Erick Thürmer: Reinvent yourself before it’s too late

Erick Thürmer: Reinvent yourself before it’s too late

No one wanted to give us money, and singularity saved us

When I bought back the company my father had sold, I imagined returning to old-fashioned structures and linear work. It took years to return Thürmer Tools back to its origin and re-start the production in Denmark. The re-establishment venture required funding, but I was very unlucky: the Danish Growth Fund and several banks bluntly rejected me, and I soon realized that to succeed, I needed to figure out something completely new.

I began considering the possibility of 3D printing and applied to the Singularity University in Silicon Valley. After their disbelief and suspicions about my ability to provide enough input, I was finally accepted, and found my family through singularity studies. When I returned to the company to put my education to good use, I was faced with a choir of naysayers. Countless engineers told me the things I wanted to do could not be done.

So, we did it all anyway. We hired a group of students who saw no boundaries or limits, only possibilities, and gave them the same resources as the engineers. Once, I gave 22-year-old Lucas six months and 800 000 euros to create an app that would help us see through walls. He did it, and it’s revolutionary.

The world we know will collapse

Studies show that in the next 36 months, the world will develop more than it has in the past 300 years. This means that the Nordic and Northern Europe should not just tap into innovating now and then anymore, but mold it into a continuous process and prepare for the upcoming business renaissance. And with that, I mean 3D printing. It’s been a concept in many companies for a long time, but with rise of artificial intelligence, it is taken to a height never seen before.

3D printing will change production as we know it. The Nordics can utilize this resource, producing and developing together to answer localized demand in just the right quantities. Equalized production and a circular economy will become the core of all production, and if a company is not yet working with exponential technologies, the train might just run past them.

The bare necessities

We need to be more holistic in our approach. As AI develops, the world is looking at an enormous wave of unemployment and idle hands. In the current system, most of the money is condensed among a very small percentage of people, and the business environment is becoming increasingly harsh. This will come to a halt, as our current capitalist system will not function together with a developed AI. It is evident we need a new system that relies more on the social components of society.

Take the example of an anonymous huge energy drink company that gathers most of their revenue via gas station sales. According to forecasts, 5-7 years from now 50% of cars will be electric. Gas stations will become more obsolete, and people will not need to be as alert due to vehicle automation. Energy drink sales at gas stations will plummet.

All of this means that it is becoming more necessary to spend at least 5-10 percent of company capacity to seek out new possibilities. The best thing we ever did at our company was make it mandatory for executives to have one day a week in their calendars reserved specifically for the discussion of new possibilities and crazy ideas. Too often companies are structured so that creative departments have time to innovate, but management level must focus solely on making money, and are often raised on to a pedestal, far from operative and innovative action.

We need to reinvent the system and reinvest our resources. Personally, I’ve always believed in leading by example and doing things first-hand.

Erick Thürmer is specialized in international trade, development and exponential technologies, and he is known in the Danish media as Mr.Disruption and Rock Star CEO. He spoke of disrupting 120-year-old Thürmer Tools at Kaaoksesta Kasvuun Helsinki, 23rd of May. 

Words and photos by Emma Koivusalo