Lifestyle

Lovely Danish Designs and Inventions!

When I think about the Danish inventions and designs, I cannot help to feel a bit proud of being a Dane. Did you know that a Dane designed the battery? And have you ever considered how many great Danish designs we have in interior design?

danish design

The other day, I surfed the net for birthday wishes. I ended up at Luxoliving, which is a webpage where you can buy things for decorating your home. And here, I came across tons of beautiful Danish interior designs. I love all of the small figurines made by a variety of Danish designers – Kay Bojesen, Paul Anker and such. The figurines are sweet and cute-looking, but still very stylish and tasteful. I simply love them, and cannot get enough of them. I already have a few of them, but I think I have to wish for more.

Furthermore, I think that the Danish company Velux is so admirable. The products created by the company are innovative, unique and oh so functional. The history about how the company invented a completely new product that allowed for windows in rooftops is amazing. And the designs of the skylights made by Velux are so elegant.

Another thing that makes me proud is all of those inventions that were made by Danes. Did you know that it was Danes that invented the speaker, insulin and ostomy. Pretty amazing inventions if you ask me! And the battery is invented by a Dane as well – and now sold in millions around the world. Did you consider how many batteries are sold for private as well as professional purposes?

Okay, maybe I’m bragging a bit about my country. But honestly, I really am proud of Denmark. I have tons of respect for all of those Danes who did a little extra and created the society that we live in today.

4 cafés in Copenhagen you should visit

In this post I would like to introduce you to some of the special cafés in Copenhagen. We have lots of 100-year-old cafés, as well as modern cafés with good music and interesting cultural events.

Great cafés are spread all over the center of the city, and here are a couple of recommendations you should consider visiting during your stay.

Hvide Lam – End your day with a bit of jazz

The name means, “White Lamb” and this is a 125 old café at one of the oldest squares in Copenhagen: Kultorvet. All week you will find a group of jazz musicians playing in this tiny café.

The style is classic jazz with a drums, sax, trumpet, upright-bass etc. The vibe of this place will no doubt captivate you, and you will meet musicians who have been playing jazz for a lifetime.

Prices are fair and the beers are good. They don’t have a website, but you can read more over at Tripadvisor.

Bastardcafé – A board game cafe

Bastardcafe is a new cafe at the heart of Copenhagen at Rådshusstræde 13. The concept is simple, put your smart phone in your pocket, and enjoy a good old-fashioned board game in a cozy atmosphere.

There are lots of games you can play for free, and if you spend DKK25 ($4) on a one-day pass, there are more than 500 games you can play (including traditional Danish board games like Danmarksspillet).

If you are new into the world of gaming, you can talk to one of the “game gurus”, and let them help you out find a game for you, and learn the rules. It’s a good place to try out new board games.

Café Retro – a popular café that helps poor people

Café Retro is a non-profit café started by a group of young Copenhageners. The concept is simple: Everybody in the café work for free, and all the money goes to support homeless people in India and Africa.

Café Retro has lots of cultural events during the week like readings and intimate concerts, and you can also step by during the day, and enjoy the free wifi. Lot’s of students come here to study or work.

They also have a quiet room, which can be a nice get-away inside the hectic city. It is also widely used by religious people from all religions, who want to pray during the day. Definitely worth a visit if you need some quiet time, or if you just need a break and a cup of coffee.

Rum Club – get nerdy about your rum

This café / bar is for rum lovers. Rum club has more than 350 bottles on stock, so if you are into special rum, or just want to try something new – this is the place to go.

It is walking distance from the Town Hall Square at Studiestræde 5 in the basement, and once you step down into this dungeon-like place, you will feel the great atmosphere of old Copenhagen.

If you are new to the world of rum, you can start out with a rum menu, which will introduce you to the different tastes and genres of rum. They also blend their own rum, which can be bought at the place. A good souvenir from Copenhagen.

A danes view on cycling

In Denmark we are very used to riding bike every day, but that is very different in the rest of the world. I have on several occasions heard foreign people comment on the danish biking culture, and I have found it really interesting that it’s such a huge deal. Growing up in Denmark I’ve never realized it was so special? Therefor I thought it would be fun to hear what it’s like in other countries so I have spoken to a Danish biking expert who has been in the USA all summer, and he has also seen a huge difference in the biking culture from Denmark to the USA.

”In large parts of the USA you rarely see a bike, only in the big cities where the culture is more like the Danish one. Mainly because there’s no point in owning a car in the big cities. Especially in San Francisco where I spend 10 weeks this summer there are many cyclists. But with that said large parts of USA is almost empty of bikes, and that is in my opinion a huge loss, especially regarding the public health”, says Tobias Ehlig, who is the entrepreneur behind eCykelhjelm.dk.

In contrast to the USA in general Denmark is a huge biking country, and that makes Tobias – who is also an active biker himself – very happy.

”I am biking to the University every day and therefore I also know the very positive effect that cycling has on your soul. In shorter periods I have been driving to school by car in the morning, and when I arrive to the lecture I am not nearly as awake as when I have been riding my bike.”

He thinks that his daily bike rides gives him benefits not only when taking his health in consideration, but also regarding his contribution to saving the environment.

”In Denmark almost everybody own a bike and we love using it. But cycling to and from work/school has it’s risks. Riding a bike isn’t that safe and in Denmark we have so many accidents with fatal outcome every year. Therefore it made me very happy to see that in the US they where miles ahed of us in regards to wearing a bike helmet. From my point of view it seems though that this trend is turning around in Denmark these years, and in general my experience is that using a helmet becomes more and more popular. Earlier we thought that wearing a helmet was kind of stupid, but today it seems like a much more reasonable and responsible choice, that people in all ages respect”, says Tobias Ehlig.

Why we should celebrate failure in Denmark

I remember watching a movie where one of the main characters died. The people left behind were at a funeral and saying goodbye for the last time when one person decided they had grieved enough and said ’let’s not mourn his death, but celebrate his long and good life.’

I liked that quote.

And it’s possible to put it in context when it comes to creating a startup and failing.

Because, let’s face it – 99 % of all entrepreneurs will fail again and again and maybe eventually create something that works. That’s the nature of creating something. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it – but it’s not.

Oh, you failed? Maybe you should try something else..

When you decide to quit your job in Denmark to become an entrepreneur, this is how your friends will look at you:

They’ll tell you it’s a bad idea. So will your parents. Both of them do it with the best of all intentions – because they care about you. They don’t want you to get hurt. But in reality, they’re hurting you by creating boundaries that do not need to be there.

If you decide to start up regardless and you fail – of which the odds are pretty good – they’ll tell you ”I told you so,” roll their eyes again and wait for you to become trapped in the rat race with a job again.

This is bad.

I had a great trip to New York in spring 2012 with the law faculty at Aarhus University. In New York, and in the rest of USA, your friends will say ”Great, that sounds awesome, how can I help?” if you say you want to start up for yourself.

And when you fail – because people do that of course both in Denmark, USA and everywhere else around the globe – they’ll say ”Nice try, when will you try something new?”

Failure is acceptable because failure means that you tried. At least in the USA. In Denmark, failure is failure. And some people treat failure like the imminent end.

American Seth Godin, whom is one of my favourite authors, has some interesting views on failing. Check them out here:

Doesn’t work – next

It rarely works out the first time. And if it does, it’ll take you a LONG time.

JUF.dk, which I’ve been dedicated to for almost one and a half years now, is my fourth company. The first three have been shut down and I lost money on all of them.

Were they bad ideas? Maybe. Did I execute well on them? Obviously not.

But they taught me both what was working and what was not, which I can use now with JUF.dk.

I wouldn’t be here, had I not failed with the first three (and maybe I’ll fail with this one too, but I know I’ll create something new and better time after time).

Let me give you another example.

A friend of mine, Jesper Hvejsel, created his business, Made4men.dk, in 2007. Seven years ago. In this post, he explains how the first five years basically didn’t work – they did not make money, new competition killed the market and they had issues releasing new products. But they kept going and eventually turned around (and personally, I think he and Karsten at the company are some of the coolest guys in all of Jutland).

Another good friend in Aarhus, Andreas Linde, has been working on Vitam.dk for around the same time as I have on JUF.dk. This is his third try at making a real business. The first two didn’t fail per se, but they didn’t become what Andreas wanted either. But it looks like Vitam.dk – after just one and a half years – will become exactly what they wanted and a lot more too, actually.

This works in larger scale as well. My friends from Bikester has started up shops all over Europe in order to find out which works – and which they need to work a bit more on. They’re in 14 countries now and slowly quickly figuring out what works and how to fix what is not.

Keep trying  – it’ll work!

I think stubbornness is what sets great entrepreneurs apart.

Even when things don’t look like they’re going to work, the great entrepreneurs keep on going. They keep on doing what they do best.

But you have to keep trying something new, if what you’ve been doing this far doesn’t work.

I saw this definition of insanity a while ago:

insanity definition

And I can relate.

If it doesn’t work, and you keep doing your daily grind day after day, it still won’t work. It won’t change.

But if you change what’s holding you back, it will change and you will be rewarded.

Let’s celebrate failure in the Danish culture – because with failure, you at least tried. And, as legendary ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, you’ll miss 100 % of the shots you never take.

Winter weight gain? Maybe …

A lot of people gain weight in the autumn and winter season. I have always been quite determined that would never happen to me. This year, my approach has changed.

Yes, you heard correctly. This autumn and winter, I would like to gain weight. That is – I would like to gain muscles, not fat. Strong is the new skinny, they say. And I have to try it!

As it’s cold and wet this time of year, I know that my morning runs will be more frustrating than de-stressing. So I decided to use my energy on another branch of sport. I talked to my best friend, and she’s on the challenge as well. I really think that’s nice, because I know that it will be hard sometimes. In this way, we can support each other.

So yesterday we went to the local fitness center and signed up for membership. Afterwards, we had our first workout with this personal trainer. He was so nice to teach us all of the exercises, and he gave us a workout schedule, so that we know what to do when we are at the gym.

He also gave us some advice regarding diet and dietary supplements. He told us that it would be a good idea to eat more proteins than we did before. So I’m going to eat a lot of chicken and tuna in my salads. He also told us that it would be a good idea to supplement our diet with creatine, something called gainers & recovery, which will help out muscles to grow big and strong.

I’m really looking forward to exercising! According to the fitness coach, we have to workout at least three times a week. So that’s what we’ll do. New Year’s dress – get ready! ‘Cause I’m going to be so fit!