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Awesome. We are live Cedric. Welcome back to another session.
It’s already 3rd one in like the third month. That’s a good hit rate.
Yeah, time flies, time flies.
Absolutely. So, you know, we last spoke about a good month ago. So quickly tell us a bit about what happened over the past weeks.
What were you working on? What did you do over the past weeks?
Yeah, I actually thought about that before going live here. And out of the past, I think it’s been five weeks, maybe since we last spoke. And I think four of those weeks I was in a hosting airport service, which for those who are watching and are not Swiss citizens is still something that’s mandatory in Switzerland for most males. I’m an officer in the Air Force, unfortunately not flying plates and doing other things in my
That’d be cool.
Yeah, that’d be that’s still a goal. But well, I already have a pretty cool job in the intelligence services. So it’s actually kind of fun, but then also, it takes a lot of times what I realized, and on the one hand, it was good that I was able to get close by quarter and Tomahawk VC—assigned to the same unit. So we actually spent a lot of time in the military together, and we were able to come up with things. And but of course, that took a lot of time. What it forced us to do is to automate a lot of things. So the last five weeks actually spent a ton of time thinking about processes in Tomahawk VC. So what happens when someone applies for funding or someone gets introduced to us? And how can we make as many steps as possible automated so that for one, we create an efficient process of reliable processes, but also a process that kind of replicable and doesn’t offer too many ways to fail due to human error. So that’s probably the one thing where we make quite a bit, step forward. And the other thing that we invested in is transparency. So I’ve created quite a bit of content, mostly videos that I’ve shared on YouTube and Facebook and LinkedIn answering questions that the founders had, or friends about what is it that a venture capitalist does. And because I believe in more transparency helps everyone, I mean, helps founders get funding quicker; it helps me understand what is on the mind of someone that I’m talking to. And overall, that that’s something that we want to make a big push in is create more content about what happens behind the scenes as an investor.
Right. And what’s actually the rationale behind that I mean, to a certain degree, that will also help you to establish a strong brand and then hopefully attract the better investment cases, right.
I think that’s a secondary factor, but you know, the first step, I just think it’s the right thing to do. I think there shouldn’t be it shouldn’t be that you have to go trial and error yourself every step of the process. I think through should be better documented, there should be more information out there on how to efficiently structure your process with investors because, ultimately, if the less time you have to invest in building a relationship with investors, the more time you can invest in building a world-changing product. And that’s what ultimately I’m excited about.
Awesome. So we also had some questions that were coming in before we actually went live. So for everybody, listening and watching right now, if you do have any questions that you want to ask Cedric, please post them in the comments so we can actually include them in today’s episode. And one question that actually was quite interesting, I thought, is:
Would you quit your job to start a business or rather start part-time and then probably building it up step by step? What’s your take on that?
Yeah, I think it’s a tough question. I assume this comes from someone in the position that has an idea and is thinking of how much do I risk in order to make that idea of reality. One point I just say I leave my job and I go full time on this. And I think it’s it’s hard to answer in a general context, I think, overall, what I’m observing is that here in Europe, we tend to be too safety-oriented, meaning we would rather let a big opportunity go than giving up on a safety net, which can sometimes keep us from making it big and creating these like really big companies that require us to take a lot of risks. But then also the opposite. Just jump leaving your job just to pursue any idea probably isn’t the right thing, either. One thing that could work well for you as if your idea has some sort of service module attached to it, to leave your traditional job and go full time in your startup but still have a certain source of income to give you an example like property by when they first started the business, Rogers was the founder, he used to have another job, and he reduced that to I think 20% or 40%. Then he went full time in Fructify. But he didn’t merely focus on just the SAS revenue to survive, so to say, but he also had companies pay for features they wanted them they wanted him to add to the product. And that’s a great way for him to finance the next six months, the next 12 months. I think that’s the ideal way because it allows you to be fully focused on your idea. Why not running out of cash within just a few months and then potentially having to go back into a corporate role?
Got it. I think you also touched the important topic of risk appetite.
And there’s obviously a big difference between Swiss or European startups in general compared to the US. Is there any tip from your side you know how we can really unlock that appetite to go after the big things and also not sell ourselves too short, too small. And we also have to speak ambitious to build a hugely successful company.
Well, one quote that I always remember is, we’re probably going to regret the things that we haven’t done more than the things that we have done. That it’s not to say we should be stupid and take huge risks and potentially ruin our future by just seeking out risks, but I think we can be calculated risks that said, like a time budget for when a certain idea or a certain project needs to become self-sustainable. And if things work out, then great if they don’t work out, we’ll have a backup plan. But I think what I personally also sometimes underestimate is how valuable focuses so being in a startup fully invested with all my time and all my energy, it’s just so much more valuable than being 50% there or even 80% there and having a 20% percent job on the site, I think you need to be full time at some like pretty quickly at some point in your early startup journey, in order to give it your all and also from the investors perspective, I would not invest in someone that has a backup plan, right? I want someone that is so fascinated with the problem that they are willing to go all in and give it their all in order to make it happen.
I remember we wanted to interview with Daniel Gutenberg and his take was also very similar to that one, and he said, you know, the most rational thing to do if you are building the next unicorn, at least from your perspective, is to really invest everything all the time, all the money, whatever you have into that company because it will eventually give you the best return the highest return ever.
I one story that comes to my mind is my friend Flavio in New York, who is building a company in the medical healthcare space. And he had previously built companies and sold some of them fairly well. And his leave the last round, she had to, for his lead investor to come in and get to reach a certain amount in the round. I don’t remember how much it was. For him, it basically he ended up selling everything that he had, like all the public equities, he had everything under his name he had to sell, and it was kind of a tough call like I think the deadline was like a Friday evening and I think it took him till Friday morning to liquidate everything so that personally he could invest whatever the difference was that was missing between that trigger amount and what investors had committed. And so he’s an example that I often think of when it comes to these questions of like, going all-in risking everything that he has built so far because he so believes in the idea that he’s working on.
Yeah, that’s crazy. I really admire it if you can take that decision, but I also know that you know, at least from the outside, it seems a really, really difficult decision to make. Although if you’re actually in there, it might be not that difficult because you have this strong belief and you think, Hey, this is gonna end well for sure.
And I might not be the best person to give you advice on this, right? Because I’ve always, and that’s the dilemma of my past 18 years like, I was always involved in different projects at the same time, but that’s why I think I make a good investment because I as from my personality, I just like to be involved with multiple things at the same time. For a very long time. I kind of battle that in yourself that told me whenever I was getting close to being focused on just one thing, there was another idea that popped up, and I just, I had to spend time on it because I found it so interesting. I just have this like a really curious model might that’s hard to satisfy with just one concurrent thing. And so for me, I’ve always had multiple projects that I was working on, even though there were big bets that I took and that I’m still taking even now with Tomahawk VC. But up until the point of starting Tomahawk VC, I’ve always had several projects that were partly occupying my mind. So I might not be the best example, but I just observed what it does with people and how it creates this extra boost of energy if you’re fully invested. And I think it’s it’s extremely powerful in order to become successful as an entrepreneur.
Right. For you know, focusing on different projects at the same time and I know that also some people need that to get the energy to have, you know, the different things to do and being involved in different projects at the same time. You’ve seen both parts of the setup.
Now you’re fully committed and fully focusing on Tomahawk.VC. But is there a setup that you prefer? Or do you also think that this really depends on the stage in your life that you had to learn and so forth?
Well, I think my journey was right. My journey was so far was a lot of fun. And I’ve learned a lot along the way, which I wouldn’t have if I had focused on just one or two ideas along the way. Nevertheless, for me, I had to like figure out what it is that I’m best at and where I can really have an impact and I think being an investor is a great role for me because you know, I’m focusing on one thing and I’m wearing just one hat now, I don’t have different interests. My sole interest now is making Tomahawk VC successful. In my daily life, I still work with a lot of different projects, feed companies that we’re looking at for companies that we have already invested in or companies we’re looking to divest at some point. Additional so many overlapping interesting journeys that I feel no two days are ever the same. And I think that’s what’s giving a lot of energy to me.
Got it. So let’s also focus on another question that was handed in over Instagram before the stream started. What is I think it’s also a pretty interesting topic, you know, there are different takes on what you should start part-time or full time. There might also be different takes of your educational background.
So one question is if a university degree is still necessary in today’s network and the fast-moving world?
So it’s interesting to understand a bit better who asked this question, and if they’re asking it as a founder as someone that wants to go work in a startup. Either case, I don’t think it’s necessary. I think there are many great ways for you to acquire knowledge and experiences and universities just one path. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed going to university even if I already have my first company running and so it was a lot of work and very little sleep for a few years, but I really just two things that I really enjoyed. One was, I studied Electrical Engineering at ETH. And the main skill that I took away was how to learn hard things by myself or difficult things. How do I get an understanding of difficult topics without anyone breaking them down for me is mostly for self-study. I think that’s number one, number two. I met a lot of very interesting and curious minds when I was studying. And that was just very stimulating for me. So I would definitely go back. I’ve also over the years two-three years I thought about potentially going back to university or at least taking some courses. In the end, I think there are better ways to get the content now I could just watch podcasts or read about it by myself, and the community feeling of being there with other students and acquiring knowledge together, solving problems together. And I was also at the edge of what’s currently possible. I just find it extremely stimulating. And so maybe one day, there will be an opportunity to go back and spend a bit more time just receiving knowledge.
What would you study if you were to go back to university today?
Huh? I mean, my first thought will probably be something in computer science, space. But I’m also extremely interested in psychology and philosophy. So I’ll probably be a mix of classes and because I would go there and offer a degree but I would go there for just to satisfy my curious mind I would probably be an assortment of different courses that I would kind of double in and then see if I where I want to take this.
Sure, that makes sense. There is I’m sure you know him, but maybe some people haven’t heard about him yet. There’s a famous angle philosopher, he calls himself, or he was called, I’m talking about Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList. And I recently just discovered that he has a lot of really great content out there, you know, really about life about how to build a company about investing also. And he puts out a whole tweetstorm on Twitter. And I would like to highlight some of those things, and also try to discuss with you what that actually means for Switzerland, because obviously, he’s writing that with US bias if you want it or not, but I like to see if some of his recommendations and advice also can be applied to Switzerland. So the first thing that he mentioned, one of the things was “Seek wealth, not money or status,” and he defined wealth as an earning potential while you actually sleep, so you don’t actually need to be physically there.
What do you think about that in terms of the adoption of the Swiss market?
I think, in principle, it’s very applicable all right. And for me, the way I would phrase wealth would be freedom. Freedom is to spend your time on what you really like and where you have what you have a passion for. And there’s this whole Fire movement; financial independence retire early. I know we’re both readers of Mr. Money Mustache.
Mustachio post. Yes.
The Swiss version.
Yeah. Which is fascinating right? I think it’s a fascinating topic to not just work until you’re 65. And then they retired because the system says. That’s how long you have to work and then and then you can finally retire. But too much earlier in your life take control of your financial future, and build the processes and systems that allow you to be more and more in control of your time, even if you’re starting from zero when you start to work. And the Mustachio post, a guy from the western part of Switzerland, he writes about his journey, his goals and the way he thinks about setting those goals and why. And I think it’s fascinating. I have to admit that I am not just because of because I want to stay focused on the venture, investing Public Equities right now I don’t know except for my pension and Third Pillar, I just, I like to have my mind in one single place and try to become world-class in it. But I think all the thoughts that she describes some of the systems that he describes very much resonated with me. So, maybe sooner or later, I’ll find time to sit down and build a system where I can work along those lines as well.
You know, in a country like Switzerland where you don’t really openly talk about money, having the goal to retire early in his case with 40 years old might be or might seem really offending too. Some people, you know. Like, what are you talking about? This is not the way that you’re supposed to live whatsoever. This is not normal. This is very arrogant. What do you think about that these reactions that that can trigger?
Well, as some people probably drive some triggering reactions, where people think you’re a bit crazy, or at least different, I’m probably the wrong person to discuss this as well, because I think in the end, like, that’s with everything else in life, you have to I think for all the important things in your life, you have to be able to break them down to I would call them like atomic units, meaning you have to be able to go from like very high-level thoughts like I want to retire at age 40. And all the way down to like, what does it mean for my behavior this year, next year, today, tomorrow and, and all that. How does it like how does it how do you connect all these high-level thoughts with everything that is very actionable at the moment? That’s a process that I really enjoyed, but it has led me to a lot of insights over the past few years. And when it comes to like how much stuff you actually need to own, and you need to stay in one place, you need to live in one place in order to be productive and successful as an entrepreneur or can you be that and still be traveling and, and appreciate all the additional insights and experiences that give you. So we’re all I’d say, I don’t care much about what other people think. At least I like to not consciously I think we all subconsciously do, to some degree, but at least consciously, I think it’s fun to sometimes question the status quo and the way it’s always been done. And I think the way he’s doing that is a great way and, of course, by sharing his numbers so openly by being so open about his processes and systems that he uses. He gets a lot of readers; he gets a lot of eyeballs, which I think is great to share these ideas with more people.
Also, one thing that Naval puts in his tweets is that from his perspective, everybody can become wealthy. Do you think that is an oversaturation? Or is that even possible?
Hmm. I mean, again, if we look at his way of saying wealthy as being in charge of your own time, then I would definitely agree, because it’s not just, it’s not just how much you can accumulate in terms of financial assets of means. It’s also how many financial assets and means you need to live a free and happy life, right? So it’s a lot about how you design your life and what your values and priorities are. So that says, I would definitely say yes, you are the maker of your life you are to make up your own destiny and happiness. And so I definitely think we should all spend time on this question and think about like, what is it that I really want out of life, instead of just accumulating resources so that later on in life, we think we can sit down and think about how we now can distribute those resources.
Right. And was it what is it that you really want to get out of life?
Hmm, yeah, I really happy when I can just satisfy this endless curiosity that my mind has. So if I, if as long as I keep learning things every single day and accumulating experiences every single day, I think I’m always going to be happy. Luckily, everyone in my immediate family is healthy or secure in COVID. No one was really affected. So for me, I think it’s that like, just being exposed to interesting people, people that I get to spend time with that spend time with me and share your experiences with me, people that are critical of my worldviews and that allow me to be critical of their worldviews. That’s just stuff that I thrive on, and hopefully don’t get to do that for the rest of my life.
And I also think that this puts the money part in a good perspective, right?
So money is just a means to an end to a certain degree. And I think I know I don’t know the exact words how Naval ended his tweetstorm, but it was something along the lines of then when you eventually get rich or whatsoever, you discovered that this is not what you actually expected in the first place. And I think that’s a wonderful way to end that tweetstorm.
One thing that I, I would add in one thing that I’ve recently learned about myself is that I think a money means to an end in the sense that I learned from the projects and companies that failed more than I do from the ones that succeed, but the ones that succeed, they kind of finance my pool of life in the sense that I can fail at other projects now. And Of course, it’s to accumulate resources over time to build a certain security net, but as I said, like, like money, this really helped me learn more in a single day or meet more interesting people to some degree, right. So I think the lifestyle design and thinking about how to maximize for that it’s much more important to me than the actual dollar.
This is a very interesting statement. So basically, you need two failures to learn and to also fulfill your curiosity and need to learn new things, but they don’t actually pay the bills. So that’s interesting.
Yeah, the successes are payment, I mean, of course, you’ll learn a lot of along the way of building something successful as well, but I just feel that the things that have impacted me the most and kind of made me the person I am or, were the tough times, the times where I left a company where a company failed, where it didn’t take off where the funding round didn’t happen in the end. And those were kind of the more impactful teachers to me than things that went right and felt these units the aftermath.
Right. Maybe that regards also question, you know, where do you actually or how do you actually decide on what you spend your time on and on what not specifically?
So, there’s a lot of work that comes my way, or I just react to it via the founder reaching out like a portfolio founder reaching out to discuss an idea or a candidate or getting inputs on a strategy decision. And I could spend all my day just reacting to others’ requests, talking to others. And what I realized a few years ago is that if I really do that, it’s never super fulfilling because I don’t feel like making big progress on the things that really matter. And so what I do now as I split my day in half in the mornings, I typically take time for myself to work proactively on the topics that I think I want to make on the initiatives where I want to make progress on and on the afternoons, I work reactively where I answer I take calls meetings and I react to whatever is thrown my way.
How easy is it to follow that rhythm?
Um, I think, for the most part, I’m doing pretty well. And there are always exceptions where if a company’s in a bad position or union a really good position but needs immediate attention, I break the rule, but then I also sometimes have full days that I can take off. So I tried to balance it out. And at least for the last few months, I feel like we’re pretty good with it, and not traveling between time zones has also really helped.
That’s what usually messes it up. If I’m in the US, then my afternoon calls become my morning calls, and then it’s easy to be stuck on those ideas on the reactive thoughts, and I usually have a hard I’m getting into the practice parts. For the last few months I’ve been, I’ve been good. So fingers crossed.
Awesome. So I just saw that we got the first question from the audience here. Also, if you do have anything else that you want to ask, please post it in the comments so we can tackle it. So Sophia asked, I’m going to read it out loud because it’s a long one. Despite doing a lot of sports and eating healthy. I don’t have a lot of energy and feel fatigued all the time. Do you have an idea of how to be more energetic or also, especially when you want to work a lot?
Do you have personal recommendations on that part?
Well, if experienced that before, where on the surface, it seemed like the whole setup was fine. And yet I was not feeling it. I was just I had a hard time getting out of bed, or I had a tough time getting stuff done or working on the bigger initiative. So I would always kind of procrastinate into students’ smaller tasks first. And of course, it only became harder to get started with the important things.
So in my experience, a few things have led to that. For the most part, it’s been because I was pushing something emotional, or at least some sort of people problem ahead of me. And that’s usually what blocked me either with myself or someone in the company or someone that I worked with. And for me, you know, it was not hard like it’s usually I built up this tension over time, and it became harder and harder for me to be productive and efficient. And once I actually faced the problem, either by speaking well with myself by just writing down what my thoughts were approaching the problem if the person that was involved, it released tension, or if I felt that was I was not ready for that by sharing it with someone that I trusted and just basically giving them a rundown of what’s happening in my head and what’s keeping me from being more productive. A great way for me to do that was always in EO entrepreneurs organization, which is this organization of entrepreneurs where you have a forum that meets monthly in a confidential way. That was always a good place for me to share and get experiences from others.
Awesome. So, Mark, that here is answered. And another question, you know, in the first Livestream that we did you also we’ve built that you will be a father soon, and I think it’s fantastic. And I also wonder, in what way has that affected or change, you know, your decisions or your perspectives on investments, but also in life in general? And have you already noticed any effect there?
So I’ll try to tackle these step by step. So I think the big I mean, it’s becoming more and more real right now I can feel our little toddler kick when I have my hands on Elena’s belly and like it’s a super exciting journey. But obviously, the big change in our lives will come when she’s here when she’s she’s with us when it takes over our lives. So in that sense, it hasn’t really changed my daily routines or the way I approach my work yet. It has definitely put a few more things on my mental roadmap for what I think about among them education. How do you raise a kid? What are the things that I want her to learn from me, from us, and what world is when I want to show her? So those are some big questions, and they don’t have to be immediately answered, but it’s just something that’s really sparked my curiosity, and I started to dig into projects, and look at the initiatives when it comes to how I invest, nothing much has changed, I think mostly due to the fact that, like we have a very long term thesis, the way I invest is focused on the next 1015 or maybe even 20 years. So it’s not something that’s affected by like a daily change of heart. For all I, yeah, I don’t think that has had a, an impact on immediate my immediate mindset on how I approach investing in startups.
Maybe in what way, you know, having this long timeframe that you look at investments, you know, what role do like big changes, like climate change, for example, play in that regard. Is that something that you also consider when you invest, or how do you touch that? Does that directly affect the life of your daughter, actually, right?
Yeah. So, it hasn’t affected the way I make investments yet, because I think it’s also important to stick to a thesis and see how it plays out. One thing that I did last year even before I knew I was become becoming a dad this I started to finally compensate my CEO to output. Right, that’s one thing. I have a friend that’s working on a reforestation project in Colombia, I think, right now, which I am always there as a sparring partner if he needs any inputs. But we haven’t changed Tomahawk.VC or my investments into like an impact investment vehicle just because I think I would also not be the right person to do that right now. I’m very curious, and I’m trying to learn from people in my vicinity that that are working on impact investments. But I stopped at the point where I would feel comfortable making impact investments because I think it’s a different ballgame, and I’ve spent the last 15, almost 20 years working on SAS and Fintechs. And I think that’s where I have to apply my expertise as an investor for the time being.
Absolutely, yeah. Otherwise, you would not start from scratch, but you probably go a couple of fields back, and to have to learn something new again and what you’ve built over the past years as compounding to certainly have helped you to make the good decisions.
And that’s not to say, I mean, I think climate change has become such a big and important topic that it has impacts in all our companies, right? Compensating their carbon dioxide output and just generally thinking about how to leave the world a better place, I think, is something that a lot of us think about whether we’re building a fintech or we’re working on that reforestation project. So it definitely has an impact. And then one way how I think Tomahawk.VC can and will have an impact is we believe in a disputed world where people do not commute this month. They don’t go into offices, they work from their homes, or they use existing infrastructure or room for all of us. There are less wasted electricity and wasted infrastructure. So in that sense, I think we’re contributing to that. But it’s not like that has changed since my daughter’s or like to, since I know I’m going to be coming back at the end of this year. I think that’s what my worldview has been for the past 12 years or more.
Absolutely. In that regard, and Naval also had an interesting component in his podcast, where he said it from his perspective and experience, “You know, building a company is hard. No matter how big of a company you’re trying to build. So if you are running a company that is, you know, a couple of restaurants, Italian restaurants in town, it might actually be you might work the same hours or even more than somebody trying to build the next unicorn” was his thesis.
So how do you actually find most of the right A scope of a problem that you should tackle with your company, should it just go for the bigger, the better? Or is there any sweet spot that is a better fit for you?
Hmm? Well, at least personally, I don’t think the bigger is better is what would be my theme if I’m choosing what to work on. I personally like to work on stuff that I work projects that I think can become sustainable, meaning they can kind of succeed me even if I’m not here anymore. Or if I’m not in the company anymore, they can still provide value to hopefully lots and lots of people.
And so I tend to gravitate towards projects that have a high degree of automation that are software-based, or at least to some degree independent for me as a person and a lot of the workforce. That’s just my value system is I’d like to create something that can become sustainable and can succeed me. Other than that, I think it’s important for everyone to figure out what, what is kind of at the intersection or the overlap between where they think they can have an impact and what they want to work on. And then also what can be sustainable for them.
Absolutely. There’s the next question coming in from Sophia, on how to actually find a mentor in Switzerland. Do you have any tips on that one?
Well, first of all, thanks for the question, Sophia. So, you know, this is fun getting them as we speak. I think it all depends on whom you think should be your mentor and why. Speaking about myself, I am somewhat reluctant to say yes; I can become your mentor. If that’s what you approached me with to just ask me if I can be your mentor. But if you approach me with, “Hey, I’m in this spot, and I want to get to this place, and I think you could really help me because your film or you have this that expertise that would be extremely valuable to me.” You will never hear me say no. Even if my days are already full, I will definitely be there and share my experiences with you. So I think it’s all about figuring out who is the right person to help you and how I’m making that as concrete as possible being respectful of their time and approaching them with a very concrete idea of where you can need their help and input. So that is that be my way of approaching it is thinking about like who is with the right person to help me with this step. And then potentially afterward is someone completely out someone completely different.
Some people had also asked like, how do you answer the question what’s for me? So what can you look for a mentorship bring to potential mentors?
I think it’s good to think about that. But then I personally don’t put that much value or weight on it because I don’t want this to be a trade like for me, it’s totally fine if what I’m getting out of this is just to see you succeed. And life is long enough that I’m sure our paths will cross again. And there are always ways for all of us to help each other. And so for me, it’s not about that sales pitch, you don’t need to send me an email where you tell me. Oh, I can do this for free for you. That’s not what I’m looking for. But you’re right, completely right, like other people might be looking for that might be a great way to convince them or get their attention.
Such a great question. Thank you, Sophia. And if you do have any other questions, post them in the comments right now, because we are tackling some rapid-fire questions for centers right now. And there are a few that we prepared. So the first one is, you know, just to get you warmed up a bit for the rapid-fire questions.
What are your tough gadgets under $100 purchase price?
Yeah, there’s this one that’s laying on my desk right now. It’s this thing here. Why it’s so, that’s it big minus, and I couldn’t get it in black, but it’s a hyper choose charger. And what I like about it is it basically has all the ports that I need, so most of my devices now run on USB-C. And before I would have to carry my MacBook charger and my iPhone charger separately, and I can charge even like for traveling together, this is good enough to charge for laptops and a few phones at the same time. So this has allowed me to go from like three or four devices if you count for both of us to just one. The only thing like comes with these adapters. By default, it has a US block. And I think that was 69 I bought that on Kickstarter or Indiegogo at the beginning of the year for $69. it finally shipped last month. There was quite a delay due to COVID. But yeah, that that would be my most recent gadget, I don’t have a ton of gadgets anymore. I sold or gave away most of my I don’t have a drone anymore. I don’t have a lot of. Yeah, it’s basically my air pods, my laptop, my, my iPhone, my camera. And that’s it.
Yeah, the basics, what else you need? Right? And you also don’t have that much space with 64 items. So I need to choose wisely.
What have you recently learned? Is there anything in particular that you know really stood out?
Hmm. I just read maybe I’m not sure this Council’s learned, but it’s the first thing that came to mind. Which say, I want to invest time into reading good, Well research articles more. I really liked the website wired. And so over the last few weeks, I’ve picked up more and more of their articles and either re-read them or read them for the first time. I really enjoyed them, and there was one that I read about Elon Musk and the way he got started with Tesla and the best thing he took from them early on, and that’s one thing that I really like. And this also came up because we sort of Tomahawk. VC was the top team on Friday we have our team calls and the three of us for you for me. And a few weeks ago, Chloe started to prepare some venture capital trivia for every Friday. So at the end of each call, he has a few questions prepared usually around a certain topic. And recently it was about what who led the Seed Round of Tesla, how big it was and so on and so forefront. Elon Musk was not the founder of Tesla; he was their seed investor. I think he invested about six and a half million dollars out of a 7 million round at their Seed. And he only later became the CEO. I think the first chapter six, Executive Chairman. The beginnings of Tesla, let’s put it this way. I learned about the beginning of Tesla’s History.
I like that. Now, the next one is interesting. I’m curious, what was an answer about that one? What’s a surprising fact that people don’t know about you? And if I already know it, you have to choose a different one. Okay?
What am I if you could guess, but one thing that I’m really good at is falling asleep at any time and at any place. It’s something that I’ve learned when I was filming media site members company and studying at the same time that I learned how to go on very little sleep for a long time. So my, my body became used to just falling asleep like this. I can take a five-minute nap sometimes. And then it was also something that was super helpful when I was doing going through the initial officers training in the Air Force. Because sometimes we would go on missions and there’s a saying, in the Air Force, like “you run to wait, “meaning like sometimes there’s like high energy, and you got to run everything and then slowly there’s like a two-hour block for you them. You’re not; you can’t do anything. And so I was very efficient at using those breaks in between for to catch up on sleep.
I’m not sure if it was that something that you already knew or guessed?
I’m not really sure if I heard it in one of your videos once, but it didn’t like ring a bell. So it’s not that count. It’s an actually good thing you know, if you’re able to fall asleep quickly, that might also be a sign that you are heavily sleep-deprived, right.
So, well. I think nowadays, and I’d say for the past two years, or so I had a much healthier relationship with how much sleep I need. Before that, I would say I was often sleep deprived. Now I do get my seven-plus hours whenever I can. And I really enjoy sleeping in on the weekends. Whereas earlier, I just felt like sleep was a waste of time, and there’s so much more interesting stuff that I do with my time. But I feel in the past couple of years I’ve been on a pretty healthy journey that’s probably going to be disrupted once my daughter is born. This I combo repaired, tried.
I have already been there, done that right.
So the next one is if you had only three words available to describe yourself, what three words would he choose?
And so one thing that I used to have on my Instagram, maybe it’s still there is entrepreneur, essentialist explorer. I think those three nouns; they do a pretty good job of describing different sides of me. So entrepreneur, creating stuff is definitely a big part of my personality. Essentialists like being very focused on what I feel is important. And then explorer saying like that’s just my curiosity for everything in the world and also the relationships in my life like going deeper, going further thinking to the next step, being very vulnerable, putting myself in situations where I can grow. So yeah, I’ll probably go with those three.
Why is an investor, not one of them?
Well, because I think investors. Well, he doesn’t start with me. So then, Brian. I think investor just sounds too passive, to be able to be something that I will put there. I even now I think of myself as an entrepreneur, I try to rethink how venture capitalists work and think and try to be transparent. I try to make the life of entrepreneurs easier. So I still see myself as an entrepreneur, even though my functional role right now is probably best described as an investor.
Yep, it makes sense. And you know, thinking back about all the experience that you already have, or also just the life advice that was given to you? What was the best piece of advice that you have ever received? And why is it the best piece of advice?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. So I’m also going to go with my first thought, even though it’s hard for me to exactly say when I’ve received it, but I think somewhere when I around the age of like 21, 22, when I think was when I made the transition from being a son to become more of a friend to my parents. And this happened in parallel to the pretty bad breakup that I had when I was younger. And I think just being vulnerable and letting emotions happen is something that I tried to open until that point was something that felt more like a weakness to me. And now I can appreciate it a lot more because it like my emotions, a lot more for me than my brain does very often. Especially when it comes to complex topics, I think all of all the complex decisions in my life ultimately make with my doctor, my heart. Another my brain is it’s just not capable of capturing all the complexities of a really interesting problem or decision. So maybe it’s not someone that said something but definitely that my parents allowed me to be very vulnerable. And at the same time, someone that they saw at eye level was something that really helped me become a better person and become a more mature person.
Nice. I like that one. That’s a nice one. So also talking about emotions, you know, there are things that annoy people and then getting frustrated. So what’s something that really annoys you?
So my first thought that comes to mind is when things that can be automated are done manually. And that’s a very specific tool. Maybe that tells you a bit about how I think, but like, I just, I don’t like the thought of something going wrong or being missed or not being done exactly because we didn’t take the time to automate it. And also, because I think in my value system, I think we want to use a human brain constantly for new to solve new problems and not just stupidly reapply checklist or apply the same process over and over again. So that’s, that’s definitely something that I can get frustrated with if I feel that we have not really advanced in the automated stuff. So, so last five weeks, I was pretty happy to use we made big steps forward. I’d say a couple of months before that we didn’t do that we were waiting too long to make decisions on certain tools that we were going to use.
And that’s something that does agitate me and make me frustrated.
Yeah, I like the spirit and strive for efficiency. I think that’s an important trait of an entrepreneur in general.
And I think it’s what we have to do, right, because we want to stay in a very small company. We never want to outgrow a team of, let’s say, five to 10 people. And so the only way to scale ourselves is if we are very, very focused on only doing those things manually, where we really need our individual expertise and gut feeling. Everything else we streamline.
Makes sense. So there are more questions coming and again from Sophia. Do you have any tips on starting a startup in your read recession or even depression?
I have any tips for that? I mean, I think I think we spoke about this in a recent chat between the two of us, I think it’s one of the best time to start right because you are suddenly there are new problems that pop up that come with this big economic shift. And then also, it’s the best time to find co-founders. Unfortunately, lots of people usually lose their job during the economic downturn. The great value proposition for you to be out there and say, Hey, I have this big vision for a big problem that I want to solve. Hopefully, it’s also going to change our economic situation. And so it’s easy to get people excited, it’s easier to get people excited. Also, their alternatives are not as hard to beat as they are doing a “boom face” when everyone has well-paid jobs that great companies and with tons of perks.
And so, but maybe that’s not the advice that Sophia is looking for. And but I, I’d say just be super, like be opportunistic and look at the bright side of life, look at, what you can take away from this that’s positive and make sure to leverage that.
Right. I could really add like here to the sentence of Alanda, founder of Swiss Fairways gives us when we talk about ideas is really to answer the question, why is now the right timing. He always uses his surfing analogy and says, “Being entrepreneurs like being a surfer. There are waves coming; you need to get the right wave at the right time. And I think that’s so crucial also here. What’s happening right now every crisis pushes something more forward but also makes other things less important. And this can be really your good timing for catching the right wave in that sword.
So think about that, “Why it’s now the right timing” question and if you have a good answer for that, go for it.
Like I need some motivation also go back in time and look at what companies were started in 2009 and 2010. And you’ll see that some of the biggest, best-known companies were started right around that time. I think Airbnb emerged from the last crisis, Twilio Stripe, I think was founded around that time. So lots of great, exciting concepts have emerged from the crisis.
Absolutely. So I’m curious to see what we will look back to for this time period now.
And on that topic, I mean, it’d be interesting to hear your insights as well. But from my point of view, the real economy hasn’t seen as big of an impact as I like if you had asked me three months ago, I would have said we’re pretty much started from places by now, but from where I stand, at least, which is probably another very well informed viewpoint when it comes to public markets, but I think, for the most part, the Central Banks have been printing money. They’ve provided stimuli packages. And so I don’t even think the crisis has really gotten to its low point yet. But it’d be interesting to hear your insights.
Yeah. I mean, if you look at the Stock Market, it’s crazy. You would expect that everything goes south, but what happens is the right opposite, right? Or at least it’s very volatile, but with a clear upward trend. And then this is really combined with a big question mark, and I’m not sure where we will end, and I’m far away from making any predictions because I just don’t know. But it’s really, really strange. And also, you know, in the worst situation to a certain degree where we will go. I’m not sure if we are already like past the crisis and thanks to the money printing and sort of we do whatever it takes and statement of the Central Banks, that they can actually really lowered the effect of the crisis or if we are just you know, we have an open tap and one day will be a big payday, and it will haunt us back.
Yeah, one side. One thing that worries me, I’m not so worried about Switzerland and the most part most parts in Europe, even though there might be smaller spikes right now, but I just like, I just don’t understand in the US, I think that it’s still going up. Like there are so many new cases every single day. And yet people are picking up travel again. It’s just it worries me a bit what’s happening in the US.
Now, what do you think where will that like end? Where will that lead us?
I mean, I just think we haven’t seen the end of this yet. I think there’s more to come; there’s more that’s going to happen. And hopefully, it won’t be bad. But I just think right now we’re kind of just pushing problems ahead of us, or at least the way I perceive it from my perspective is that we’re not we haven’t gotten to the real issues yet. We’re kind of covering them. And we’re trying to be happy even though there’s definitely some facts that are very grim right now.
Yeah. So I have one last question for you.
That they’re like super interested in like you say, What deal made the most money so far? And how much has he earned by that field?
Um, yeah, that’s a tough one to answer. I mean, I think a lot about transparency, and I believe that you should be as transparent as you can, without hurting other people without creating a downside for others. And unfortunately, this is a topic where, you know, I would like to share a lot more. Very often, you put agreements in place that says you cannot talk about the price at which X, Y, or Z project sold or for sale happened or so on and so forth. I think what I can say is that, obviously, being early being excited about crypto early on provided great gains in terms of relative gains, meaning like, I think the way Bitcoin and Ethereum and some other currencies have appreciated over time, was definitely phenomenal, although I was a very small investor at the time. So in absolute terms, that’s not what has made me the most money, but it’s probably provided me the biggest return on investment. And then also for everything else, I’d say. There are some exits that I’ve been lucky to be part of, but also, pretty much all that money has been reinvested, and I’m playing a very long term game. I am fully invested in the projects that I believe in. And so even if I had some cash in the bank in the past, right now, I have most of my assets invested in startups and exciting ideas and founders.
Right. Yep. Then that’s a long term game that you’re playing in, and we are curious to be and also excited to be part of that and see where you’ll end up.
Yeah, that’d be fun to do these talks every now and then. And maybe that could be one way of having, giving you and everyone that’s watching insight into that journey. Because as I said, like I, I believe transparency helps all of us. It’s just that there, there are certain boundaries that, unfortunately, I didn’t define, and therefore I cannot just freely speak about everything.
Sure. Yeah, it will be cool, but we know that they’re like lawyers and legal contracts data, sometimes they tend to be more difficult.
Maybe further down the road. I mean, I’m starting to think more and more about how we can. There’s one idea that we’re discussing in the
Tomahawk.VC, which is to really make an effort to become the most transparent VC, at least in Europe. And we’re currently we haven’t really committed to the idea yet, but we’re definitely experimenting with what it could mean and what the upsides and downsides of that are. And so, also, if you’re anyone that’s watching right now have some insights or ideas or pro and can leave some comments on what they would really like to see or hear about or learn about and then definitely leave those comments and we’ll, we’ll consider all of them as we as we go along and experiment with these ideas.
Awesome. I think that’s a great call to action to end today’s conversation. Thank you again for taking the time, Cedric. It’s really always a pleasure to talk to you and all the best. And see you next month, I guess or who knows after the summer break?
Of course. Yeah. Thank you, and thanks for taking the time for this, and we’ll talk soon.
Take care, everyone. Thank you for watching it.