Strategic Thinking About Your Business with Carel van Apeldoom

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Podcast0 Comments

The final episode of Global From Asia – and hope you are having a great holiday season, Merry Christmas, and end of 2018. I am excited for the new year and ventures ahead – keep up w/ me at

This last show is a real gem – Carel is a real seasoned entrepreneur and his talk even inspired me to make some tough decisions following the show. Talking about mental health, entrepreneur depression, and strategic thinking for your business let’s tune in!

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Intro Carel

    We met at Startup Weekend Guangzhou back in 2012 I believe, maybe 2011! Great to have you on the podcast can you introduce yourself for listeners.

  • So you’re based in China, but dealing internationally - how’d you get started

    When preparing for this podcast, we are talking more on the global part of business. Which is fitting for Global From Asia. How did you get started as a tech entrepreneur – back in 1997 and the crazy 2000’s first tech boom and bubble bust. (I was working at kozmo in 1999 in NYC!)

  • Focusing today on mental health issues - not discussed much

    When preparing for the podcast – you listed so many topics we can discuss- and maybe we will need to do another show soon but I picked mental health – can you share what you have seen in the space.

  • And it is true -Techcrunch only covers the positive headlines

    So much underlying pressure

  • Dealing with failure

    How have you seen people deal with it

  • Business owner depression

    Share more stories and discuss openly

  • How to best deal with it

    Talk about it? Hide it? Who to share it with.

  • And second part - helping people think more clearly

    Maybe depression comes from things getting fuzzy. I’ll be the first to say – when my vision gets cloudy, it is very depressing – for me and the team on the startup. How do you suggest people make a more clear strategy?

  • How can people reach you and your business

    What are ways people can find out more about you.

Thanks Carel!

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode (PLUS GUEST’s SHOW NOTES)

– we met in 2011 while being in Guangzhou

– at the time I just started a web viewer for Instagram content, as at that time Instagram was only accessible through the iOS app

– vision: integrating a printing service in into the instagram conversation. Fast forward, people not interested in printing but the site ended up ranking in the top 500 websites in the world according to Alexa with over 30 million MAU at its peak. Recent IG/FB changes killed the business pretty much.

– this was not my first internet venture. I started exploring in 1997 while in college and was co-founder of a marketplace for semi-finished goods that was launched and funded just before the 2000 dot com bubble burst.

– prior to looking at the possibilities on the internet I have been entrepreneurial from a very young age, creating comic books and selling them, developing book abstracts, selling bikes, and running a glassware company while in college.

– my transition to China was initially because of my involvement as a co-founder of a trading company that i founded in 2003. From early age intrigued by Asia (family history and kindergarden friend from China). sourcing’s business, F1 merchandise, Shenzhen corporate gifts trading co CoMo International.

– back to the question how i got started. Hired a Chinese employee in the Netherlands and together moved to Guangzhou in early 2005. Arrived in total empty apartment with 2 suitcases and a bed and nothing else.

1997 tech entrepreneur:

– Actionpad


2000 later renamed to

Mental health (Dyslexia, ADD, PTSD)

issues for founders:

– high levels of anxiety due to risky venture and continuously changing environment with new challenges

– often limited finances

– you are the leader and want to set the example but having bad days yourself – end of not having an escape valve

– you have often little confidants who truly understand what you go through

– influenced by the success-stories – that are also skewed in a irrational way with often irrational expectations.

– like to share about my own journey, family circumstances

– started to look for help at around age 18

– understanding what the problem is

– the point that you start looking for help

– not everybody is a good match.

– 2013 Startup Grind Global conference

– Mark Suster – driven to distraction by Ned Hallowell

– George Zachary –  See starting from segment 8:00

– my search for a solution to a better mindset

– Michael Pollan – How to change your Mind

what i have learned so far

– the basics – sleep, sleep and sleep (Why sleep matters – Mathhew Walker) – exercise and nutrition

– professional health – connect to your emotions

– continues learning

– impact theory

– Farnam Street

– not giving up looking for the solution to make sure you can feel the best version of yourself.

Dealing with failure

– keep the eye on the price

– never bet your shirt

– accept a grace period to process what happened

– make sure you take good care of your health (sleep, exercise and food) also on the days you are down

– understand that success is the next thing after failure

– keep on learning

Strategic thinking

– main priority is asking the question if you are working on the right thing. Does this really really really matter to you.

mastin kip – claim your power 

– my process of strategic thinking infused by fear of failure and overlooking something, so i will keep on going over the different steps to take and evaluate the logic and potential results and pitfalls

– the grand vision and the power of chunking

– the emotional connection

– Business model generation – Alexander Osterwalder

– smallest step you can take towards your goal

– explain your business to your parents or somebody this is not invested in the industry

get in the van talk by Michael Sippey

– get the proof before you start spending

Currently working on 2 projects

– audio tour product

– relationship product

Carel’s GFA Experts page

Keep up with mike on

Episode Length 55:16

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