Kristoffer Lawson, co-founder of Scred, came to talk to ArcticStartup sometime in the spring time about a project he had been thinking of pulling through. After the meeting I couldn’t quite grasp the breadth of the journey and project he had been talking to us about. Now that it’s public and he’s about to set on his journey – I’m thrilled to say that ArcticStartup has partnered with Travelling Salesman, aka. Kristoffer Lawson, to promote his trip in our media. The project has a website, but he’ll also be blogging with us and giving us updates on how things go.
So what is the project all about? It’s a one man journey around the Nordics to find the northernmost startup, amongst other things. He’ll be driving a Landrover Defender, through thousands of kilometres of tarmac and snow to visit the local startup communities in many of the different university cities in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway as well as Iceland. Yep, he’ll actually be taking the ferry to Iceland to drive around the island and meet the local entrepreneurs there. All in all, there are over 30 stops in the travel plan.
Along the journey – he’ll be picking up passengers from some of the cities as well, so do hit him with a message if you’d like to go on one of his rides. On top of this, he’s looking for local entrepreneurs or student organisations to help with putting together events at the venues he’s visiting. In total, he will be spending some 40 days on the road.
I had a chat with him about the project and the backgrounds of it. It’s certainly a project worth following for the duration of it. The Travelling Salesman Project will begin on the 24th of October.
AS (ArcticStartup): Travelling Salesman is an ambitious project – what led you to come up
with this idea?
KL (Kristoffer Lawson, The Travelling Salesman): I think it was a combination of various things. First it’s interesting that nowadays nobody does old-fashioned selling in the sense of going out there to actually meet people. It’s all about social media and ad networks and going viral, without that all-important human touch. While I’m not selling any single product, I am selling the companies that I meet. Both to each other and to everyone following us. That sounds awfully lofty, but I think the Travelling Salesman project can really help. It’s like reverse social media, where you meet the people on a local level, face to face, but talk about them to the world.
Secondly I’ve been in awe at how the Arctic Evenings and Arctic Startup, in general, have helped build entrepreneurship communities. They’re giving meaning and relief to all the hard work.
Thirdly, on a personal level, I’ve always admired the bold and uninhibited spirit of adventure displayed by entrepreneurs like Richard Branson. I think there’s bound to be a bit of that in any new entrepreneur. That will to go up against the odds, and to beat them.
Finally the name was, of course, inspired by the famous travelling salesman problem in computer science. Maybe we’ll solve it along the way!
AS: While on the road, what do you think you’ll come across in terms of companies as well as adventure-wise?
KL: I really hope I meet companies both small and big, both successes and failures. They all have their stories to tell, and they all have something we can learn from and be inspired by. I hope to discover some incredible idea that some small bunch of people are working on in a cave underground, with nothing but forest and reindeer around. Something that will change the world forever.
Adventure-wise I hope the weather is not too warm! It would be kind of lame if we got dry snow-free roads and easy going all the way. Where’s the story in that?
AS: What has the reception of your idea been like in companies and organisations you’ve talked to?
KL: Absolutely super. Better than I even expected. This was an idea I thought I’d do perhaps sometime after building Scred into a success, but when I decided to talk to a few people, they were all more than enthusiastic, and so many have helped already. It is these people who actually helped to accelerate the idea forwards to the point that it is happening right now, this year. In particular I’d like to thank Microsoft, our platinum sponsor, who listened and wanted to be a part right from the very earliest of talks. There are a lot of pre-conceptions about them, but they’ve been super champions of this idea and I’m very grateful for that.
AS: Any special message you want to send out to our community?
KL: Don’t give up whatever you are doing. You are reading Arctic Startup for a reason, so do not forget that. Also I hope to see all of you at one of the events!