21 December, 2017

Swedish Worklife – Stories from International Founders, Freelancers and those with Fresh ideas

Malcolm Larri Coaching

This weekly interview blog by Barry O’Brien, aims to highlight the stories of those who have come to Sweden and shaped their business life, delivering new services, fresh ideas and professional standards to the Swedish market and beyond. We hope it helps to motivate you to achieve great things here!

#3. Malcolm Larri – Founder of ‘Brave Personal Development’ as well as ‘Leadership & Culture Consultant’ at Hammer & Hanborg

You can find Malcolm energising and motivating audiences – with or without his drums, at places like Hyper Island and Copperberg. He helps sales teams get results and private clients to overcome obstacles, build confidence and learn more about themselves. Here is his story:

Which country are you originally from? 

Malcolm Larri talk

Malcolm brainstorming and delivering

I’m from Australia. Sydney, was my home for many years.

How long have you lived in Sweden?

7 Years

In one sentence, tell us about your current business. 

I am a coach and motivational speaker – helping people and companies manage transition points in their development.

How would you rate your Swedish language skills for the workplace? (1 being lost tourist level – 10 is sauna conversational!)


What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in growing your business, and how have you overcome it? 

When I moved to Sweden I knew three people – my wife, her mother and her father!

So I had to build up a whole new network from the ground up – it’s been a great challenge and luckily I have met many wonderful and supportive people along the way.

Some people collect stamps, or clocks or sports memorabilia, but I never found that interesting. Instead I collect good people and hang onto them like gold because the most important things in life are good relationships, friendships and having a good circle of people around you.

Stage Show Malcolm Larri

Stage Show – Malcolm Larri presenting in front of a transfixed crowd

Who has been your biggest guide or inspiration in Sweden, and helped you to reach your current situation?

Without a doubt my wife has been the greatest support!

We are a fantastic team and she has always supported me in pursuing my goal to build ‘Brave’ into something I was proud of, which I definitely am!

We have two small children and she really goes the extra mile when I am working long hours or travelling for business.

Having a family keeps my priorities incredibly clear, and my happiness is not based on my business, which is very freeing and makes work life more fulfilling.

Name TWO tools that you use in your business, to help you succeed. 

The first one is LinkedIn. It has been the key to me building a network here in Sweden because it’s 90% in English, which makes it much easier to find people and make an introduction.

Secondly, the good old telephone!

When I arrived I already had a telephone number and had printed some business cards with my new number on, so on the second or third day of living in Sweden – I had my first business meeting!

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call people and introduce yourself. If you have something of value to offer it’s still the fastest way for people to find out about it.

Sweden is a country where you can easily speak to many C-level people directly, so take advantage of that.

I coach many people who move here and struggle to establish a work life and none of them ever use the telephone – it’s a lost opportunity in so many cases.


If you could export one Swedish thing, back to your previous country, what would it be? 

Fika! I love coffee and cinnamon buns…a little too much sometimes. ????

“Fika” – if you don’t show up, it can be even considered suspect by some swedes, so just be there!

What do you know about Sweden, that no-one else does?

I know a secret place here and I’m sorry to say, I’m not sharing its location. It’s our family’s summer house and it’s the most beautiful place I have ever been – truly heaven on earth!

Where can people find more info about you and your work?

You can watch a video or two over on my website and read some kind words from some clients as well. I always want to meet nice people so you can also reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Many thanks to Malcolm for his story and tips! Check out our second interview in the series, here!

Liked this? There is a lot more interesting stuff

Barry O'Brien on Linkedin
Barry O'Brien
Barry O'Brien has been in Sweden over ten years, working with marketing and sales in both large and small companies, as well as founding his own consultancy company.
Currently he is the Head of Growth Marketing at, a content marketing technology company based in Stockholm.
Barry is a coach and mentor at events such as Startup Weekend and the Founder Institute, has delivered talks at Hyper Island and Berghs School of Communication, and enjoys sharing his business experience with like-minded entrepreneurs.
You can contact him at

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