October 13, 2014
This isn’t exactly your typical magazine interview, but then again Martin Bjergegaard is not your typical book author. Not only did he speak with dozens of successful startup founders to compose “Winning Without Losing” with his friend and colleague Jordan Milne, but he launched [yet another] startup to go beyond traditional printing and publishing by getting new ideas out to the world effectively and efficiently: PineTribe. This handy collection of time-saving tips, productivity boosters and inspiring stories from and for entrepreneurs continues to sell millions of copies, without wasting any precious trees thanks to PineTribe’s ingenious on-demand printing methods. Read below for Martin’s take on stand-out passages from “Winning Without Losing” thanks to an emission-less video chat connecting Denmark to DC.
Q) In the words of Simon Sinek, let’s start with ‘why’ … As if you’re not busy enough leading the team at PineTribe and helping dozens of startups realize success through Rainmaking, why did you feel compelled to write “Winning Without Losing”? I must say that as an entrepreneur myself, it’s the most worthwhile read I’ve discovered in years; each chapter is only a few pages long and every sentence has a jolt of motivation to work smarter and appreciate our loved ones along the way.
A) Well, most books on entrepreneurship talk about sacrificing life, family and happiness in order to succeed. That doesn’t have to be true. Success isn’t necessarily measured in digits on your bank account. That said, I know many people who have made millions while leading a balanced life, keeping their families close and living long, healthy years to enjoy their success. So I decided to interview them and make a book out of it, along with reflecting on my own solid decisions and less than perfect steps on the path to success. My grandfather used to say: “A night not spent at home is a wasted night.” I also strive to spend as much time as possible with my family.
Q) To turn the interview around a bit, I’ll ask you some of your own questions — namely, a few of the thought-provoking points on page 50 … 1) If budget were not an issue, what would this book be made of and what shape would it be? 2) What’s your perspective on meeting rooms with tables and chairs? 3) Please give an example of a time you did something so different that others stopped to notice it.
A-1) If it were up to me, this book would be round and made of metal! Talk about lasting impact! Imagine spilling your drink on a book with an aluminum cover — no problem. Or spotting a bright yellow circular book on the coffee table — instant conversation starter. The pages might be plantable seed paper to take the notion of eco-friendly printing to another level.
A-2) I hate meeting rooms, especially the ones without windows. Being strapped to a chair in a boring box doesn’t pump creativity. It just makes us want to get away from work, cooperate less with our team members. I prefer to hold meetings outside. We go for a walk, run or bike ride and discuss points as we move or get together at a park to speak without losing our breath.
A-3) One time during a presentation, I was trying to get across the concept of pausing to reflect and then really focus and take your time in order to accomplish a task and ultimately see the world differently. Just talking about it didn’t work, so I decided to bring in a bowl of apples. I instructed each participant to take a bite of his or her apple and chew very slowly for an entire minute; by doing so they discovered the apple’s complete taste and texture and practiced full concentration on a single task. Afterwards, people came up to me saying that simple exercise was revolutionary and really made them see things in a different light; they became more productive at their activities and appreciated being in the moment.
Q) Could you please share some of your favorite tools or best practices?
A) A cohesive work environment, communication and cooperation among team members are important factors to the success of any project. Two of my favorite tools to stay on top of everything:
- Yammer is a great way for teams to communicate and share knowledge. What I love most about it is that it’s so simple and easy to use.
- Podio is a Danish startup, getting to be acquired by Citrix, so it’s a big name in my hometown Copenhagen. Their platform is great for team collaboration – especially when many team members are not in the office every day, or even working on the other side of the Planet. The best part of Podio is that you can create your own apps so the solution becomes really custom.
Q) If you could select just one word of advice for new entrepreneurs, what would it be?
A) Delegate. As a leader, you often have to choose between getting things done your way (you’ll discover that’s not always the best way!) and getting things done, period. You hired your team for a reason; step away from your ego and let them do their work. By trusting others to take on tasks, you’ll reinforce a positive company culture and focus your [limited] time on making important decisions and connections for growth.
Q) Last but not least … as a serial entrepreneur, how do you feel about the exit process?
A) A rewarding exit, much like the beginning of a startup, is all about timing. You’ve got to feel the moment when you’re ready to let go. Maybe your passion for the company’s activities is going in a different direction or a better opportunity presents itself. When you have cofounders, the team decision can be even more challenging; be sure to bring to the negotiation table a strong blend of compromise and holding fast to the points that are most important to you personally. Sure, it can be sad to see your baby grow up and join a bigger company or go public. But mostly I see exits as a time of celebration and new doors opening. All doors can’t be open at once; go through the right door at the right time and you’ll be content.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!