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Video of Investor Morten Lund at LeWeb. This guys is crazy/awesome. (ustream.tv)
50 points by shafqat on Dec 13, 2008 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

I had a hard time drawing the heart of the argument out of his talk. But many of the points he makes are strong in isolation, and come from someone in a unique position: tremendously successful (in monetary terms, at least); now broke; aware of own luck and shortcomings; simultaneously dispensing advice and admitting advice from others is most often bunk.

Here's what I took away:

- Can't decouple risk from return and risk from impact. Risk takers must be ready to lose.

- Entrepreneurship might not be for you. Do you love what you're doing even in a terrible climate?

- Good people mandatory, smart people who have done real things. Not "smart-asses."

- Build on revenue.

- Act instead of talking.

- Frugality and focus on value, not cash in the bank, is healthy.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morten_Lund

He recently invested in a ticket company (Live Stub) during a recession so he'll have a chance to act instead of talk.

Unfortunately the press releases spent more time discussing Morten Lund than Live Stub.


Is that worse than having an investor that doesn't bring press?

Probably not, but that's a straw man argument.

I really liked the part where he said "I took the metro here and had a look at the ticket. When I buy tea I look at the menu for the price.". This is what real entrepreneurs go through and his advice is strong and supreme.

He made quite a lot of money by being an early investor in Skype, the story goes that Zennstrom and Friis were broke and he invested around $100.000 in them before they had a product. This investment put him into the big league.

A few months ago he apparently lost the whole thing in an investment in a Danish newspaper, and is now broke.

I never could figure this guy out - his achievements say he is smart as hell, but his blog (http://lundxy.com/) is full of spelling mistakes and errors, and he is totally inconsistent with no coherent message when he speaks.

One thing is for sure - he is a character...

This reminds me of a Warren Buffet video I was watching yesterday where he talks about "You only have to get rich once." ..."To make money they didn't have and didn't need, they risked what they did have and did need. ...just plain foolish." (He was talking about the Long Term Capital Management guys.)


If your plan is to make a lot of money, you only need to get rich once.

No disrespect to Mr. Buffet - I hold him in the highest regard in terms of character. However, his goal is to make a lot of money and have his companies achieve this as well. He does an amazing job at this.

My slow/inarticulate point is that Lund seems to have separate goals so you can't hold him to this same standard. It isn't foolish for Lund to lose all his money with a risky venture. From my perspective, Lund wants to grow companies and create the next big thing. I commend him for going after that 100% regardless of the risks involved.

edit: OK, watching that video showed Buffets point a little differently. He was meaning never risk more than you can afford to lose regardless of the return, which is true.

And the next big thing is a free newspaper delivered at home? It's not even original

I just watched it, it's excellent.

Thanks Adam Smith. This is a great talk.

but his blog (http://lundxy.com/) is full of spelling mistakes and errors

maybe english is not his first language?

He admits he cant really read or write very well in his presentation.

Dyslexia and entrepreneurship are closely linked, after all.

It isn't - but considering that he is from a country where everybody speaks english, and that he is an international businessman I think you can expect a certain standard.

I'm a native English speaker and make mistakes writing my own language sometimes. I speak and write other languages and make more mistakes there.

Most people who are getting things done judge you by what you are getting done, not by whether you can spell the word clientele without looking it up on Google.

Fred Wilson has had spelling mistakes or simply used the wrong word in some instances on his blog - I don't think you can really use it as an accurate measure.

He may be an engaging public figure but, I fear doing business with him would be a complete nightmare.

I wouldn't call having equity in 80+ startups broke. He may be strapped for cash, but I wouldn't call him broke.

His slide said 0 stock.

That's 0 public stock.

is there any strong correlation between spelling mistakes and achievements?

imho it's as relevant as predicting an asian engineering student success based on english SAT

There is a positive correlation between dyslexia and entrepreneurship according to at least one study that has shown dyslexia more two to three times more common among entrepreneurs than the general population. http://www.cass.city.ac.uk/media/stories/story_8_45816_44300...

One common symptom of dyslexia in an adult is difficulty spelling. http://www.interdys.org/ResourcesCommonSignsAdults.htm

In my experience working with dyslexics they are more persevering: some tasks that are easy for many require more diligence and practice. It's a habit they develop in childhood to survive. I think this habit may be one source of their entrepreneurial success.

See also http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2002/...

"Spelling errors — Because of difficulty learning letter-sound correspondences, individuals with dyslexia might tend to misspell words, or leave vowels out of words." -- wikipedia

so i guess it's only natural more spelling errors lead to more achievements ... maybe because s/he doesn't waste time being a grammar/spelling nazi

In case you can't play anything at ustream, it's because they're serving their FLVs on non-standard ports.

It seems that LeWeb never released the startup competition videos?

The internet didn't work, so they might have lost the videos anyway. Also the jury didn't really care (Robert Scoble did play solitaire while evaluating the contestants). Two of the 3 finalists were companies that exisited 2 to 5 years. The criteria of choosing them were that they were profitable. They were more like a success story than a startup! Leweb didn't even release a one liner describing each startup. I wouldn't be too surprised if the startup videos will never be released.

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