This post was written by Morten Lund

The day’s when I fucked up – (Gaza, Moral, Dickhead(s))

(The day I lost my legs and arms part II)

I’m now 5months past closing my newspaper, and it has been ugly – ugly – ugly. I have been using a LOT of mental power to get around this situation and through it. Family, Partners, Banks, Banks, Creditors have been VERY understanding and I have been working like a dog to get through, especially mentally – getting my mind off the huge defeat it was to lose:

a big bet and
a big team
a big dream
quite a lot of money
my head (for some time)
– and then refocusing and coming back to what I’m (supposedly) good at: Starting companies – catapulting people and ideas into reality – and identifying where (big) money meets stellar executors/executable visions.

But I need to confess (I was insecure + afraid + a self-centered dickhead towards 2 of my own soldiers) – but I can only see that now.

I have had a fallout with 2 guys from top management Svenn and Morten, and quite a lot of mud has thrown around. And I have been furious and felt that I was a victim – and I felt these guys where wrong/washing hands/burning me to look good/not sharing responsibility. But Monday this week at a pre-courtroom meeting I realized that it’s all about me being stupid and selfish and NOT LIVING UP TO THE ETHICS I WANT TO – put simply, I realized that my behavior was completely wrong (and yes it took me 5months). But I never had a lawsuit filed against me, never had to appear in court before and I intend to keep it like that. It took quite some time – but Im not too proud to change my mind and give a GIANT APOLOGY !

1) Jan/Feb 2008 I did a deal with my TOP management – I personally underwrote a 1 year salary compensation and some super-warrants (In case the venture should fail) – because I believed in them. I gave them my word.

2) Until the last day Morten (and Svenn) worked like hell – were present 24/7- hyper energetic – always very very very loyal – and hard as steel towards anyone who dared to say anything wrong about the project. Even the final “standing up in front of all employees” – they offered to take care of.

THE FALL OUT WITH TOP MANAGEMENT (Svenn and Morten)

3) During closing I was – scared like hell – didn’t dare to think through all consequences – Chose to listen to the advise of lawyers who didnt know what they were doing – and where our documents where.

3a) Monday morning 8.00 – I told Svenn and Morten that I would keep my word – but would have trouble honoring the money on time – and they would have to wait and help out – I would pay whatever urgent bills and do everything I could. I kept my word! They told me directly: We want our deal – not talk (hey, that’s my motto). NOTE: I was stupid – and I was not negotiating, just demanding – and felt they should suffer with me (also financially) and I did not think about Svenn and Morten’s security and real life economy. They where looking at a guy who just burned 150mio(DKR) – traveled the world – WAS very rich – talked about billions – and had no chance of knowing that I was at the time 99% bankrupt despite my huge portfolio – used private jets – had an art collection – was a clean tech (wannabe three-hugger) investor….

4) Tuesday one week later – During that upcoming week I did not dare to call Svenn and Morten – since I was not myself in the storm! And my x-lawfirm told me that the contract with TOP MANAGEMENT had never been signed – I made one of the worst mistakes of my life (confused, afraid and full of self pity) – I told Morten and Svenn that the contract was not signed and that I would not honour it. I broke my own rule number one I RAN FROM MY WORD – and of course they got insanely mad. I would have gone ballistic as well. Eepecially as the signed contract was at my x-lawfirms other office (Svenn used them). The rest is well know – I was accused of everything possible – and had to defend myself – (of course I had done nothing even remotely illegal – but I was blamed and hurt like very few Danish entrepreneurs my age – actually I felt as if I had lost my arms and legs) – as a guy who runs from his word deserves.

5) Until Monday this week – I had to deal with very strong self pity and emotions against Svenn and Morten – and I felt betrayed (called them the silliest names in the media) – but also – probably because my situation is not solved*. But with the Gaza conflict in mind I had an epiphany and realised that I needed to keep things in perspective. I realized that my situation was more than 90% my own fault – and in the bigger picture my troubles are so small and such wast of good energy, time and money – If I can’t solve my own shit how can there be any hope. Secondly, I have to state that I have been way too close to seeing how you can bend rules and how weak contracts really are (and how much I could have used it – and could be forced to use it) – I’m simply scared that once you end up being on the other side using the rules and the system to postpone simple things, you can’t go back. And therefore this:

Dear Morten and Svenn – I have been acting in a selfish, demanding, foolish way and I did not keep my word. Im sorry – I will of course do so (when possible). And I fully understand that you guys wanted to set me under fire – I would have done worse things if a idiot had not kept his word to me. My deepest and biggest apologies!

*but Im close banks and everyone else has been all cool – and if I will go bankrupt it’s due to the financial crisis on top of this unwise paper investment. My portfolio is GOOD and STRONG – but all creditlines to companies are being called in and some are dying). I have had some legal meetings around this – and felt so bad about it.

I have to finish off with the song from Nike’s Olympics commercial: I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier – and next time I will honour my word to my soldiers.

ps. this is what it looks like: A way to get peace in my soul – and focus on the important stuff. I could easily take 24months in court and get at huge discount on the amount – my new legal guys are fantastic (and hate me for writing this). It’s just not me and its not gonna happen – time spent in court is time wasted!

  • http://www.fuursted.org Marcel Fuursted

    I really feel with you, ML! You just go blind after a bankruptcy. Sadly I couldn’t handle it as well as you. I didn’t know what to do… And I had people talking in my place in the medias (BIIIIG mistake) in another matter, just so I could focus 100% on dealing with this bankruptcy and getting on with my life…

    There’s a lot of things I would have done different, if I could – but today I’ve learned a lot and my business is going great and is growing despite the crisis :)

    Anyways – I just want you to know that even though you’ve failed, you manage to stay true to yourself (when focusing) and you WILL rise again… Don’t worry ;)

    Best

    Marcel

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  • http://www.idiomag.com Andrew

    Wow.

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  • Herbert

    This is a good start! I wish you good luck.

  • David Aparicio

    Very sincere words Morten – and actually good timing for me to read because my business (with 2 partners and 2 angel investors) is now sadly going into administration with 35 people loosing their jobs and 10 franchise partners also loosing their business because of this. I know this is small-time compared with your gig, but I feel the pain – and it feels like 3 years wasted i.e. I could have been doing something more worthwhile with my life/time. Good luck with everything ok.

  • David Aparicio

    PS – Does anyone know of any sexy startups I could get involved in? Most of my life was spent in technology/software.

  • rudi kobza

    BIG WORDS MY FRIEND…you know…AT THE END IT S ALL GOOD. AND IF IT S NOT GOOD, IT S NOT THE END!!!!!!…

  • http://www.glassesdirect.co.uk Jamie Murray Wells

    Morten as your career unfolds I find myself checking up on your blog more and more often – I have never seen anyone write more spontaneuosly, sincerely and openly as you do. You must have a lot of readers, and we’re all riding shotgun with you in the car too. Sounds like this is a positive step and so you’re already on the way to better times :-) Glass Half Full.

  • http://www.razorskills.com Allan Skovmand

    IT’s never too late to do the right thing! (if you really gave those guys your word). A Blog apology! – respect!

    But (and there is a but) – sometimes the people (the soldiers) has to remember that the circumstances can change. And Boy (!) did the circumstances change a lot in 2008!!

    @David Aparicio
    Please define “sexy” and “involved in” ???

  • Shrek (peter)

    Better out then in i always say

  • http://www.seocoach.dk Johnny Krogsgård

    Du skal sgu nok komme dig igen Morten, Jeg tror i hvert fald på dig.. Husk på hvad men ikke dør af, bliver man stærkere af!

    God vind herfra!

  • Kevin

    Hi Morten,

    Just had to write to say how impressed I am with your integrity and your very rare ability to admit a mistake. I find this even more inspirational than all of your previous successes.

    As they say, “it’s not how far you fall, it’s how high you bounce”. I’m certain that with your karma, you will bounce very high indeed.

    Good luck to you!

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  • http://complemedic.dk Flemming

    Hi Morten and David.
    Morten I like your honesty, and I am sure You will be better equipped for the next business adventure. How wouldyou like to join up in a cosmetics business?

    Best wishes!

  • http://www.intercorp.dk Kristian H. Larsen

    Hi Morten

    I have followed your businss by a distance through the medias here in Denmark over the past years (there were some programs on you and your entrepreneurship a few years back that ignited my interest and inspired me even) and I’ve since then always somehow admired the way you’ve runned your businesses and your seemingly honesty.

    I’m not that much into the ‘Nyhedsavisen’-case but it seems you’ve betrayed yourself as well as your collegues in someway but that’s all very human I reckon. No-one’s perfect.
    It does however show great will-power and sheer gut to admit ones errors and wrong-doings so honestly as you’ve done of late.

    Sometimes it’ll make one stronger to walk through a strom like the one you’ve been in for a while and I cincerely hope that’ll be the scenario in your case.

    Anyways, you can always take comfort in Alfred’s wise words (Batman’s butler) that most things happen for a reason;

    – Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up again!

    (Rather corny I know but you’ll get the gist of it I’m sure :o)

    Best of luck to you!

    Kristian

  • MartinFrom

    Det skal nok gå alt sammen så længe din fornuft er bevaret intakt og du er istand til også at se dine egne fejl.

    Men du bør læse lidt korrektur på det du skriver – underwrote – mener du signed ? :p :-)

    Mvh

    Martin

  • Jonas

    Underligt infatil post… Underlig tv-optræden også, valium-usammenhængende. Ekstremt postmoderne.

  • James T

    Hey Morten,
    welcome to the elite club I founded 5 years ago, when my business collapsed due to an un forseen “force major” situation. All my fair weather friends stabbed me in the back, my bankers did a u turn overnight, and I ended up walking out of my property (a large one) with a plastic bag in each hand, two small children, my pregnant wife and my faithful dog.
    Could say Ive been there done that, but unfortunately I havent quite, as it’s not done yet, as Im still boxing with with alot of crap 5 years later.
    I hope you get back on top, and I recommend “overtaking on the inside lane” as the prefered manouvre to getting there. And don’t look back!
    Good luck for the future.

  • Nete

    What can I say ?- I´m impressed! You have my deepest respect. You´ll be back.
    The very best to you and your family!

  • http://relax.dk/ Dan Larsen

    Hi Morten,

    There is so many things I would like to write to you (all positive ;-) …
    But… I think I will try to sum it up, something I’m usually really bad at…

    I also have the spirit of an entrepreneur…
    Trying to get just a little bounce… ;-)

    I really feel with you – I have also tried to economic downfall a couple of times, so I have small idea, of what you are going through, though from much less height…

    So… Still trying to do it short:
    I hope you have the mental power, to face the realities and get through this, as fast as possible.

    You are an inspiration in everything you do and go through!

    All the best to you and your family!

    Keep your head high! You have admitted your mistakes – that’s much more than many people who have their noses in the sky!

    Sincerely
    Dan

  • http://www.riis.org Morten Riis

    Hi Morten,
    I saw you just a few minutes ago on Danish television, I am stuck in the middle of the same shit you are going thru at the moment, not your scale. But….. just to tell you;…… I am glad you stood up and gave your sincere picture of how it is to get the entrepreneur “virus” , and with it sometimes the back side of the story also! Once a entrepreneur always a entrepreneur!
    All the best
    Morten

  • http://pineapplecolours.com Travis

    Thank You!

  • http://www.room328.com Cem

    Hi Morten!
    I am Swedish entrepreneur and since I saw some great interview with you on youtube, where you showed the amazing spirit you have I have been following your blog and also the newspapers…

    Business is all about one thing – a man is as good as his word and ethics (after all we are leaders for a reason). Sometimes circumstances makes it impossible to honour in the short run, the difference is that only a select few keep them in the long run.

    I am really happy that you came to your senses! As for lawyers my opinion is that they spend their days producing papers – a good day 10 A4s. What shit is that?

    I could place the shares in my company on a bet that you will bounce back, don’t worry although it probably sucks now!

  • http://www.swbnetwork.com/blog Allison Reynolds

    Morten this is not the end of the road for you.

    Firstly you are learning from the events (5 months is nothing really in the world of big business) and that will make you a stand out businessman later.

    Next you will remember and learn what it was like to start from scratch with no cash or backing.

    And lastly most big names in the world of business have gone bankrupt in their time, and proved that their success was no fluke by coming back and doing it again.

    At the end of the day, always look to your employee’s and pet’s comfort before settling for your own.

    Looking forward to seeing what your next project will result in.

  • Kei

    Hi Morten,

    I too was very inspired with how brave you are in admitting what you had written. Being an entrepreneur myself, I can see how hard it is in saying so.

    Being true to yourself generates the positive energy to propel forwards again, and I see that big energy brewing in your words.

    Keep up the spirit, and good luck going forwards.

  • Ken Larsen

    Just saw your interview on DR net tv, and decided to have a look at your last blog writings, with all that happens passion seems to be a word which rules you quite strongly, and although being declared bankrupt may seem at the moment to much too fathom, think of someone like Trump who went bankrupt and came back even bigger and stronger, with your acumen, passion for startups and even your experience going bankrupt it will be your springboard to bring your business life back into perspective as your talents and knowledge wont let your desire to fade away, for that even for someone like I who has only read about you can see. Held og Lykke til fremtiden, we create are destiny and dont let others stop you ever making your dreams into a reality. I know from first hand experience having lost a company in the past, but was able to come back and startup again and after 3.5 years the business is growing even in these stormy financial floods which are sweeping through the business community.

  • Mark

    Morten, my deepest respect for your honesty here and in public. Means a lot to me when I’m down and out for myself these days after a year of great but still unsuccesfull ventures.
    Keep the spirits up!

  • Mogens

    Kære Morten

    Nu har du sagt undskyld og du er gået personlig konkurs. Nu håber jeg, at du tilgiver dig selv og kommer godt videre.

    Held og lykke.

  • http://blog-dyn.tv2.dk/grobdlug/ Margit

    I know that it doesn’t sound like much of a comfort to you just now, but it is an old truth that you actually improve and grow considerably more from going through hard times than from always being on a smooth run.

    This is no doubt making you a better man than you would have ever been if you had never gone through this ugly experience. We all hate these situations, but without experiencing the sense of a major fall, we never have the true comparison when we enjoy the view from the next peak.

    Now is the time when you lean about your true friends and those who are willing to go through thick and thin with you. :o)

    I wish you all the best!

  • Roman

    THANK YOU!
    It is really a big step not only to experience this mess but to share your feelings and thoughts about it.
    This is really encouraging for somene who is on the same road (unlucky me).
    Your story makes me believe that the upcoming storm will only make us stronger and more focused.

    Take care!

  • Anders Laursen

    Hej Morten,
    Har ikke fuldt super detaljeret med i sagens udvikling, men jeg er sikker på du nok skal finde dine ben at stå på igen.
    Vigtigst af alt – som du også selv sagde i interviewet på TV2: Der er ikke nogen der er døde og du kan fokusere mere på dine børn!
    Held og lykke du gamle:-)!!!
    Laursen

  • http://www.eventrepublic.dk Mads Wittrup

    Hej Morten,

    Jeg syntes at du fortjener et kæmpe klap på skulderen.

    Du har opnået så meget mere end så mange andre, og for at gentage kommentaren fra Andres Lauersen så er der altså ikke nogen der er døde.

    Jeg er også selv iværksætter, og har også prøvet at tabe (i min målestok) rigtig mange penge. Og der ér bare ting i verden der er meget værre end det, hvis man skal sætte tingene i perspektiv.

    Som du sagde har du stadig masser af kontakter og viden, samt dit hoved, måske ikke rigtigt:-), men ihvertfald kreativt skruet på.

    Dét syntes jeg ikke ham der interveiwede dig på DR forstod. Man er jo ikke rigtig iværksætter, hvis man bare vil play safe og gemme sig væk med en pose penge.

    Det er, så vidt jeg kunne forstå, ikke din første krise (jeg har også haft et par stykker). Nu er du så i krise igen, og på et tidspunkt er du ikke i krise mere. Længere er den ikke.

    Jeg har engang hørt en klog mand sige at “du kan ikke styre hvilken vej vinden blæser, men du kan sætte dine sejl derefter”

    Så selvom du er i et heftigt stormvejr, så er jeg sikker på at du på et tidspunkt får sat dine sejl rigtigt og kommer op med et nyt lovende projekt igen.

    Det er jo dét du kan.
    Så lige meget hvad der sker, vil jeg gerne satse mine penge på at du popper op med noget igen :-)

    Pas på dig selv og held & lykke

    Hilsen Mads

  • http://sleep.fm Ryan Spahn

    Your talk at LeWeb landed in my Twitter stream and it was inspiring!

    Thanks!

  • bodil

    Hi Morten, just saw the interwiev on DR and I want to congratulate you on your amazing openess. Refreshing and sooooo inspiring.
    I was battling my own financial demons and feeling incredibly frustrated and scared – untill I really heard what you were saying just five minutes ago.
    Your perspective opened the doors to my inner reservoir of possibilities to get through this period in my life – I now know that I will, and that my life again will be filled with goodness and laughter and joy.
    Hearing you explain your situation made me realize that this is not the end of the world, so to speak, but rather the beginning of a new and inspiring journey.
    I want to thank you so much for this and I wish you all the very best.
    Namasté

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