Just like pretty much everyone else, I use new year as an event to look back on the past year. I’m not a believer in new year resolutions, nor that a new year will change everything. However, I do believe it’s healthy to review your life on a continuous basis and ask yourself: am I doing the right things?
This post, then, is my personal reflection of 2018 – and a look ahead towards 2019. I don’t see 2019 to be significantly different than 2018, but I do have plans of things I want to do differently.
Starting of the year
It’s hard for me to review 2018, without looking at 2017.
2017 To me, was a very difficult year: My biggest entrepreneurial project Monera went bankrupt, I gained quite a lot of weight and made a lot of stupid decisions being stressed out from the company going bust. My biggest goal is to become financially independent as early as possible, and I work *A LOT* of hours to make it happen – so a bankruptcy why especially hard. To get a bit away from everything, I ended 2017 with 3 months in Berlin (which was ridiculously fun, but also, very hard).
The recipe for 2018 was simple: Maximillian (my co-founder form Monera) and I had decided to start a new company & we wanted to start with traveling to get some experiences and fully recharge before going back into no-lifing startup. So to say at least: I was off to a good & fun start to 2018.
Headlines of 2018
To sum up, 2018 has been pretty much perfect for me:
- I started the year traveling a couple of months and saw some new destinations I’ve wanted to see for a long time: New Delhi (India), Tokyo (Japan), Taipei (Taiwan) and Macau. And my travel-lust continued throughout 2018
- After arriving home, I started working *a lot*. This has worked out very well in 2018: Not only did we launch the new company, get the official license, get funding – twice, get 300 customers, get real revenue and started to build a very awesome team. I’m insanely proud of this achievement
- Achieved my best shape ever: started bodybuilding and did it continuously for 9 months, ran my second marathon and a couple of half-marathons
Lets dig into the details 🙂
International traveling in 2018
I’ve previously traveled a lot, but I do think 2018 is up there among the most traveled year of my life!
January: New Delhi, India
I started my trip just after new year, to go directly to New Delhi. I’ve always wanted to see Taj Mahal and experience a bit of India. The stay was brief, but enough to get a taste of India:
Really happy I went!
January: Phi Phi Islands & Ko Lanta, Thailand
After India, I flew directly to Thailand to meet up with some friends. We partied for days, got very drunk & had an amazing time. Phi Phi Islands is a teenage-party-island, and we partied like teenagers. Ko Lanta was much more relaxing and absolutely amazing to relax and do nothing for some days.
January: Bangkok, Thailand
Most people don’t love Bangkok, but to me, it’s up there between my favorite cities ever. I just love the hipster cafes, the co-working spaces, the food, and the city never sleep. Had some really fun nightlife experiences too 🙂
January: Manila, Philippines
I’ve been to Manila many times, and LOVE it. Again, it’s a city most people hate, but a city I’ve learned to live. I love Greenbelt, a very fancy shopping mall, I love the people & I love the fancy rooftop bars. I spent two weeks here, mostly working on our new startup, and spending evenings with an amazing girl I met.
January: Cebu, Philippines
I went to the Cebu to meet my friend Jenica and to see the famous Sinulog. Sinulog is a very big festival with lots of partying, and I really wanted to see it. I went, saw it and had a blast. Unfortunately, I got a quite bad tummy because of food poisoning, but that is what happens in the Philippines!
January: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
I’ve spent many months in Hong Kong throughout my life, and I wanted to visit. I LOVE Hong Kong. I don’t think Hong Kong is a very fun “tourist destination”, but I really love the food, the skyline, the mountains, the public transportation and just being there. I went here with Jenica and really had an amazing time: Disneyland, hiking, amazing food & horse-racing!
January: Macau, Macau
Despite spending months in Hong Kong, I never visited Macau. I finally took the boat to Macau to see the big buildings, crazy casinos and the monuments you can’t miss. I wasn’t a big fan of Macau, but none-the-less a great experience to see the country.
January: Taipei, Taiwan
After Hong Kong, Jenica and I went to Taipei in Taiwan. This was my first time in Taiwan, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was surprised to find it very different than Hong Kong and absolutely loved it: some of the best food, great place to run and some very beautiful cities. While Hong Kong is insanely fast-paced, Taipei felt much more relaxing. We got to see not only the great hiking route in the middle of the city, but we also saw the “Asian Santorini”.
February: Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan
After Taiwan, I met up with a friend from Denmark in Tokyo. Just like most everyone, I was really excited to see Tokyo. We had a very productive week and saw most just about everything, and even took the fast train to Kyoto (which indeed, was on time) to see the old templates. As a first time, I also tried “Airbnb Experiences” and not only did we meet a Japanese startup-comedian, we also got “samurai training”. For some reason, I did not really like Japan. I never got the hype & felt everything felt a bit old and unimpressive.
April: Lund, Sweden
To try some “local traveling”, I spent a weekend in Lund with a friend. I’ve previously been quite a lot in Malmö as I was dating a Swedish girl, but I had never been to Lund. We went there and saw the old city and had a great night!
May: Barcelona, Spain
I wanted to meet more entrepreneurs, so I signed up for “WorkAway” – which is a concept where you spent a week in a luxurious house an hour outside Barcelona with 20 other entrepreneurs. Had a great time: met awesome people, got a lot of work done, climbed some mountains on a bike and enjoyed the sun! Very recommendable!
July: 2 Weeks road trip to Italy & France
I wanted to have a great summer vacation, so I met up with a really good friend, Grace, I’ve known for years. We met in Milan, Italy. We then rented a car and spent 2 weeks driving around. We experienced SO many things it’s absolutely insane: Milan, Florence (best pizza, ever), hiking in the mountains in Theosule de Mér, swimming in Cannes, traveled the Tuscany area thin and I could continue… It felt like 5 vacations merged into one and this stands as one of my best vacations ever.
September: Tallinn, Estonia
I got the insane idea to run another marathon, so I looked at the map: “where can I join a marathon in September?”. I found out they had one in Tallinn, so I signed up. Turns out, I met a great guy a couple of months before who lived in Tallinn, and I also asked another of my friends to join. I spent a weekend there, saw that you can see (including a very nice maritime museum) and ran my marathon. I keep telling myself I’ll never do a marathon again, but let’s see…
Tallinn itself is a very interesting city: a very nice old city with lots of shops and restaurants, yet quite a modern city that was really pleasant to stay in.
October: Oslo, Norway
Oslo is very close to Copenhagen, yet I had never been there. Grace lived there, and I visited her for a weekend. Rented a very cozy apartment outside Oslo on Airbnb, and went around the city. I had a very nice weekend, but was not impressed by Oslo itself… But I was also very cold 🙂
December, Lisbon, Portugal
At our company, we decided to go to Lisbon for a strategy-planning weekend. I took the opportunity to visit Grace who now moved away from Oslo to Cascais (an hour away from Lisbon). And damn – I love Portugal. Amazing views, great food, and a beautiful city. I could live in Lisbon for sure.
December: Athens, Greece
To finish of the year, what better way than to …. Travel a bit more?
I had a couple of days over the Christmas and needed something affordable & warm – I looked at a map and checked destinations on different price comparison sites and ended up with: Athens! I asked a great friend of mine from university, and off we went. Really fun trip with lots of beautiful views, but damn – not a lot of leftovers from ancient Greece unfortunately.
Starting a company from scratch
I love traveling, but make no mistake – my primary goal and a far majority of all my mental energy go towards my startup. In December 2017 Maximillian and I decided to start Likvido, but we really didn’t have anything 1st of January 2018. We didn’t even have a bank account, a company registration number or a license to start.
During 2018 we managed to:
- Setup the company, get a debt collection company and launch
- Get 300 customers
- Hit 6-digit monthly revenue (DKK)
- Lots of 10/10 reviews in our “Net-promoter-score”
- Be a part of 2 Accelerator programs
- Get funding – twice: One time from business angels and one time from a preseed fund
- Hire 2 full-time people in Denmark and employ 3 full-timers in Russia, and 5 more part-time around the world
- Iterate through 4 offices
- Win a couple of pitch-competitions!
- Get a media article in Børsen – the biggest Danish business newspaper
I would say I’ve never been at a startup this close to the famous “product-market-fat”.
I’m insanely proud of this. Very, very proud.
Best shape ever
After coming home from my Asia trip in February, I had gained a bit weight – but was ready for a very healthy 2018. Not only had I kept running 3-4 times a week through my trip – I was ready for more.
I had promised myself to exercise at least 5 times a week on average in 2018.
I am not sure I actually reached that, but I am very proud of my effort at least until October:
- For the first time, I started body-building. Started in March, and kept going the whole year 3 times a week (with vacations as exceptions). Very, very proud I kept doing this and I’ve already increased the weights A LOT
- I ran a marathon in Tallinn
- I did a couple of half-marathons
- Until October, I was the fittest I’ve ever been (both body-shape, running distance, and bodybuilding)
I’ve completely fucked up in October till December and gained ~7 kg. I think the underlying cause is I work too much. However, that will go away in January and February – and I will punish myself by signing up to 2 half-marathons and a marathon most likely. That’s a great motivation.
Becoming smart as fuck 😉
I’ve read 39(!) books in 2018. That’s a personal record! Reading to me is very important, as I really feel I get smarter from it. I do believe I make better decisions and reflect more over things
And most importantly, I’ve read much more diverse than ever. You can always follow my Goodreads account here, as I review and rate all books.
My favorite books from 2018:
- Sapiens (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23692271-sapiens). My favorite book of the last many years. AMAZING book about humans and our place in the world. A brief history from very old times to modern. Loved every single page.
- Ancient Greece (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/325161.Ancient_Greece). A book about ancient Greece over a couple of thousand years. Very interesting as I never had any lessons in school about Greece.
- The Course to be disliked (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35239798-the-courage-to-be-disliked). A great book about how to think about yourself and others. I made a review about it here.
- Factfulness (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34890015-factfulness). An amazing & very important book about the world today by the now dead Hans Rosling. Very positive & good book.
- From Impossible to Inevitable (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26535657-from-impossible-to-inevitable). A book on how to scale sales in B2B startups – very useful for our company
- Why we sleep (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34466963-why-we-sleep). A book that has actually changed how I do things day-to-day. Teaser: we don’t sleep enough
- The Blue Zones Solution (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22822903-the-blue-zones-solution). A book about the 5 blue zones with the most centenarians around the world (people living +100 years). Changed how I perceive food
Conclusion of 2018
I dare to say: 2018 has been the best year of my life. Not only in terms of experiences, travels and work – also in so many other areas. 2018 Has also been a year where I’ve had time to stay in touch with people, met LOTS of new & interesting people and learn so many new things. I’ve also tried so many things (and also things that I am not going to share on my blog 😉 ) Heck, in 2018 I also got to update this site. New theme, lots of new content and a record amount of visitors.
Last year I made a post about 2018. Here I had 3 overall goals:
1) Get my new startup into the rapidly accelerating growth phase with a high potential product market fix
2) Get ripped (15% body fat). Do exercise 5 days a week on average all 2018, from Q2 to Q4, 3 of those days has to be a type of bodybuilding
3) Grow my network and get more friends. Honestly a bit unsure what metric to use here. One part is meeting new people every month, but the more important part is meeting those people again and again so they become friends instead of just a Linkedin Connection
1) and 3) cannot be discussed. I feel 120% sure that I’ve achieved this, and that makes me proud. 2) Is not achieved as I absolutely do not have 15% body-fat. I got down to ~18% and then gained 7-8 kgs. I am not mad about this: I can easily lose this & I’ve been very consistent on exercise.
I’ve really truly enjoyed this year, and I am so excited for 2019. It’s going to be extremely difficult to beat 2018 next year, but… Let’s give it a shot!
Welcome 2019 – what should we do with you?
Looking ahead towards 2019, I have the following goals. They’re as always directed from my bigger goals & plans, and are very simple this year:
- Likvido before anything else. Our startup is a time-consuming beast, but I love every damn day with it. In 2019 we need to scale and grow so many things. My personal goal for Likvido in 2019 is to be profitable on operations & have a monthly revenue of at least 1 million DKK
- 12 Destinations or significant experiences. In 2019 I want to try lots of new things: destinations or significant experiences. Unlike last year where I counted countries, in 2019 I want to count significant experiences. These can be anything from travels, special events (ie. I’m attending a TEDx event in February) or other experiences that is worth remembering
- Get ripped (15% body fat). Do exercise 5 days a week on average all 2018, from Q2 to Q4, 3 of those days has to be a type of bodybuilding (copied from 2018 goals)
- Meet professionals & deepen relationships. I want to get to know significantly more new entrepreneurs and professionals in 2019 than I did in 2018, plus I want to arrange more events with existing relations so I can make them deeper. I want to turn much more loose friends into friends
Of course I have lots of other things I want to do in 2019: I want to meditate more, I want to sleep 8 hours per night, I want to post more on my blog, I want to more intimate relationships, I want to masturbate less, I want to drink less soda and a billion other things. But let’s face it: the human mind is not built to handle all that. Nor are they individually in any way as important as the rest.
If I can say “YES” to above 4 goals, I can already say 2019 is off to become a great year. A better year than 2018? That’s going to be very, very hard – but … lets hope.
Cheers for an amazing 2019!