THE PEOPLE need to understand the technological evolution

I am an acclaimed technologist, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the changes of society, as technology evolves at an exponential growth. It’s a rather meta subject, some people call it science fiction - I think it is humans using technology to supercharge evolution - and it’s happening right now!

Being a positivist, I believe we, the people, can influence our own future. In order to react to the coming changes, I believe that there is a need for our society in general, to understand the technological evolvement.

Mission: Educate the people on the technological evolution
We live in a world, where democracy is the governing rule of law. This means that we the people, elect the leaders that shape the directions of society. Though change can come from bottoms up, I think the consequences will not come from the bottom - nor the top - but from the side and impacting everything.

My viewpoint is that we need to understand the consequences of these radical changes, whereby we can then elect the leaders, that can make the best out of an evolution that feels inevitable - and use it to influence society in a positive way. If used for good, the positive possibilities are endless.

If we don’t understand technological evolution and it¨s nature of being exponential, we can’t act on the consequences… If we don’t react, well then I am very skeptic about the consequences for our society in general. For jobs, national security, our public safety net (that we in Denmark are so proud off), and more. In my mind, the negative consequences are very hard to grasp - which is why I choose to take a positive viewpoint.

The media has a responsibility!
In regards to educating the people, I think the media has an important role. Unfortunately, the media don’t seem to be interested (maybe understand?) in the subject. Maybe they think the people find technology and change boring - maybe they think it is to hard to communicate or grasp? But hey, media, wake up! The technological evolution has changed your industry forever - just as it did to entertainment in general. Why don¨t you start to discuss WHY that happened - and why that will happen to everything - including the health sector, education, transport etc etc.

I know I am opiniated, and I know that I probably my self need to take some action on the subject. I am still thinking about how I can make the best positive impact.. which would take a discussion, if you want to know what I think.

Some inspiration on the subject, explained in Ted Videos:

About the change
Eddie Obeng: Smart failure for a fast-changing world (inspiring and fun!)

About the consequences
Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs? (robots will take jobs)

About exponential technological exponential evolution
Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology (the video is already 7 years old - a lot of change has happened since then - one of them being Ray Kurtzveil now joined Google, to make the Ultimate AI Brain (AI = Artificial Intelligence = Computer thinking for themselves = Lesser needs for us to think = How will that impact work?)

It was created when the Danish investor Lars Tvede wrote the book “Supertrends: Winning Investment Strategies for the Coming Decades" - a book about coming up with investment strategies, on how investors can use the technological evolution, to create financial winning. I unfortunately don’t believe that we can rely on capitalism to fix the flaws of the technological evolution - capitalism is one of the main reasons TO the technology evolution - which is why I look at political leadership, and thereby "public education", to meet the comings - and elect our leaders.


How we build and validated a startup concept in 10 weeks


When not busy building SCALEit, I study my master in Digital Innovation & Management at the Danish IT University - this last semester I took three classes, one of them being Digital Entrepreneurship.

Usually (traditionally), entrepreneurship classes has been about business plans at an MBA styled approach. I hate that. To me, there is nothing worse than writing a uni project, which will not actually be used for anything - it’s a bad use of everyones time! Instead of ‘the-plan-approach’, my group with Kamma Louise Rodian and Thor Underbjerg decided that we wanted to go Lean, build a product, validate some of our hypothesis - and built something of value. As Steve Blank would say it: “get out of the building (classroom), and start talking to customers!” - and so we did.

By following the free online udacity class the Lean LaunchPad, using Alexander Osterwalders framework the Business Model Canvas and implementing Ben Mappens product LeanLaunchLab.com for keeping track of our validation process, we managed to build a site in a very short time. The original idea was born after reading The Sunday Startup on Quora - a fascinating story about how Aravind Chandrasekaran build a startup in one day.

What: a simple children clothes search engine.
Why: It’s hard to find the right products online - there is to much content.
Where: Test it in Denmark. Small market. 5m inhabitants.
$$$: Affiliate transactions
How: Build danbits.com
When: now!

To explain the process (which is the important part), this video will explain how we did it in 10 weeks. The product may or may not be good, but the important part is the learnings, testing and validation.

Some highlights of testing and validating this:

Survey 1: 9 people were in person interviewed in Copenhagen
Survey 2: 125 people e-surveyed
Survey 3: 10 personal webshop interviews 

After an alpha launch, and just before our exam, we AB tested the site in two tests with about 100 users in each. By doing this, we improved search with more than 1400% and time spend on the site with 76%! At the exam we pitched this story:

What we learned:

 - Validated learning is the best method to build and test a startup
 - Following lean principles is a process - customer development is key
 - Product Market Fit takes time. Nail it to scale it!
 - A niche vertical is easier to target
 - Google Docs are awesome to build small tests in!!
 - The Internet is a great place (but we already knew that…..)

The important resources:

Free Lean LaunchPad Udacity class
The Startup Owners manual
Lean LaunchLab
The Sunday Startup
Google Custom Search
Google Forms

Final note:

A personal hero of mine and the godfather of customer development, Eric Ries’ (Lean Startup) personal mentor, Steve Blank, gave our process his endorsement. Coming from him, this means everything!


SCALEit in Denmark

Next week we are with SCALEit travelling Denmark to showcase how our organization work. We will share some of the successful case stories of  how some of our own Alumni companies have had using Silicon Valley to grow, but also talk about how other Danish startups succeeds across the big pond. As a new thing, we are this year also adding the area of Cleantech startups to the existing category of startups within the ICT space. 

We will have events in Copenhagen (17th of April, @ the Danish Foreign Ministry), in Horsens (the 18th of April @ Insero) and in Aarhus (the 19th of April @ Startup City). As some last minute arrangements, we are also trying to share some insights at an event in Odense on the 18th of April - more to follow on that note.

At the events I will specifically explain how our model is used, and also talk about how our upcoming SCALEit Ignite trip in june will be planned.

Hope to see you around :)


BRAGGING TIME! In june 2011 I co-founded and launched the first version of SCALEit. The concept put simple is to bridge the access for Danish high tech startups with the famous ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Since we launched 20 months ago, a vast amount of initiatives has happened. We have arranged events around Denmark, speaking to more than 500 entrepreneurs. We have organized three one week trips to Silicon Valley, exposing 35 startups to the ecosystem. Further, in fall 2012, we arranged our first three month acceleration process where we had five companies with us to California. Out of the acceleration process, we already now have one participant which had a successful exit, and one who just raised 13 mill DKK.

A lot more will happen in 2013 and ahead! We seek to arrange three more one week trips, not only covering IT startups, but also moving in to the clean-tech space. We are further aiming to build the our next acceleration process in collaboration with Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway. Yes, we are expanding!

And hey, it’s not the average companies we work with! We seek only startups who through technology, are building products that can have an impact on the global market.. guys, this is impact!


Accelerators accelerate your startup.. join one!

I am a big fan of accelerators! A good accelerator can move a startup from idea to success in a very short amount of time. If you have an idea and a team, and you want to try your idea out, why not go for an accelerator? Usually you will give up a small amount of equity of your business (5-10%), and in return be ‘enrolled’ in a program of (usually) a 3 months period. You will receive micro founding (in the area of $15-40k), and you will experience a heavy focus on (hopefully the right) mentorship. At the end of the program you can expect to pitch a (hopefully) strong investor crowd. I think accelerators are the perfect opportunity to learn quick fail fast (or make it big…).

In Denmark I got to know the accelerator Starupbootcamp from a very early stage. Alex Farcet (founder of SBC) took me as an organizer of the first Startup Weekend Copenhagen, where he also brought me in to help with Mentor Days for the first batch of Startupbootcampers. At that time I also got to know Jim Digsby, who are now building the accelerator Rockstart in Amsterdam - beween others with Rune Theill, a fellow Dane good to know in Silicon Valley. Rune also used to work for Alex.

Where Alex accelerated his accelerator (they are now in 6! cities around europe), Jim and Rune (and two other guys whom I havent yet met), launched Rockstart. They really look serious about it, and i’m pretty psyched about how fast they move and brand them self!

So what do Rockstart offer: coaching by 99 mentors (successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s and experts in the field of finance, legal and IP), up to €15k of seed investment (plus a sponsorpackage worth +€30k), 6-months of inspiring office space in downtown Amsterdam, Demo day (pitch in front of 100+ investors, journalists and VIP’s) and a business trip of 25 days co-working in Silicon Valley. The last part of that package I might help the guys out with - which is why I really would like to see strong teams joining them!!

The deadline to apply closes on the 31st of January - so in just 5 days! The program starts on the 23rd of March in Amsterdam.

Why I think you should join them? The team behind are amazingly energized, they are themselves entrepreneurs - and I think they can pull it off. They have the ambition to grow it big in Europe: and I think we need it! The battle on accelerators are fierce…

And yes, the competition in Europe is fierce on accelerators! Some of the players are Seedcamp (London), HackFwd (Hamburg), GammaRebels (Warsaw), Springboard (London) and with Startupbootcamp in multiple cities (Copenhagen, London, Madrid and Amsterdam - later in 2012 also London and Dublin), a lot is happening. Across the pound, in Silicon Valley, the talk of town is Ycombinator, sharply followed by 500startups and Techstars

With Rockstart launching now (with an ambition of growing in to more cities), this can only meen one thing: more offers to startups, more focus on entrepreneurship - and eventually a stronger european community.

When we build SCALEit, it was meant to be the natural next step for danish startups, coming from for example an accelerator. We are the move from a local accelerator, where next step is coming to Silicon Valley to scale. Boom!


Søren, a winemaker

Of all things I thought of my self doing 1 year back, becoming a winemaker was pretty far down the list (surpassed by stuntman and professional ginny pig). Nonetheless, facts are that I am now brewing wine in Sonoma - one of the best wine areas in the world.

Together with 3 good entrepreneurial friends, we are ‘sharing a barrel’, producing a total of 150 bottles. It will take us about a year to brew the wine - leaving me with 30 something great Pinot Noir wines - all from Northern California (60 miles north of San Francisco). Our grapes has been picked from a wineyard called Split Rock, and we have been told that the pinot grapes from their cool climate, would make our wine dark and feature a dark cherry taste, but also adding excellent tannin and acid to the backbone - required for the aging process. Yea, I am really learning something here!

Practicing how to mix grapes to make a new unique wine. THATS chemistry!

Though we didn’t get to harvest the grapes, we did get to sort them out and remove the mulled and the raisin looking ones. I also got to eat all the superb fresh grapes I could - I was close to exploding!!

Me and Josh at ‘the table’. I know Josh from Startupbus.

My fellow wine maker Søren (yea, that name: what are the odds!) lent me his book about winemaking!

I am a total newbee in this game, and because I love drinking these great fruits - it feels great to actually make wine! This project is between all of us considered a demo project. We will give away and drink the wine our self, maybe sell a few bottles, and then - in the best lean startup way - scale our business. For us it will be the same process brewing 150 or 1.000 bottles. If we can sell it - we can scale again. In a year from now we will have a label and all permits signed to start selling - so if you know someone who want great wine with a history of tech entrepreneurs - here we are. Team Supernova (working title). 

My new profession: winemaker!


If you are working - then here is some work stimulation!


The obvious!

So, lets do it, ill race you!


I really try to live by this philosophy


BUCKY’o’ZUN - a very promising startup!

Back in June I was asked by the YouNoodle team if I wanted to be a mentor for a startup in the Intel Challenge program. As I am a firm believer in ‘sharing is caring’, I of course accepted the challenge.

Intel Challenge is a startup competition running in South America and Europe. I received a list of about 100 startups (just 2 lines of descriptive text from each), and were told to nail a shortlist of 5 teams. Hard choices were made, and the YN team ended up by presenting me with Sara and Emilie from the Danish startup BUCKY’o’ZUN (guess it was a coincidence they teamed me up with danes).

To me, the product was described as:

Very interesting statement, right? At least I thought so.

Despite my lack of knowledge to the life science spectrum, I was instructed to help them optimize their businessplan, and then later - prepare them (and their product) - for a pitch competition in Poland. If they do well there, they will join the finals here in Silicon Valley - battling the top of the pop in startups from South America and Europe.

Over the last couple of months I have worked intensively with Sara and Emilie. Despite their young age (they are 20!), they have created a fantastic product with a, excuse me, amazing potential. I wont share any technology insights, but just leave you with this statement:

Tomorrow the team will fly to Poland to pitch their startup to a panel of experts - I believe some 50 startups are going to compete. If they do well (which they will), I will get to work them a bit longer - the finals will go down at the Berkeley University.

I wish Sara and Emilie the best of luck! You guys rock the world - please nail it in Sopot!

I have done what I could to help you. Please win so we get a bit more time together ;)

FYI (in Danish):
 - Seed capital investerer 1.8 millioner i 19 årige pigers ide (Fra Ingeniøren)


WE LOVE BIKES - DENMARK from Wonderful Copenhagen

Right now the UCI world championships in biking is happening in Copenhagen. Watching this video made me miss home.. (but only for a bit;)


Rød + Blå = Lilla!

This is my comment on the Danish elections – this post will be in Danish.

I sidste uge afgav jeg hos borgerservice min stemme – og hvor var det dog dejligt! Ikke bare fordi jeg er glad for at bruge min demokratiske ret, men fordi jeg til dette valg, mere end nogensinde før, har følt mig sikker i min stemme.

Blok politik!
Forsvind. Bliv væk. Du har været af det onde! At flertallet i et demokrati bestemmer, er ikke det samme som at mindretallet ikke skal sidde med ved bordet. Men sådan har det været i de sidste 10 år. Det skal være slut – uanset hvem der vinder valget! Det skal være slut med Dansk Folkepartis diktatoriske magt over udlændige politik. Hver finanslov i snart 10 år er gennemført, med en undtagelse, af regeringen og DF – med udlændinge stramninger til følge. Anstændigheden røg sig en gevaldig tur i den proces…

Rød økonomi
12 minutters ekstra arbejde om dagen? JA! Stop med at piv. Jeg arbejder glad 12 timer om dagen! Jeg har selvfølgelig ikke forpligtelser som en børnefamilie, men mon ikke vi som samfund – overordnet set – kunne arbejde lidt mere? Og er 12 minutters ekstra arbejdstid for meget til ’at sikre velfærden’? Nej, og det er 62% af danskerne for øvrigt enige i. For den enkelte dansker burde det ikke være det snævre syn på egen arbejdstid der spiller ind. Vores lands konkurrence evne er hæmmet af for høje lønninger (i forhold til udlandet), og en samtidig for kort arbejdstid. Det er ikke holdbart, og at VOK blot nedgør forslaget, og ikke vil bruge det som endnu en økonomisk skrue i samfundet, er totalt useriøst! Det til trods for at Løkke i 2008 mente noget helt andet.

Betalingsring: fint med mig. Det nedbringer billismen, er bedre for miljøet og flytter flere midler over i den offentlige trafik - som vil give forbedringer. At det kan anses som en skæv skat (LI argument), kan løses med løn differentiering – som man gør med skat. Løkke taler mod økonomerne, og da det konflikter med hans skattestop - som forøvrigt også er social skævt - kan han ikke støtte det. #fail 

Blå økonomi
Efterlønsreform: det er oplagt! Store befolkningsgrupper er på vej på pension og efterløn – delvist betalt af staten. Samtidig med det har vi de små årgange, som jeg bl.a. selv er en del af, der er på vej ud på arbejdsmarkedet. Humlen er at min generation kommer til at finansiere, at de ældre årgange lever markant længere end før i tiden (og heldigvis for det), og derved ligger et stort pres på et i forvejen dyrt sundhedssystem. Samtidig med at det sker, så siger alle økonomer at vi kommer til at mangle arbejdskraft i fremtiden. Så er det ikke super smart at lukke vores grænser til, så det er svært at tiltrække udenlandsk arbejdskraft, samtidig med at staten betaler folk for at trække sig tilbage. Ræsonnementet giver inden mening, og det kunne ‘rød blok’ godt tage at indse!

Faktum er at min generation formentlig ikke får lov til at gå på pension før vi er 70. Det har jeg det faktisk fint med – jeg kan bare ikke forstå, hvorfor andre så nu kan gå af som 60 årige (eller er det nu 62?). Det holder ikke! Jeg støtter naturligvis suppleringsordninger til folk der virkelig er nedslidte - og derfor må stoppe tidligere på arbejdsmarkedet. 

Innover og skab nyt!
Jeg er iværksætter, og jeg støtter alle tiltag der får folk til at turde tage springet ud i et liv som selvstændig. For det er i små virksomheder at man skaber flest jobs i Danmark – ikke i de store! Fjern iværksætterskatten, multimedieskatten og affaldsskatten (eller hvad det nu er for et renoveringsgebyr, små erhvervsdrivende pludselig får smidt i hovedet). Uddan børn og unge, allerede i folkeskolen, til at de kan blive selvstændige. Hvorfor er virksomheders budget lægning ikke en del af pensum i regning? Kunne man ikke forestille sig at børn, på klasseniveau, fik givet et ”ApS” i børnehaveklassen, som så fulgte dem igennem 10 år, og som de sammen skulle drive og betale for studieture med, iPads til klassen, eller hvad de nu ellers kunne finde på? Jeg er sikker på at Danmarks ungdom kan tænke kreativt og skabe nyt. For vi er som land nødt til det! Mindre lønmodtager - mere lønskaber!

Face it! Det fylder ikke meget i den politiske debat, men hey – det er seriøst – vores jord er ved at gå i stykker. Den nuværende sult krise i Øst Afrika er et tydeligt tegn – og vores våde sommer i Danmark er måske også (igen slipper vi forøvrigt som land billigt!). Det er min, mine børns og mine børnebørns generation, der skal lide under konsekvenserne. De gamle årgange burde tage problemet mere seriøst – jeg oplever at det oprigtigt bekymrer os unge. Miljø er for mig en mærkesag.

Alt det andet (og meget mere som ikke står her)
Jeg går ind for mindre skat. Jeg går ind for flere reformer. Jeg går ind for større personlig frihed. Læs mere her!

For mig er der kun en ting der er rigtig at stemme: Det Radikale Venstre. Jeg vil opfordre dig til at gøre det samme - og så stemte jeg i KBH forøvrigt personligt på Uffe Elbæk. 

Blå og rød blandet sammen giver lilla. Og lilla giver samarbejde over midten – væk fra DF enevælde.


Risk – learn to love it!

As an entrepreneur you have to deal with financial risk. If there is no risk, the vision of your business is probably not big enough, and the potential return of investment, is probably also not big enough. Not saying that an entrepreneurial lifestyle is all about the (potential) money. Independence, freedom from a corporate lifestyle - doing what you love, with endless engagement - is what I think is the main ingredients for entrepreneurs. 

With the above in mind, an entrepreneur often chooses risk. When an entrepreneur decides not to work for others, he also withdraws the life as a salary slave, simply because it is unattractive – regardless of the yearly 5% bonus.

As an entrepreneur my self, I have more than once, felt the economic up’s and down’s, of risking it. And every time this financial downside happens to me, where I for many months at a time, is shit broke, I easily remind my self: at least I try. And then I smile… because I do what I love.

What do you think of the entrepreneurial risk factor?


Anonymous said: What does the name of the site stands for?

I am Danish, and as a kid I was taught about Norse Mythology. I liked the stories. Yggdrasil is from there… 

In Norse mythologyYggdrasil (play /ˈɪɡdrəsɪl/; from Old Norse Yggdrasill, pronounced [ˈyɡːˌdrasilː]) is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology. It was said to be the world tree around which the nine worlds existed. Its name is generally considered to mean “Ygg's (Odin's) horse”. (Wikipedia = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yggdrasil)