Partner Representative - KfW
What are three words to describe yourself?
Intrapreneur, Innovator, Evangelist
What was your very first business or creative idea? Did that make any money?
I started my first company even before being able to register a company by myself – it was an event agency and it helped me financing my student life-
What was your biggest challenge when you started your first business?
Actually the biggest challenge was to harmonize my academic studies with the entrepreneurial efforts needed – from time to time I had to decide whether to focus on learning a bit more for an upcoming exam or to push the promotion of an upcoming event.
What was the best advice in life or business you've ever received?
The best advice was to stay flexible since the market conditions, the user needs and partners might change. Even when being focused on specific things it was smart during all my ventures to keep interfaces alive to surrounding areas.
Which three people, famous or not famous, dead or alive, would you most like to invite to a dinner party? Why?
It would be amazing bringing together some amazing change-makers – like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs with people having the power to change the entrepreneurial environment – like politicians determining the political landscape.
How do you define success?
Success for me is about moving stuff ahead, shifting things to another level, bringing them in another direction and also creating them in a sustainable way.
What makes a founder successful?
Being T-shaped is not such a bad thing – so knowing the surrounding and connections on a horizontal level and also being able to go for the deep dives where needed. In addition I believe it is important being willing and not afraid to share ideas – both, with co-workers and partners.
What do you do in order to keep on learning and developing?
Talking to as many as possible people at conferences, many lunch and dinner meetings, workshops etc. helps a lot. In addition, I am a part-time academic lecturer in a few universities – this helps to focus together with students on interesting topics.
Which resources are you recommending to first time entrepreneurs?
Start building a network as soon as possible. Use informal and formal meetings to exchange with people about your idea – this will help you to shape it. Afterwards, go to the market soon and iterate, iterate, iterate.
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
I wouldn’t talk about risks at all – for me leaving a consultancy to become an entrepreneur was more a challenge. The same was true when leaving the successful startup for going back to a well-known company for being an intrapreneur.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Decide and act faster. It is better going for an idea immediately instead of trying to start the idea in parallel to an existing job. Being fully in will speed up the process and it is easier keeping the focus.
What's something you don't want to regret when you're older?
Haven’t tried to make things happen.
What's your favourite book?
Actually Tim Ferriss “4 hour workweek” is a quite good start to begin focusing and breaking rules.
What character traits of other entrepreneurs have impressed you?
Betting all and everything on one single next idea – that’s something pretty impressive. Many successful entrepreneurs win by diversification, but amazing serial entrepreneurs often bet everything on a single next idea. And quite often it goes hand in hand with the approach of doing ambitious things in perfection.
Do you believe successful ventures require something meaningful?
I strongly believe so, yes. The services offered must be meaningful to the targeted audience – either to the consumer or to the corporate customer.
What's something that first time founders should avoid at all costs?
Thinking too long and hiding ideas. Actually better than thinking is gathering experiences, feedback and data as soon as possible. And sharing an idea makes it more valuable – and it also speeds up the own acting.
Why are you getting involved with Best of X?
It is always inspiring meeting guys “fighting” for their ideas. I hope I will provide open and honest and most often hopefully valuable feedback to as many of them as possible.
Final question - where can people find you online and why would you like to be contacted?
Easiest to find me is using Google Search. Easiest to connect is via LinkedIn or Xing. Easiest to communicate is via Twitter (@bohl).