An example of a potential blockchain usage: replacing publishing houses

Today we’re in 2018. 9 Years ago we saw the Bitcoin white paper and the first Bitcoins were mined, and since we have also seen the sharp rise in prices. The last part of 2017 was full of media writing non-stop about Bitcoin, but mostly with a speculation angle.

We have to admit: we lack serious projects, which has an actual impact. However, as I wrote in my huge 15.000+ words piece, I argued this is caused by we’re currently in the infrastructure phase, not much further than the seventies of eighties of the Internet. This lack of impact seems to let some people believe we won’t see it, and simply neglect the potential.

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Review of Betahaus Berlin – the co-working space in Berlin

For the last 3 months, I’ve been working in Betahaus in Berlin. Betahaus is one of the oldest (if not the oldest?) co-working space in Berlin and is one of the options most people suggest when you ask for co-working suggestions in the city.

In this post, I will give a review of the co-working space. I will share my thoughts, what I really liked and what I did not like so much.

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Maintaining a “traveling lifestyle” while working on a start-up

Clickbait title: how I had 9 mini-vacations and still work in a very ambitious start-up with crazy working hours

Working at an ambitious start-up is not aaalways the best for your health and mentality. We work 60-70 hours a week – with 80 hour week exceptions. And we’re not talking “American “biography book” work weeks” – we’re talking actual hours at the office working.

This has a lot of obvious challenges (especially regarding general health), but also a lot of side-benefits I haven’t thought about before:

  • You start to become more narrow-minded
  • You loose friends / you don’t get to meet so many new people
  • You don’t get to cultivate many other interests

To conquer this you need crazy discipline.
Recently I started running at 6am, I sign myself up for half-marathons every 3 months, I force myself to listen to audiobooks whenever I’m in transit or do sports, I time block “meet friends” in my calendar and fill it out every week with new people.
The whole point is: you need to make a real effort to get basic things to work.

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Working 70 hours a week vs. being a digital nomad

Start 2015 I proclaimed I wanted to become a digital nomad. I wanted to travel the world, work remote and see the world.

A quick definition for those unaware of the term digital nomad:

Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely—generally from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces and even recreational vehicles—to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace.)

It was something I had dreamed to do for a long while. Being able to live where I wanted, work when I wanted and see what I wanted – not limited by geography.

In 2015 I managed to get that to work. I managed to be able to pull a stable 50k DKK salary a month (roughly 7.5k USD) from running my remote outsourcing company – and I could have increased that and been living like a king in most places of the world. I lived in Thailand and Philippines. I worked from Malaga. I worked from Bucharest. I worked from Hong Kong. I worked from Berlin.
– All amazing places – especially since I had/have friends and family in those places.

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How is the startup scene and community in the Philippines?

I spent June in the Philippines, working my ass off on my own startup. I also got the chance to learn much more about the startup scene in the Philippines. With that in mind, I thought it deserved a blog post.

Now, I was extremely lucky that David Margendorff from PawnHero and John Dang from Zipmatch wanted to chip in to give a more diverse view of how they see the startup community and scene. PawnHero and Zipmatch are established businesses in the Philippines, and they basically know everything there is to know about the scene.

Before we dig in, I think it’s important to provide some context. Not all readers are very familiar with the Philippines, and context matters, as it is an extremely exciting market worth exploring.

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Review of Amazon Machine learning – first experience with machine learning

 

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering from the best technical university in Denmark. I have a Master’s Degree in Business.

I see myself as quite a technical person. My job is to make sure that the developers in my company make great code, and that we pick the right architectural decisions. We do a good job, and our customers seem to love us (well, they keep buying stuff!).

But I am a business guy. From a business perspective, I am totally hyped about machine learning and artificial intelligence (which for some reason is the same in my mind – well, let us say – was). I believe it’s the future, and I totally want to build the next “machine-learning”-applied product that will conquer the world.

But I have no experience with machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning or any of the other fancy words I’ve read.

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Today’s startups should seek to change the physical world

Uber. Airbnb. Tesla. Xiaomi. SpaceX.

We hear about these tech “unicorns” all the time: Uber, the 40 million USD transport company, without owning any taxis. Airbnb the biggest hotelier, without owning any hotels.

It’s easy to get caught up in a discussion about their value, and how awesome they are.

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Goals for 2015 and reflections on 2014

This is my first blog post in English at LarsHoldgaard.com. While my English is not grammatically perfect, I think you will understand. I decided to write it in English for multiple reasons:

  1. More and more of my friends and connections are native English speakers
  2. I see myself use Danish less and less: my normal day is English 60-80% of the time

This post is a very personal one. It’s a reflection on the year 2014, and looking ahead at 2015.

I dare to say this: 2014 has been the best year of my life. I say this every year, but it’s comforting to know I can keep saying it.

First, just a couple of milestones of 2014:

  • Finished my masters degree with less than 12 months of studying (it’s supposed to be 24 months) and received “10” – the second highest grade in Denmark
  • Been to China, Philippines (twice), Singapore, Thailand Cambodia, Vietnam, New York, Berlin and Cannes
  • I sold my first company and had an article in Børsen with the headline: “Danish entrepreneur sells student portal for a quarter of a million kr
  • Went from 89kg in April to 78kg in November
  • Failed really bad with a startup
  • Participated in a 5000 USD conference in New York about a subject I am deeply passionate about
  • Got an amazing position at Saxo as a UX/conversion specialist, and did really well
  • … Quit that job and started my own company in August. Since then I am up to two full time employees and a freelancer who basically works for me full time
  • I biked to Berlin with my Dad from Denmark in 1.5 days
  • I moved into the city, living less than ten minutes biking to the center of Copenhagen
  • I started a conference company with my roommate and did three conferences with 100+ people (and sold out tickets)
  • I did a conference on the other side of the world with 120 participants, without being there or knowing the venue first

Woah!

It’s interesting when you make a list like this one: you have often done much more than you thought you would.

But more importantly, this year has changed my opinion about what’s possible in one year. If you had asked me if I truly believed I could achieve all this in one year, I would have laughed at you. So thank you, 2014, you have been amazing.

So now is the question: what to do next?

While 2014 was a year with many goals, I am going to have less goals in 2015. In 2014 I sought adventure through travels, health, money, career, network, fun and startups , 2015 is going to be much more focused and simple.

In 2015 I am going to have three goals. Three things I want to achieve.

All my life I have been very bad at focusing on one or two things.

I remember when I was 15 years old playing Runescape while preparing for my exams. In Runescape you could click at something, look away for 5-7 seconds, and then look again.

I did all my exam preparation and assignments this way.

Now, I am not a believer in multitasking. Any research and attempts shows it doesn’t work – even for women. But I never respected it. I’ve always done multiple things at once – even when I had to prepare for exams.

When I worked on my first company GodeKarakterer.dk, I also focused on multiple things. I had a webshop, some minor blogs and my thoughts were about a new company already.

That’s a mistake. If there is anything I’ve learned the last couple of years, especially from working with Nicolai Frisch and Martin Thorborg in Amino, is that focus is essential.

That’s why I am going to dedicate 2015 to three simple goals. That’s also why I have decided to step down as partner in Imus, the conference company I had together with my roommate, despite we did really well.

My three goals in 2015

The three goals are:

  1. A healthy body
  2. Jarboo is ready for (international) scaling
  3. Geographic independence

Goal one: a healthy body

When it comes to health, I have never been good at controlling it. Even though I have lost a lot of weight recently, it’s not very controlled. I gain and lose weight at random, while eating unhealthy and drinking a shocking amount of soda. From time to time I do a lot of biking, but it’s not consistent all year around.

In 2015 that’s going to be different. In 2015 I will:

  • Have 1 Hour of movement tracked on Google Fit every 365 days during the year.
  • On average, 2x active training a week (racer biking or running)
  • Slow carb diet / paleo diet with one cheat meal a week, including a 90 day challenge with no cheat meals or soda)
  • Half a liter of soda pr. week is allowed

Goal two: Jarboo is ready for scaling

My new startup (which is going to conquer the world -> please sign up for a monthly update on Jarboo.com), has to be ready for an explosive expansion in 2016. In 2015 the product should be nailed and perfected.

In 2015, a customer should visit the Jarboo.com website, register their company and get quality code delivered – without I personally even knew about the customer existing in the system – and pay one tenth of the price they would pay a western developer

I also target some other milestones, such as 5-10 different paying customers and 250.000 DKK in a single month revenue, but compared to having a customer through the system while I don’t even know about the customer, they’re completely irrelevant.

Goal three: I am geographically independent

Today it would be extremely impractical to move away from Copenhagen. As Jarboo basically is “Lars and a couple of great foreigners”, I rely on meeting my customers physically. I want to provide an even better service to my existing customers, but without being there physically all the time.

Jarboo has to be developed to a point where I can have a steady salary while living everywhere. Luckily the rest of my life is pretty easy to move up. I have 3 months resignation on an apartment I share with a roommate, which is the only thing that could hold me back.

So thats 2015

This will be extremely interesting.

2014 Has been amazing, despite I have had a very broad focus. I have achieved success in many different areas, and had A LOT of fun.

But my assumption is 2015 can be completely off the chart. With a renewed focus and more knowledge and resources than ever, I am sure 2015 only can be a huge success.

Give it up for 2015 🙂 Thanks for reading this far.

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