July 1, 2014
Interview Peter Ohnemus philosophy
Today we are publishing a interview with dacadoo’s CEO & founder Peter Ohnemus who has brought several start-up’s to either a public offering or a trade sell over the last 20 years.
(1) How was the Health Score idea originally born?
I have been working with databases/big data since over 25 years and having 5 daughters at home, I was concerned about our modern mobile lifestyle, which is unfortunately leading to that we look 120 times per day at our smartphone, but that we in average only walk 4’000 steps and not 10’000 steps, which is what we were originally born to do! This inactivity in digital age has led to explosion in healthcare cost from 5 to 15% of the GDP over the last 40 years. This is of course driven by the explosion in chronic diseases, obesity and change in demographics. With dacadoo I wanted to provide a Health Score that was “academic” correct and that could be understood by any culture, age or background. The Health Score should be Relevant, Easy and Fun (REF Factor) way to track, document and benchmark my health with my friends, family, etc.
(2) When did you decide to work on your first start-up?
I founded my first start-up when I was 16 years old and at school. I was arranging student holidays in Italy going skiing from Denmark. I founded the company with my brother Lars, who was three years older. We couldn’t afford to go skiing enough, as that was expensive to travel from Denmark that has no mountains . Italy had beautiful mountains, great weather, deep snow and fantastic hotels at a fair prices. We founded PetLar Tours and we could go free skiing.
(3) How to make the right choices in Life and work?
Now that’s a very difficult question! We all have to find a balance in life. I personally believe our health, family and friends are the three most important pillars in life. If your health, family or friends are out of balance, you will not be in control. At dacadoo, we believe you should be healthy and happy. Most people are cutting corners in one way or another and that will lead to bad health, dissatisfaction, etc. over time. I believe we only live once and we should try to make the best out of it while we are here. It is not as easy as it sounds, but if you work on your health and personal happiness, I believe you will get there.
(4) What kind of people are best suited to work in a start-up?
Start-up mentality is not easy. On one hand side you need to be super flexible, which can be very difficult for structured people, which are often having engineering behaviors. Meaning in an internet start-up you need to be super a flexible person that are willing to work day and night and do not care about titles or ownership. It’s all about teamwork. I believe the best personalities for start-ups are the people that are willing to go the extra mile and who really care about being different. You need to keep on innovating and improving your product. At the same time, you are seeing competition coming from everywhere and you have no idea how to pay your bills tomorrow. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually believe the uncertainty and fear is what makes start-ups deliver incredible results, extremely fast, not knowing how to survive will drive people to absolutely top results.
(5) Why do you think it’s important to be happy in life?
Happiness is everything, but happiness is not the same for two different individuals. One loves to be on stage in front of 50 people and another person would rather be in a small, quiet room and read their favorite book. You cannot defined happiness as a standard. Happiness is all about balance between what you do, how you live, how you feel and the things around you. Happiness would be super difficult to explain if we are getting visitors from Mars one day! Many people have tried to defined happiness in many different books. I personally believe it all comes down to that nice, warm feeling in your heart and stomach.
(6) Having created more than one start-up you clearly see many opportunities, how do you then decide which one to focus on?
That comes down to the stomach feeling mentioned before. In my life I try to do things that I like and find interesting. In the 80’s I did mainframes, in the 90’s client server computing, till 2010 I did things around sustainability and sustainability ratings (Asset4, which we sold to Thomson Reuters). In 2010 I decided to move into Internet of Things (IoT) big data and digital healthcare. The last 30 years in my business life has had a very clear red line – it always has to be fun, disruptive and become mainstream over time and then I move on to new challenges.
(7) What’s your personal favorite QUOTE in life?
Where there is a will – there is a way! My first job was with Hempel’s in Denmark in the 80’s. The owner was 90 years old and came into the office every day and was motivating us to build a global industrial coating company. His great health and positive thinking has been my entrepreneurial spirit since then.