What Niklas Zennstrom Has Learned About Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurs are by nature curious people,” Niklas Zennstrom told Foreign Affairs Magazine. The incredibly prosperous co-founder of Skype has learned a number of things about entrepreneurship, including what qualities are necessary in order to be successful. The 51-year-old Swedish founder is a role model in the tech industry because of his goal for technology to permeate all of society. While he acknowledges the enormous advantages Silicon Valley presents for start-up companies, Zennstrom states: “Talent can pop up anywhere in the world, it’s not just on one city block.” Below are a few of his suggestions that are conducive to starting a successful business.

Prepare Yourself To Work Tirelessly

What may look like an overnight success, actually involves a massive amount of work. Years invested in a single idea, failed projects leading up to this successful plan, late nights spent reading emails, and early mornings spent responding to them. As the founder of several big businesses, Zennstrom understands what it’s like to be under this kind of stress.

Surround Yourself With Those Who Share Your Momentum

Niklas Zennstrom wants all entrepreneurs to be aware of the fact that they may very well be the only believer in their product. But that’s okay. “It’s not trying to do the obvious—that’s the hard part,” he stated. Zennstrom and Janus Friis spent years trying to raise the money to produce their largely successful application, Skype. Surely, the number of people who turned down their offer in expectation of the project failing, regret that decision now. So Niklas advises that you surround yourself with people who don’t just have experience, but share your dream.

Don’t Let Failure Scare You

When a plan falls through – which eventually one will – learn from it. Meditate on what you could have done better, apply what you learn, and move on. Disappointment should never make you shrink back.

Be Courageous

According to Zennstrom, this is by far the most important quality for a business leader to have. “You’re trying to do something that no one has done before.” Combining courage with curiousity, he inspires others to use their imaginations to the fullest and bring about results. Ask yourself why something works the way it does, and why can’t it be done a different way? How will it work in the future? How can we attain that now? Combining these two necessary qualities creates determination and a clear vision.

Think Global From The Get-Go

“The internet has no country boundaries”, he told an interviewer with Wired. International businesses don’t just come about by accident. From the very start adopt the mentality of it being a big business. You will encounter many who are against you in this way, which is why it is vital that you maintain focus.

Contemplate Your Motivation

“Do not allow money to be your only motivation,” Zennstrom says. Obviously that is a factor, but it cannot be your sole driver. Allow your desire to change the world to drive your business.

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