About two weeks ago I was watching as my friend Thomas Madsen-Mygdal interviewed famous Danish Skype-investor Morten Lund. I don’t know Morten very well, and there were several interesting facts that I didn’t know.
For starters, during the first bubble, the dot-com one that burst in 2000, he lost round 10 million DKK.
During the second bubble, the one that ended a couple years ago, he lost around 150 million DKK, or an order of magnitued more than during the first bubble.
Interestingly enough, it was that very collapse that prompted Richard Branson to call Morten and start their seemingly warm relationship.
If the trend continues, of course, Morten is going to lose around DKK 1 billion (around $200M) during the next bust.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that this:
We all have a way of operating, a set of beliefs that cause us to act a certain way – an operating system, if you will. We believe – consciously and unconsciously – certain things to be true of ourselves and the world we operate in and – ultimately – how to achieve happiness for ourselves, and those beliefs cause us to feel and act in certain ways.
That system may be right or wrong, but unless we actively, consciously do something to change it, it tends to stay roughly the same.
And Morten’s operating system clearly has a tendency towards losing lots of money. If this was the servomechanism on your car, you’d take it to the mechanic to get it fixed right away.
Now I know from his pubic blog posts that Morten does work with a coach and is trying to change some of his beliefs, but what’s really amazing is that it has never stopped him from taking action all the fucking time.
And I think that’s probably the real key to his success. More often than not he’s been wrong. But he’s gone ahead and done stuff anyway. Because he couldn’t not do it. And sometimes it’s paid off.
He told of how when he invested in Skype he had nothing. So when Janus and Niklas asked him to invest in Skype, he went out and borrowed $100K (500K DKK), so he could invest it in Skype. That takes guts. You have nothing, and you take out a bank loan to finance your friends’ startup, two guys who seemed to be on the wrong side of the legal system at the time.
And that’s why I chose the title for this blog post: “Often wrong, never in doubt”. I think it’s something most of us could learn to do more of: Just act. Yes, you may be wrong. In fact, it’s very likely that you are wrong. But at least acting is going to lead to new input and new insight that you can use to inform the next decision, which will then hopefully be better.
It’s so easy to come up with a gazillion reasons why it’s not going to work out and it’s the wrong idea and what not.
So take that to heart. Be more like Morten. Not as in losing millions of monetas. But as in being willing to do something that might lose you hundreds of millions of money.
Often wrong, never in doubt. (Which also happens to be the title of a not-great-but-decent book, which is where I got the idea for the title from.)
Ther’s real power there, ladies and gentlemen.