Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Today was the annual lecture on entrepreneurship hosted by the Anders Wall-foundation.
This year´s guest was Niklas Zennström, father of such services as Kazaa and Skype. In front of a packed auditorium he shared his views on realizing an idea, creating consumer-focused services, learning from mistakes, etc. Being interviewed, he explained how the business world had changed since he graduated from Uppsala University in the late 80´s. Back then, an "entrepreneur" was someone in the construction business, or perhaps an asphalt contractor. Unlike today, when the term has come to involve such areas as technology, science and theology. When asked if he´d felt the desire to become an entrepreneur already when completing his studies in computer science, Niklas said "No, because they were into building houses".
He was not the only one to seduce the audience with a sense of humor. A young business-owner from northern Sweden, Stefan Stolt, also a guest, showed that he could handle himself among the big boys. The interview went something like this:
Interviewer: I hear you´re turning your eyes to the East nowadays.
Stolt: Yes, we´ve bought football players from the Ucraine for instance.
I: (With disbelief) Your village team buys players?? But I mean... (turning to a front-row member of the audience, director of one of Sweden´s biggest football teams) How much do you pay for your players? (Person waves his hand in a nonchalant gesture, "A couple of million")
Interviewer again addressing Stolt: Surely, you won´t pay that kind of money...
Stolt: No, we´re much better negotiators.

The host for this event was Mark Levengood, a very talented personality. When chatting with one of the guests he remembered his grandmother. Once, she emerged from her bedroom with a very somber look and said that she´d come to a decision. "I want to be cremated."
Grandfather, nodding in acceptance: "Put your coat on, and I´ll bring out the car."

Finally, he told the audience of his native Finland´s first business woman. She had fallen very ill during a visit to Stockholm. Moments before her passing, she opened her mouth and declared: "Tack alla kunder" (Thanks to all my customers). A true entrepreneur´s spirit.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Artificial Light

A void lurks outdoors. It´s so dark that the only reminder of the outside world is the strumming of rain on the window-ledge. Out there, street lights engage in an uneven struggle with the soaking darkness, like straws of grass in a tidal wave. Relieved only during lunchtime when the Sun appears behind hasty clouds.
It is dark. And for one month, it will get darker.

Luckily, today was sunny and mild-weathered, so it´s not all gloomy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First snow

This morning when I opened the curtains, Uppsala was white. Expected by all, but nobody is usually prepared. When the first snow hits with such strength as today the consequences can be severe. Cars sliding off the road, pedestrians slipping on the sidewalk and dogs ... well, dogs really don´t care much. I had an errand to the city and brought the camera to see if any good motifs turned up. Like people in distress, traffic headaches, snowy stuff, you know.

Winter comes with icy, vitalizing winds.

This is how people in other countries imagine Sweden all year around.

Car headache in Carolinabacken. Then buses also tried to go up, failing miserably. Finally the street was closed.