E173 Geir Christian Karlsen: Founder & CEO of AppsCo Inc

Episode 173 July 19, 2022 00:30:44
E173 Geir Christian Karlsen: Founder & CEO of AppsCo Inc
NoCode Wealth
E173 Geir Christian Karlsen: Founder & CEO of AppsCo Inc

Jul 19 2022 | 00:30:44


Show Notes

Geir Christian Karlsen is the Founder & CEO of AppsCo Inc which is a member of World Economic Forum Tech for Integrity initiative and has won several international awards. 

He also holds a number of board and advisory roles in Digiquip, Emajlis, Annex Investments, Mesier, Global Corporation, USAKO Group and AppsCo.

His LinkedIn: /in/geirck/

Website: AppsCo.com

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Episode Transcript

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:02 Once upon a time, there were millions of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours but didn't chip and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no Caldwell's podcast came to help them find a way. Because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of that founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, with no opportunities, just sheer hard work, to failing multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice, and now I'm rebuilding my life. One more time 1% A day sharing the wisdom of luminaries I've interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard, Goldman Sachs, Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome here. So let's begin. My guest today is Geir Christian Karlsen. Geir is a serial entrepreneur from Norway that has created several technology companies in Norway, the USA, Slovakia and Serbia with an industrial exit in HR software. He is the founder and CEO of AppsCo, Inc. His specialty is in business software, technology, outsourcing and cybersecurity was more than 20 years of experience in the technology field through AppsCo, a cyber security company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, in the USA gear as a member of World Economic Forum, tech for integrity initiative, and has won several international awards. He also holds a number of board and advisory roles in Digiquip, Emajlis, annex investments, Messier global corporate USAKO group and AppsCo. Geir, how are you today? Geir Christian Karlsen 2:29 Hello, I'm fine. Thank you. I'm glad to join you guys. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:38 Your thank you again, I'm lucky, I'm happy. I'm glad to have you here. And to begin with a question that is both sound and specific, but it's really, really big. What do you see when it comes to entrepreneurship, that many entrepreneurs who fail or who only succeed ones, but I cannot repeat it? Do not see. Geir Christian Karlsen 3:06 I think that every entrepreneur, you know, is kind of a brave soul. Think that you always should try to achieve your dreams, and you always try to solve a problem. What I see in entrepreneurship is very, very, at least important that I think that many of all those who are successful entrepreneurs is doing is that they're building a product that is really a need. And when you think about that, I think that you should build your product with a customer, if you always do that you will take away a lot of the risks involved with founding ship. Because actually, if you look at the founding or failing reasons, one of the most common is actually that they don't build a product that it's maybe a need, but nobody wants to pay for it. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:04 Thank you. So if I understood you correctly, it's there is a priority when it comes to people's budgets on the problems they will spend to solve. So there are things that they want to solve, but they're not a priority. So the money will go on to higher priorities, and there'll be nothing left for it. And if you begin your company trying to solve a need that is not a bleeding neck, as some marketers call it where there is urgency, there is real pain behind it, then your company will not succeed or will be a big, big struggle in order to do so. And therefore, the ability to know to test the market to understand the clients and find their biggest priority needs is somehow the secret of entrepreneurship success. Did I understand correctly Geir Christian Karlsen 5:00 I think at least it will minimize your risk, right? A lot. So so because it's, it's like, it's all about actually building a need that somebody wants to pay you for. Right? And, and if you're not going to build it this way, and also then maybe adjust it, you know, with the client, it's so much better to actually get the next client, and then it's all about execution and distribution. So I would have at least specially for example, I have a lot of experience in the b2b field, I would also then look for partnerships, because you need distribution. And all in all, it always takes longer than you than you expect. And, of course, you need to be done in a market to play it. But I think that you will take away a lot of the risk if it's a need. And if you work it with a with a client that is willing to pay for that product when it's ready. And then just you work as hard as you can to get that clients happy. And then after that, generate partnerships for distributing your product in a very efficient way, then you will be probably more likely to have success. But it's always I mean, nine out of 10 founders will fail, you know. So it's important that you understand the risks about funding. But of course, in the end also, I always admire founders that is trying to live from their dreams, you know, because you need that. That's the visionaries that will bring the future forward. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 6:39 Thank you. And on a more personal note, since you mentioned nine out of 10 founders will fail as a serial entrepreneur, do you feel or at least know how to deal with the pressure of having to succeed every time where people will expect your next project or anything are involved with to be something like having the Midas touch, and if it goes in a good way, but not in an impressive way that you're somehow disappointed? And expect too much out of anybody who has serial positive results? Or how do you deal with it? How is it? Is it even a part of your psychology? Geir Christian Karlsen 7:24 Yes, of course, it's a part of the sector only because it's, it's always very hard, I mean, when you have a new venture is, is it's actually a new venture. So I think that you need to, I mean, you're a bit wiser since you had done it before you had an exit. So of course, that at least it takes away a lot of your risks. So you know, a lot about the organization that the errors that you can make, so you probably are a better founder, but it doesn't mean that you need to succeed. It's what I experienced is that it's it's a lot of ups and downs. And it's sometimes you can sit almost with a glass of wine and wonder why did I didn't do just didn't I just take a corporate job. So it's always a new venture. So that was a, it's an interesting thing. So I am not sure that I will build so many more companies after APSCo. But definitely want to more taking in advisory roles and maybe board roles and, and go much more into that. And hopefully also investing in founders and because it takes it takes a leap, you have to leave that founding that you you know, you need to be passionate, you need to go for your dreams, you need to you know, and you living it 24/7. So it's also very hard to live with you. You know, so when you have family. farming businesses is not for families. So I know that my family has has suffered a lot. And also my kids in a later stage here has suffered a lot because I'm a founder and available 24/7. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 9:06 Thank you. That's really interesting. And I know you're mentioned that you're unlikely to keep New starting new projects or new startups after APSCo. But now in a world where there is so much possibility that Metaverse is opening up AI, all those kinds of technologies. If you now were starting again, you had all your capital free, and you are excited to start a new project as a new entrepreneur. How would you go about it? What sector would you focus on? Would you still be in cybersecurity or, you know, software for b2b Or how would you approach it? Where do you see the biggest new opportunities? Geir Christian Karlsen 9:57 I think you mentioned one, I think the math versus really interesting, I think is going to be very, very big. And that's definitely if you can do some things within the metaverse have some good ideas that is going there. I think that blockchain technologies, also a little bit where I'm heading now in cybersecurity space. It's an interesting also where you have the metaverse in combination with AI and quantum computing. So I'm anxious like what, what and how does quantum computing is going to affect us in the future? And how will that be? Very interesting ways since I know that, for example, like Google is having a almost like they it was an article now for a conscious AI. So it's going to be pretty interesting spaces. When you think think of fields, I think cybersecurity is one of the biggest ones. But other than that, it will be a lot of opportunities. I think in med tech, food tech, also, I think that unfortunately, I think people need to have better food technologies that will be in the future. So everybody can be actually have have food on their table, we see that's going to be shortages. And of course to generate enough food. I think energy is very, very important. It's some initiatives in fusion energy and things like that. So it's going to be probably very big if they can do it, or at least other ideas, you know, exploiting the sun and things like that. So yeah, I mean, I think to divert, diversify, but definitely medical technology, food technology. Field. Of course, everything with Metaverse and an AI, quantum computing, I mentioned a couple of them. I think that's interesting fields to be in. And hopefully also even the next I will say social media network, for example, I think that we need to own our own data. That's going to be very interesting play, and potentially into the metaverse as well. It's some blockchain initiatives that I think will be very, very big in that field. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 12:33 Thank you, I love this very much. And I believe, look, a lot of new entrepreneurs and founders say, I'm spending so much time building my product finding product market fit. I don't have time for networking. I don't have time to know people. It's really you're expecting me to have 500 hours in a day. And I'm already overwhelmed on almost burning out. Well, you how important is networking for you? Do you feel it should be a top three priority? How do you believe people build relationships when it comes to business? And well, how did that help you become? Or get advisory? roles on different boards, etc? So can you speak about that, from your experience? How important is networking? What is the right and wrong way to do it? And how our relationships build? And do you have like a story of big doors that were open to you because of knowing people? Geir Christian Karlsen 13:44 Yeah, I mean, networking needs to be one of the top priorities because I think that the relation the best relationship is always personal. Right? And the better partners or those who works in the in the partners or in the groups or in the corporations know you and that you can stand for it and also stand for it with integrity. I think that's very, very important to have integrity and not thinking short term thinking long term. Be honest. It will always give you further and when you do that, when a networking I think that to create a personal relationship, if you can do it is always will take you longer because then they know you right and then you need to also Yeah, have that in the Tegrity maybe go out and I think network also by taking some dinners, learn to know the people I think that if you are very wealthy, right? You want to create a relationship to a very wealthy person. I think that you need to understand that the spurs nice approach with, you know, hundreds of ways, for example, and you need to understand that he has hundreds of opportunities. So the only way that you can build that relationship, I think, is being honest, and actually not being all always thinking that you're going to exploit something or, you know, so if you are personal with that person, and you can only be you, right, and somebody likes you somebody's not, it's, it's, it's how it is in the world. And I think that then you need to just think about these things that these opportunities doesn't come to you by just like, okay, he's going to be down, and he's going to give me, you know, $10 million, you know, it's not going to happen that way. You know, everybody is, who is high net individuals, they have amazing opportunities. And if you want to ask a person like that, to go with you, you need to be trustworthy. I mean, that's one of the things that, you know, any person will, will cherish the highest. So, it's how I see that we, we, the networking that you need to go out network, build personal relationship is the only way where you can really, really, I think, be be successful in that relationship. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 16:28 Thank you. And there are some thinkers who speak about the world in terms of randomness where they say, randomness doesn't look random, that it comes in streaks, where you see someone and you say, wow, they have a hot hand, they have like three or four startups that are amazing. But what happened is that it was luck, in many ways. And therefore after that, things will return to the mean, or to the average. And they're likely to have three or four failures. And some people might fail three or four times and then later on, you get a lucky streak, and that it's not really a plan, or a unique style of management that is behind it all. Do you agree with this thought? How important is luck, in your perspective, when it comes to business success? And do you have some spiritual or metaphysic physical belief about how life works or how success and luck happens? Geir Christian Karlsen 17:33 Interesting question. I not sure that I actually believe in luck, I think that you need to sync correctly. So I'm not sure that it's all luck. But yes, it's it is about the timing. Right. And many people that I actually met was in a, was in a bar, and that we created relationship to, to just like talking, you know, and also some others, it's, you know, that light that you are, that you met the maybe at the timing that you couldn't see. So it of course, I mean, then you can say that the universe is about thoughts and action. And, and, yeah, and you need to like, Okay, you need to drive it as well. Right. So you need to then build it, but yes, I mean, sometimes it it can look like luck, also. But I believe that it's more that you may be are on the right place to the right time. And that can seem like luck as well. I don't know if I explained that well, but I believe it's very important that said to think correctly, I think that you need to always envision where you want to be. So I think that if you not like meditate, but you you just like think in the way that you see yourself, for example, very successful and sometimes the universe just try to make it in terms of your thoughts if you can, if you're with me on that one. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:20 Thank you. And then can you define it? What does it mean to think correctly? And if we don't know if we're we'll meet the right people in the right time for them and for us, etc? Then, what is your approach? Do you try to wait and build something perfectly over time? What I mean is, let's say the plan or content or whatever, or do you go for more like Gary Vee or Grant Cardone where you create 100 Okay things because you're trying to find people at The Right Place and right time and therefore quantity was more important for to do that rather than smaller number of high quality. What's your perspective on this? Geir Christian Karlsen 20:13 I think that it's very important that you that you try and try to reach out, I think that if you set yourself some goals, and then ask yourself, Okay, how can I reach three that you don't? Let's say that you want to be a standard in so market? If you want to be that standard? Okay, how do I get there, and then figure out maybe multiple ways to actually achieve your goal and your vision of the company? Right? So if I'm gonna miss standard in, in, in HR that I built also, before, I need to say, okay, how can I get there of Kay, I need to, for example, have partners in within the accounting field only to have, you know, because they have relationships with clients, I need to then start to think that Okay, could it be like a system integrator, could it be managed service? Clients? How can I achieve, you know, my goal, so I can get the distribution out for my product? So because that's what I said earlier, distribution is one of the keys, you know, of that. So I don't believe that you should use do only one approach, you know, because if that fails, you know, you're, you're, you're back to where you started, I think that you need to think, Okay, which one can get me there? And at least like, see, which kind of horse is gonna, you know, did I hit correctly? So I don't think that you should only go with one. And, yeah, I think that that's probably kind of important that you don't do it that way that you like, go with one back to that, when I think that when you when time have time to market? What you mentioned there, I think that the LinkedIn founder said is that, you know, if you have a perfect product, you know, you probably launched too late, you know, you need to be out there, I think that the speed of today's founding activities is going faster and faster, especially in the software world. That's why you need to be out there and playing in a market. So the timing there is kind of important. And it's like, maybe you if you're not embarrassed by the first product, you probably launched too late, right? You know that that's one of the messages of some very, very highly successful founders. And and you see it, you know, time after time, I mean, I love Elon Musk, for example. I don't think that his first cars, you know, were perfect, for example, they were they were good, but they were not perfect, and yet also a lot of production problems. And he said is one of the hardest things he actually was sleeping at the plant to fix them. So I think Did you need to be done in the market to plate? And I'm not sure that you should have only one approach to get there. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 23:22 Thank you, then, when you're doing that, when do you know, it's time to give up on any approach? Because if you give up too soon, that is not persistence. But if you stay too late, you're wasting time and being stubborn. So when like, What is your decision making process for when to give up on an idea on an approach on a horse on a company? Geir Christian Karlsen 23:51 In this way, you just, I mean, it doesn't make sense to follow up a person, for example, who doesn't want to contact with you of query, you need to be persistent and maybe ask him if it's a good time? Because if it's not a good time, okay, maybe circle back, you know, and then I think that you need to have some persistence, but, you know, if it's, if it's, if it's not ready for let's say, you or your product, you know, you and then try to figure out why, why, you know, is it my product, you know, go always back to the product or what, you know, your idea and saying, okay, is that's why I said earlier, you take a lot of way, when you figure out that it is any you're building your product with the customer, because if you do that, you know, you will take a lot to weigh the risks and if you know that that client can be successful and implement that one and they're paying for a product. Okay, find similar ones, right? Because then it probably the same problem that they have, so they should be interested. If they're not interested. It's wrong timing. Okay, maybe circle back, you know, So and then see if you can get customer 2345. You know, okay. And if you're successful, you will learn and then you adapt, right during that process. So try also to learn, what is the unique selling point? And what is the trigger also for them to maybe take the meetings with you and to actually sign up, you know, for your product. Or go ahead with even even investment is kind of the same thing. It's about a sales process, right? So, have a tool, learn the process and try to figure out also the key metrics, what is the unique selling points? What is, you know, how can I acquire a customer? And what is the trigger, you know, you need to figure them out, and it can be and it also is changing, right? So, I mean, founding business is not like a straight road, it's actually quite bumpy. So you need to learn, adapt and go other ways. And that's what I also even did with absco. I didn't, you don't succeed always in the first thing, okay, then you keep your persistency and saying, Okay, how can I find a way where I can actually drive success? Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 26:21 Thank you. And since you're mentioning APSCO, can you speak about it? What is it? If somebody who is your ideal client is watching or listening? Where can they go? To learn more? As well as Can you speak about how absco is a member of tech for integrity by the World Economic Forum? How that happened? What's the story behind it? What does it mean? And did you do it on purpose searching for this? Or how was that created? Geir Christian Karlsen 26:57 I didn't do it on purpose. It I was actually true Citibank. Earlier in the states where that initiative, they had a tech vertical integrity initiative that actually was kind of adopted into the role nomic forum. And then I wrote some articles there, that, especially about warnings on the future, I think in cybersecurity space, that I am a little bit worried about. And of course, that's about the passion as well, that I have inadequate at the moment is a created basically apps requests and HR and IT platform, and they can go to app school.com and sign up and, and, and try it out. At the same time, I really, really passionate, it's been quite some time, and that it's in the works right now is that I'm building apps called token, it's tokenized security model where basically I'm giving you the key to data. And I really believe that's very, very important to the to the future, even the future of democracy, because if you can call a democracy, a democracy is a but that's probably another post podcast. But I think that is very important that people start owning their own data. And into that, that's also a tech kind of tech integrity initiative. Because if we don't start to own our own data, and also security in a different manner, even in a business wise, it's going to be quite problematic, I think, going forward, and also that data privacy is also then coming into the play here. So I really believe that the data should be decentralized more, and that the data should be owned by you. In some extent, of course, we will accept to give that data way for example, to Google and other companies. It's I think it's it's definitely needed, but need more visibility as well on how that data is used and things like that, because it's quite advanced kind of AI and algorithms behind that. Story. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 29:33 Thank you. And before you finish, and we finish, I really have a question I'm curious about why did you choose to headquarter, your company in the United States and not anywhere else in the world? Geir Christian Karlsen 29:54 First, I had it actually established in Norway where I'm from, but then I got into a cybersecurity accelerators. So that's and they want to invest in US companies. And so I flipped the holding company to a US Delaware company. That said, I really, honestly like the US terms for businesses, it's, if you can think about that 70% of the venture capital is actually in United States. And it's the biggest market also, I think, for IT and security company. So I really believe in the US market, as well as, of course, the Nordics and the European that I know, but I think that also, if you're going to be having partnerships in the US, you need to have a US Corporation. Simple as that. But it is a lot of other initiatives that I think can can be good. It's it's a lot happening also in the UAE and MENA region. That's a growing region. So it definitely don't need to have maybe a US Corporation always, you know, but yeah, it's you need to recognize that you will get higher valuations and if you're successful in American markets, for sure, that will drive a very competitive one, but it will it will for sure. drive success. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 31:33 Thank you so much, Gary. This was truly educational and insightful. I thank you for everything. I will make sure to include your LinkedIn and the Appstore website and the episode description and I wish you to keep going you're doing fantastic things. Thank you. Geir Christian Karlsen 31:55 Thank you very much and, and always, always go for your dreams.

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