen Lao and ClearPath that asks extraordinary founders, executives, and rising stars in the growth-oriented food industry about their why. (Article from LinkedIn.)

Who or what inspires you and why?

Entrepreneurs inspire me for two reasons:

- Their self-motivation and ability to push themselves to learn and evolve, often without any incentive or anyone else pushing them;

- Their resilient mindset of dealing with failure, realizing that it's not final, nor fatal.

What types of people do you work best with and why?

I work best, and only, with nice people. If people aren't nice it doesn't matter how smart they are; they won't get hired by me. Besides, life is too short to spend time with people who drag you down. Nice people also make for better teams and in turn better businesses; because they often give unconditionally, which makes others feel good and thus earns them more influence; more influential people means more informal leaders and stronger teams.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far and why?

When I started my own business, I had to let go of my ego entirely to succeed. I'd gotten somewhat spoiled by being a senior leader in corporate environments, and it was humbling to start from zero and not being able to afford anyone to help with anything. Learning to 'figure it out' and finding success in new and different ways without any resources was one of the hardest things I've done, and, also one of the most rewarding and valuable things I've done.

What’s something you’ve worked on that you’re proud of and why?

My first start-up project, the Queen Mary 2, which at the time was the largest and most expensive ship ever built, sits very close to my heart. I'm proud of it because it was an extraordinary flattering example of our human ability to cooperate irrespective of experiences, differences, and backgrounds. Our onboard team was comprised of more than 60 different nationalities, all working towards the same goals as one team.