Hello, I'm Tor Grønsund and welcome to my home on the web. I build, write, and teach about technology innovation and startups; their stories and their strategies. Because I believe passionately in the power of fostering entrepreneurial culture to challenge the status quo and inspire new ideas that make an impact on people's life.
In my teaching and workshops I take a modular, "lego-like" approach remixing principles from proven innovation and startup methodologies–e.g. design thinking, lean startup, effectuation, business model canvas, value proposition, disruptive innovation, jobs-to-be-done, blue ocean strategy, open innovation–with real world cases to help build the right culture for new venture creation.
Also, an occasional blogger (apparently) cited by Harvard Business School, Stanford University, among others, for inspiring new methods in lean startup, business model design, and marketing. Most recently shortlisted on Tech.eu's 'Top European entrepreneur blogs' and LDRLB's 'Top Professors on Twitter'.
Feel free say hello on @tor
A little more about me
Me at 5 years old on pop's IBM 5150, the first PC.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial home in the south of Norway and was fortunate enough to be exposed to the world of computers at an early age.
My true school wouldn't be the classroom but rather the World Wide Web. Caught by the dot-com boom and intrigued with how Internet search put the world at my feet, I'd study Information Science to learn about how people search, use, and share information.
I never had a big knack for writing code (although I keep enough to prototype ideas). Instead, I'd develop a thing for bringing that technology to human kind. That led me to pursue a degree in Innovation and entrepreneurship with a concentration in Informatics.
While still a grad student I ran my own market research practice, using disruptive innovation methodologies to write reports and analysis for management consulting, venture finance, and private equity firms.
I soon co-founded a dorm room startup that, by turning private routers into public hotspots, let people easily share their wireless Internet connections. Spending most of my student grants on open source routers, and pitching global telcos and OEM's, taught me a thing or two about up-starts; I needed more real world experience.
Following, through internships at two soon-to-be-acquired tech ventures, and a stint in early stage M&A at a leading Nordic media corporation, I would re-discover my entrepreneurial vocation.
So I joined as one of the first employees at an Internet investment and advisory company, where I had the opportunity to show organizations–ranging from global Internet companies and household brands to Norwegian ministers and the EU–how to use social media and take on new media ventures.
Working long hours and participating in others' entrepreneurial endeavours inspired me to start my own company called Lingo Labs. Our first venture, an Internet-enabled desktop environment for netbooks (remember those?), was selected Lean Startup company for Web 2.o Expo in San Francisco in 2010. It made millions of downloads and users in over 160 countries but not quite a revenue model. By making it open source, however, I learned a lot about co-creation and sharing culture, which remain my core ethos as of today.
I had began sharing my experiences and, ironically, giving lectures on business model design and lean startup techniques at universities and tech events across the continent. What I found was, traditional management books weren't too useful in the world of entrepreneurship. Neither did computer science teach aspiring entrepreneurs much about marketing.
So in early 2010, I launched this blog to share my thoughts on applying design thinking and lean techniques not only to product development but also to marketing. Fortunate enough, my pieces on bridging the business model canvas and lean startup methodologies were soon picked up by Stanford University followed by leading business schools and startup programmes.
The summer I turned 28, I joined the University of Oslo as an adjunct assistant professor, being responsible for developing a real world entrepreneurship course based on design thinking, lean startup, and business model principles. Ever since, I've been trying to change how entrepreneurship is taught and inspire more entrepreneurs in academia and science. My teaching philosophy is "learn to learn", which I've found to be the true value of higher education.
Perhaps entrepreneurship cannot be taught. But just like many of greatest artists of our time went to art school, or like many of our most inspiring leaders went to B-school, I believe it does make a difference. Whether it is through teaching or writing, I believe entrepreneurs who aspire to change the world around them deserve to have their stories told like any other.
Currently, I also spend my evenings and weekends writing an interview collection called Startup Vikings. Through interviews with famous Nordic tech entrepreneurs about their personal stories and secrets to leadership and building products, the book is the closest you come to being behind-the-scenes at a startup, and to learn how it’s done the Nordic way.
Right, but what is the meth·od·ol·o·gist?
The Methodologist is the former title of this blog. More concretely, a methodologist is one who studies methodology. And a methodology is the system of methods and principles used in a particular discipline. My discipline happens to be Internet and entrepreneurship.
Some side projects
Creator of the first lean startup and business model framework.
Editor of Vevens Gang, a notebook dedicated to profiling the tech startup scene in Norway, in Norwegian.
Board member at betaFACTORY, the first tech startup accelerator in Norway.
Curator of the Norwegian Startup List.