Ten years ago Torben Rudgaard was making computer-systems for Danish banks during the day and worshipped his passion for computer-games during the night. Today he doesn’t need a day-job. From headquarter of his uprising company FlipInvert – named after the owner’s favourite skateboard routine -in Pattaya he makes computer-games for the action-seeking youngsters on the fast-growing cyberspace-marked.
Along with twenty employees from all over Asia the self-claimed nerd from the small Jutlandic city of Skørping now spend most of his time developing cute characters, challenging puzzles and exiting plots to land on the laptops and the internet-cafes all over the world.
“I have cherished computer-science – ever since I got my hands on my first ancient Commodore 64 for the first time. I started to programming by the age of 12 and by the time I attended high school I was the one training my teachers in data processing”, says the Danish cyber-addict, who left a blooming carrier at the successful Danish internet-provider Jubii.dk to peruse his dreams of getting a share of the sky-rocketing virtual development in Asia – a decision he hasn’t regretted.
“Every time I get back to Denmark I am confirmed in my decision, from the minute that the airplane lands in cold and expensive Copenhagen, I get reminded why I moved out here in the fist place. Thailand is a fantastic place, compared with most of their neighbours. The infrastructure is excellent, there is a large expat population and the game-marked in Asia is booming” he ads.
The right place
According Torben Rudgaard his company is literally located in the geographic centre of where thing are happening – at least on the virtual marked.
“Today many looks at USA as the leading marked, but I think that that is changing, because the American marked is in serious recession. Asia is more innovative and much better to adjust to the changing demands of the marked. Not to mention the number of people countries like Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, China and India has much larger populations than all countries of Europe and USA put together and therefore much greater potential. For instance about four hundred million Chinese people have access to the internet to day, and that number is increasing intensively – as well as the interest for computer games. It is estimated that in ten years from now more than 70 percent of the internet users will be Asian” The Danish optimist, who dreams about developing the favourite time consumer in Asia, explains.
“One of my future goals is to create an Asian version of World Of Warcraft, with cute Manga-inspired characters and Chinese dragons instead of Vikings. But my version should be simpler so it could be played in Flash, so downloading wouldn’t be necessary and entirely commercial-financed – it should also be possible for the teenagers in the slow computer-cafes in the rural areas to play”.
TV is dead
But the optimism doesn’t limit itself to only be on the Asian marked, Torben Rudgaard believes, that the internet is soon to take over the role of the television.
“The marked shares of the future are to be found online, the television is on its way out because it requires he user to be passive. On the contrary the computer claims active participation and on the computer you are not limited by broadcasting time, you can se the shows when it suits you. Despite the internet marked is already much more profitable, several computer-games have outsold the big blockbuster movies from Hollywood like Titanic or Lord Of The Rings by far so more and more advertising lands on the internet instead of the television” he says.
It is indeed difficult to shake positive expectations to the power of the internet the indomitable computer- enthusiast. Not even the compulsory concern of the economic decline seems to any effect on Torben Rudgaard.
“Actually the financial crises can be an advantage for this line of business, because people tend to stay more at home playing computer-games instead of going out to fancy restaurants or expensive clubs” he laughs.
The next Donald Trump
Even though that most of Torben Rudgaard’s waking hours is spend in front of the flat-screen, computers is not his only passion, in the resent years he has gained an increasing interest in real-estate investments.
“This is one of the best things I’ve ever got into, unlike holdings, the real estate physical keeps it size even if the price-level temporary is declining. I plan to be able to support myself entirely through my passive income from my rented apartments before I turn 45. I only wished that I had started looking into the real estate marked much sooner”, he says declaring that he try to read every book on smart investments that comes his way. His admiration for the successful American investors is obvious just by the look at his workspace where pictures of Robert Kiyosaki, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Donald Trump are watching down on him.
“My employees joke about I keep pictures of my financial ‘saints’ where Thai people keep their Buddha-altars. And they are actually quite right, even though that I really admires the Buddhist philosophy I must admit that I personally profess myself to capitalism” he chuckles.