Monday, June 22, 2009

Interview with Henrik Blomgren

For years, I've unsuccessfully tried to get many friends to start blogging. One of them is Henrik Blomgren, software consultant and small business owner.

Henrik and I go way back. At the turn of the millennium, we were both leading software teams at Swedish Framfab. As the IT bubble burst, and our hopes with it, Henrik built his own software firm and his journey has now taken him all the way to Zurich, Switzerland. Below is a short interview I did with him a while back.

Me: What motivated you to jump off the corporate bandwagon and start your own business?
Henrik: Two factors, the first not being in a position to influence or change things at Framfab, the second was a number of ideas I had back then that was not possible to realize as an employee.

Me: As a business owner, you currently focus on providing services over products. Was that a conscious decision and which do you think is the smarter strategy?
Henrik: Initially, my focus (this was 2002) was on creating niched software products, but before I got started I was offered a few short-term contract offers which I accepted - primarily in order to build up some capital. After a year, the market conditions got better and there were a lot of interesting contract jobs out there so I continued, with longer contracts and better rates.

I would not call it a smarter strategy, but much less risky and a much more predictable way to earn a monthly income.

Me: After running your own company for a couple of years you moved everything to Switzerland. How come?
Henrik: Again, multiple reasons. Compared to Sweden, Switzerland is a much more business-oriented country and offers considerably lower tax rates on both personal and corporate levels. This combined with providing equal or higher quality of living was an important factor. Being centrally located in Europe was another, both for business purposes and if you like to travel around. However, being close to the Alps has turned out to be the greatest bonus, especially during the winter.

Me: You introduced me to the book the 4-Hour Workweek. Are you there yet?
Henrik: No, I work considerably less hours now, and travel more, but I'm not sure that can be accredited to Timothy Ferriss.

Me: What is important to you? Where do you see yourself and your business ten years ahead?
Henrik: I have no idea. It's going to be interesting to see how the current crisis plays out; my guess is that the next ten years will be much tougher than the previous ten. Business opportunities will be fewer and consumers will be able to spend less, especially on technology. This prediction is based on the view that credit has been cheap and easily obtainable, and consumption (both private and business) has been driven by debt to a large extent.

No comments:

Post a Comment