PARTNER TALKS - Kim Krahl Larsen, Chief Product Officer of Contour Design

PARTNER TALKS - Kim Krahl Larsen, Chief Product Officer of Contour Design
by Genos
Partner talks
6th of December 2023

PARTNER TALKS - Kim Krahl Larsen, Chief Product Officer of Contour Design

With the winter holidays approaching, a season of camaraderie and togetherness, we take this moment to celebrate a significant milestone: our two-year partnership with Contour Design. Joining us in this festive occasion is none other than Chief Product Officer of Contour Design, Kim Krahl Larsen, accompanied by his colleagues from Romania, Alex and Adrian.

Together, we gather to reflect on the journey and explore fresh perspectives on leadership and performance delivery. Our discussions also revolve around the remarkable achievement of small teams in attaining continental success.

Contour Design stands as a shining example of innovation and excellence in the world of ergonomic computer peripherals. They seamlessly weave cutting-edge design with a user-centric focus. Their exceptional product range, including RollerMouse, SliderMouse, Unimouse, and their newly developed software, is a testament to their unwavering commitment to the science of ergonomics. They've made it their mission to enhance our physical well-being by crafting devices that seamlessly integrate into our daily routines, effectively becoming an extension of our very hands.


Kim Krahl Larsen, Chief Product Officer

1.Tell us about your journey with Contour Design and where does it find you now?

I started in August 2021 as Product Marketing Manager, and then to be appointed as Head of Product and Development. A position covering our global activities with branch offices in the US and EMEA.

By the end of 2022 I also took over the responsibility for our production facility in Asia. In other words, covering all Contour products backed up by a strong team behind me.


2.How has GENOS helped in being part of this exciting story?

One of the first major tasks I was appointed was to develop new application software drivers for our products. At that point, the current driver was being maintained by internal staff but did not have a high focus for the company, since the products could work fine relying on generic drivers built into the operation system. But the enhanced user experience and being able to customize your device functionality and by that releasing the full product potential lays in the application software together with the actual device itself.

Our Board Chairman knows GENOS from other Board positions and recommended to Contour Design to reach out to Erik Andreasen starting the initial dialog of our corporation. Genos managed to provide a developer that was handling the swift handover from Contour Design internal development to an external development environment.


3.There is a trend within other organizations to build big teams to guarantee success. However, Contour has a small-scale team in Romania and has achieved success, at a continental scale. To what do you attribute that?

Agility and personal ownership are the keywords here. We were lucky to get Adrian (Lead Developer & Team Lead) to join our team and then the project development increased and was brought to a totally different level.

We agreed to start from scratch and decided to stop the development of the old driver and leave that behind us. With the help of an intern graphical developer, a new and fresh design came up and the real journey had begun. Adrian has full project lead and the daily management for the different tasks, bug fixes, new feature of the new Mouse driver.

Since it was built by Adrian and later his team, he owns the project like his “baby”. It is with great joy to experience the ownership and commitment we see every day and, in all sprints /development steps. Genos found not only a skilled team lead, but Adrian was also an active part in attracting our next employee to join the team.

Alexandru joined the team just before the summer of 2022 in order to strengthen the service and delivery from Genos to us, as their customer. They have known each other back in the joyful days of study so it was a match made in heaven, and the teamwork with a high level of engagement and quality from day one. That is something we really appreciate and makes it a lot easier to work with remote resources.


4.Were there any challenges in building this setup?

A lot of challenges were experienced during our journey due to lack of our own documentation, but we found our way together. In the beginning of 2022, we had to acknowledge that we needed more skilled resources because the first half year had just been more firefighting the old software rather than developing a new one. When we realized that we had a challenge with our current setup, we decided to build a dedicated team at Genos.


5.How does a marketing/sales mindset help in the process of product development, from introduction to end of life?

Listen to your customers. If you only think inside out, you will lose important information that’s driving your business. Listening to customer feedback from Sales regarding product improvements, SW requirements are leading our development journey with our team.

In HQ we have a QA technician performing structured testing of the drivers released from our developer team to make sure we provide a second view before final release. Marketing is a key player by releasing our software and video tutorials to provide 24/7 support access to our users. The marketing message follows the overall trend combining products’ advantages and providing information on how to customize your personal product to meet your demand and requirement.


6.Research and customer feedback are fundamental to improving customer experience, is there any other factor that can contribute to a successful relationship with the customer?

We try our best to be present at local HR and Ergonomic fairs/events in order to facilitate and collect feedback from users, Resellers and Ergonomic specialists.

We are always looking at a broader spectrum and of course we have knowledge, but I think listening to customers is paramount and where you get the most value. You can develop the most beautiful product, but if customers don’t know how to use it it’s pointless.

For example, we have an industrial engineer at a fair in Birmingham, he is there asking questions to people and getting insight into how they would like to use mice or keyboards. It helps us understand how to help our users, to let them know that we are not sitting in a glass tower and being disconnected. All the information we get from Sales, Customers and Customer Service we get by sitting down and listening carefully.


7.How do societal trends and emerging technologies tie in together?

Working from home, working hybrid is a growing trend. We also experience people taking prevention more seriously and taking good care of themselves as it becomes the new normal. In the past, people bought our products when they had pain but now it’s cooler to take good care of yourself, especially with the increasing time spent in front of a screen. We strive to help more than 1 million users by offering our solution of the perfect workplace to prevent work-related injuries and decrease sick leaves.


8.In your words, what is a recipe for success and a culture of cooperation?

Open mindset and trust in your team. Try to be as close as possible to the team, virtually and onsite. Providing the best working options will motivate and accommodate the best working model for our developers. “Teams” is a strong tool for Agile and hybrid cooperation.


9.Any words for GENOS and our team in Romania?

Due to the language competences within Genos, it was a smooth process to build understanding of where Contour Design would like to go, and led by Erik Andreasen being a Dane, our understanding and culture is aligned.

The strength of Genos is that they cover a wide variety of competences and can scale up very quickly and find the right candidates. The selection process and pre-negotiation was performed by GENOS, so our effort and time spent on the final candidate onboarding was down to a minimum.

When Romanian Laws and Regulations for employees are being adjusted, we get a pre-alert notification from GENOS, so we can address our employees with the right facts and by that reduce any potential misunderstandings in the dialog. Genos reflects our core Company values and makes sure that our team is acting according to our Code of Conduct, being a good representation for Contour Design on a daily basis.

I feel that I am not just a partner of GENOS, but also a part of GENOS, and as I’ve said it before: it goes back to culture and the element of agility.


Adrian Gabriel Vintila, Lead Developer & Team Lead

1.Why did you apply for this job position?

Well, when Roxana (People & Culture), your colleague from HR called me and presented me the project, Contour products and the things that are required to be implemented in this project it looked very attractive from a developer perspective. Another thing that made me curious about this project was their unique products (at least unique for me at that time) and how a common thing like the mouse can be reimplemented.


2.What did you find interesting in this specific job?

As the name of the class of the Contour products is HID (Human Interface Device), it is very exciting for me as developer to implement a software that will run on products and for products that can be considered the tools through which a person communicates with a computer.


3.How meaningful is your work for Contour Design?

Working for Contour Design and to support their products is very meaningful, beyond trying our best to implement a good quality software but also to offer a good user experience for Contour customers that are trying to find a better and maybe healthier way to interact with computers.


4.What would you say are the biggest things you learned since being part of Contour Design?

As a developer I can say driver development and HID (mouse, keyboard, joystick...) was part of my curiosity how the mouse and keyboard devices are detected and interact with the computer. Being part of Contour development team offered me that possibility.


Alexandru Blaj, Software Engineer

1.Why did you apply for this job position?

It was a recommendation from my colleague, Adrian. I was excited to work on a new project, where there was room for growth.


2.What did you find interesting in this specific job?

I liked the fact that the project was at the beginning. It was an important factor for me. Another reason just as important was the chance to work in the current team with the technologies that we used. Very new technologies that helped me in my career growth.


3.How meaningful is your work for Contour Design?

I would say it is very important. After all, Contour is a company that wants to help people who are using computers and eliminate any potential medical issues because of extended use.


4. What would you say are the biggest things you learned since being a part of Contour Design?

Hard to say. I learned a lot of things, new technologies, I started with C++, and now I am working on a server in JAVA. If I were to pinpoint something, I was glad when I made my first driver modifications since it was a completely new field for me.





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