On Tuesday (Dec 3), the FastForward startups caught up for lunch with Henrik Lenberg, former VP at SoundCloud. During two years in Berlin, and two in San Francisco, Henrik was part of the core team that turned the music platform into its current state.
Now back in Stockholm, Henrik’s got his sight set on establishing his own music creation startup. The ex-Soundclouder also regularly coaches and teaches, to inspire and encourage other entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the insights Henrik shared with us:
Quit your job
“I think people should be faster at leaving their jobs and trying something new, when they feel they’re not doing the right thing.” Henrik is indeed a man of his own word. When he felt he was ready for a new challenge, and wanted to move back to Sweden, he picked up his things and left his position at SoundCloud
Start with why
Initiate a sustainable vision, or ideology, before establishing a business, is another great advice from Henrik. Most successful startups didn’t have a clear plan for becoming billion-dollar companies when they started. Focus on solving a problem that you care about, and have a clear “why” behind the business idea and concept
Think big but start small
According to Henrik, it’s important to steer away from thinking too big too fast. Having said that, a strong ambition is crucial, and there’s nothing wrong with an overarching goal of taking over the world – at some stage. Being a big advocate of the lean startup model, Henrik points out that a startup doesn’t need to have a crystal-clear idea initially. Rather, that’s a part of the iteration process, and will probably change over time.
A good team is your most valuable asset
This is perhaps of no surprise to anyone. Finding the perfect team is an enormous challenge. “If you’ve got a great little team, that is willing to commit, work together and start up a business together – but simply unsure of what kind of business – just get on with it!” A strong team is an incredible asset. Henrik discusses this further on his website: “I believe a great team is usually more valuable than a great idea, and that great ideas usually come from great people working on problems together.”
Make sure you’re geared up
Starting your own business inevitably means you need to be ready for it – on all levels. Somewhat financially, but most important: mentally. Persistency is an important skill shared by all successful entrepreneurs. Once the business starts moving, the energy and full attention has to be there every day, all day – from the entire team.
During the lunch, Henrik mentioned the following books for everyone involved in building a startup:
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (mandatory reading)
- Notes from Peter Thiel’s startup course at Stanford (brilliant explanation of venture capital, and other startup topics)
- Inspired by Marty Cagan (the bible on software product management)
- Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (among other things, it discusses power law distributions users)
- Bret Victor Talks (fascinating videos)
Thanks Henrik for coming over. Good luck with your startup, we look forward to seeing more of you and your creations in the near future!