Aarhus-based Wedio helps content creators rent equipment for their productions. The goal is to become the world’s largest community for filmmakers, etc. With 11,000+ members around the world and 70,000+ monthly visitors, the race is on to reach that goal. After three years of journey, Daniel Sand, Co-founder & CEO, shares 6 concrete tips for other tech entrepreneurs who want to think bigger than “just” Aarhus.
1) Create an open culture from the start
Being an entrepreneur is mostly not a walk in the park. The challenges are many and feelings of uncertainty and doubt will continually hit – and having each other’s back is crucial here.
By designing an open culture, we try to nip conflicts in the bud so that together we stand stronger in difficult situations. That’s why Kasper, Morten and I hold a monthly pre-mediation session with two psychologists, where we have free rein to share our thoughts with each other – for better or worse.
2) Test before you build
The biggest reason startups fail is lack of demand, and that’s a shame when there are actually ways to test whether people will pay for your product/service – without you having to build the big space rocket. We’ve proven this several times, most recently with Wedio Subscriptions:
we set up a website through Wix.com, made a quick logo with DesignEvo and created a corresponding Facebook profile – all in under two working days. Then we set up Facebook ads, spending a total of $5,000 to drive traffic to the site and measure how many people would actually buy our fictitious subscription.
In 5 working days and $5,000 in ad spend, we had enough data to prove our hypothesis that Wedio Subscription was a great idea, and we could now put our resources into actually building and launching the service with peace of mind.
3) The word “user” is banned
Since Wedio is a community that tries to help people out in the physical world through tech, we deliberately banned the word “User” in the company. I personally think it’s a terrible way to refer to the people you want to help.
I want our employees to always have our members in mind. That’s why we always refer to our “Visitors” as “Guests”, and our “Users” as “Members”. In this way, we try to humanize our online community with a simple touch.
4) Accept the 80% rule
As a startup, you are in a race against time. It is therefore important to constantly work with MVPs (Minimum Viable Product ed.) in the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey.
There is of course a limit to how ugly and flawed things can be, but it will usually take you twice as long to go from 80% done to 100% done – while the last 20% rarely provides double the value for your business.
5) Think beyond the Danish jantan law
It can be challenging to communicate global ambitions and dreams of worldwide visions when we come from a city like Aarhus. But it’s necessary if you’re a tech company.
Tech companies (and indeed two-sided marketplaces like Wedio) compete with similar platforms from around the world, and online there are no physical borders. In digital marketplaces, there is typically only one global winner in the end: the player who achieves international network effects first. For example, you don’t know two Airbnb’s, do you?
6) 15-hour workdays are bullshit
Yes, there are days and weekends when we need to give it an extra spin – Wedio isn’t going to sleep its way to becoming the world’s largest community for creators. But personally, I don’t believe in working around the clock for years on end as an entrepreneur.
In startups, decisions often need to be made quickly, and you’re best placed to do that if you have the energy and energy to think clearly. That’s why we need to prioritise leisure activities that give us energy – right now, for example, I’m building a Tiny House with my girlfriend. I’m not saying you should do the same, but in my opinion it’s incredibly important to build a culture in the company where it’s okay to prioritize the activities that energize the team – whether that’s Yoga, Cooking, Trekking or something else.
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