My speech for Women Entrepreneurship day 2019

I spoke at Women entrepreneurship day 2019 conducted by Female Founders of the Future at Klub in Copenhagen back in November.

I didn’t memorize my full speech as I wrote it (you really never do) – but here it is:

Hi there – My name is Henriette. I am an entrepreneur, a seeker, a climate activist, a feminist, I am a mother to a teenage girl, a leader, and currently the head of brand and engagement at the Climate NGO CARE as well as being Denmarks first + Social Good Connector under UN foundation.

I was invited here to talk to you about ‘investing in Gender Equality’. Which is something I feel very strongly about – probably because it’s something I have been working on as an entrepreneur, first trying to get a maternity fond for entrepreneurs implemented in Denmark, and later as the CEO and founder of Geek Girl Denmark and Geek Girl Magazine.

Geek Girl magazine I almost won an ivækst award for, in the female entrepreneur category – teaching tech to other women – doing stuff differently. As a ‘Female found media icon’ I got fed up with being a role model – because I am not really. I am chaotic and imperfect and I didn’t feel I could live up to everything they wanted me to

So -after geek girl magazine I decided to change lanes and head towards climate action – Something that has always been close to my heart ever since I was a young teen being told by my teacher that the ozone layer was going to kill the planet. I did a lot of research on sustainability and climate action at the biggest Nordic sustainable think tank where I was employed as a brand director. And I found my bridge between sustainability and gender equality:

Do you know, what, according to Paul Hawken, and his Project Drawdown is the number 1 thing we can do to conduct climate action?

Invest in Women and Girls.

 If I put my NGO hat on, It has been proven time and time again, that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself, she will also elevate the rest of the village. The return on investment in investing in women and girls is so much higher than if you invest traditionally.

The same goes for teams with a female co-founder in startups: Startups perform differently.

As the old saying goes, we can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. Right now, not one single country in the world is on track to meet SDG no 5- Gender equality. Even though gender equality has been agreed upon as a human right.

 Denmark is leading on a number of factors under SDG 5, but we can ALL do something to save the world, and yes. I do mean save the world. When you help a girl, you help a village. When you help a woman you are constructively doing climate action. 

If you as a dane, as an entrepreneur  want to do social good, you can start by helping another woman – look at the person next to you and SMILE =) You can do something life altering for this woman, you can believe in her strength, connect her to other people. Help her see her own badassness. Help her see her ‘Mad Skills’. Give her chances she normally wouldn’t be getting. 

We need to make different choices. The world calls for our responsibility, our personal responsibility and the responsibility as humanity. As Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in his latest book ‘we are all the weather’ – we all need a personal climate plan, a family climate plan. We also need a personal gender equality plan. We need to find out HOW we will act around climate and gender and every other of the SDGs– how are we going to make ourselves accordable?

How are we going to make the global goals our personal goals? by making different choices. It seems super obvious but for every different choice we make for sustainability we are tipping the boat towards a healthier planet.

For a long time – first in tech and women and then in sustainability I’ve heard people saying ‘ enough talking, it’s time for action’ And we’re fucking still talking about how much time for action it is – but we are doing the safe things – men in suits are becoming ‘chief innovation officers’ all around the world and I can’t stand it. Where are the wildcards?– where’s the misfits? Where are the women? The ones needed to make a powerful change?

If you decide to make a woman a partner of your VC firm – you are doing social good. If you’re making a woman the co-founder of your startup. Social good. You are showing the world that you are innovative, that you are choosing differently, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s EXACTLY these choices we need. As is eating less meat. Driving electric cars. And you know what Probably your whole team spirit will be elevated because of something new happening. 

Better yet – see if you can make half the partners or founders of your company female – be the difference you want to see in the world.

And those women will be the role models for other women who want to work in a startup – who wants to vet and invest in startups as VC’s. Those women will be visible beacons in a field where women are normally invisible. They don’t exist. This is especially if you ask the business conference organizers who are (still) creating all-male panels.

Look at us, as a group.  Take me as an example: When I started in the tech industry back in 2001 – we were 3 women out of a team of 100 men. A secretary, me as a developer, and an HR person. 

Now we’re at a sold-out event celebrating female founders. At my first web conference (reboot 2005) we weren’t that many women either. But it made us talk and network and think about that more women should be at these tech conferences – and some of us decided to do something about it. 

We can all make a difference – we can all be social good activists – we can all work to change this fucked up world -and we need to. 

What I came here to say Is not just ‘invest in gender equality’ – it’s more to ‘invest in different’ choices. Invest in your own actions making these badass women visible.

Thank you. 

Going to Düsseldorf for Shift Relays as a keynote speaker on branding

On Friday I’m flying to Düsseldorf to be a keynote speaker for Shift Relays  about being real, branding for startups and how they stick together.

(Actually I am just going there to be a speaker, but I am opening the programme, and for SEO purposes I need to have some content saying “Keynote Speaker” – so there you go).

There’s a lot of stuff that I am not an expert in, but being real and branding combined is a speciality of mine. I’m sitting here trying to figure out what should be my key points and I am building the whole presentation. I think it’s going to have some elements from this presentation that I did in Stockholm for Aggro Pekuliar in May:

Some casestudies and finally my own casestudy around rockbandism, rockbands and how it became/I made it my brand.

Trigger creative conference – brand your band workshop

Last week I did a workshop called “Brand your Band” on my thoughts on rockbandism, at Trigger Creative Conference in Borlänge, Sweden. (and my “oldie-but-goodie ebook “why every company should be a rockband“).

It was co-hosted by Niclas “Deeped” Strandh and Jesper Wallerborg Almerud.

In addition to having the time of my life running the “Brand your Band” workshop at my first ever music industry conference (and hopefully not my last), I loved the feeling at Trigger. All the nearness that are sometimes missing from tech-conferences-of-today (that I normally write from and speak at) was there. Bart Omlo, the organizer and his team gave me a couple of epic nights and I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I heard a swedish rockband (they’re called Great Garb and they where awesome) play a gig, just for us “VIPs” right next to the swedish Lake Runn.

great garb at trigger creative

The lake where nearby Gustav Vasa hid from the danes, kicked them out of Sweden and became king of Sweden (I’m not totally sure about this story, so if any swedes reading this, and are thinking “boy, is she wrong” then please mention it in the comments so I don’t look like a total ass =)

Being at my first music conference ever, was a blast. The crowd wasn’t too big or too small, just as I like it. Why? because it makes sure that you actually get to meet everybody. I got home to Helsingør being energized and with a ton of cool ideas, inspiration and a ton of cool people in my pocket (well their business cards at least) that are also working creatively – just with music instead of branding, activism, substance and involvement.

trigger creative brand your band workshop

 Heres Niclas, Jesper and I, in the midst of the brand your band workshop

Here’s the slides from the workshop:

And… Here’s our collective worldrecord for very bad ideas summed up in a “bad idea manifesto” (you can’t see the words here, but head over to pinterest for full insights on bad ideas )(remember rockers – it’s all about the statements)

bad idea manifesto

Unfortunately I had to leave on the 2nd conference day, and missed the last party, but people told me it was crazy fun.

Some of my other highlights was – the people at the conference (they deserve second mention), the bands: me the tiger, The Deer Tracks, Good Harvest, Doris Hopp, Million Dollar Babies,

And a special mention to BoomTown (a music incubator to support music in Dalarna – how awesome is that ?)

 

So if any of you ever want my curly head in Borlänge again – I would love to come!

How I sold my soul and network for gimmicks at Le Web

Ever thought about what it would take to turn yourself and your network into a marketing platform at a cool tech conference known as Le Web?

What freebie gadget should you receive in order to tweet about a product you know nothing about out to approximately 3000 people ?

Le Web answered those questions for me. During a lunch (with totally awesome people) we started chatting around this subject because there was so many things you could participate in or win at Le Web. The golden ticket was a tweet.

I’ve never really thought about what it would take for me to disturb my network with commercial messages. At Le Web I thought “I would totally do it for a FitBit, or the new HP computer or a phone” – It turned out that this a simple product was the reason I actually did send out a commercial tweet to my network, that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

I didn’t think their product was awesome, Actually I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t struck by their innovation or coolness – I simply needed this little fellow:

Not because I was trying to eat it – but because I wanted it for my kid. I instantly knew I had to have it.

Here’s the story:

I was standing together with the Swedish Startup Session showhost Annika Lidne, planning our next video when a guy approached us and asked if we wanted one of these lighting bears for free. Being an official blogger at Le Web you often get stuff for free. You always get the gimmick when the normal participants who can afford to go to Le Web they get a flyer (I would totally give the gimmick to the participant – they are at the conference to shop, Im simply there to write).

Anyway I totally wanted that little guy for free (he’s called Meep now – my daughter even named him). All I had to do was to hold up a sign – have a picture taken and tweet it to my network. Total access for them to all of my network in a single tweet. I decided to frame the tweet so no one would actually see it. I made it as unimportant as possible. But here it is anyway:

The guy didn’t even tell me what #lecloudpro is , and I couldn’t care less actually. The whole process was kind of embarassing with the #lecloudpro guy looking over my shoulder to make sure I did send the tweet.  The instant I tweeted the picture I got two retweets – probably from the #lecloudpro team. After talking to my friends over lunch I started to think that I sold out. And I did. For a bear called Meep that my daughter treasures and have been taken to school for the last couple of days.

Actually thinking about it – there was so many things going on at Le Web like this.” Tweet your opinion about our startup/ latest product and win one”. It makes me feel awkward because it’s not really about you anymore – it’s about your network. It’s about getting seen. It’s about being an advertising platform if you want to. I wouldn’t do it again. In the spur of the moment I decided to give the bear a go because I wanted to find out what it would make me feel to sell my soul and network for gimmicks. It made me feel awful. I’m sorry guys.

However Would I do it again ? Yes. For a Fitbit scale or a Fitbit One or a Withings scale or one of the other 100.000 web of things gimmicks that all are priced at 150 dollars. Not for a cute light bear though. Oh and I will do it automatically if you’re doing something substantial, involving and cool. Im a sucker for that, you see.

ps. Next time I am Pimping stuff at a conference, I will let you know by adding the #pimping tag (just a great idea from fellow blogger Rachel Clarke).

The conference guide of rocking yourself through Le Web (of Things)

Every Le Web is different from the last one. Le Web, day one, 2012 is ending in a couple of hours and even though a lot of awesome things are happening here. I’ve compiled a conference guide, of my observations today. Read on and learn rockers!

1. Don’t use too much of your time  in the plenary rooms. Seats are mostly available in the back and you can’t really get out if you first get into a row (btw – I often fall asleep up there – because I literally can’t get out – and Im not confident enough to step over 100 people’s toes in order to get out). Instead, see if you can forget about it and watch everything interesting online later (and no I don’t mean the product pitches where people are wearing weird costumes to generate instant viral buzz. It was cool 3 years ago when Loic le Meur dressed up as an angry bird – not anymore).

2. Instead I suggest you hang out in the different buildings talking to everything with a pulse.

3. Checking the #leweb twitter feed manically. You’re here to network (go on – admit it -you really are).

4. If you participate in god knows what competition where you can win a computer or a web of thing – and to make the draw you have to tweet or share something, use the hashtag #pimping – because you are. (thanks to Rachel Clarke for mentioning that to me).

5. Be the last one to leave parties – well at least one of the last ones, best business building always happen at champagne o’clock

6. Approach people and hear their story. They’ll thank you on twitter later. No it doesn’t matter if they are from an xx country innovation institute and handing out leaflets and you are thinking  – “wow – they are being totally innovative handing out leaflefts at one of the most innovative gatherings in Europe”. It doesn’t matter if their are wearing mexican short skirts, they could be a potential network opportunity.

7. This is France, but don’t have more than 2 glasses of wine at lunch. At least I can’t. You don’t want to be pretty drunk talking to people in the afternoon (or maybe if that’s your thing, go ahead=)

8. Don’t get frantic while standing in line for 1 hour to get your badge.. instead dance to make other people happy or do something to lower your intolerance for queues. This is Le Web. You’re lucky to be here in the first place! Who caes about the queues?

9. Yes you do need to hold on to leave the different booth until you’ve gotten a business card. This insecure programmer who just studdered through a presentation of their business ? he could potentially be a beneficial part of your network.

10. Make some sort of strategic map of who you want to talk to each day. It’s super important. Le Web uses presdo.com for the networking but I have been checking out my guys over at Copenhagen based startup Conferize all day. Works like a charm.

What’s going to be new at Le Web of things?

The first week of December is something I look forward to every year. Because it’s spend in Paris. At Le Web. As an official blogger writing about the tricks and trends of the internet, business and tomorrow. This year the conference theme is “web of things” or “le web of things” as I call it.

So what do I expect of Le Web this year ? 

Everytime I go to le web, the thing I foremost expect is excellent networking and people and so far Le Web hasn’t let me down. It’s my 5th Le Web and everytime I have been there, I come back to the north with loads of loads of cool movers, shakers, new friends and so on and so forth. Also if I can get some of the “chills” from some of the talks – that I usually do, Im sure to come back with brand new ideas especially around the market of web of things and how it’s progressing.

Is the speaker lineup really web of things?

However one of the things I was really puzzled by, was the part of the speaker line up that has already been published – because if you’re going to talk about the web of things, I would have expected – well a more web of things packed line up – I can see that Koubachi is there, ninjablocks as well.

But what about my new obsession – changers.com ? Berlin based company who is rocking my world because of their “web of things” consumer product that are urging people to change the world by capturing sunbeams themselves with a solarpanel and use it to charge your computer + phone? and other digital devices ? add a community and a marketplace and you’re looking at one of the most interesting startups in the world (as I see it). Where is evrythng ?

I know the tickets for the conference are very expensive, especially for startups, but see it as an investment. I will almost guarantee you that you will get it back 100 folds. Really, the network this event attracts doesn’t have it’s equal – anywhere really.

See you there?

Spectacular spectacular! is theater the future of business conferences?

Sometimes when I attend different conferences there’s always a part of them I really want to stay in – the “how-to” startup mode with the speakers who are actually turning their audience into something more than an audience. They are turning the people in the audience into hardcore implementers for a while together with them as facilitators, something I have always admired. When I attended the Alexander Österwalder workshop on business model generation at pioneers festival in Vienna last week, I think I knew exactly where the super cool organizer (Per Torberger) of Aggro Pekuliar wants me to head when I speak at his event in Stockholm. A touch of internet, business, future and with a whole lot of theater!

And conferences like this has been long awaited for me because, it’s so much more worth for people to attend an experience instead of a conference. Somewhere where it’s ok not to wear a suit, and where you in addition to concrete business implementation – you also get a theme where the presenters are auteurs in a larger scheme set out by the organizer.  You take so much more with you home. So when Per asked me to turn my keynote into something there, which challenges the audience, I said “you betcha”. If there’s one thing I know, it’s  not to walk on water, but to actually divide the waters =).

Anyway – In my case it’s going be an experience of business unusual stirred up with company preparedness and executed by my creative value loop, (which was first introduced in my e-book “rock your identity“) and now is one of the cornerstones in my coming book (in english this time rockers!) together with my Involvement Manifesto. Actually at Aggro Pekuliar I will turn into a brand magician and create an audience full of rocking identities on their way to create business unusual themselves. How? Well you have to wait and see.

ps. there might be bunnies and doves !

pps. OBAMA!

Have digital finally arrived at the correct action-packed plateau ?

I was so lucky that I got to attend the conference last week in Malmø. It was a great conference touching on all the different digital subjects and trends that’s currently happening. And it was So good! just the type of conference that I have been missing for a while. It felt very 2005-07 to me, before digital became a huge industry and everybody and their dog was doing something and made a ton of money.  Sadly – a lot of the digital conferences I have been attending have been more about startups and venture capitalists.  I had truely missed a conference where the ideas was the primary purpose and not launching in a new country/feature on stage. A conference where the speakers where accessible and everybody seemed like a part of the crowd! So thank you The Conference.

The motivation from the speakers was also different. –  All the talks I attended emphasized action in some way. From the incredibly cool beginning keynote from Ben Hammersley:

To the talks around local action, the education system, infrastructure in companies and so on. Digital is so übercool, and if we decide to use it for something purposeful it’s even cooler.

Overall I can’t stop being surprised by the creativity of these digital conferences – especially the conference, where they tap into something old to generate something new –  Reusing things that are old and cool to create newness. I mean all the crew was dressed in  outfits and hats that looked like they where taken out of Mary Poppins.

(pic by Heidi Harman)

I’m happy that the digital thought leaders they are now urging people to shift into action and start saving the world one day at the time.

Thank you for being the cool idea-filled geeky kid in the classroom of conferences! Thumbs up from here=)