10 personal questions and 10 personal answers from André Eriksen, founder and chief executive officer of Asetek. André founded Asetek in 1997 and has developed the company into one of the most recognizable brands in cooling technologies for PCs. Mainly known for its VapoChill series of products, Asetek made headlines last year when it’s technology was adopted by Hewlett-Packard and integrated in the company’s Blackbird 002 gaming PC. Check out André’s answers to our questions.
I couldn’t survive without my … The basic stuff aside like family, etc. - and to mention something tangible - I would say my Blackberry although, it is a boring answer and I hate to admit it…
The best advice I ever got … Hmmh good question. I think I will name two : I got an advice from one of Asetek’s private investors : “Trust yourself, do not bend over and let people treat you like a door mat.” Although it has to be handled with care, this advice is something I use often. I remember that I turned down a $10 million investment offer from a Tier 1 VC (venture capitalist) a couple of years back. It felt good and it was the right decision. I know many would have accepted the offer just because of the brand name and insufficient self confidence that they could have gotten a better deal. Eight years ago I had a very promising management career in one of Denmark’s largest industrial companies (Danfoss). That was a very hard job to get, and most people in this program tend not to leave it. However I had the idea about CPU cooling, and an executive told me “Hey Andre, go and start your own business, Danfoss is still here if you ever get back.” This was the final kick, that made me start Asetek and I dropped out of the management program.
A person/people I admire … Although it might sound sweet, I admire my wife for keeping up with me and all my working hours. It would not have worked the other way around ;) After that, I admire entrepreneurs in general. I know first-hand how tough it is at times starting up a new company from scratch.
If I could go anywhere, or do anything, I would … pull two weeks out of my calendar, take my Corvette Z06 to Laguna Seca and race it for a week (actually working on that part now). Ride my Harley across the USA and visit the new Harley Davidson museum and finally I would get rid of the phenomenon called jetlag. There are 9 hours difference between Denmark and the US, and it is a killer when you travel that route 10 times a year on monkey class !
A technology I have no use for … Although outdated, the iPaq was probably the most useless piece of technology I ever had. As always, I got tricked in to buying the most expensive model with all the bells and whistles. After spending the most of a day of setting it up and installing programs, I left it unattended for a couple of days. I could not believe it, and called support, when I found out that it lost all settings when it ran out of power. I simply thought it was defective. It was completely out of my radar screen, that it could lose all settings, software etc. That happened twice, and after that, I gave it away (a $1500 device !)
The best idea I had … was hopefully founding Asetek.
Luxury is … Last year I spent an AMD weekend with my wife in the Ferrari lounge at Monza, drinking chilled white wine, eating Italian specialties and watching the Formula 1 race. Yes that was pretty close to luxury…
I wish I had invented … Skype ! Although I do not believe that there is much business in it, but it is a great tool that I use many times a day, and it is truly making the world smaller and better connected (the fact that one of the founders is Danish is also not bad of course)
My tombstone should read … Again, although it might sound (too) sweet, I hope it would state “he had integrity and made a difference”. These are values I worship.
A person/trend/technology to watch … Small Form Factor PC’s with high performance CPU and graphics… Oh and my blog of course ;)