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.

Continue reading Today’s startups should seek to change the physical world

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Personal reflections: Avoid decisions and default to mastery

I believe that a human being can only handle so many decisions in a day. I am very inspired by the actions of personalities like Barack Obama, who doesn’t make decisions about clothes (apparently he only owns 2 type of suits), food (every meal is made for him) or anything practical of the sort.

The thing is, decision-making comes down to a range of parameters such as emotional state, willpower and focus at the given time. This ultimately leads to bad, unhealthy, unproductive and regrettable decisions.

That’s why I want to make an attempt to avoid as many decisions as possible, and then default to “mastery”.

Continue reading Personal reflections: Avoid decisions and default to mastery

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Review of co-working spaces HUBBA (Bangkok) and Punspace (Chiang Mai)

I’ve now been living outside Denmark for nearly two weeks. To me having a great space to work is essential, as I am an entrepreneur doing a lot of stuff online.

As I’ve started in Thailand, I’ve had the experience of working in three different locations:

  • HUBBA, Bangkok (a co-working space in Bangkok city)
  • The two Punspace offices in Chiang Mai (also a co-working space)

I thought I’d give a quick review for anyone interesting in that matter.

Continue reading Review of co-working spaces HUBBA (Bangkok) and Punspace (Chiang Mai)

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What is the most powerful technology of 2015?

It’s funny. When you look at popular tech media or tweets from important tech people, you’ll find a lot of hype about:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Autonomous cars
  • Virtual reality
  • Stem cells
  • Cancer treatments
  • 3D printers
  • Quantum computers
  • Drones
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Nanotechnology
  • DNA sequencing
  • Personalized medicine

I am just as hyped about these technologies as everyone else.

I totally believe in strong artificial intelligence, being driven to the office in a robot car (or just going there in virtual reality). I also believe in defying death, and that should be one of the most important goals of humanity.

Continue reading What is the most powerful technology of 2015?

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Mrs Pa smoothie in 2015 (Chiang Mai) – where is it (map) ?

When I was in Chiang Mai the first time back in 2014, I went on the quest for finding the world famous Mrs. Pa smoothies.

I went to the south gate by around 7pm, to find the very busy night market. I walked and walked, and couldn’t find it! Just as I was about to give up, I found it – Mrs Pa’s smoothies. I said hi and was surprised she spoke very nice English, and I got a really, really nice smoothie.

Continue reading Mrs Pa smoothie in 2015 (Chiang Mai) – where is it (map) ?

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The first days as a digital nomad living in Thailand

Sunday morning at 7am I arrived in Bangkok airport. Tired after forgetting to sleep in the plane (who can sleep at 3pm???), I was in a good mood and wanted to get into the city.

First I had the pleasant surprise of finding out sim cards are VERY easy accessible. Around 15 USD poorer, I had 3gb of 4G data and unlimited 3G. Hello connected world!

Continue reading The first days as a digital nomad living in Thailand

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Preparing to become a digital nomad

After an amazing Workaway trip to Morocco back in January, I decided to become a digital nomad. It’s a dream I had had since I read the “Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris back in 2010.

However, in reality the concept is a bit more difficult. The key issue is finding a way to have a stable income while working remotely, which is very difficult while being an employee (possible, but ridiculously complicated in some industries at least).

Continue reading Preparing to become a digital nomad

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Hold kæft hvor er Uber godt…

Nu har jeg ikke skrevet på bloggen i lang tid, men synes i dag jeg noget at dele.

Jeg har hele mit liv været nærig, og forsøge at spare penge. Men over de sidste par år har jeg fået mere og mere travlt, og er begyndt at købe flere og flere luksuser. Normalt kigger jeg altid på min egen timeløn, og sammenligner med hvad jeg kan “outsource” opgaven for.

En luksus jeg har været ekstremt glad for er ugentlig rengøring, som sparer mig for virkelig meget tid.

I januar måned er der dog åbnet en løsning, som har overrasket mig fuldstændig.

Jeg bruger mere og mere tid på transport, især når jeg skal rundt til kunder. Det tager sindssygt lang tid: lige meget om det er cykel eller transport.
Jeg begyndte at overveje at købe en billig bil, men det virkede som en vanvittig investering, selvom det kunne spare mig for rigtig meget tid.

En eftermiddag blev jeg introduceret til at appen “Uber”, var åbnet i Danmark, og faktisk fungerede. Uber er en “taxa app”, hvor du billigt kan komme fra A-Z. Som dansker er jeg ekstremt bekymret for taxa, fordi jeg ved det næsten koster 100kr bare at kigge på en taxa…

Men…

En fredag morgen, kl, 4, skulle jeg ud i lufthavnen til en forretningsrejse. Busserne kørte ikke på dette tidspunkt. Jeg åbnede min Uber app, sagde “request uber”. Jeg fik efter 5s “Hassan” som chauffør, og jeg kunne se han holdte inde ved Rådhuspladsen. 5 Min efter var han nået ud på Amager (hvor jeg ventede i varmen), jeg fik ned og direkte ind i bilen og kørte ud i lufthavnen…. Og det kostede…. 72kr for 15 minutters kørsel.

Siden er jeg begyndt at bruge det mange gange om ugen. Kundemøder, hjem fra byen og hurtig transport.

Det er vildt. Det virker SÅ godt.

Det her er “næste skridt” indenfor transport. Bor du i byen har du IKKE brug for en bil: du kan leve med metro og Uber.

Nå – jeg beklager fan-sangen. Det er bare sjældent at jeg oplever et produkt, som virkelig kan spare tid og penge i mit liv – og det her Uber gjort mere end noget andet produkt har gjort i år. Vil du gerne selv prøve det, har jeg lavet en fin hjemmeside hvor du kan prøve det: Uber rabatkoder.

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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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Mit nye startup som skal ændre verden

5200c8f1e9_41RhIujiGpLVerdens nok mest successfulde investor og co-founder af PayPal, Peter Thiel, starter sin seneste bog, Zero to One, med at stille spørgsmålet: “Hvilken sandhed kender du, som næsten alle andre anser for at være forkert?” 

Jeg vil lave et startup, fordi jeg har fundet en sådan sandhed.

I dag kræver det rigtig meget at være softwareudvikler. Faktisk kræver det så meget, at de bedst betalte danske udviklere ofte har 5-årige uddannelser og gerne koster over en halv million kroner om året at have ansat. En god dansk universitetsuddannet softwareudvikler koster over 40.000 kr / måneden, næsten fra den dag han eller hun træder ud af universitetet. Lønnen stiger derefter 2-3 % om året, indtil de gerne topper på 7-800.000 kr / året.

Hvorfor outsourcer man så ikke hans eller hendes job til Indien, Filippinerne, Kina eller Bangladesh, og betaler 4.000 kr / måneden?

Det skyldes at man tror udviklere fra disse lande, er meget dårligere udviklere end de danske. Det skyldes at en dansk udvikler, ikke bare performer 10x bedre, men mere. Og det er præcis det næsten alle virksomheder der laver outsourcing oplever. Store som små.

Sandheden bliver gemt bag mange forklaringer. Kulturforskelle, manglende kvalitetskontrol, dårlig projektledelse dovenhed eller manglende uddannelse.

Men det er forkert. Det er forkert at disse udenlandske udviklere er dårligere. Sandheden er derimod at man bruger dem forkert. Meget forkert.

Min vision: Giv alle adgange til (meget) billig kvalitetsprogrammering

Mit startup er en bro, jeg har kaldt http://jarboo.com  .

En bro som kan få meget billige programmører til at performe som vestlige programmører. En bro fra marketing-afdelinger, konsulenhuse og vestlige udviklingsteams, til de billigste programmører. Outsourcing uden ulemperne.

Lad mig forklare hvordan det kan lade sig gøre med en metafor.

En udvikler i dag, har rigtig mange opgaver. I løbet af en gennemsnitlig uge, vil en udvikler f.eks. deltage i møder, programmere, lave arkitekt-beslutninger, kommunikere med andre på et team, fikse bugs, lægge kode på forskellige websites, gennemgå andres kode, lave tests, teste deres egen kode og meget mere. 

Antag at man nu skulle arbejde i McDonalds. Eneste forskel er at vi fjerner deres systemer. Nu skal en ansat handle ind, vende burgere, stå i kassen, have lønforhandlinger, kommunikere med leverandører og putte pomfritter ned i frituren.

Den ansatte i McDonalds skal nok klare det. Det kræver nok en universitetsuddannelse, og personens løn skal nok være over 40.000 kr / måneden.

Forskellen er processer og systemer. I McDonalds står forskellige folk for indkøb, madlavning, salg og stå i kassen, og de har de bedste værktøjer til at hjælpe. Det gør man kan hyre folk til en lavere løn og med lavere uddannelse, og få et bedre produkt.

Mit startup skal levere det system, og give alle virksomheder adgang til det.

(Og du kan få alle nyheder om Jarboo ved at skrive dig op her – maks én e-mail om måneden):

Hvordan bygger man så det system?

I dag har jeg min egen virksomhed, som laver software for danske kunder. Lige nu har jeg to fantastiske kunder, hvor jeg laver outsourcing. Jeg har en fuldtidsansat i Vietnam og Rusland, og er ved at ansætte en i Ukraine. Derudover bruger jeg som mange andre en del forskellige freelancere.

Jeg har over det sidste år eksperimentet med mine egne udviklere. Jeg har givet dem (mange) forskellige typer af opgaver, og jeg har fundet et system. For at teste systemet, har jeg prøvet at hive freelancere ind, som bekræfter mit system virker.

Mit system er småt. Jeg har fået det til at virke indenfor “nye funktioner i teknologien ASP.NET, på eksisterende websites, med Lars som projektleder”.

Jeg aner ikke om mit system kan skaleres op. Virker det med andre teknologier? Virker det på større projekter? Og vigtigst af alt: virker det uden mig som projektleder? 

Spørger jeg mine nuværende kollegaer vil de især sidste “nej” til mit sidste spørgsmål.

Men jeg skal erstattes. Jeg skal være et system. Jeg skal være proprietær software, en platform om man vil. Jeg skal være skalerbar. Jeg skal være en blanding af en algoritme, freelancere og kunde. 

Jeg har ikke løst alle detaljerne endnu. Havde jeg fundet alle løsninger, havde jeg søgt investorer og skaleret lortet på tværs af jorden. Jeg har ikke mit Lars-erstattende software. Og jeg har ikke bevist min sandhed udenfor “nye features baseret på ASP.NET

“Nail it, then scale it”

 Imens visionen er verdensovertagelse, vil jeg løse alle detaljerne først. Produktet skal være intet mindre end revolutionerende og en klassisk “zero to one”.

Over de næste par måneder (udvikler-snak for 6+ måneder) vil jeg eksperimentere vildt og voldsomt, på egen regning, hos mine to kunder. Jeg vil gøre min egen rolle mindre og mindre, og erstatte den med software og algoritmer.

Når jeg til sidst er nede på en lille rolle, hvor der bliver leveret fejlfri software (hvor jeg lige nu har et par udfordringer…) med kvalitetskode, tager jeg flere virksomheder ind i folden.

Når jeg begynder at tage nye virksomheder ind planlægger jeg at gøre det uden profit. Indtil jeg har 5-10 kunder som ugentligt køber fra mig, ønsker jeg at sælge til min købspris.

Jeg ønsker ikke at tjene en krone. I stedet ønsker jeg at knække løsningen, så systemet spiller.

Det er nu mit projekt. Mit arbejde. 

Måske synes du projektet lyder spændende? Måske ville du selv bruge produktet? Måske vil du gerne grine af mig, når jeg indser at verden alligevel havde ret og det ikke kan lade sig gøre?

Det er i hvert fald gratis at følge mit eventyr om at knække hemmeligheden forneden eller på http://jarboo.com . No matter what, bliver det spændende. Meget spændende

Tak for at læse med 🙂 Ønsk mig HELD OG LYKKE – jeg får brug for det. Smid dine tanker forneden, eller skriv dig op til at få en nyhed fra tid til anden.

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