Robert Jonsson - Founder of twinkl

Stop talking and just start working on it. Either it works or it does not, but by doing something about it you can move deeper into the idea, or onto other ideas.

Robert is the founder of twinkl. He is from Iceland, but has spent the bigger part of his life in Denmark, now based in Copenhagen, from where he runs his business. twinkl is the friendship bracelet anno 2016, an electronic bracelet that let’s teenagers (and anyone else who buys one) communicate in a completely new way.

Where did the idea for twinkl come from?

Years ago, one of my friends broke both her arms and she was in the hospital. One day, at the end of my visit she asked me if I would place her phone on her chest. She wasn’t able to hold it or respond, but the fact that she could feel a vibration every time someone sent her a text was comforting. She knew someone was thinking of her, and that sort of stuck with me. This idea of a small vibration bringing a lot of kindness with it.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day for me starts very early in the morning where I’m up talking to our hardware developers in China. I like (and need) to be in touch with them on a daily basis, especially now that we really need to perform. After my sessions with them I head into the office, where I spend the most of my days replying to e-mails, in meetings with my team and working with crazy new ideas every day. Once it’s morning in Argentina I get back on Skype and get ready to go through our app with our developers there.

How do you bring ideas to life?

There’s one short and simple answer; work. The only way to make things happen is by doing them.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Working with teenagers, I am excited to see a new trend where influencers are more and more down to earth, talking about things everyone can relate to. With social media being such a present part of any teenagers life, it’s important that what they find is a motivator. If we’re talking tech trends, then I’ll say AI. AI is both cool and scary at the same time.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think discipline is a good habit, if you can call it a habit. Having to work with people who are not sharing my time-zone has been good, because I can’t postpone it until later. It’s taught me discipline, which I think is important, since we have a tendency to postpone the not so fun (though often important) tasks.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop talking and just start working on it. Either it works or it does not, but by doing something about it you can move deeper into the idea, or onto other ideas.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

I am not too sold on that whole children thing (at least not now)

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do? Iterate.

Never be done. I think a lot of entrepreneurs work this way. Also, don’t worry too much about mistakes, making them now means you won’t make them in the future.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

We have worked with influencers, and that has worked really well for us. I think the success comes from us co-creating with influencers, rather than simply paying them to talk about our product. Furthermore, all big decisions are made by talking to a lot of teenagers, and that always changes the outcome from what we anticipated before talking to them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not letting go quick enough, by thinking that a project we all knew would not succeed, might succeed next month or the month after. Deep down we all knew. I overcame it by letting go and move on to other pastures.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We did these really cool lamps for our influencers with their “logo” on them. They all love them, and maybe it could be a business idea for someone to start selling personal lamps J (see one of them in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyNnTbLl4N8)

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I was at websummit a few weeks ago and spend quite a few bucks on tequila shots while I was out with some very interesting people. I had actually planned a quiet night since I had a lot of work, but (luckily) sometimes staying out and having fun can be good for business too.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I love trello. We use it for pretty much all our projects.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

All the light we cannot see“, because it is a good story and when you work a lot on own projects, it is important to escape to other worlds sometimes and forget all the things you have not done yet.

What is your favorite quote?

“I don’t do quotes” Robert, 2016

Tell us about one friend or acquaintance of yours who we should interview on IdeaMensch. Who are theyand what are they doing?

We’re based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Maybe try Camilla Gilbro, she has a project called tiny rebels  – an online wardrobe for organic children’s clothes. It’s good for the economy and the environment.

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