Born and raised in Frankfurt/Main, Mainland Europe’s Financial Center, Dominik developed an early interest in monetary economics and its implications on economy & society which led him down the Bitcoin rabbit hole from late 2012 onwards.
As a person who believes that recognizing the big trends/societal shifts and taking appropriate action on them made in early 2014 the decision to leave Europe behind for good and set up a new homebase in Saigon/Vietnam; the economic center of one of Asia’s most dynamic economies approaching its “Golden Years”.
As strong believer in self-responsibility and self-accountability an entrepreneur by heart.
Where did the idea for BitcoinVN come from?
The initial idea was simply due to the lack of Bitcoin exchanges at the time.
Back in 2013, you had Mt. Gox over there in Japan… and otherwise it was not very easy or simple to buy Bitcoin.
So it was pretty much a no-brainer at the time when we asked ourselves what we could do for Bitcoin, that building basic infrastructure like an easy on- & offramp needs to come first.
We initially planned to launch the business in Germany back in 2013 – but due to its hostile environment towards business in general and entrepreneurship in specific we chose a country which has been more welcoming towards human capital (Vietnam).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every morning the alarm rings at 5.30 AM.
Workout session with no phone around – just yourself, sorting your thoughts about what’s up for today and thinking through the tasks to get done.
Also the time for deeper contemplations about important business decisions – with nobody around, just yourself focused on your inner dialogue.
Then shower, breakfast and at the desk by 9 AM for the morning session.
Lunch time nap to refill the batteries for the afternoon session.
Then workout at the gym to clear out the system and get in a more relaxed mood for the evening.
Diner time – and then the late session which is usually utilized for more calm and creative work and/or reading sessions.
Then around midnight time for sleep and all over again the next day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
You note them down.
You contemplate some more.
And when you still feel good about the direction you move towards the implementation and execution phase.
You must obtain the conviction that it is the right move, otherwise you aimlessly hop around, lack perseverance and don’t get anywhere.
Working quickly is supremely important, focus on getting stuff done – but so is, making sure that you have the odds in your favour that you’re marching in the right direction.
Not everything is going to be a hit, that’s part of the journey.
But you weigh upfront what the risk-reward looks like (and you become massively better with experience over the years) and if that step done is in a prudent way you
Won’t blow up
At least learnt something
Ideally have a new business case or procedure implemented which results in $$
What’s one trend that excites you?
The change of pace in the world is accelerating and many of the old narratives and structures we took for granted are fading into obscurity or just become plain irrelevant.
At this point in time, keeping up with the change and making the right decisions about how the future is – roughly – going to look like will pay huge dividends.
Most people are stuck in the “today” and have a hard time observing and extrapolating trends.
If you bet on the right trends, everything becomes so much easier.
As for specific trends:
Certainly still the year-by-year increased tooling for Bitcoin; making the long-cherished dream of the gold bug faction of a money which is not controlled and diluted by a few insiders for their own benefit an increasingly accessible reality.
Otherwise the appearance of ChatGPT certainly blew my mind to some degree.
I am not sure if “excited” is the correct word to describe it and I attach no value judgement to the “benefits & ills” of widespread AI integration, but you *can’t miss out* on it.
You will simply not be competitive any longer if you keep employing human labour for generic tasks which can be done by AI faster and more cost-efficient.
It is a productivity breakthrough akin to the invention of the steam engine back in the day.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It might not sound “sexy” or “woo-woo”.
But at the end of the day you must get sh*t done and get rid of any excuses you make for yourself why you can’t perform.
Everything else is secondary to the ability to commit to execute.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Break out from the pre-designed conveyor belt much sooner.
I wasted many more years than necessary in traditional education of which little to none was relevant if you are keen to forge your own path in life.
To not listen to what “mainstream society” tells you to do is of utmost importance – otherwise you will just end up like most people.
That might be fine for some (or even most) people, but if you don’t really fit in… you are not doing yourself a favor following that predetermined path longer than necessary.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Vampires, zombies and demons are real.
When you grew up you likely thought of them as just a work of fiction, made for entertainment purposes only.
As you grow older, gain more life experience and make your observations about what is happening in the world around you… you learn that the myth surrounding these creatures is rooted in time-honoured knowledge and has very real origins.
Our predecessors made the very same observations some of us make today.
They’re among us and you’re better off learning to spot them.
Otherwise the consequences for you can be extremely dire, “just like in the movies”.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As mentioned above:
Taking 1h a day to be with yourself and your thoughts and ideas to recalibrate the direction you and the company is going and what decisions and steps to take is of utmost importance.
You need to take your time for deep thinking and distancing yourself from the hustle and bustle of the daily errands, tasks and conversations to find the conviction in your decisions and the direction you’re aiming to take the company.
Not doing that in a very regular fashion risks you getting lost in the weeds.
You must understand the map and your position on it and adapt and overcome changing circumstances and unforeseen difficulties.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Focus on the long-term and create win-win situations for everyone involved.
You get paid to solve a problem for your clients – so your key-focus must be to deliver this solution fast and with high quality of delivery.
You want your clients to do the marketing for you by giving you positive referrals.
Reputation is your key currency which will pay you outsized dividends if you put in good and consistent effort over the years.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Ignoring red flags with people when they waved them openly in your face.
When you are just starting out and are still “naive” about how things work, you’re often far too prone to ignore your instincts and gut feelings.
Instead you “rationalize” and “justify” why certain behaviors are “actually not that bad”.
This is the worst thing you can do.
Cut the crap immediately and if somebody gives you very clear signals that they’re out to take advantage of you – DO NOT IGNORE THEM.
Cut ties immediately and distance yourself.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This might not be a very detail-laden idea, but one which everybody with some grit and inventiveness can utilize:
We are in the early stages of a rapid decline in living standards in Europe, which will result in a dramatic flight of capital (human & financial) over the coming years towards greener pastures.
If you are early to make your exit, establish yourself and build a network in one of the less common, but more promising places on earth… – and help people with their migration out of Europe, you can potentially climb a few rungs on the social ladder and establish yourself as a major connector between your country of origin (applies of course especially if you’re originally from Europe) and your new home country.
However, you must be willing to play the long game and it certainly is not *easy*.
But so are most things in life worth having or achieving.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Home protection equipment.
Won’t go further into the details, but we are living in times where “better be ready and never need it, then to need it and don’t have it…”
A quote one of my good friends shared with me the other week:
“Ignorance is bliss in good times and gets you killed in bad times.”
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
As mentioned above, you must stay ahead of the curve with tools like ChatGPT if you want to remain competitive as a business.
Otherwise Obsidian was quite a breakthrough in terms of note keeping and sorting ideas, thoughts and drafts.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
Timeless advice on the proper conduct of warfare and use of your resources to make the best out of any given position you’re in.
What is your favorite quote?
Plenty, as anyone who spends many hours a day reading.
That said, my most used one in the past year likely has been:
“You don’t own, what you can’t defend”
If you do not take this to heart as an entrepreneur, likely that your risk management is overlooking some outlier events which might wipe you out.
- If your current location prohibits you from achieving your entrepreneurial potential – leave.
- As with anything in life, you should not reward bad and exploitative behaviour towards you and simply withdraw your resources.
- Make calculated risk-reward moves
- Identify the correct long-term trends and never position yourself against them
- Foster your discipline, vanquish your excuses
- Make your reputation work for you
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.