Start a business from home

Interesting Advice for Starting a Business   Recently I encouraged my 13-year-old daughter Maia to start a vegan cupcake business, and it’s so exciting to watch her get started. As I talked to her about starting, she had some worries:…

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Oliver Samwer from Rocket Internet – Interview

A rare interview with Oliver Samwer from Rocket Internet

Oliver SamwerIt’s still winter in Munich. It’s not cold, and while snow from recent flurries hangs in the trees, it melts to slush on the sidewalks and streets.

I enter a small, essentially empty coffee shop for a meeting with one of the biggest names in entrepreneurship globally: Oliver Samwer, the controversial co-founder of Rocket Internet.

Samwer hasn’t granted many interviews. He is known to walk out of meetings with journalists if they don’t go the way he wants them to go. He has a reputation for being obsessively aggressive.

But when I meet Samwer, he is warm, energetic, and refreshingly to the point. He has made time on a weekend, but there is no wasting time with Samwer. We had spoken several times previously and I was there to do more detailed due diligence on my team’s first potential investment into one of his companies.

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How to Increase Sales Online

What if there was a method – a process – that you could apply to (pretty much) any website to increase sales? Wouldn’t that be swell? Well, there is.

How to Increase Sales Online – The Checklist

This method works across all categories, it doesn’t really matter what business you’re in. I’ve turned it into a checklist. So the way to use it is you take your website, compare it to any item on the list, make improvements, and your online sales will increase.

Start with measurable goals

Before we get started on the checklist, make sure you have actual, measurable goals in place (e.g. sell boots, get subscribers).

  • If you don’t have a single focus for your site, it’s very difficult to achieve results
  • You cannot systematically improve what you cannot measure (or won’t notice when it happens)

So start with specific goals and make sure your web analytics software is tracking those goals.

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Do we live in tech bubble?


Is there a tech bubble? Don’t count on VCs for a straight answer
“I don’t think we are in a bubble,” said mega-VC Marc Andreessen onstage today during a Wired conference on business.

Well, no duh — of course a venture capitalist whose livelihood depends on perpetuating tech froth is going to say there’s no bubble. Taking that statement as fact is like listening to a car salesman telling you that fossil fuels aren’t bad for the environment.

Look at the zeitgeisten: A mobile app sells for $1 billion after a paranoia-fueled bidding war. Valuations for apps with no discernible purpose are greater than the GDP of a lot of countries. Startups raise money, get bought, and go public at breakneck speeds, all with headline-making and record-breaking numbers in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

It doesn’t take a meteorologist to look around and see the weather, folks. And it doesn’t take a VC to look around and see that Internet and web technology is experiencing a bubble of financial investment and valuation.

Of course, “bubble” itself is a rather nebulous term and difficult to define. Let’s turn to the data for a moment.

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Is Norway Leaving Its Tech Startups Out In The Cold?

Et ganske viktig tema tas opp i TechCrunch i dag.

I am regularly reminded of the amazing innovation coming out of the Nordic region. Countries like Sweden, Finland and even tiny Denmark regularly punch above their weight, producing global companies like Spotify, Rovio, Tradeshift and Everbread. But there remains one country which seems bizarrely content not to engage nearly as much with the global tech scene, and that’s Norway.

There’s a huge irony here. The web browser Opera started out in 1994 as a research project within Telenor, Norway’s main telco. If they’d played it right we would be continuing to talk about Opera, rather than Chrome, Safari or Explorer these days. And there remains a few bright sparks on the horizon like the innovative Bipper, founded by Silje Vallestad. But take a look at the stats and they are disappointing.


There are only 42 companies listed on CrunchBase for Norway. Because of its global nature, CrunchBase is usually a good indication for how internationally active the startup are in a country. In Finlad there are 55, Sweden 131.

And despite a world-renowned education system, social support system and a great quality of life, Norway looks like it is losing the battle to join the global innovation race.

In February, a report titled “Norway scores poorly on innovation” news site E24 noted that Norway came out badly on an EU Commission overview of innovation and R&D.

Indeed, Norway ranked as achieving only moderate levels of innovation, and was in the same bracket as Greece, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Malta and Slovakia.

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The Startup Curve

Paul Graham’s startup curve:


start up vurve

Start up Curve

Many people think startups are up and to the right all the time. But more services exhibit this “startup curve” than any other growth pattern. Of course, some never get past the trough of sorrow. But many do. Mostly by staying focused on the problem they are trying to solve and working diligently to get to the promised land.

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