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Dear Reader : This might be a bit more NEGATIVE than you’re used to. Apologies about that.
I love to chair startups and companies, but I hate 95% board meetings. But maybe not because of what you think.
I hate being dragged into staged and super-prepared board meetings. I get it, you want to look GOOD. But looking GOOD BORES me to death, because it’s FAKE. Every investor knows that things are never super-fluffy and hyggelig. So don’t sell BS.
When I invent or invest in a company – my time OR money – I need to know about it earlier than every X months. I want to know numbers, I want to know sales, I want to know progress. Every month. It’s not hard. (And I often get this because I talk to my CEOs – but every stake holder should have it on well structured emails – and maybe en Slack)
When I had stakes in 80 different companies – how many of them did send monthly updates? ZERO. 0. Niente…
( And recently it has gotten a LOT better )
And one director, he started by doing it himself – every month. Until he had better things to focus on – growth. So he delegated it to an external service, and he still runs a tight rocketship where everybody is onboard and pushes from the trenches.
I think you know where this is going. If you want my full attention, if you want to utilise my network, if you want to spread your word to the max – you must sit your ASS down and UPDATE people who invested their time in you.
That’s not a monthly 1-on-1 call to each stakeholder, or ‘catching up’ one time in HALF a year. YOU need to show me that YOUR business is going forward without me even asking for it.
This is why Claire (firstname.lastname@example.org) and team are now doing Shark Digest (we called it Sharkboard before). If YOU are an investor who also wants to have numbers every month, hire HER and team, and get this solved once and for all. CALL HER +45 51 20 54 06.
Benefits for the startup? You won’t have investors getting PISSed about you + you and your team will know how your own business is doing. And maybe your investors will help you faster when you need the next round.
It’s just a service made to fix a big problem for myself – maybe you can benefit.
were just the idea of sending money from me to my daughter – without a middle man. Think peer to peer of music – Napster, Kazaa turning iTunes. Its early – only wackos are really understanding it (or pretending to) – but see it as boring infrastructure like SMS. SMS did not exist 20years ago (or actually it did – for technicians in Nokia who where lazy and didn’t want to call each other) – and today we don’t think about what it is – it’s just the standard way of getting hold of colleagues, kids and parents…
Same will happen with Bitcoins or whatever we call the next generation of software to transfer money. It make no sense to have a switchboard like this – when phone calls are routed automatically. Same goes with money – bank are so very very soon to be obsolete.
I’m spending 18h a day thinking about and executing on this – but I don’t do Bitcoins – yet – I just build infrastructure (lets call it adversing channels and marketing partnerships) to help small companies to get their money fast and cheap. Its super simple – not easy!
This was a TEST, it went out to my whole network. And we FAILED a bit – the links didn’t work. But we like to LEARN from failures. So here it is for everyone. These companies + Kids + Josephine are taking up 115% of my life.
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openXO have wifi’d up the moon – the team around Christian has built a SMART wifi solution for hotels, retail, vacation homes, etc.. – pretty much ANY vendors with wifi – to offer intelligent wifi that pays off.
I’m SUPER excited to see that the hard work paid off and that they are already live in the first major hotels and got a partnership with Cisco.Meraki under their belt! There’s NO reason not to get openXO if you’re offering wifi to your customers. www.openxo.com – see the Investor deck here.
The supersmart (ex. Rocket) guys at Airhelp helped me already a few times in getting my money for delayed flights – Linus and I got each 600$ when we were delayed 6h to NYC ( nice way to kickoff a 3 day trip). It’s so great to see them being accepted into Paul Graham’s YCombinator and full-work mode to make life for passengers easier. www.airhelp.eu
If you are an investor with +20.000$ to invest get investor deck here.
I’ve been pushing this project hard since the start of the year. Basically when you receive an invoice, you should be able to pay it immediately with just a click of a button – payXO is here to lead that revolution. www.payxo.com. Try it out here
I asked the guys to make a product for me to organize fund raisers I run – and they did. Presentations + Social + CRM. I can’t think of raising money without pitchXO anymore – it’s the PERFECT TOOL to keep track of interested leads…www.pitchxo.com
Imagine IF office
A dream come true. Companies I deeply care about working from the same space in the heart of KBH. Everything you need as an entrepreneur – network with the best and have good cool videos from the interior and good healthy food served 24/7. We will even have two small AirBnB hotelXO rooms on Tripadvisor ! http://onlyxo.com/office – Club Membership 300$ by Application Only.
It has been a crazy last year with the guys at Capital Aid, and I’m so happy to see a financial startup thrive that HELPS small businesses with their money – since most companies in reality struggle for cash – especially after the banks fucked up. They use the power of Tradeshift – the platform that is the heart of everything XO. Billions of $ are just standing in the sprinter box ready to go to work. www.capitalaid.com & Investor deck
I’m working with a lot of great startups, and am lucky enough to be chairman of a few. But even then it’s really hard to keep the overview over what’s really HAPPENING inside these startups – there’s no Investor Relations Department – even though these small startups on the verge of bankruptcy need it more then anyone. The guys at Sharkboard handle that really well – I’m now CEO getting updates every month from my portfolio companies – and I can zoom into the investor pipeline from inside my Gmail. I couldn’t be more happy!! www.sharkboard.co
Thomas is a superstructured investment banker and advisor and SMART deal maker who closed over 330 transactions for IT companies – and who gets a Yes or a No fairly fast and that’s what every fundraising needs – not to drag it into eternity… Fund raising becomes NO BULLSHIT and SIMPLE with Tofte and his team of 4 – growing +50% pr quarter and having +80mio$ already raised in 10+ Transactions since the company was born in early 2013. If you have a startup or business raising money, you really want his services. www.toftecompany.com
Get a deal maker for your startup
Ferdinand is Gov backed to – Invest in Upgrading Students to make more money on Odesk and Elance … Gates should love it. The CONCEPT combines CODE education with MICROLOANS.
My personal CTO and his team live in the cloud. They have been working hard to make things work around me, and I’m superglad that they’re there. Tech diligence, API connectors and helping startups and SMBs get rolling in tech – LOVE IT! www.stefanxo.com
I believe in the vacation rental market, and those guys live and breathe it. I can’t wait for the new partnerships to show their fruits this year! www.sunnyrentals.com
What else is there?
I didn’t mention fundXO, panachio, Beancounting and lockXO – yet. Some companies to be covered in future posts. Also look out for some nice fund-raising party in CPH at the start of April with special guests. An announcement on this will be made soon if you fancy joining!
Today I managed to pay Morten Steen Jorgensen back the one of many loans I took in 2009 to buy myself out of Bankruptcy. Mr Steen showed up at my door with these words: “Here is a loan of 50k$ to buy yourself free – no strings attached – pay back when you can. We know the ‘eating glass feeling’ of the dark side of entrepreneurship – this is our help…”
I was lucky – more than lucky. Luckier than anyone could ever have imagined. I was standing in deep shit – I was over-invested (used personal guarantees) and everything I owned was suddenly picked up by people from the bank (literally – they took cars and art). I had no where to go in the morning – all +100 investments was no mine anymore – the phone stopped ringing and emails went down to 1 or 2 per day. I was VERY sad – but I suddenly had a chance to think, I had a chance to feel life – and spend time with the kids. I started walking the kids to school – read some books and even did some of cooking (100% new to me). I never really felt sorry for me self – it was ONLY MY FAULT. 2008 was a reality call – in 3D.
Life was quiet – no +100 companies – no more private jets to escapism – and no 12 course dinners – it was actually quite nice to have no obligations and no stress – but then again I had to face reality – and get a job. I had never had a job – and no one would hire me – the 38y old internet psycho entrepreneur who was loaded from when he was 27 – and got lucky with Skype. One day I woke up and Alex knocked on my door: “I’ll fix your shit – if you give me X% of you future.” That was easy to answer, – “Yes please – lets start tomorrow.”
We have now worked for 5 years relentlessly – and we have; – helped 10 companies – started 5 companies – raised +150mio$ for these companies – employed +400 people around the world – created real change in e-invoicing and financing for small companies.
We are still fumbling with what to call the group – and we have a mix of board seats, equity and our own ideas. We are seriously afraid of getting spread too thin – but the team is 75% in place now. More importantly: we are starting to build an infrastructure to keep track of everything and help the startups much more on BIG DATA.
Unlike before in history, most enterprise software businesses can leverage incredible access to data of all the weirdest kinds – from MAPS to CURRENCIES over TRADING HISTORY and SPEND… We are betting on making a new bank or let’s call it an organisation – where companies can only be a client if they use our XO accounting system and payment infrastructure. Since the loans will go from being emotional decisions of bank clerks to automated loans based on goals = sales. The bank will not lend money to companies with notoriously bad payers. If people won’t pay a bill it’s normally because the product sucks or is oversold and stuffed down someone’s throat.
Work-life is hard and not always fair ;) – but somehow I’m so freaking lucky despite my wild passion for testing the boundaries of business and technology. Now I am only 1.2mio€ in debt that has to paid back to all the amazing and generous people who have been helping to get my financial mess sorted….
PS. Of course I don’t pay Morten S the money without interest – he has (like everyone else – who has been lending me these absurdly big amounts) – got a small share on my new Ventures/Fund. My dream is that they will get 3-4times their money back over the next 3-6 years – and then the karma loop is closed.
I would also like to mention that the overall reason that I really got through all of this is Morten Sønsergaard and Anett. They supported me mentally and financially in a way I can never pay back. THANX to Morten and Anett !!!
I’m (still) suffering from some weird idea – that the adults know all of the answers ;) – like the +60 Chairman of Danske Bank and B&O (our Industrial Danish pride) – not to mention the new CEO at Bang & Olufsen – Tue Mantoni – who was at McKinsey and then – for some insane reason got auto approval in my brain – as the man who can save the already failing company. but But BUT – my brain has cheated itself – these guys are seriously hard – because none of them have a clue about electronics and product – its all management crap and spreadsheets. Today I discovered that their product is solely working on iPhone – yes – iPhone the new Nokia :) – yesterday’s phone… WOW.
Here we go:
I have just spent an evening at one of my few real friend’s house. His wife somehow liked the new speakers from B&O and it was next to me for 5 hours. While looking at this beautiful* speaker – my friend got the idea of … listening to some music. Biig problem – we are both Android users (like +65% of the world smartphone users)….
We tried with all means – while keeping the weird and distracting conversation one has to while needing to connect a device…… we ended up having installed 3 Apps that could not get a soundbite out of the speaker – totally confused and “tech-bitter”….. fuck that. Not even a mini Jack was the way – it doesn’t exist on the creature of a misplaced good looking device in the generation of connected devices.. .
When finally finding a B&O app for Android the confusion was clear. Even though I’m quite technical and my friend is a top 10 tech entrepreneur in Scandinavia (now he will be mad) – We don’t really know what they wanted us to do with the App. Something about adding the loudspeaker as a wifi access point. It never showed up on my list of access points and if it had I’m not sure I would have known what to do with it.
It just feels wrong to sit next to a 2.000$ loud speaker listening to music from your mobile built in loudspeaker. But at least we got some music. Thank you Marie Key …
I’m charging 2500$ pr hour consulting these days – so all in all the 2 hours fumbling with this crap – makes B&O owe me 2.5 of their next speaker – hopefully with Android.
And as for the CEO and the Chairman – Christ…. – they should step away and get a Tech savvy guy – like Bruce H, Tino Svendsen and Jacob Wollf-Petersen from Steelseries.com . They built their company in Jacobs house (like Mr Bang and Mr Olufsen many many years ago) – and Steelseries will have a higher market cap (value of the company) – in 24.36 months… #DirtyHandsOverIndustrialRoyalty
*Disclosure: Johannes Torpe, head of design at B&O & The Steelseries guys – has been my personal friends for +12years .
www.Airhelp.eu has a quite heavy period of 3 months development tasks and UI/UX work to get done – and they have set the budget for this (the right team can get shares for their code).
We are looking ideally for a top UI guy and 1 “full stack guy” – but we are open to anything – if you can convince us that you have the right team. We would prefer if the team can move to Copenhagen for 3months – but are open to the team working from Berlin, London, Bangkok or wherever – and fly in every 14th day.
If you are interested please contact:
Henrik Zillmer – co-founder
Bonus: 2.5% Shares in the Company
AirHelp is growing at a rapid rate of 100% month on month and is proud to be hated by some of the leading airlines. The airlines currently owe AirHelp and their customers 1.8 mil $ in compensation. Help to play an instrumental role in giving consumers what they are entitled.
“After having worked with Tradeshift’s CEO Christian Lanng during his previous employment at the National IT and Telecom Agency we were contacted by him for interaction, design and comunications assistance in his startup Tradeshift. We were introduced to the concept, the market, the team, the board (that included Morten Lund) and the progress so far, after which we were convinced that the chances of success were substantial. After a short round of negotiations we agreed upon a model of collaboration in which we were payed for several thousand hours of work with 2,8% shares in the Startup. Since then the value of our shares has hiked to 8-900% according to the most recent valuation.”
Today we are announcing the Capital Aid and Tradeshift partnership. CapitalAid has a backup of 500bio€ committed on paper – and when this flies we will have a further 5bio€ committed to lend to small and medium sized companies. It’s just factoring – they did it in the High Middle Ages when Venice became extremely wealthy through its control of trade. There is absolutely no rocket science involved:
CapitalAID will simply offers to pay invoices for a company on the same day as they send it instead of waiting 30-90 days.
(if your company qualifies to get paid – you will see the offer at a computer near you – very soon)
No (or very very few) small business can wait 1, 2 or 3 months for their money – especially when the banks have got into trouble and killed their (even small) overdraft facilities. I have seen friends companies getting shut down because the banks suddenly wanted 100% payback of the credit-line – overnight. And I have never seen a web agency or a startup who could survive getting Shell, Coca Cola or Boeing as a client – they simply cant wait 3 months to get paid – Startups have to pay salaries on Friday…
How To Do A Deal Like This
Like all other deals of this size – its been a crazy ride – this idea was obvious from day one at Tradeshift – and we (founders and investors and board) have been pushing Tradeshift from the very early days (5years ago) to start offering small companies on who are invoicing via Tradeshift to get their money instantly (there is some magic behind the scenes – but not much). But since Tradeshift is one of the fastest growing software platforms in the Enterprise SaaS category – with sales exploding and demands from clients piling up it never got much attention.
Since Tradeshift now has more than 10x the users/companies (under contract) then Ariba ever got (Tradeshift competitor bought by SAP for 3-4bio$) – we have had to take it easy and focus on the product and the crazy demand. We also had another problem – what country do you choose to start the factoring – when there is 192 to pick from?(Tradeshift has users in 192 countries). So due to my impatience – and this incredible opportunity – I starting pushing some of the people around me – and Torben Petersen has been taking the task with serious ups and downs for the last 24 months. With the announcement of the partnership confirmed on the Tradeshift blog, exciting times are ahead and a business which can really help startups is ready to explode… very soon.
This is a political deal for me – it’s very painful to watch the banks collecting government money (your money) – and not be able to deploy them where they are needed = with the small and mid-size companies.
I’m resigning from Tradeshift as Chairman – because I’m no longer the best fit for the role – now that Tradeshift is maturing. Christian Lanng the CEO and co-founder with Gert, Mikkel and Me – is the best guy to take the seat now. Smart and Self confident MF…. I will still be on the board as a regular member – invited by the founders. The reason is pretty simple, Tradeshift is now a global business which is growing fast and an IPO is within sight of the next few years. – and that is a very short time when sales cycles are +24months and I believe a 100% that the amassing employees can do this :).
I’ve been part of raising +35mio$, creating +100 Jobs in Copenhagen and San Fran, securing +1m companies to get on the platform – and I’m proud like no one else.
I’m betting all my time on a Tradeshift App – called Capital Aid – where Torben Pedersen and I have been lucky to get Shai Agasi and Peter Lurie on the board. Capital Aid will offer financing to small companies who use Tradeshift – and need cash against their invoices (who doesn’t) . We can do what the banks don’t even dream of – and we can help +100.000 business in Europe this year.
For my other ventures I fully focus on stayXO (CEO), openXO, SunnyRentals.com – where I will now turn into (painfully for the employes) an active Chairman.
I will also keep close with Everbread – where things have gotten really good over the last 18 months.
I have been watching Mr Lanng for 4 years – and know that he has the ability to work hard enough to become SUPER LUCKY.
Startup life is silly hard and packed with trouble – but I love it.
Here is a picture of a real entrepreneurial hero.
Sales is the best Funding
Yesterday I tried to tell a crowd of very hungry entrepreneurs that they should go and sell stuff – and not hunt Venture Capital.. Jacob Wolff-Petersen (above) – one of my best friends – he spent the past 10 years building SteelSeries creating +50mio€ in revenue – without taking in 1€ in VC money… beat that.
9 MONTHS IN THE LAB
9 months ago I went away from 100% focus on EVERBREAD and TRADESHIFT – they are simply mature – and don’t need my pedantic focus anymore (now I’m down to 20 hours per week – due to amassing boards & staff in both start ups).
I WANT TO CREATE STUFF
So I have been sitting on my top floor for 9 months straight – inventing about 15 new business from scratch (me + my mac + keynote). From Fashion to Payments and POS over Insurance to Wifi products – I have been bouncing ideas with all my friends (mostly Filip) – testing on investors. I have been 100% dedicated to “sampling” ideas on top of existing technologies – with a touch of social graph (this means Facebook to me). Every project has been tested on people with world class knowledge and dedication – and lots of them are killer & cool. But very few has been good enough to actually attract a Jockey – and all of the ideas have been through a 3rd and 4th and 5th round of iterations. Ideas are simply nothing – they need oxygen and top top people to kick them in their balls.
INPUT = OUTPUT
After testing a lot – I have been so endlessly fortunate – to attract 25 people who are all working like ants (most of them in highly paid and influential jobs – working under cover). The rules are simple – everyone have to work 2 months for free – and show the stamina and dedication. Unlike when I was rich – and just blew my money on small ideas and had small ownership. With O Koo and Alex as blood partners – we are creating what I think is the right way of building valuable and profitable disruptive businesses – 100% control and very majority ownership (mentally and equity).
Today we are slowly starting to show the world a fling of whats coming out – at www.onlyXO.com (still beta).
We will want to have lots of fun at onlyXO – but profit is more important (we have taken a couple of high level investors into out Singapore outfit – from where O Koo will run the show and I will slowly move there)… And just for the record – I’m never ever going to be bankrupt again – it probably looks pretty heroic from the outside – but it sucks harder then you can ever imagine and it takes nerves of titan fiber (checkmark). But then again – if it doesn’t kill you… and the optimism is chronic – and damn I feel alive.
The reason that very few people do (and should do) start ups – is the insanity when all part are moving 360 / 365… – you simply need to be 1000% impatient while pretending to have a clear strategy – pitching Clients and VCs and New Hires (always 5min from closing down or selling the company for 10bio€) – you have to follow every lead to success. And you never know if the promise – you have from “The Visionary”, “The founder” or “The CTO” is actually true – nor if its mixed in the right way for the market to understand it. Will the world use it – will the clients buy? And as one of the smartest and “the best tech investor in the world” says – ( http://bhorowitz.com/ – YOU MUST read every single of his words 2-3 times) – its all about iterations and innovation. And when it comes from Ben – its not just hallelujah innovation – it’s about making software solutions that makes sense and can sell.
While helping to start Tradeshift from my basement in Copenhagen (no shit) – to now being HQ’ed in Silicon Valley – I have been (am) in the center of a storm – or let me use Ben H & Carl Max’s phrase: The Struggle. And wow – its hard – wow – it takes a lot of interactions from the first idea -until the product that suddenly sells and get the expected uptake.
The Jockey (A Role Model)
With the Jockey I mean : The guy running a startup – the guy/girl who runs a startup (founder(s)/CEO).Off course important its the Key. Goes without saying. And my partner, backer and one of my closest friends – Morten Søndergaard – has been babbling about “The Jockey” – since I met him. Until my bankruptcy – I was always a little less focused on “The Jockey” then the “Idea/Concept” – and that has probably been my main mistake. But since I’m way better at Ideas/Concepts and Sparring as a Chairman – it’s more now obvious then ever that “The Jockey” is everything. The focus and the 24/7 focus on the company – it whats brings the success. Of course also realizing that conceptualizing and directing – has nothing to do with running a business. In Tradeshift I must say that Mr Lanng has impressed me – more then anyone else.
The Starts and The Moon = The Mix of People
When I talk about luck – it has nothing to do with lottery in the pure form. I take it for granted that everyone put in ALL THEIR AWAKE HOURS INTO THE START UP. But the mix of people who kick off something is of course EVERYTHING. Mostly because software is now easier then ever to launch globally – Thanks to the Browser and Amazon – but at the same time its also 100x more complex to find the right balance between perfect and beta… And this is where the mix of people becomes EVERYTHING – and The Jockey really must show strength. Again I have to tip my hat for Mr. Lanng – specially due to crazy deals (I can’t talk about) happening at Tradeshift – RIGHT NOW.
Here is what the researchers says about Tradeshift. Business owner – GET ON Tradeshift NOW.
Just The Beginning – Nothing To Celebrate
Now – some would sit down and celebrate – but at Tradeshift the team seems pumped up and ready to really get started with the effort of building a billion $ company that makes sense. go Go GO… The Press and The Analysts are super important – but its only words – not ORDERS.
Being in the startup scene – is living with a clock permanently on 23.55 trying to score Cinderella. Only the most agressive, funny and smart (and attractive) guys have a chance.
After having started more than 100 companies – I feel that I’m starting to find the right melody – or lets call it tune. (And remember that I’m just the musician* – Josephine is my Cinderella – I over scored massively). And the people I have on my dance floor are absolute superstarts. And compared to when I was loaded – its much more fun and much more honest. Everyone knows that I can’t pay – so the people who show up (and STAY) – are all 100% focused on performing.
90% of Success Is: Showing Up
Of course you cannot learn those break-dance moves that will make Cinderella (the market) pick you – in a snap. And therefore its really interesting to grow older. Mostly because my network gets older – and more experienced. I’m a full believer in most of what Malcolm Gladwell preaches in Outliers: 10.000h is minimum needed to be word class at anything (sports, music…). And in maybe you need to put in even more hours if you want to be the winner in online/social business (overnight success takes about 5 years).
I.e. my close friend Chris Bouwer – was the most aggressive – at any dance floor (literally) for the last 20 years. He is just always there – and no fucking wonder he is the most successful sales guy in payments in Europe. The guy works harder then the rest. And is a pretty good dancer.. :)
Having A Unique Move
We all know that Cinderella needs an original and innovative pitch – since everyone will give it a try. But since that time is short (about 4.59) one has to be able to have something to say that is understandable. The Samwer Brothers seems to have refined that – by simply admitting to copy – and don’t ditch that too hard. We are all using whats out there – and every big artist in every century – has been painting just like his friends. But the most successful one’s managed to EXECUTE: get in front of Cinderella and deliver.
Without going into any racial or gender discussion – since that makes no sense AT ALL. It’s obvious that some people just have it – they know by instinct how to dress mentally – for other Cinderellas to be interested… To me it looks like curiosity is very important – mixed with extreme stamina and persistance. And right now I have chosen 18 people whom I believe in – to nail the Cinderella of their sector – I have to mention:
Kim at InsuranceXO – redefining insurance
Ken at posXO – doing a massive take on how we will shop
Claus at payXO – making it easy to accept credit cards without being ripped of…
You Can Do It
Is what I really want to say … just keep trying. Smile and Think positive and don’t take No for an answer. And it will all work out.
*I feel like Bob Geldof – definitely not the best musician – but I know the right people ;) (thanks to @MikThoboCarlsen for that one).
Darn – I’m building something larger then I ever did. Its killing my brain to get into 360 of banking.
Creating People’s Bank with a purpose
A Bank where real people like you and me can do our daily banking and paying online. And bank where we will say THANK YOU for using us – what can we do for you? Did you ever hear that in your bank – or in any bank?
Mixing that with Payments
and making it easy to accept payments online – if you have a small online shop – and your father is not owning a Fortunes500 company.
Fixing the small dying retail stores
to integrate online with offline – and most importantly help the little storeowner to file all the millions of taxes and VAT and crap… And let him/her know how the business is doing – live – not waiting for a half drunk accountant to type in last quarters invoices…
Fixing the problem of invoicing
– remember that if you do a freelance task for a big client – lets say Nike or EON – then you will not get paid unitl 90 days later. YOU WILL end up BEING THE BANK for Nike and EON – the world largest companies (and governments) – are using the so called “financial crisis” to squeeze the shit out of all the small suppliers. (Spend 5 min on tradeshift.com – and see how easy it can be done – new cool features are released today). The average time it takes for big companies and governments – to pay an invoice is up from 14 days in 2002 to 60 days in 2012 – NOW WHO IS SUFFERING? Small business owners and Entrepreneurs.
Rethinking Insurance – now that we are at it.
Its absolutely absurd – the way insurance works. I can’t get hold of my insurance company for 11 months a year – specially if I need them. But they call me on time to get my payments… Weird. Warren Buffet never misses a chance to admit that his wealth is mainly generated from his early insurance investments. But it’s wrong – no one is using BIG DATA and online as sales channel – its all like 1980’s.
Unstructured Note to entrepreneurs
and people who believe they can change the world with ideas and hard work.
Building a Bank – Payments – Invoicing – Insurance – Financing Is crazy!! No one believes that its possible – and I have 80+ people running around the world executing…. But I have a warning to all entrepreneurs (specially in Europe). Please remember to use other companies (start ups) web services. I see a clear trend in American start ups being way better at leveraging each others API and Services (learning from Josh Rockoff). And I think its the only way to keep up the speed. BUT – it requires ONE DARN BIG KAHUNA of a CTO – since the chance of a big ball of API spaghetti explodes. You simply need brain power and focus. (Nothing new).
But I really want to stress the importance of sharing ideas. Lately I have met too many people who have pretty good ideas – but wont tell them to the public. (Now that’s 99% of the time stupid). All ideas need oxygen – and lots of it. 99% of all ideas are first of all crab – and need 3-10 x reshaping.
Pitching your idea – makes it become real. So keep on until people start actually listening more then 15 sec – and give the blank stare. Be able to explain it to a medium successful person over 45.
Boil it down and split it up
Keep boiling down your ideas. Don’t panic and write them down – wait until they coma 2-3 times – and then start pitching to your partners and savvy business friends.
Be Prepared To Be Looking Like an Idiot
Doing things different – from school to adult life – will make a lot of people laugh at you. Get used to it – or get a job in an old bank … :)
LONG LIVE the Tradeshift founders and my financial backer Mr. Sondergaard – they believed me when I lost my money. Now I hope I wont loose my mind ;)
Changing The World
Its so easy to be fooled by flatter – but its also fuel – when you are doing something that no one has ever done before… I’m in the center of a storm – created by .. MYSELF. Wow – it feel’s good. It’s fairly simple – just use your full energy and your voice – and magic will happen. Its simple… Social media actually connects everyone with access to a IP device… And despite all the financially savvy idiots – now ditching Facebook – THE WORLD HAS CHANGED A BIT. Facebook is the social glue – that will make it harder to cheat and fuck over your best friends.. Mostly because you will be exposed and no one can live without a pretty clean Facebook presence.
For Analysts Everything Is Short Term
I want to celebrate The Founders of Facebook – I want to tell you : do not to believe in the rules. ITS SO IMPORTANT that we challenge the rules – everyday. And the biggest of all, rule-breakers has proven to be Mr. Zuckerberg. He runs Facebook with a teenagers drive and a very old mans intellect – despite whatever you might read. Facebook would have been dead if they would ever have involved someone from the old world. They would have forced Zuckerberg to spray Facebook with old school TV ads – and kill the user experiences.. SPAMMED. It would take just about 10 lines of code. But of course the financial markets have to run like they have always done – looking (starring) at quarterly numbers. And that’s good if you run a highly competitive business producing woods or wine gums – and your biggest problem is bored employees and internal fraud.
The Long Term Lenses
But when you are the market leader – without competition – then its all about vision. And I can’t celebrate the long term vision of Facebook hard enough!! I would go (40% of my fortune) short on all media agencies in the world (OMD =OMG)- and buy heavy (40%) up into Facebook stock – and then put 20% in social media management platforms.
What the crab are you babbling about:
Well – media brokering is like banking – it’s old school and adds no real value – therefor the media agencies have nothing to offer in their existing shape – it’s bullshit to use TV/Print without response tracking and understanding “what your users talk about”. But its cranky complicated to actually do it. But when you can use social advertising – everything else is lame. And since we have now seen that Facebook is long term – and not selling out to rules of quarterly sub optimizing – then we only need tools like Buddy Media and Falcon Social (to mention 2) to get 100x performance on advertising. But in reality most CMO’s are not smart enough to actually dive into this.
Advertising, post Facebook
Lets admit it. Business is all about advertising your product – and it would be great for Unilever and Nestle – and specially their marketing people – if they could just keep on buying TV campaigns. But its over – the change is now – the next generation will not do or buy anything without involving social media – checking in, uploading a picture or posting a status. And the same goes for brands and goods – of whatever kind. The internet brought transparency – no one can hide . And Facebook (twitter and Weibo (the Chinese twitter with more users then twitter and a better user interface)) – is with us – in our pocket 24/7 – and we use it. The new winners will be the next generation of advertisers – who are 100% data driven and measures the crab out of everything online – AND who are all about supporting their users – live… It sound insanely simple – and it is – but not easy.
A New Agency
I’m investing my time – to build a viral service agency. Balder Olrik & Mr Moseholms initial idea of GoViral – was never executed as it should have been. Because the timing was wrong – Jimmy (and Thomas) just did a miracle by turning into something the old world understood (advanced TV buying). I’m helping to create SMACKviral (with some pretty good dudes and duderinas) – an agency to create vibrant Facebook streams – simple.
Always do stuff only when you really understand it – or really have the need… I’m building a bank + insurance company + a cellphone company + a payment company + an light ERP company = all in one. And to succeed we need lots of attention = To get attention we need to be more active on Facebook then anyone else = and show the users that we mean it – and that we are long term. Otherwise no one will trust us with their money + insurance + cellphone subscription.
SMACKviral will create 2-3 content pieces pr day (crazy shit like Dog biting penis..) – so that I (as a business owner) can choose what I want to publish in my Facebook stream. Now that what every boring company (specially banks) needs – and this is kicking of next week.
PS. I would have mentioned Mr Lanng from Tradeshift – next to Facebook – but even with my shameless instinct of promoting my own stuff – I could not. Tradeshift is Facebook for business – whenever we get the full product launched – but we are not there yet…
PPS. To all the negative babblers out there – who think they understand Facebook because its now public – lets see the stock in 6months :). And to all of you who own the stock – just stay LONG – Facebook will create insane profit and even do really crazy stuff in China – just wait and wait an wait – and see. The shit is looongterm.
I have lent the blog to a young man who is the first of 10 guys I have meet in Copenhagen with a pretty cool new religion. This is pretty crazy shit – I have no idea what it means – is it socialism or brainism or just pure logic sense – to adjust your lifestyle to your real dreams – and not be polluted by materialism? Let me note the only SURE TRUTH about start ups I learned (from my friend Stephan Ekbergh): “The only thing that can kill a start up – is running out of cash!”. END.
Aron Allen has the word:
My monthly expenses are as follows:
You Better Love Change
Im pretty very sure that every single consumer FACING BUSINESS will change. And Im sure that it will happen faster then we can imagine – since the way people behave has changed 100%. Im impressed to see Facebook buying Instagram – and hammering a last seam in Kodak’s coffin.
What Does It Take
Look at hero #1 – Steve Jobs – watch some of his early videos. This guy was never a techie – for real – he was a visionary – who had no problem communicating to both Sales People and Techies. His partner in Apple – W – had a whole blueprint of a motherboard in his head – and he only had one shot at getting it produced. (Mistakes were not an option) – and remember all the crappy electronics we have today are less complicated – then what W had in his head…
The interesting thing is – that we need The SELF CONFIDENT EGO – who has the vision – to actually stand out and stand up – and SELL. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY PROFIT WILL ARRIVE ONE DAY.
But we also need a Techie – who can understand business and technology and who can bridge all of it – and even do it structured so that the future is not spaghetti code..
Q & A
I got this question from an entreprenuers in spe:
I have a question on my mind thats been bothering me for a while.
Is it possible to start a business without a tech guy? Coding is really expensive, so does a start up necessarily need to do this on their own?
It would be amazing if you could give me a short answer to it!
Thanks so much,
So My Answer Is: NO WAY
You need to fully understand all sides of the business – especially the tech part. And if you don’t have a early partner who is a techie – failure rate is so high. I have to add that – a CFO or a friend with Legal or Financial background will also bee needed… (And a lot more).
PS. Im talking about building +$100mio companies. If you wanna sell ads and hustle a bit – by buying the cheaper then selling them – you dont need anything: Just a whitelabel platform and a hypersmootth sales team. (Remember that’s how I started – with Jimmy, Lars and Henrik – in NeatWork ;) – NOTE TO SELF: crap name – do not repeat.
(mostly interesting for Danish & EU citizens )
You can easily be very rich
Very rich – but not have a penny (in cash)…. I’m in that situation – but don’t worry about me. Worry about your local society – your country.
In Denmark we have seen the most insane example – and I have to say that I have very little hope for democracy when the people who want to spend there seems to be lame….
Stupid Fuck Up With Good Intentions
How did ATP (one of the largest pension funds in EU) and PFA (also pension fund) end up turning FIH Erhvervsbank (our only aggressive commercial bank – or should I say: The only hope for any growth in GDP) – into a financial disaster when the business case made so much sense?
Entrepreneurs Needs Banks
Specially real entrepreneurs who made revenue and have to finance growth:) – But remember that funding is crucial to banks especially when having a deposit deficit. To get this banks needs a good credit rating which it the case for most major Danish banks. Small banks typically have lower ratings but this is not a big problem as these banks are primary funded via deposits.
This was where FIH was failing a year ago when ATP and PFA took over – led by the absolute smartest guy I know living in Denmark: Mr Graven (clunky name :). FIH had a major deposit deficit (read not any significant deposits at all) and one of the worst ratings in the Danish banking sector at all. Therefore the bank had no chance of paying back the loans provided by the government. (Thank you Lille Lars & Helle).
Really Responsible People
Then ATP (the motherfu… large pension fund) comes in to the picture as one of the strongest financial institutions in Denmark. They took over FIH, put my hero, Bjarne Graven in to run it and the business case was crystal clear. Suddenly I had a little hope for the future. Backed by ATP – the FIH would improve its credit rating – giving access to funding and the bank would be back in business. Who would it benefit? Investors in ATP (meaning literally everyone in the country) and the entrepreneurs and corporates lending money from FIH, which again has a positive spin off effect on the Danish society. That makes sense! I was so happy and proud to see that NOT ONLY DOES ATP – make one of the best returns in the world – they are also taking care of the business climate – despite a 3 year long winter. And Mr Graven – could prob have gone to any international bank and gotten 8-10mio€ a year – but he did a noble choice (prob because the wife and the kids didn’t like to move to NYC/London/Sing)
Then Someone Fucked Up
But what happened? FIH did not get the rating lift and ended up reducing corporate lending in such a brutal way that the Danish government now has intervened to make sure that FIH does not put Danish corporates out of business. That is crazy. What appeared to be a win for everyone (except the other banks fearing the competition) has ended up being a disaster and the government is now paying. Why did this happen – how could the political system lets this happen – while picking up the check from a endless number of banks going bust. why Why WHY – when we need it. Someone has to go in here and get it right. Our former prime minister – and a very smart man (who unfortunately went on an insane crusade against capital fund structures) – Mr Nyrup should put on his biking helmet – and start the bike now!!!
The question is why?
My guess is that once again the Danish financial legislation and bureaucracy shows its ugly face and kills a good initiate and destroys value for everyone! Cooooome on – The result is that ATP has not been able to give FIH the financial backing need for improving the credit rating.
It is time for a change even though I find it hard to see who will drive this!? Could we please redirect the outsourcing from the frozen cartoon figures in EU – to my friends and partners in Singapore?
NOTE TO SELF: Im writing all this boring stuff – because Tradeshift & My New Project can help Entreprenuers…
Im Changing Direction – Again
Tradeshift and Everbread are now running on their own – I don’t have to be there every day. And I see 10 amazing start ups every month – I can’t stop myself anymore – I need to kick a lot of these guys in their bud – and help them to become global and successful. (PLEASE RT THIS TO DESIGN COMMUNITIES).
I’m loosing it – in Design Talent
I’m getting old – and I have lost my touch with the design community and the hackers – who are doing consulting – but really want to do their own Agency or even better a Startup.
Keep Your Real Job (Clients)
If you are one of these Dudes/Duderinas – who are not spoiled by money yet – and who don’t need anything but a MAC in your life. ( = You don’t have very low cost of living). If you also understand that: This requires lots of late night work – since you have to be payed from your real job.
(If you are an existing agency – who wants on this movement – then you just invest X% of your pitching budget – easy peasy).
If You Can Do This Better
If you carry the belief that you can design there even better – make them look even cooler than they are ( I love these sites)
Tradeshift.com / ZenDesk.com / Pinterest.com / JetSetter.com / New Vimeo.com
You must be a complete design junkie – or have one on your team. And you MUST BE admire Mint.com and GoodData.com – like you admire your best parrents.
Then Pls Email Me and Get On My New Projects List
And I will send a mail back with the rules. Since I have spend the time – which – to do a pretty specific outline of the rules (and thats hard for me). Email: DesignIsEverything@lund.tv
PS. Tree huggers and people who love this model – pls dont email me. I want to make money – its the only way to attract the best people. (Charity is something we do later).
PPS. I’m also looking for a platform to run all this talent on… (Facebook Developer ?).
PPPS. And yes – am scared of overdoing it again – like when I went bankrupt – shit scared. But I cant help it.