Making bit bets

When I read about advice for startups, I am often struck by the sheer banality of a lot of them; how easy they make it seem to become a successful entrepreneur.

Maybe it is (somewhat, see below) easy. I guess it depends on your ambition;

If it is to use a tried and tested formula to do something others have done before but just with a slight twist and present it in the “Lions Den” in the hope of celebrity investment maybe it is somewhat ‘easy’?

It is certainly quite well inside your own span of control and the effort you put in will go a long way (with some luck added for effect of course). It’s is very much about the quantity you put in – the number of hours etc.

You can do that in limited time and with very limited investment apart from your own hard work. And if it doesn’t work out, chances are you will not have bet the entire farm, and you can always try again.

But what if you instead want to make a really big bet?

What if you want to try to do something, no-one has done before?

What if you want to serve a new audience that has so far been not only underserved but downright neglected?

What if your future product is novel, still in the R&D labs and a lot can still go wrong?

What if, as a consequence of the above, your product is some distance out in the future?

And what if on top of all of the above there is no truly authoritative way you can test whether what you’re looking to do will ultimately be successful?

Making a big bet is daunting in an entirely different way.

Yes, the rewards can be huge. In more ways than one.

If you succeed.

But there are still countless ways you can fail.

It may look intriguing in a Powerpoint, but it’s an entirely different matter when the decision to follow through and make the bet has been made.

Then the real work begins. Then you’re on the hook.

But you will be on the hook for something bold and deeply worthwhile.

Not just 5 minutes of fame.


Corona thoughts, part 9

So, we’re back in Covid-19 territory. The numbers are going up in the greater Copenhagen area and as such many have been requested to go back to working from home, not meeting physically etc.

It was a pain the last time. And it’s a pain again. But for me a different kind of pain.

First of all, I am much more aware of what is required to me to function well and ‘keep the light on’ this time around than I was the last time. So I am addament to make sure that the impact of the new restrictions will be as lightweight as possible for me, the team and the schedule, we’re on.

Which brings me to the second point: The team and the schedule. Because here there is a stark difference between then and now:

Back then we were very much in the preliminary planning phase with our new venture. Now, we’re hard at work to make it happen. We have milestones to meet, things to do, tasks to get crossed of our list.

And the last thing we need is for Covid-19 restrictions to put any sort of potential break on that.

That also makes it more stressful than the last time. Because this time there is not a feeling that potentially, we could just ‘wait it out’. This time we need to remain focused, get the job done and move along on our journey all while we observe the restrictions. That’s a big difference.

I realize that for many this was also indeed the case the first time around, and I am full of awe of how people and businesses have handled it across the board.

For me the situation now is somewhat new, but that others have gone before and succeeded gives me the confidence that our team will as well.

So thank you for setting an inspiring example to look up to.


Towards infinity

There are a lot of things that aren’t exactly rocket science. But space-analogies are nonetheless still pretty powerful in terms of exemplifying things and efforts that may seem out of this world.

Back when I was a kid, my biggest dream was to one day to get the opportunity to launch a Saturn V-rocket. You know; hit that big button (which I imagine it must be) and just observe this mightiest of machines mankind has ever built rise gracefully towards the infinite space.


What makes space-analogies so relevant in regards to venturing into the innovation unknown is what it says about those, who don’t do it.

After all, one thing is to be an ‘astronaut’ and put yourself out there where no one or only few have gone before. On the flipside of that is the ‘know it all’ type, who prefers to stay firmly on the surface of the Earth, conscious of all the risk associated with moving – and thus ending up not moving at all.

Going for a peek in ‘outer space’ seems somewhat more interesting, no?

Yes, there is an abundance of risk associated with venturing out in the unknown, and yes, there are numerous times when you can and will question, why you got on top of that rocket to begin with. But that doesn’t make it wrong. That just makes you normal – despite your ambition to challenge ‘gravity’.

When you look at it that way, going above and beyond where you have gone before suddenly looks an even more interesting prospect.

PS: If you want to play around with launching a Saturn V-rocket from inside of the Apollo command module, you can play around with a cool online demo here.


Critical certainty

Uncertainty seems the only constant when you’re working with innovation and trying to build a viable business. And there is good reason to support the argument that the more successful you are, the more you tend to be surrounded by uncertainty.

You can not – and shall not pursue – total certainty at any point in time, because doing so will slow you down and get you bogged down in process.

What you can however do is try to identify the factors most critical to success in your business and work towards getting to more certainty in those particular areas and use the insight to really rocket-fuel your success.