What excites you?

What intrigues you the most? Going after the same things everybody else is going after? Or going counter and look in places that most other people have abandoned?

I am all for the latter. While I recognize that there are indeed major trends out there and obvious opportunities, I personally find those that run counter more intellectually appealing. When I meet those I always ask myself: Is what they are trying to do just dumb? Or is it really super brilliant? It’s usually one or the other.

For me too much groupthink doesn’t do it for me. The argument for doing something because everybody else is doing is has always been weak and void to me. While there may be something there, the sheer fight over something with a lot of other piranhas eventually leading to a slide down to the lowest common denominator simply just isn’t that appealing. Add to that that the math seldom checks out for me; in a saturated market easy to penetrate, not everybody who claim whey will win will have the ability to win. Simply too many piranhas in the sea. Most will end up with a fairly decent haircut.

Going counter is another matter. Going where everybody else – or most – have already given up, while the problem at hand persists, intrigues me. I does something good to me to know that succeeding where others have decided not to even play takes something extraordinary, and that success rests on the ability to figure out what exactly that extraordinary component is.

Yes, I know the risk is bigger. It’s really do or die. The difference between making a bet on red on the roulette versus placing all your chips on 0. However, I love this approach for three reasons:

First, it’s deeply satisfying to get really challenged in figuring out something that’s super hard and not for everybody to dig into. It provides a sense of real accomplishment, when – if – you succeed in doing it.

Second, you can add the satisfaction of hopefully having been able to solve a real problem to people that others have given up on trying to solve. You get the sense that you’re affecting real change, creating impact and that people are substantially better off, because you decided to put in the work and effort that was beyond reasonable for many others.

And finally, the returns on your success are likely outsized – at least if the problem you have chosen to tackle is valuable enough to enough people. Because you were the one going counter, most of the pie will be yours. At least in the beginning.

Again, I fully realize a great opportunity when I see it, and I am not hellbent on making things as complex as they can be. Sometimes easy truly is the better way forward. But in terms of really what makes me tick, it’s the tougher challenge – the one where you really feel alive and in the zone.

(Photo by Stillness InMotion on Unsplash)

The right experiments

When you’re experimenting with new technologies and new ways of doing things, make sure that you get the order of sequence right.

Don’t fall into the trap of experimenting based on what is easiest from a technology point-of-view. While it may seem like a great idea and a good way to get started and move ahead with speed, the big risk is that you’ll be working with solutions looking for a problem rather than the other way around.

Instead look at the problem, you need to fix. And then start to consider what needs to be true from a technology point-of-view before you can start fixing the problem and bringing an actual solution to market for customers to give feedback on. That will dramatically increase your chances of getting out there with a real solution.

Will it take longer time? Yes. Will it me more cumbersome? Probably. But it’s the best way to go in order for you to ensure that you get real value and not just fun out of your experiments.

(Photo by Nicolas Thomas on Unsplash)

Re-imagining the office

If you ever had to re-imagine the office post-Covid-19, how would you do it?

Personally, I think a very interesting opportunity lies in getting the answer right to the above question. And I am pretty sure, it won’t be easy.

Look at it this way;

Many companies have already stated that their going to offer work-from-home as an option going forward and as a result are letting go of office space. Some companies have even abandoned the office altogether.

At the other end of the spectrum, many people are reeling from being socially secluded and not being able to have in person interactions with colleagues and co-workers. While distance is great for some, closeness and togetherness is life’s salt for others.

Then add in the pre-pandemic office and it’s rather mundane interior design and commodity perks (fussball tables, Friday bar etc) seeming rather dated and boring by now and ready for the total revamp.

And then – and then – potentially add in some nifty new tech.

What you have is a super interesting cocktail of ingredients that could potentially make up a very interesting and tasty recipe for the Future of (On Premise) Work.

And my gut feeling is that the ones who get this right – probably from starting all over reimagining the experience, function and most important feeling of the future office – will have a golden opportunity.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Burning the Midnight Oil

“I work all the time.”

It is one of the things, you most often hear from entrepreneurs trying to succeed with whatever their venture may be.

And while in no way surprising, to me it has always been kind of puzzling.

I am a guy who likes to picture things in my mind. And I have always tried to picture to myself what an ‘always on, always working’ type looks like. What does (s)he do all those hours?

Is it the ongoing focused grind staring into the laptop screen? Is it meetings? Is it sales pitches? Fundraising? What?

Probably all of the above. Of course. But what I have found so far is that the real denominator is the state of your brain.

When you’re trying to make something happen, it tends to always be on. Even when it should be off or at least resting. Never mind office hours, meetings and the sorts. It’s also on in the evening when you’re having dinner with your family (or alone, depending on your life situation), when you try to go to sleep at night, when you twist and turn in bed, in the shower in the morning and so on.

When your brain is working on trying to move whatever it is you’re doing forward, you’re working. Essentially meaning that you’re always on, always in one shape or form working.

That’s what I have made of it so far.

Is it necessarily super healthy? Most probably not. But where is the off-switch?

My point exactly.

NB. This morning I was at my desk at 05.30…

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

A happy note

Yesterday, a long time acquintance sent me a direct Twitter-message that made me really happy.

In it he basically stated that it was great to observe from the sidelines the new things, I am involved in, and that to him it looked like, I had found a much better place for myself than was the case, when I was in the media industry.

Apart from agreeing 100 percent with his observation, what made me happy about it?

Basically that I am now doing what I love doing (and was perhaps meant to do all along?) in a way that is transparent and authentic to such an extend that it’s noticeable to the outside world. Not just from me telling about it but from the reflections of people-

It’s not that that is a goal in itself for me. It just reinforces my belief that I am on the right track and adds to my determination to carry on and keep pushing.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Emotional at work

Looking at the future of work, I am convinced that those who can nail the emotional intelligence and belonging aspect of work in a working-from-home environment will be onto something truly amazing.

Why?

Because no matter how much I think about it, I still can’t see anything other than the current fascination with working-from-home as being driven by the same sort of industrial society mentality, we pretty much all felt we were in the process of moving well away from.

Why on Earth would we want it back?

In it’s present form the thinking around working-from-home as solely a matter of efficiency and crossing off items on the to do list IMHO totally misses the point about forming and sustaining a culture in the organization where new ideas thrive, innovation is unleashed and real progress is made.

It fits more into a narrative of a guy on the old factory floor timing processes looking for places to optimize and cut – but in no way bringing anything forward.

Those that understand the difference and focus on developing the emotional sense of belonging between employee and employer no natter the physical distance, will have amble opportunity to make a real difference.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Back in the office!

Today is my first day back at the office for more than a month due to the corona pandemic. I have walked my kids to school and kindergarten (and I feel confident that they will be totally fine), and I feel like cattle being let loose on the meadows after a long winter indoor.

Much is being said about remote work being the new style of play. I don’t buy it. It is not for me. Both because I need the separation between work and home, and because I have found it very hard to do the job, I do, efficiently from home.

I realize you may feel differently. And I also realize that if your job entails a lot of communication, answering emails, crossing of tasks and talking on the phone, working from home may be just what the doctor ordered for you. But if you’re trying to develop new business(es), create relationships, get people onboard with exciting new ideas, concepts and businesses, there is no substitute for being able to get out of the building.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Happy New Year!

2019 is running out and now is a good time to reflect on the year gone by and looking ahead to 2020.

May 1 I joined inQvation as Head of Studio. It has been an amazing and hectic experience so far. When you are trying to build something from scratch, there is a lot of heavy lifting that needs to be done – a lot of things you need to figure out. I have learned a lot, and overall I think we’re a lot wiser on what works and what doesn’t going into 2020.

We’re very ambitious about 2020. This is the year where all the work, we put in, and the experience, we have gainedm, should enable us – and you too – to start seeing the first real results of our work. Not the end product as such, because building a startup is an ongoing process. But we will be signaling intent and trying to make our mark in some very interesting spaces. I promise. And I look so much forward to it.

Happy New Year!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)