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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!
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 !!!
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.
The “What did I Say” pessimists
Avoid lazy negative pessimists in startups.
Im having a blast these days. Its too good to be true – life simply has played the best of all tricks on me. Now that Tradeshift is showing traction – and now that it looks like I will be part of something really disrupting again. A lot of the people who have been: “What did I say – you fucked up” – are starting next wave: “Bravo – Tradeshift is impressive – Will but will it ever make money??? Or is it just a black hole for investors”. My answer: Yes I believe that Tradeshift will be an extremely lucrative business – but it will take a long time and cost a hell of a lot of money. And as always I have to underline once again (dear highly valued readers) – I DONT HAVE A CLUE. This business is THE DEFINITION OF HIGH RISK. The same goes with EVERBREAD – where we have also raised a lot of cash – from people who choose not to buy 60 Ferrari’s – but chose to believe in Assen and Everbreads vision.
But remember that not even if you look at Venture Capital from a lottery perspective is it good business:
7 of 10 fails
in first shot.
From founders and early employees you need inifinate amounts of ENERGY. When salleries are not paid on time – and when programming seems harder then worst case imagination… ENERGY is what it takes – since every startup company also require 2-4 fundamental strategy changes. Changes so deep that its like starting a company from scratch. (Count on that).
is the #1 timekiller – its a whole startup in it self to get out of Bankruptcy. I have had 4 people fulltime during the whole process – I have been lending money for the process (big money – to pay all creditors). Think about it – who is crazy enough to lend money to a mann who is bankrupt or work for free for me believing in future value . All these people who believed in me and my skills and crazy visions – only supported financially by my ability to do s*#% ass expensive consulting and speaking gigs. I will do a whole blogpost of these people when Im 100% free. Because I have off course – already been gambling with my salaries and consulting fees – to convert to shares in the startups Im working for. But it also means that Im not fully fully out of the risk of fall back to bankruptcy – only 98% there.
My point here is that it takes many lifetimes to hit a lucky strike – and making one successful startup – here is some back of the envelope math:
x7 StartUps to make a winner
x2 Total REstrategy
leaves x6 potential bankruptcies
Sum: 84 “StartUps” x 4years for each = 346years is what it takes to make one successful Company :)
If you want to find the energy for this 346y gamble – then dont get too involved with people who say: “Look – It failed – What Did I Say”… Act – dont talk – find people with unlimited ENEGERY – and find a lot of them.
Today I Feel Lucky
If you have been following me closely, you would have seen some crazy shit come out of Tradeshift. Instant Payments, SHIT HOT customer wins, Tradeshift App Store and now an IMPRESSIVE investment round. The secured $17 million – valuing them at $137m, making this one of the largest investment in a Euoropean tech startup this year!!
The investment is led by ru-Net and Kite Ventures.
23 month ago I met Mr. Lanng – and we convinced each other to try to build a BIG VISION: Change the way invoices are sent (its kind of stupid that people type them in – print them – dend them – and retype them) – and make it free. (I choose this Chairman post over 2-3 others with much better cash compensation and without getting shares – despite my bankruptcy – because I think Lanng + Gert + Mikkel are the best DNA that can be produced in the Danish wellfare system. And because they did it all before in the Danish Government – AND FOR FREAKING EU – WILD!!
Today is a VERY VERY big day for this vision. Edward (Kite) and I have been flirting for a long time – and I really respect Edward for his absolute high-powered brainCPU (and self ironic attitude). But to be honest I did not expect us to get in 17.000.000$ this fast – specially when we loose quite a lot of money every month. But – the client list is INSANE – and some clients will VERY GENTLY ask their +100.000 suppliers to use tradeshift – if they want to get paid.
Our big task will be:
A) To make the simplest and best – FREE PLATFORM
B) To make the on-boarding process of +250.000 b2b users = shitAss simple and automated (We cant handle 10% of those calling us).
C) To fulfill the needs of all these +250.000 new users – in terms of business process and value-creation. Free is worth nothing – its all about the perceived value for our clients.
Important note. Lanng and Jeppe has been fantastic in this fundraising process. And yes – I take credit. But in reality its the TEAM BEHIND – teach and sales – that has made a true fucking miracle. THANK YOU TEAM. Thank you.
Opportunity of a lifetime
We will deliver – Im 100% confident. But I also kindly suggest You (dear highly valued reader) – to have a look at Tradeshifts API – and collect a group of smart friends to get started cranking apps. This is a goldmine for smart people – who understands that Tradeshift is The Social Mother Graph of B2B in very short time. And you can leverage – the acces – just like Zynga leveraged FACEBOOK. Get moving out there… Im dead serious when I say that this is the biggest opportunity I have ever seen.
Link to Tradeshift API http://developer.tradeshift.com/rest-api/
This is a long message to officially apologize to my friend Eran Davidson at HPV – with a lot of background. I had a bad day – I forgot the power of my word – and I was angry (self generated rage is a huge driver for me).
A TUESDAY in Berlin, sept:
I had a good meeting with Rouvan and Eran Davidson (from Hasso Plattner Ventures) – about a new project Im doing – and since Im so much in love with it. I GOT FURIOUS (mostly at myself) WHEN THEY DID NOT WANT TO INVEST INSTANTLY. Most entrepreneurs who have been pitching projects to VCs turn the rage against investors – to keep motivated and survive the insane pressure – instead of giving up. I did so very much (same as many years ago when I was visiting 7-8 of the 40 investors who we pitched Skype – and ALL SAID NO!). I so much wanted Rouvan to invest (I wanted him and his brilliant brain on my side) – I wanted them just to take the deal – so that the new company would get going – and I should not do the normal 15-20 pitches to VCs/Fund/Investors I normally have to do to make a deal* happen. And the reason I went to Rouvan and Eran – was simple: They are some of the best in Europe – at what they do – AND they are some of the (only) guys who will survive financially. Most funds are just dying because they cant raise their next fund. Note: With Hasso Plattner as investor – they stand incredibly good, despite the global financial crisis.
*DEAL= raising money to a company I like -and where I believe in PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PRODUCT, TECHNOLOGY and TIMING.
Close your eyes for a second – and think about where you are in life. If you are just a bit like me – you have achieved a lot (maybe even gotten kids) and you are proud like hell (despite whatever fuckups and failures you have made….). But you will still think of yourself as a nobody – without any real idea of whats going on. I simply dont have that ability to take myself too serious. I doubt all the time – and Im driven by my doubt, curiosity and ambitions – plus my highly agressive inner voice that JUST WANTs TO WIN.
I never (or very very seldomly) think about the fact that – shit loads of people (You – my Highly Valued Reader) reads my blog – and that I speak in front of 50.000 people a year. It would make my nuts to think about it – and block my ability to dare to say, write nor preach anything. CONCLUSION: My inner self dont think I have any power – and Im sure that everyone knows that all I is: Hearth-driven – ideologic and with the purpose of creating change and happiness. PROBLEM ONE: I dont enjoy being any kind of negative!
I fight 100% for the things Im assigned to. I dont give up – (many people think that I just fly around – do my speaches – and the have nice dinners) – but I do sales meetings 3-6 times a day. On Phone, Skype, Location, Office – and during dinners and lunchs’s. Im pretty visionary – but nothing special – I mostly get / or go with medium ideas. In reality: Im a sales guy – and its my only asset. I love to sell ideas – and thereby create companies and movements. PROBLEM TWO: I dont enjoy when sales is difficult – and get agressive.
WHAT DO I ACTUALLY DO
I sell EVERBREAD, Tradeshift and 1-2 Deals* pr quater (just to stay in “deal” shape) – to partners, OTA’s, Airlines… – but most of my time (like many earlystage CEO’s) Im selling our companies and the visions to investors. And it takes 95% of my awake time – handling the relations – making information packages and nursing the VC’s who have interest – and handling the existing investors (BIG JOB). Because Im very positive and because I had a great childhood: I always communicate happily about where I am and what I think and what I do – but sometimes the world is not acting like I want – and underneath I get a bit grumphy (some would say older).
3 DAYs LATER in Berlin:
I was at the CEO Dinner – held by Hasso Plattner Ventrues and Team Europe – very nice dinner – very cool format: CEO gets to meet and promote themselfes to VCs – VCs gets access to talent and the people in power to buy the VC’s companies. SPOT ON, alligned interest. During dinner – I make a couple of jokes about Kite Venture (who is backing 2 of 3 deals I have done lately) and say that its a lottery fund – and that they are shit lucky (my way of saying smart, still self-ironic and humble) to have Russian passports and thereby have access to DST kind of BIG DO$… We have fun. Edward from Kite and Lukash Gadowsky are very smart – and very self-ironic people. They spend – like most very succesfull people – most time makes jokes about themselves and their failures and problems. We have fun. After dinner (and 3-4 cigarettes) – we end up at the table and Yaron Valler from Hasso Platner Ventures shows up. I make the same jokes – and say that HPV is shit lucky to have Hasso – and I make a joke about Eran and Rouvan. AND THEN Mr Yaron Valler (who dont know me and did not sit a the tabler earlier) – suddenly freaks out and starts a verbal fight (something I not really do – and Im very very bad at – since I never had siblings (whom seems to teach eatchother every chapter in that handbook)). I recall my rage from not getting a deal with Eran and Rouvan (and just to tease the dude – I say that I would hire Rouvan any day – and I reacall a earlier phonecall with Mr Yaron Valler (says something nasty about how I could have done the deal in 5 min) – and things get out of hand…
PROBLEM ONE and TWO gets FULL ON OXYGEN – makes me conclude – that either I punch the dude in his face – or (as I choose) I tell him to leave the table.
I totally forgot about it. We had a mutual bad day – and fuck it. But my very very good personal friend Eran Davidson – yesterday told me his version of the story. TO MY BIG SURPRISE – He was sad and felt that I had been saying bad things about him and the fund.
Dear Eran (HPV & Mr Valler)
Im am 100% sorry if this has ever been the case – or if you feel that I have been trying to harm you. My only intention was grill Mr Valler – test his ability to be self-ironic and not take himself too serious. BUT I FAILED – I MIXED IT WITH MY SELF AGGRESSION – I MADE A MISTAKE – STEPPED OVER THE LINE – and Im very very sorry for the inconvenience this might have caused.
PS: I will still hire Rouvan for my next fund :) – and Eran will be invited on the Board of my Holding one day (If Lisa won’t do it :).
PPS. this will not be my last “Im sorry” post.
Sometimes:- You just know when something is RIGHT
You find the right PEOPLE
– You have the right STRATEGY
– You have the right INVESTORS (and enough$)
– You get the BUSINESS MODEL right!!
Tradeshift is one of those companies you only see very very “sometimes”: And now finally we told the world about it the real deal: Tradeshift Instant Payment
With Tradeshift – its really hard not to smile as a chairman. Founders are off course kick ass – but I must say that Im nearly more impressed by the people they have managed to hire. We have real ROCKSOLID TALENT & EXPERTS at every desk at that office. But we need MORE PEOPLE – see http://tradeshift.com/jobs/ – have a look – sometime you can be lucky.
Sometimes: Im shocked by the traction I see in Cloud Enterprise Software… If you (dear reader) have the brainCPUpower and interest – I will really recommend to do you next startup in Cloud based Enterprise Solutions…
PS. sometimes you can also be lucky to have a media (Techcrunch post) – that have all eyes from the industry plastered on the site…. And Mike Butcher always dares to promote hope – instead the killing depressive financial news… Mobile-Web/Cloud/Technology can and will change the business world – and there is a party going on for technolgy entreprenuers. FULL ON: Technolgy/Revenue/Profit/Champagne/Exit. The eco-system of trading – has found its way to technology – and wholly crap I meet a lot of young people who will change the world – and be millionaires before they are 30 years old. God forbit the last part :) – been there – fucked up…
PPS. Im getting really interested in the whole “CoWorking” -Space idea – and would love to have links to good articles about the topic. Sometimes: I feel that it could make room for a new investment vehicle…
PPS. Sometimes you need help – ASK FOR IT!
Is it like Google
(the service you know – that made the web worth using after ALTAVISTAs poor poor take),
– its shit simple (se my profile here)
– shit effective and looks/feels KILLER NICE & EASY (when you get it)?
– It’s like Google, but with faces and its your second chance to get your social network and HOW to share with WHO – right.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
OK. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
WHY DO WE NEED IT WHEN WE HAVE FACEBOOK?
SO WHAT GOOGLE+ GOT THAT FACEBOOK HASNT?
So it’s like a VIP club, is it?
FAST TRACK TO PLAY WITH GOOGLE+
When You Really Have To Pee
I feel exactly like when I have to pee while parking my car – its easy to manage. But then when I open the frontdoor to the house – and the toilet is so close – then it’s really hard to manage… :)
I’m getting so close to really ending my bankruptcy.
I run EVERBREAD – AND we are making a kill/homerun (and its ABSURDLY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE THAT MANY PEOPLE and EGOs) – AND I advise (Chair) Tradeshift and they are always a bit ahead of EVERBREAD or just a bit behind (in new clients, technology, strategy and sky rocketing valuations). I get paid insanely well – AND when I speak I charge a fortune (AND I meet incredible interesting people + go first class around the world). AND I am still helping people to raise lots of money and I get paid really well – like really. This is the only reason why I can pay a lot of cash (all+) every month to the creditors – but its over in 5 months (I made 18 month payment plans on most of the dept).
I’m almost 100% out of $ obligations – but the closer I get – the harder it feels to manage …
I’m getting close and thereby more nervous and that makes me wonder:
Why is it no one talks about MANAGING and BEING NERVOUS – in business . And why doesn’t anyone talk about BEING NERVOUS within all these startups and especially RE-STARTUP – conferences and books…I think its weird.
I am more than happy. The only problem is – that it’s much less worrying to be bankrupt – than being almost all at the goal – and SO CLOSE TO NEW VICTORIES… Its feels much more difficult being so close to the bathroom… I have started to get a bit more nervous somehow. The companies where I’m involved are all going trough the roof – simply amasing or amassing (yes someone (called Edward) told me how to spell it). I don’t really have something to loose – but I’m so shit ass afraid of failing again. So much – that I have 10.000x more attention on everything. Nothing can fall between chairs now – I need to really make it – I don’t want everyone to look at me as the dude – who didn’t make it out of bankruptcy for real… Weird – but not really.. the only problem ever – for me – was the fact that I spent 6-7 years as too wealthy and without any real feeling of URGENCY. I really like it (but NOT AS A PERMANENT STATE OF MIND) – but for now it tickles in that upper part of my (not small) belly. And maybe this is why I’m about to succeed again – the sizzleling nervousness sharpens the sense of urgency.
My Rules For Playing High Stakes Business Poker
1) It really pays of to play by the rules – with extreme ethics.
DONT JUST COPY
2) Be original and be careful with copying – it so dangerous – you might end up copying a failure.
3) The best thing is when you can blame yourself – then you also know where to start if it fucks up.
That is it folks. I love you comments – so shoot shoot.
UPDATE: If you want to have the background behind this post – we are back in 2008 – read here (250.000 people has been visiting this post).
I get the question all the time:
“What kind of investor should we take..“
Well its really hard to say – I will go as low a making a small list of things that it depends on:
THE “How hungry are you for cash” TEST
1) Its too yearly – we dont need $
a) It would be fun to try – but we havent got a clue
b) We are confident and have an uncle who can help with the language
c) We have done it before and know some VCs
d) We are just teasing until someone talks to us
e) We are silly bad at selling but the product is HOT LAVA
2) We have quit our Jobs (if you ever had one)
a) and forgot to raise (product ate the attention)
b) we heard it was so easy / but shiaat…
c) running this so much more exspensive the we thought
d) we are selling a bit and have interest
e) my partner Joe can pay the kids school
3) We are burning CASH IKE HELL and the end is near/here
a) The investor are smoking us out
b) the big client is delayed
c) my Grandmothers money is gone
a) My Car is gone
b) My house is gone
c) Im thinking about robbing a bank
d) We have already fired 50% and rent is an issue
e) Things r A OK – but we think 9 mothers can deliver a baby in 1month
f) The VCs are at the door – so why not
e) The big Ass VCs have started their Electric Jets
f) We are GOOD – and it “Fuck You Money” time…
When you have gone trough these questions 5 times – and added 10 new points (please put them in comments underneath). Then you will have a fine clue – weather its the local drug dealer or the big boys from Accel/Kleiner/DJF’s of the world – you should talk to. There is not that much difference :) (did I just use a smiley).
Advice on investors
No matter the size of the deal – its all about chemestry. Find someone you really respect HIGHLY (dont need to be a new best friend – that will only happen if you make an exit and become richer then him). But think about the fact that you will 99% (for sure) go trough REALLY UGLY SHIT TOGETHER – burning his money and your name/brain/vision/youth or marriage…
On the other hand – if you cant get the one you love – then love the one you can get. And get moving – speed matters and fundraising takes all your time (away from PRODUCT – SALES SALES SALES & MARKETING). Off course you should not give your company shares away – but dont shop too long. Get a good lawyer – or take a VC that dont want TOO MUCH BAD PUBLICITY if they fuck you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: VCs are my friends (I will be one again – one day) and I love the Venture Capital model – its where I work every day!!! I really thank the american foudners of venture capital – otherwise we would not have has this very sophisticated investment climate and ecosystem).
But some VCs and specially old school private Angels – they steal companies.
All in all I think you can do the math on mytest on top – and see there are endless stages – and therefor there are endless number of investor types. But somewhat Most important is:
1) Does HE have the MONEY and POWER to invest
(quite some funds cant fundraise them self now – and some (specially associates/juniors) at the VC funds pretends to be Warren Buffet – with the attitude of Godfather. And those guy cant even buy you an Ice cream without asking upstairs.)
2) Does He/She look like an idiot
(then he probably is)
3) Does He/She Understand Your Idea
(some dont – but if they are nice..)
4) Can He/She SELL
(most cant – they are money nerds who lured the trick of starting a fund – while everyone else in the class tried to build a business. And VCs are important when/if you want to SELL the Company – but also when you have to raise ore cash. Sales skills are required. You dont want an investor who are not friendly with the bigger fish in the foodchain. And He/She even has to be able to sell this to his partners)
5) Is He/She Trustworthy
Dont be afraid to ask for references and call most of the people they say they know – be extremely hard on EVERYTHING that He/She promises in the beginning (just like girl/boyfriends) – here you need it on paper. And dont be shy to demand A LOT – specially from the non MONEY PART. They wil try to get in as cheap as possible (well thats the game) – but you have to put all the promises you get while they are talking down the price – into the contract.
CONCLUSION: There is no rule – its all one big illusion game. And my only real advice is to inform everyone about your weeknesses and be clear about the fact that this is HIGH RISK. The only thing you can give away is your word – so be carefull and act with all the possible honesty you can.
If you fail (and sometimes you do – its a huge part of the game) – very soon after you will be back at the knocking the same doors.
NOTE2: I think “The Social Network” Facebook movie – gives the wrong impression of how companies are build – ists a movie it is NOT REAL and IT HAPPENS PRETTY SELDOM that things fuck up so hard. So dont be scared.
Gosh – that became a long one.. And sorry not to publish more often – its just crazy busy here … See you soon.
Business Philosophy Secret
I have lots a secrets business wise. A very important one is the usage of heroes. Well – my narcissistic self has been very open about Bransson and Clinton as heroes – but the lower level hero’s has never been something I have been unveiling. (comming back to that)
Speed Speed Speed
Mostly because I find it to be a very useful way to stay just a littlebit ahead in the HighSpeedTurboCrytonite-online business world. Things are moving faster then ever in history. Yesterday I watched some TV from 1970 – and the CEO of some company was sitting at a desk without a telefone (obviously no computer) – taking notes on a piece of paper – looking like a guy who had all the time in the world… It gave me a instant sting of jalousie – I WISH that was me (for a second). But then again the SPEED of communicating with the world – hammering mails, tweets, facebook messages and links back and forth with China, Singapore, San Francisco, Sophia and Frankfurt during my non sleeping hours is JUST AMASSING.
But its MUCH more interesting that Twitter is now Evan W @evhead and his teams second time of proving that they do communication and publishing platforms that are not only technology-wise interesting – but Twitter (and likes) are taking down regimes all over the world. The People are getting empowered and cant be stopped when information flows. The old farts who have been running dictatorships and regimes for 30+ years – have no guns nor time enough for torture that prevents the masses from uprising – AND WINNING. Its insanely good – interesting – and melancholic and goose-bums exposing.
Twitter = Anti Info-Bulimia
Facebook and Twitter is just amassing – after reading yesterday that 69% of FB users in many big countries are login in daily (link here)- I really smiled all day. Just think – if FACEBOOK lauched a TV CHANNEL IN THE TOP RIGHT of the page – it would be the #1 TV Channel in the world (and in each country) in 1h – with perfect targeting – click to act – the full shabang.. But Im betting on Twitter for some reason – I simply love to go into my Twitter account and get updated – its so short – and people have to think a bit before they post (140 char is nothing). And I get fully updated on the world and my social circles in a snap: From Egypt to Johanns stupid ideas about pushing Cats (real ones) to all his friends over Kawasaki’s spamming of weird news…
I bet on Twitter – The simplicity of the interface and the lack of noise (from length of messages) is just so appealing. Contrary to this way too long blogpost. To twitter is a combo of bookmarks, news, micro-emailing and
Bill Gross – The Hero (Unveiled)
With Twitter becoming so important in the revolutions around the world and my all time number one internet-commercialisation hero of the internet Bill Gross moving into this Twitter space (UberMedia buys TweetDeck). Makes me smile. And series A guys are also pretty impressive (dont really understand how the 30mio$ he spend yesterday came in):
I think that Bill G will be controlling more then 20% of the Twitter inputs “Apps” and prob go even higher very soon – this is not that interesting – but from a commercial perspective I so very sure that he has a couple af really interesting tricks up his sleeves… Very soon this will all be monetized to perfection. And Twitter will be bigger and more FREE then ever…
So why so much fuss about Bill: Well – I really like that he is always hungry and I see a chance that he can do something good – while making one more fundamental business model fro an enormous industry – that is just being born…
Here are some personal notes – just to make sure that you know how my mind works – before getting the full understanding of the last mile of this amazing and huge industry : Travel
Every Back-End Technology (and Philosophy) is +30Y Old
For the sake of argument, we can pretend that all the systems to support flights, tickets reservations and bookings were born (at the conceptual level) on April 6, 1926 when United Airlines was formed. The date when mail, passengers and cargo really started functioning in an organized manner through flights being attached to schedules. Back when reservations where written into huge books by the weird thing called human (manual) labour (real well-dressed people). Back when the volume grew so much, that a Pulley Boy (the human running to fill out the plane floor seat, using pulleys) became an official work title. But it was not until 1946, American Airlines installed the first automated booking system, and eventually to be called a GDS (global distribution systems) – introduced computing – in the shape of machine with temporary storage based on a magnetic drum. Of course, the technology has been developing fast – but legacy and bureaucracy has always been in the DNA of this industry. I think that its because of the risk that was involved back then when flying was not SAFE at all (as well as the size of the systems).
What makes me SO ABSOLUTELY MADLY IN LOVE with the Airline and Travel Industry is that – now the Internet is here – and even the developing countries in Africa are starting to book and buy travel more and more, especially online. I’m so genuinely proud to have Stephan Ekbergh as an investor in EVERBREAD – for a DJ – now heading up his second +250mio$ online travel company – guess where: in Africa – off course :). We spend a lot of time talking – and with his extra age and tons of experience – he directs me with lots of corrections and lots of motivation. It feel like he (who does not have to work) – really wants to fund fresh blood into an industry that is really hard to understand.
In my brain – I am taking it a step further and moving from understanding to changing: with my team in Sofia, who are smarter than any team I have ever seen before, a very strong founder, and with a board like this:
Montie Brewer, former CEO, Air Canada
Michael Jackson, former COO, Skype
Vagn Sørensen, Director, Air Canada. CEO, Austrian Airline
As the latest technology is sneaking in everywhere – I met a danish über Hippie this summer who had been in India for 4 years – he only comment was: Wow – at the train station I saw a guy with a computer in his pocket – and at this party everyone has it…(He talked about the iPhone)… Hardware, infrastructure, code and coders getting smarter and better every hour – with better tools than ever puts us in a situation that gives us nothing more than insane and limitless opportunities to change the Airline and Travel Industry. And it is SO obvious and not surprising that even the Private Equity guys get it (I mean pretty much everyone with a calculator and the guts to fire 1000+ people in order to make money :). Its simple – NOT EASY.
NOT Simple – Not EASY
Hey – I admit it – I’m not the fastest horse on the track (sharpest knife, most accurate mouse, speediest processor) – but I have seen quite a few businesses in my life. And even 1000+ business plans down the road – I have NEVER EVER SEEN A MORE COMPLEX BUSINESS THAN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY. The math alone (Traveling sales man problem) – what route to use with one stopover (you could fly to any point in the the whole world via that stopover) is crack ass difficult. I was told in school that its was not possible to solve… But that’s nothing compared to navigating all the rules that apply to these flights and fares – just as an example: a person who is married to someone who works at the Vatican – must have special price and maybe even a special seat/available seat. Not to mention that this mind-boggling calculation takes the processing to a task, that requires the calculation of 10 x 10 x 10 … (to the 20th) within the time when you click SEARCH on the website and you get your results. When complexity and history have such deep touch – very few people will stick around to fight this problem and get their head around it. And like in any other business ->
Its All About The People
And in my short time in this industry I have met them all (that not true – but nearly) – mostly super brainy – and always insanely persistent… Here are just some:
A small group of Really Really Smart and Persistent People – with hardcore stamina – on this shit difficult industry. Again, this industry is insanely hard to get around, involves 360 knowledge of everything Technology, Logic, Abbreviation, and development that touches it and accounts for 10% of global GDP. (The last stat is funny when you see business-plans in this industry – everyone has an insane potential in their own mind – like 10% of GDP :). The great thing about all this is – when an industry is this difficult, you have to be insane enough to enter it. (And quite some are – love it).
I actually just remembered lately that I was in the TravelMarket.com board (blogpost in Danish) and I took a stake in FairCompare pretty early… I was even considering leading the first round in Kayak – but was not convinced they could beat Mobissimo :). Who said: Anti portfolio.
EVERBREAD works with an unorthodox German guy – who has decided to use an American name – and who talks in a way that teens would consider rude. He and his COO have all the money you can dream of (unless you just IPO’ed or had Groupon founder shares) – AND they do not cut anyone slack. The guy has treated me so well that I can’t believe it – he even thinks it is OK to explain everything 5 times to me since I am not that familiar with all the ins and outs of the industry. He stays up all night and even monitors his business on a Sunday morning (very early) – because he knows that 50% of all Germans who are thinking about booking their summer holiday package – will drop by a site that is powered by HIM & HIS AMAZING PEOPLE. That is stamina. And I like his geeks socially. 1) Because they dare to work with him; and 2) Because they FIX STUFF – they act – and they do it with German Grundigheit. (What other country can promote a piece of chocolate globally as “Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut.” (“Square. Practical. Good.”).
EVERBREAD also work with the unbelievable consultants. Two of them are beyond smart. They are hungry and aggressive – and unlike many other very large industries – they don’t wear tie. But they have a solid impact on everyone they talk to – as if they knew who had the Kryptonite in a cartoon. These guys are also extremely nice, which I do not fully understand, because consultants are not usually good to people. (Or maybe its pretty easy – we have something 100% unique – and they see we are also trying to be nice, humble and pretty polite…). We have small bitch-fights and some disagreements now and then – but they are REAL MEN – and it is not a problem to have a beer after a fight. (The beers could become dangerous… shit it feel easy to get drinks, beer and wine nearly every night when you are on the road.)
At EVERBREAD we work with all the professional nomads on the road. AND PEOPLE IN THIS INDUSTRY ARE: ON THE FUCKING ROAD. Many have 140+ travel days – and most have lived in more than 6 countries. These people are a small group of people who really know what it means to be alone and suffer. (of course, taking out the high compensation they get for the misery on road ;).
And we work with all of them. To disrupt an industry that has been focused on getting around technology obstacles and doing pricing rather than shopping. Because despite all the +30Y technology products and philosophy that goes into this business, we still trust the human touch, the Pulley boy, to go and pull out the best fare in the market, because the person on the other line of the phone knows how to fly people for the right price. And that human part was in effect not changeable. I think that given the history and complexity of this industry, we, the bunch of smart people I work with and myself, have been able to defy a market and a philosophy that has been constrained by the technology limits. The product that will allow the automatic selection for the right route based on the right price for the right person… You and Me. Wow – sound like an american infomercial.
Its Even Possible to Sell Non-Revenue Companies
I did warn all in one of my latest blogposts about the danger of building companies, whose raison d’etre is only to disrupt (thats not why EVERBREAD is alive – we will make MONEY MONEY MONEY). But I did not say that its stupid to go into a sector where you can sell a company with no real cashflow for a fortune. Such companies should be careful in how they make friends and enemies, especially given the fact that if you have Asthon Kutcher as an investor, you can get 5-6mio$ investment – for something that will take Expedia and Kayak 3 days to copy (and by the way, something that was showcased by ITA 5 years ago). Plus a company like the AMMASING Tripit.com – just got sold for 120mio – nearly without revenue (i think). No wonder I love this.
I thank the Wright Bros
– every day. Both for giving me the chance to get around with having to use trains only and because they created this AMAZING INDUSTRY. That I’m just about to get under my skin…
Always remember the luck part. I was dumb-founded for 12 months – putting all my trust in Assen Vassilev (my founder) and his amazing vision. It’s all about luck – I needed a Job and Assen needed a guy crazy enough to dare to jump this 100% disruption of air fair search…
PS. The big secret behind Everbreadss SPEED is – Filip (The Wunderkind), Ian (The Stoic), Ann (The Wonderwoman) – and +50 People (PHDs to Office managers) who all take this seriously and get up pretty early and go to bed late. Lets just call it hard work.
PPS. sorry to post without giving you insights to our product and strategy :)
“I think we can tell ourselves “everything” to survive and turn every crappy situation in something good”.
Im really trying to see what could be wrong – every day. I feel that Im not allowed to be happy. And I feel so deeply happy despite the fact that I went bankrupt and lost everything. Since I swapped the Amex Black Card with a calling card – and my houses went on forced sale (dont know the english word). In the back of my head Im still wounded – my pride – my facade is not happy with this shit. But Im back on my feet and own most of what I had before – and dept that is manageable.
I LOVE THIS
But my life is 100 times more intense and real now. The daily flow with the EVERBREAD team and the 2-3 phone calls with the TRADESHIFT founders – is something I enjoy.
Well thats obvious – when things are possitive and moving forward like a rocket-ship trough the stratosphere… But I like to have controle over whats going on – I like to be deeeeply into the details and solve real problems and off course SELL SELL SELL. I love it.
On the other side I unfortunately have to say: “Thank you so much for thinking of me – but NO THANX” – to a lot of interesting projects and startups (4-10 pr week). But thats not hard anymore – it was in the beginning since evaluating new ideas, projects and companies was what I did for 5-7years. Although I was bad at EVERYTHING after first meeting and transferring cash. My problem: I had a table so full of amassing dishes and I did not know where to start nor where to end my days… I was distracted.
I STILL FEEL GUILT
Maybe one of the things that really makes me angry with myself – is that quite some people lost money on my too wild newspaper venture-ride. And off course – IT IS SOMETHING THAT I SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF. Everyone knew this was high risk – and 80% on the suplier side got over paid – but still it might have taken some of the 20% down – and I HATE IT. Also I really hate that all these people suddenly had no job.
Besides that – it feels like the lesson was needed. To go back to the humility – and not just blow it all up. But instead – I should probobly have saved some energi and money. And spend some time – sitting all still – on PAUSE – to preserve and be proud of what I had. Hmmm…
Next time. Next time it must be…!
I WAS ALWAYS TOO YOUNG
One of the big problems with getting wealthy and successful as a very young mann is that:
A) You dont get an upgrade on you brainchip – but everyone around you suddely listens too all you bullshit. And you find yourself in situations ALL THE TIME – where you are asked questions – where you have no clue about the answers.
B) Believing your own BULLSHIT – suddenly you start actually believing all the bullshit you say and think – and all the edgy ideas becomes: “Something we just do with a good team and throw some money at…”
C) THE REAL PROBLEM. You cant attract older and wise tallent – its hard to spend the time it takes to build trusted relationships to mentors, partners and fresh entrepreneurs. Thats where I went all wrong.
Should you ever end up in that situation, I can only advise you to do what you have to do. But try if you can tame the flame a bit – and find someone elder to get advise. For me its been a journey – and still is – I have learned that money really matters less and the energi from within is not at all tamed.
I have learned it all on my own body – and Im taking my own medicine:
People, People, People is everything – FOCUS HARD – very careful with hallucinating visionaries – and 100% focus on the fact that succes comes from sales not from funding…
Maybe nothing is wrong – maybe Im just happy and lucky to have the ability to adjust. Like I have done trough all the years as a pretty edgy entrepreneur. I’ve never had a book or a blog where I could read about thoughts like this – and I would probably not have listened. Its nearly impossible to learn from others when you are as selfmade as most successful entrepreneurs. But I want to say one thing: REMEMBER TO BE PROUD OF THE SMALL THINGS YOU ACHIEVE – and dont be shy to defend your achievement instead of hunting the next big thing.
Since I can see all this (and even get it into writing.
It looks like Im getting old and loosing the REBEL inside :( – Maybe I am – since Im now doing B2B software – hardcore science and business structuring.
But what the heck.
I FUCKING LOVE IT. Its never too late for a fresh start – BINGO!
PS having close friends, advisors and being in love really helps
(can also be read if you are working for an entrepreneur and find him/her weird some times)
To all of you guys out there who work every day on your dream. Who get up every morning and work like ants on creating you dream. You guys who don’t get disturbed by the common rules – or your mother in law – who wants you to take a real job. Quite often it can be a little lonely – and very few people understand what the crack you are trying to do = you might feel a bit lonely some times.
Most of us ENTREPRENUERS are often called stupid (because we are sometimes) – and laughed at – and we try not to show the world how nervous we are while we are strangling with that crazy idea. That dream of a company – a vision coming live. While we are trying to persuade friends and partners and people with money (and hopefully a bit of brain and knowledge) to join our vision – to take part in the unknown. We are trial and error people – who knows the very best: There is no formula!
There is so much hope.
Remember the small victories (and celebrate them) – and don’t give up. The world needs you – and only innovation can solve the crisis we see in the western world.
And remember that Zuckerberg, Zenstrøm an Evan Williams are people like you – and they had no clue that Facebook, Skype and Twitter would become so silly big… You can copy and learn and read up – but I think the real trick is hard work, long hours, focus and the ability to mobilize people (employees, partners and clients/user). You have the same chance.
Im writing this because I get so so many fantastic e-mails from people who wants to start a company – make a vision come trough or just have an idea. But right now – Im not able to help out – not able to invest (money is still super tight). My only way to help is to give a little oxygen to the entreprenuerial flame(s) out there – and underline that crisis is a fantastic time to start companies. 1) Many game changing companies have been started in recession – and despite all the warnings about double dip (and this is not salsa and guacamole) – the economy will come back somehow. 2) Only the hardcore – who are really serious try in this climate 3) Building a global company has never in history had such low entry barrier. (Imagin how much time a the founders of Johnson&Johnson must have spend waiting for snail mail 100years ago – when the went global with theyr plaster).
And Im proud to see them brave “idiots”
Around me – who don’t get scared by a all the hick-ups a small company has – and stay behind they vision and dream. Despite the fact that they could take a silly well payed job (and potentially bored themselves to dead). And I say idiots – because the risk is silly high and friends and family sometimes suffer – but that what it takes to be an entrepreneur. And I see people who made enough$ to relax and live on a beach – who keeps doing it (like me – back then). And then I see how most people with this religion called entrepreneurship – get a lot of energy from meeting up in groups and discuss and unveil all they problems and SUCCESES.
Use all the new initiatives – Startup Bootcamp, seedcamp.com, … They are fantastic meeting places and generates tons of new teams and ideas.
The Temperature of Venture Capital
– right now – the VCs (of whom many has problems raising a next fund) are very active – and a bit more polite then before. And if you can assemble the rigth team and the rigth vision – there is TONS OF INVESTOR CASH TO COLLECT. But you have to be fair on valuation and extremely focused on building a real revenue generating business – AND THATs IN MY OPINION VERY VERY GOOD. Sanity is back.
Dont spend time on reading to much about the new big Angels versus VC discussion – thats a way too niche discussion to care about as an entreprenuer. Just find what suits you – and be carefull with generalising about investors. They are all as different as 10 siblings – same family – but all have their own personalty… From Conway over Fred Wilson to Andreessen Horowitz and maybe your next door neighbor.
Just Do IT
Yes – bacause you can. And technology is faster and cheaper then ever. Just remember that most people around you will not understand you – and that does not mean that you dad is wrong in everything he says. You have to create a VERY SOPHISTACATED filter when it comes to advise and help – and you can start by decifering the crap that I have just incepted to your brain here/now… :)
Its simple – not easy.
Someone (maybe me) did this very simple to inspire and kick start your inner entrepreneur… Everyone and his dog is talking about recession – and NEARLY EVERYONE is HIT. But lets turn it upside down – this is the period of time where opportunity is MAX.
WARNING: its simple – not original / copy / paste / emotional.
Interessen for Nyhedsavisen har de seneste dage været enorm. Det forstår jeg godt. Og jeg er stolt over og glad for at kunne fortælle alle, at vi i aktionærkredsen i 365 Media Scandinavia A/S er blevet enige om vilkårerne for tilførsel af den fornødne kapital til fortsættelse af driften i Nyhedsavisen og Morgendistribution Danmark. Vi indsender derfor vores regnskab torsdag morgen.
1) Jeg vil gerne UNDSKYLDE overfor alle vores kunder og ansatte at forhandlingerne mellem aktionærerne har trukket ud.
2) Jeg medgiver at det kan virke uprofessionelt – som de lærde, eksperterne og min mor har valgt at antyde – men det er et mindre mirakel, at tingene er lykkedes – midt i en sommerferie og en finansiel krisetid hvor selv Korsbæk er i knæ.
3) Jeg har aldrig tidligere i mine 80 virksomheder haft så dygtige medarbejdere, ledere og bestyrelse.
4) Jeg har stadig absolut kontrol med selskabet – og min finansielle partner er i verdenseliten.
5) Jeg giver ALDRIG op – om jeg så skal ende som ham Monty Python ridderen, der råber og skriger – selv om han har mistet både arme og ben!
PS. Hvis du skal have kunder i din butik – og tænker på at bruge avis-annoncering – så deler vi 450.000 aviser ud til de mest interessante hjem hver morgen inden 07.00– og vores fantastiske konkurenter Jyllands-Posten, Politiken og Berlingske Tidende deler 120.000 ud. Vi er ikke meget billigere – men effekten er rigtig god.
PPS. Der bliver ikke mere kommunikation fra mig – nu skal der arbejdes.
Its not possible for me to describe wth words how proud I am of Tommy Ahlers – with whom I started Zyb. Its sold today for 31mio€ to Vodaphone – and besides a THE VERY BRAVE VC
(Henrik Albersen from Nordic.com ) only Tommy and the amasing team can take credit for this one…
And for me: Its incredible to do it time after time ;) – sorry – I had to say it. AND IT IS!
I here to meet with my fantastic partner Tariq Shaikh. He is one of my very most smart and interesting partners – and his for the last 14months been setting up a very special private equity company – something I cant really go deeper into – but you can see on the website and beneath. Its a really REALY big idea – and very hard for my micro patience – but I cant wait until we can tell more…
“RHT Partners is a private equity firm that brings together top calibre investment management professionals, entrepreneurs and prominent financial backers from Europe, the Middle East and the US in a firm dedicated to creating value through carefully considered investments in selected industry sectors. RHT’s values are grounded in high ethics and its investment decisions focussed on generating industry leading returns.”
I have spend most of my time with Tariq – and he also introduced me to some of the real Dubai natives (whom you NEVER MEET) – and I must say I have been extremely positivly impressed and suprsed how much energy and power and vision – there is behind this GROWTH EMPIRES PEOPLE!
I have been in love with this joke – and all the irony and the spot on selfironic jokes about the ventures business.. But darn – Gary lost it this year ;( – or maybe there is just no more to say…
See this Christmas episode
HelloGroup is going really super well – and I cant help it – I just love that kind of optimism when you see people suceed – that smiles get wider and the selfconfidence just boots the people – ad off course you can see that FOCUS and the winner instanct. I LOVE IT.
Seems like the clients do as well:
You’d be crazy to choose anyone else. These guys are a delight to work with. Very efficient. Always on time and budget. Very smart. Focused on demand generation.”
Jeroen Veth, CEO Zecco Trading – www.zecco.com
“Hello Group worked closely with Zyb on developing our site and product offering. The team is talented, skilled, flexible and delivers on budget. Highly recommended.”
Tommy Ahlers, CEO ZYB – www.zyb.com
Here should have been one more endorsement but the client has to improve it