On changing the culture, On entrepreneurship, On tigers

Norwegians face death penalty

Referring to my post about the Norwegian pair in Congo, they got their death penalty today. They had to be convicted before international press noticed the news and now it seems to be everywhere. CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera. Pretty well visited as well accordning to Norwegian papers. Good!

By the way I still miss aftenposten.no/english and think I may start a facebook-group to get it reopened some day. Or maybe start a new english service from Norway?

On dreaming, On entrepreneurship

A call for car 2.0

I just watched the TED talk, Shai Agassi: A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars, and I became very excited with his proposal.

He says car 2.0 needs to be about infrastructure coherence and separating the battery from the car. So what does he need:
– Charging stations where you normally park your cars. He states that Scandinavia already have this many places, and we do.
– Battery swapping stations. This we do not have, so let’s start building.

Earlier i wrote about BYD and Tesla, now he tells that the Renault-Nissan alliance is committed to make his dream a reality. That is great news and it seems like most auto manufacturers are really starting to get around!

He also introduve the term eMile (should have been eKM I think), currently priced at 8 cents. Remarkable! Does anyone care to do the math and make comparable tables with gasoline?

On collaboration, On entrepreneurship, On social media

Sorry SecondLife

Ok, I admit, I have forgotten all about SecondLife, Linden Dollars and avatars in my recent research on social media.
In a class called collaboration at Uni three years ago I visited another 3D-world, and today (after being ticked off by a colleague) i joined SecondLife and now officially have an avatar called TigerOfNorway Riddler (why do you have to choose last name on your avatar, and why on earth do I need to type the choosen last name when logging in??) and I did some quick discoveries listed below.

People. What stroke me first was that there was actually quite a few people (yeah yeah, avatars, or what ever) in there. And I have heard that some Norwegian companies are establishing themselves there, but could not find them – how are you navigating this anyway? Eventually I found a way to search, but at first it gave me only web page hits. I learned to teleport after about four minutes.

Content and learning. My colleague said that content is moving away from gaming (if it ever was there) and more towards big and small companies establishing themself there, running electronic meetings in there, and sharing content in there. I have not had the time to discover this properly yet, but will eventually. My biggest question though, is how this will ever compete with Google + Wikipedia – there is no way I can see more content quicker in SL, then I can by searching and reading Wikipedia. Maybe the learning and illustration example will do the trick here but is that really enough?

Avatars. Not long ago, I saw something about us designing computers to more or less replace humans, rather than augment them. I think the entire SecondLife smells of this life replacement a little bit and is still skeptical. Compared to video conference where people is unable to do anything but look either at you when they talk and they expierience you looking down on them or the other way around (see “the problem with video conferencing“) however, I believe avatars actually improve collaboration, avareness and the conference expierience.

The world loads slowly. Last time I visited a 3D world was at University as stated above. My expirience then was reduced by the fact that it loaded slowly. And so did SL today. I was sitting at work at relatively proper lines, but still things moved slowly and lagged a lot. I also had trouble zooming on details. This bugged me quickly.

Tigerofnorway Riddler inspects Birka, the viking world

Now that was four cents from me. Hopefully I will overcome some of these on my next visit. Until then, I stick to Vyew, Skype and MOSS 2007. Any comments to my SL opinions? How is secondlife going to be really useful and take on?

Best regards,
TigerOfNorway Riddler
Newbie in SL

On entrepreneurship, On social media

Social media to Struggling media – and back

The media sector has since the dot-com been in a changing world. This week it is also evident in Norway. Schibsted, the leading Norwegian media conglomerate said they need to cut 750 mill NOK, most due to plummeting advertising revenues (and some due to failed Classified Ad initiative in Spain). This is not a unique incident, as many media companies see the true results of the financial crisis. Hjemmet Mortensen is another example who published information about their cuts today.

I think I have to repeat my mantra, change is good – it opens for new opportunities. I must admit however that I wonder how the ad-market will look like in the future. The future is for fortune tellers to describe, I on the other hand, just wonder how one sell more stuff if you do not advertise? Is this the real social media revolution that we see? More Twitter, recommendations and relations, a more transparent reality – a flatter world! Now it is here for real.

A surprising effect is that local newspapers in Norway are still more or less withstanding (actually Norwegians reads more papers than most others). I guess it is because national and international news are available best online, while local news is still best in the paper. Are there entrepreneurs out there who are ready start the war for local content? Oh yes!

On dreaming, On entrepreneurship

BYD, Changfeng, Brilliance, Tesla, Think or Volt?

All right folks, NAIAS is on! Are you lost? Yes, I am talking about cars! The above five are perhaps the cars of the future. Funny enough two of them have name from physical measuring units, however that is for nerds to beckon, and Chevrolet Volt is doomed from the beginning anyway.

GM’s Rick Wagoner was frightened by the show off from Warren Buffet-supported Chinese BYD E6 doing 400 km from fully charged, whilst Chevrolet Volt is doing ridiculously 64 km! Come on!

Tesla Roadster from California was recently presented on YouTube as the fastest accelerating electric vehicle. After all, that is an American vehicle, but not very much supported by GM or Ford. I like it very much, want to test, however not buy yet.

Ford formerly owned the Norwegian Think. They do not even say how far it goes on their sites. Maybe they have removed it when they saw BYD. Ford did not manage to make Think a profitable business, I think it is because the cars specs just isn’t good enough for people to buy it. Compared to a Volkswagen Golf your yearly spend is about the same, and when you want to visit auntie in far-away-city you are… going to, heaven forbid, invite her over instead! Think just got a round of capital and need to work hard to hang in there.

I just can’t wait till I can by a proper electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle “off the shelf”! I want one now, my old car is crappy and 13 years old! I believe car sales the last couple of months show that I am not alone, everybody is waiting for these cars to become mainstream available. So what the f#$@, is taking the manufacturers so long? Are the entire car industry corrupted by oil companies? Are their researchers just not good enough? Are they not the right people to innovate? This is going to be world histories greatest technology leap into the energy climate era and so far Toyota is the only formerly known car manufacturer that is nearly hanging in there with their hybrids!


On entrepreneurship

More changes than ever before!

It has been a while, a busy while actually. I have been following the presidential election and the financial meltdown closely, and as everybody else I never thought it would have the implications we see today. I have also tried to catch up on web 2.0, enterprise 2.0 and some of the new cool services out there, more about that in a post to come. Now to a changing world – My belief in that change is to the good and that people need to develop their ability to adapt to change seem to be more valid than ever.

In fact, last time I wrote I had a vague perception of that there was this guy called Barack, running for presidency, but he was still battling Mrs. Clinton to win the democratic pole position. When he did, I was totally baffled by how his campaign seems to have woken up people in the United States from their eight year long coma, and “vote for change” – Yes we can! I really like the slogan – Yes we can! Let us turn it – Yes you can! If you get laid off, get started believing. There are a million opportunities to combine something you know, and something someone else know, and woala – a new company is made.

Now, if (or should we say when?) GM should tip over it would free up a whole bunch of very skilled car makers from a company that has been sleeping for years while Toyota in particular and many other Asian car manufacturers have been busy building smaller cars, safer cars, more energy efficient cars, cars running on renewable fuel and so on and so on – constantly building up on the fact that they are environmental friendly and a more sustainable product. It is incredible that GM does not see this – they deserve it.

In Norway times have been somewhat difficult for entrepreneurs the last year, because it has been almost impossible to find good people to work for you – now it is good times to start an adventure and find good people. NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation) said they expected 2000 Norwegians to lose their job every month the next two years. Some of them ought to be entrepreneurs or willing to work for one, and I look forward to see new creativity coming up.

And by the way – did I earlier mention that we do have a global economy? My, has this financial crisis proven that we do. I wonder what the world will look like when we are done with it and many of the large banks are out of the way, and several of the large traditional industrial multinationals file for bankruptcy. This happens while small entrepreneurial businesses who utilizes the power of the fourth production capability, digital information (the three former being human resources, machine resources and material resources) to the full, thrive and employ as never before. Are we entering a new entrepreneurial era?

On entrepreneurship

WTO failed – farm entrepreneurs can take a break

As a farmer’s son but educated in economics it is impossible not to comment on last weeks WTO efforts. In today’s ”Dagens Næringsliv” the CEO of Cancer Cure, Phd. Gunnar Myhr, himself a successful entrepreneur, questioned the national farmers association in Norway on why they were so protective and negative to a new WTO-treaty (yes, we had farmer-demonstrations as well!). They claimed it would reduce the number of farmers/farm related jobs in Norway by 40 000, from somewhat 55 000. Even though such a slope may seem dramatic, this number has declined ever since the end of Second World War. Then we had some 220 000 farmers in this country. No one (except the farmers association themselves) really believe that such a dramatic change would be the direct outcome of a WTO-agreement, and if so would it really be bad? No, I do not think so. Here are an aspiring entrepreneur’s not so crazy thoughts on why.

Norway has a need for workforce. We have never had lower unemployment rates than we have now, 2,5 %, and we use foreign workers, especially from Poland to do dirty jobs. Well lubricated by oil, our government now employs near one third of the Norwegian working population, and increasing. A main chunk of these, being within health care. We have a large generation of people born under and immediately after the mentioned war that will soon be old, and we need someone to look after them. Where would be better suited to establish geriatric institutions than in big countryside farm houses where the farmer can no longer live off what the land gives?

The elderly will love being at the countryside, the farmers will have a job, and due to the WTO treaty we would probably have had food from abroad also. All the farmers would have had to do is grab the opportunity and be a little bit entrepreneurial. Unlike in other countries, where, on the countryside, poverty and care for elderly goes hand in hand, we could (and probably would) have government funding to support these new centers. In addition, Norwegian elderly are not poor elderly as in third world rural elderly poor; these are elderly that are fairly well off after having had good jobs for years before they retire, they can even pay for them selves – but wait, Norweigan elderly pay for themselves in Spain instead – where the food is cheap and the sun is on. Do not tell me they will not have a good time if someone offered them a good old Norwegian farm rebuilt as a service centre for the elderly with a golf court nearby in the summer and whiskey (or something) in the winter.

Alternatively, the farmers could come up with local food specialties and sell them to the tourists, local people or to the city markets where people will pay more for Norwegian quality. All they have to do is be entrepreneurial! Those 15 000 farmers that would have been left, will have a lot of land to take care of, around the new golf courts and the new elderly centers. Or, they could even be wilder and start an MIT Fab Lab (yes, we have a farmer that did that!).

Last, how does this appeal in the States? Maybe the negotiators back in the White House should have given entrepreneurship and their own elderly population a thought before telling India and China off? And maybe the U.S. farmer’s association lobbyists should have thought twice before robbing the U.S. farmers from an opportunity to change now when prices are high, and U.S. is still wealthy. They of course also rob the chinese and indian farmers for their much wanted market access. Fortunately, globalization is put on hold for a few more months, and the U.S. farmers can do business as usual. No entrepreneurship needed – yet!