Back in the engine room

One of the things, I have always enjoyed, is getting my hands down in the day-to-day grind of operations; ensuring that the wheels are in motion, running smoothly and any issue is dealt with in a timely manner. I absolutely love oiling the machine here and there, ensuring it spins properly.

For that reason I am excited to announce that I have joined our great portfolio company Cortrium as their interim COO for the coming months to help the management team there run operations and prepare for the next significant steps forward in the companys development.

I have been helping Cortrium out with marketing and other things for the past 9 months, and its a great company with an even bigger potential. The MedTech company specializes in longterm ECG Holter measurements and reporting, and they have a very innovative and forward-leaning tech stack of both hardware and software ready to help doctors and cardiologists diagnose people with atrial fibrillation, which is one of the leading precursors to strokes.

It’s not often that you get the chance to combine something you love with the opportunity to work on something where the ‘why?’ is as evident and awesome as in Cortrium, and I am really looking forward to working with the entire team to help them on fast forward.

(Photo by iSawRed on Unsplash)

Time for reflection

For many of us the summer vacation has already become a memory. We’re back from the beach, the mountains or wherever else, we have been spending time taking a much deserved break and getting some distance to work.

Personally, I have been back for a few days after spending 3 weeks vacationing with my family, and I feel both recharged and focused going back for what’s promising to be both an exciting and challenging – in the most positive way – second half of 2022.

Notice that there are two distinct states in what I mentioned: Being recharged and being focused. And while recharging during vacation should be a very familiar concept to everybody, I wanted to take a few moments to address the other part – the focus.

What I often find lacking with a busy work schedule is the opportunity to properly reflect and set a focus for my immediate future. With everything that is going on, it’s just so super easy to get so caught up in the fire fighting of things that those important moments, where you look a bit beyond the horizon and figure out what your plan is going to be, gets pushed to the side and never really revisited.

Getting a fighting chance to address these things and reflect about what you want to do and how you want to prioritize going forward requires some distance to your day-to-day work. And what better time to get that than while you’re on vacation.

Be sure that I am not suggesting you take work with you on vacation or that you spend your vacation thinking about tasks at work. What I am suggesting however is that you find those pockets of time when you’re on your own to reflect a bit of what you just got a break from, how it’s been and what you would ideally like to change going forward.

Changing your forward path may mean a lot of things. Obviously, for some it will mean looking to do something entirely different. But for most of us it will mean making some adjustments into what we want to focus on as being the most important both to the work that we do and how we help others achieve success but also to your own professional and personal development.

For my own part, while I have been out running for myself I have spent a bit of time reflecting on how I could best focus and structure what I would love to focus on and how I would like to go about it in order to also move myself forward, and I now have a pretty simple but good idea about the kind of work, I am going to focus on and how it (hopefully) helps put my employer and my team colleagues fast forward but also helps guide me in the direction, I personally have a big interest in going.

It hasn’t required a ton of thought. More the breathing space to allow little, existing pieces of the puzzle to try and find their places to give a sense of how it could all look and come to fruition. A perfect little personal project fitting in nicely with those leisurely activities, you can enjoy while being on a break, and where you’re not being torn apart from others trying to get your attention or wanting you to do certain things.

I highly recommend, you try it too. It is a super healthy exercise, and it helps you not only to get back fully charged but also with a clear view of where you want to go both professionally and personally in the months to come. But remember that whether you’re going to be able to stick to your plan is an entirely different matter.

(Photo by Lili Kovac on Unsplash)

Happy New Year

First of all: Happy New Year! I hope you bade 2021 a proper farewell and are ready to take on 2022 with everything it has to offer.

Change often accompanies a new year. And with this blog it’s the same thing. So let me in the shortest possible terms try to outline what my ambitions are for my writing here on this blog in the year ahead:

I will try to write more thoughtful posts. They will probably tend to be longer. And be published less frequently.

Writing is a matter of personal therapy for me. I use my writing to digest things, I find interesting and often also to ponder things.

But what I have found in the past is that my writing has tended to be more about bits and pieces I find interesting in the moment and less about pondering about something really important.

I want to change that.

Going forward I will be using this blog to ponder more and share less. The sharing I will do, I will be doing through my LinkedIn and (perhaps) my Twitter account.

This space will be more about the things I struggle with getting my head around and/or foundational things I find truly important and utterly believe in.

More unfiltered. Less cluttered.

That’s my ambition. Please feel free to hold me accountable for living up to it. Accountability also helps my thought process.

(Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash)

Reframing “How Might We…”

In my previous agency job I spent quite a lot of time working with the Google Design Sprint methodology, and I even got to a couple of moments of fame, when I both ended up teaching the methodology at the Danish Technological Institut as well as running a sprint for Google themselves.

There were – and are – a lot of great things in the Design Sprint methodology, which when applied in the right way can really bring ideas, conversations and work in general forward.

One of them is the “How Might We…”-question. It is a very elegant way of reframing a problem into an open-ended solution mindset, you can actually use as the foundation for working on fixing that problem.

There is one issue with the question though IMHO: It is not really good at framing the context of the question being asked.

But maybe there is a simple fix for that which makes the question even more powerful to ask? And not only for Design Sprints but for general conversations about vision, strategy and “What’s next?” for our company?

What if you started your “How Might We…”-question with a statement of fact to set the context?

Like: “Since we now have a sales model that works for other peoples products, how might we best introduce our own private label offerings?”

Or: “With maturity reached in our beachhead market, how might we go after the next vertical to grow our business?”

By doing it this way, you not only provide context to the open-ended solution oriented question. You also create a strong sense of why it’s important – almost “do or die” – for you and your team to spend precious time on looking to solve the problem.

And it will eliminate time wasting from those that will always be asking “Why?” whenever you try to introduce a new important project and leaving them with no or at least very little opt-out from stepping forward to help in coming up with the future solutions.

Essentially it underscores the “We” part of this collaborative proces. Which I think is key to the exercise and – done this way – a significant booster to get you set for a concerted, co-operative effort.

(Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash)

Rest In Peace, IE

It’s been in the cards for ages, but now it’s official: Internet Explorer (IE) will be retired in June 2022.

Most people have long since moved on. And for good reason(s). But many businesses still have some legacy tools that for some silly reason loves IE more than anything else. They will now need to find a new object of their affection.

The reason why I wanted to briefly touch on it here is not for what is happening now but for what IE has meant to the world, to Microsoft – and to me.

For the world, IE was the first way many people got on the internet. Yes, you could argue there were always better, more sexy options. But the inclusion of IE in the Windows operating system effectively made it a no-brainer for consumers to use the browser. Which could again be seen by it’s market dominance for years.

Love it or hate it. There are many ways to make your mark. And IE certainly did that with millions and millions of people.

For Microsoft it also had tremendous importance – if for all the wrong reasons. It allowed the company to steam (late) into the digital era, and it was also the most important source of the anti-trust case filed by DOJ that out then CEO Bill Gates through his most excruciating interview ever (and no, he did not do well in that), and almost broke the company up.

How’s that for impact, huh?

For me personally, IE also played a pivotal role in my professional life. When I started out at MSN.dk in the autumn of 2000, our homepage was the standard homepage in IE and as such, we got a lot of traffic from it.

I honestly can’t count the number of times, I have received abuse and pointed remarks from competitors about the unfair advantage, they thought we had, and how we – in their eyes – ‘cheated’.

Of course we didn’t, and the only effect the criticism had on us was to motivate us to do even better and go and create some of the most popular content verticals on the Danish part of the internet, IRRESPECTIVE of the IE homepage.

We managed to build leading verticals within entertainment and lifestyle for both men and women with great local partners. And with that and more most certainly the most profitable display driven advertising business in the Danish media market with margins, our competitors couldn’t even dream of.

It was good times.

So for me, IE was a net positive. It helped me discover the internet, it provided an opportunity to join one of the coolest companies on the planet (which I am eternally grateful for), and it allowed our team to build a digital media business that was second-to-none in it’s time.

Rest In Peace, IE.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Futurism is getting harder

It is always interesting to dwell a little at what might come next. Both in terms of technologies but also in terms of the suggested changes in circumstances and contexts in which these new technologies may be put to efficient use.

The challenge is always the same: Of these things that someone with experience and insight into what has been and is today is foreseeing, which ones are the ones that will catch on? And following on from that: What kind of brand new opportunities might they present entrepreneurs with?

Looking into these things become more and more interesting with age and experience. I distinctly remember that when I was young a lot of the emerging trends just made instant sense to me. Today it is harder.

I don’t think it’s an age thing. In fact I think it has much more to do with experience; having seen and been part of a lot of different things over the years, you get used to things being more or less a certain way. And it can get harder to break away from that.

I actually think it is some of the same dynamics that are often at display in C-suites at big corporate incumbents struggling to keep up with the times; their whole knowledge base and experience is tuned into something completely different than what may lay ahead.

Which then again – thankfully – leaves a playing field of massive opportunities for dedicated entrepreneurs not caught up in dogma to go and explore, exploit and build great businesses on.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Ulysses for the win

For quite a while I have been looking for an editor for my writing of blog posts such as this one.

And finally I think I have found it in ‘Ulysses’.

Of course I could use the standard WordPress editor, but I often write at odd times in the day – early morning and late evenings – and I just don’t find the full online editor that appealing or inspiring for regular posts.

I need something more nimble than that. Something that allows me to take notes, leave for a while, get back and pick things up and finally end up with the piece, I am looking to write.

‘Ulysses’ gives me all of that;

It provides an ‘Inbox’ where I place my drafts. That way I can always jot some quick thoughts down and leave it for later, and I always have a 100% overview of what I am working on.

When I have done writing, I use the upload tool to publish as a draft to my WordPress site, and I can then use the interface there to check that everything is as it is supposed to be, before I hit ‘Publish’ and it goes out there on the big internet.

Once I have published the piece, I move it to the ‘My Projects’ subfolder with my websites name on it, which syncs with iCloud and works as an excellent archive for published pieces. The great thing about this is that mentally I know that when I transfer a piece to this folder, I am done with it. And I can go back to the ‘Inbox’ and focus on upcoming pieces.

It works super great, and I can’t recommend ‘Ulysses’ enough, if you need a different editor for your writing than your standard, somewhat clunky web interfaces.

‘Ulysses’ is for Mac, comes with a free 14-day trial after which there is a small monthly subscription.

(Photo: Screenshot)

An education in truth

Sometimes your old education comes in handy.

The other day I helped flesh out 3 very different angles to an upcoming news release depending on the angle and tonality the team behind wishes to pursue, when they go live.

In doing so it (yet again) dawned on me how powerful the right wording can be; how you can use the right words to set the tone and provoke the thoughts you want to install while essentially saying the same thing at the end.

How your angle is just as valid as the next one. And how little is centrally controlled anymore when it comes to messaging.

And then I came to think about Erik Torenbergs piece on “How the Internet Ate Media” and this quote:

Everything used to be fractured and fragmented by definition. Then came the telegraph, then the telephone, and mass manufacturing, public education and more. We’re now returning to that early way of living before Peak Centralization. Structurally, we have more in common with the 1800s than we did with 1950s.

Using that to reflect a bit on my education as a journalist and the challenging times for journalists at large, I thought to myself:

What if journalism school also taught an “education in truth”?

Scrap all the stuff about finding the angle and write a story up. Focus on doing proper research, asking the right questions and – first and foremost – the ability to get to the bottom of things.

To a solid sense of truth. No angles. No agendas.

I think that would probably be one of the most valuable educations you could lecture/have in modern society as people who can navigate the chaos of (mis)communication without getting lost or crash will be in high demand.

Thoughts?

(Photo: Pixabay.com)