#199 - Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm, author of "How Hard Can It Be"

Startup lessons from trying (and failing) to take down Facebook

This podcast interview shares the big lessons learned from the failed attempts and required pivots running a startup that was on a mission to take down Facebook. My guest is Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm, author of “How Hard Can It Be”

arnaud-hennevilleArnaud Henneville-Wedholm is a consultant, lecturer, and head of sales and business development at GLOBHE. He is also the founder of multiple startups, including internalDesk, a SaaS platform for enterprise collaboration, where he served as COO. 

He’s passionate about entrepreneurship, neuroscience, resilience and making the world a better place. He works on projects he believes in and with people who ‘go for it’; He finishes everything he starts; He trains like if there was no tomorrow;

He enjoys the ‘now’ and looks forward to the journey. 

He goes by the mantra of “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” And that’s no understatement. In his book ‘How hard can it be’ he explains his personal journey in building a startup that got founded around the big idea to ‘take down Facebook’.

The book is a jet-setting parable of the European startup scene that takes on the most elusive business topic of them all: failure. 

And that inspired me, and hence I invited Arnaud to my podcast. We explore the journey Arnaud and his team went through with their startup, the pivots that were required, and the commercial, financial and emotional challenges this brought along. We pinpoint the critical ingredients to getting right from a solution perspective to create virality – stickiness – and growth that’s sustainable. Last but not least he addresses what to be prepared for as a founder and how (and why) to embrace failure as a hidden gem.

Here are some of his quotes:

People have a lot of ideas, constantly, I guess that’s what we do as humans, we have plenty of ideas, but ideas are cheap. What matters is his execution. And unless you execute, and how long can you execute once you’ve decided that you are someone who indeed executes? You know, how long can you go? How far can you go?

People start companies, but they all drop along the way. People drop, people drop, people drop, and they stand on that shelf as a souvenir of startups that tried anything and did not go all the way through?

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. That having a product that’s functionally rich and technically scalable is only half the battle. Business model scalability is the other one.
  2. That the best thing you can do for your company is to demonstrate persistence in sticking to the one thing you’re after. Don’t pivot too early
  3. That a ground principle of creating something remarkable is to focus on doing something utterly different (not better)
  4. Why you need to be persistent in finding problems that are mission-critical, not just nice to have

For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.