A number of “outvasion vikings” – venture capitalists who defined Iceland’s boom years – spoke candidly, albeit anonymously, with a university student for her masters thesis entitled “We are the coldest gangsters.”
DV reports that in total, 15 of these businessmen spoke with Ragnhildur Bjarkardóttir for her paper. In their interviews, which were taken in 2007, they described for her what daily business life was like for these people, with one of them remarking, “The playing field was too small. Now the playing field is the entire world.”
This was unfortunate, the unnamed venture capitalist said, because once the “playing field” got bigger, it was no longer possible to get information with just one phone call on someone you were dealing with. “With the new circumstances, you needed to trust your judgement more.”
Another outvasion viking waxed philosophical with an extended metaphor: “If you’re in a boat, and it’s sinking, get an Icelander because he’ll rescue you. If you have two minutes before the boat sinks, no one will be able to save you like an Icelander. He’ll find 100 ways to save your skin. But if he had to make safety rules for the boat, we would sink.”
Most of the venture capitalists she spoke to said that Icelandic dealmakers underwent a transformation from the year 2000, saying that their knowledge and experience has compelled them to reach the same goals overseas that they had achieved here in Iceland.