Ethnic Cleansing

To what extent washing your hands and taking a bath is good for you has really been a topic for a debate for several thousand years. Before industrialisation, the Christmas Bath was a tradition in a Sweden not particularly bothered by hygiene. Now on the other hand, we seem to have gone a bit too far with many people taking showers several times a day.

For the second year in a row, my mother and I spent a whole day between Christmas and New Year's Eve at a spa. Since I like spas a lot, I have been to many of them, especially the ones close to Gothenburg: Arken, Hagabadet, Stenungsbaden, Varbergs Kusthotell, and Vann.
From Varberg 2012
My favourite is Sankt Jörgen Park Resort and Mum likes it too. Very close, good raw food for lunch, excellent massage, nice products, and many different corners to hang out in: the teahouse, the sway shelf, the MuViCure room, the saunas, the rainforest showers, the indoor and outdoor pool and much more.

I've also been to many Roman spa towns such as Saltzburg in 1978 as part of a concert tour with the school orchestra, Bath on my first trip alone to England in 1982, Trier in 1988 as a stop on my journey from Gothenburg to Alicante, Cologne in 1993 on my way back from a ski trip to the Alps, Istanbul in 1999 where I got stuck in the bazaar and never made it to the hammam, Pompeii in 2001 where you were not allowed to use the baths since they were clogged with ashes, Zürich in 2001 where I said no thank you to a job at a international software company, Budapest in 2013 where it took us 45 minutes in a hot pool to figure out that the sign probably said you should spend no more than five in it, and Tbilisi in 2015 where I had a good soak in the tub in my hotelroom.
From Budapest 2013
I've also been to Jerusalem in 2010 where Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus. Maybe the present unnecessary use of hand sanitizer is a sign that we have a lot we wish to rid ourselves from.


Feeding Unicorns

I don't remember when I first saw a unicorn, although it might have been in the books about Narnia. Nowadays they seem to be everywhere, although they have much lost their looks. They also don't seem to be all that attracted to virgins anymore, but more interested in angels. Not many people want to kill them (except for the competition) but quite a lot of them end up dead anyhow.

In 2013, Aileen Lee, a veteran venture capitalist, identified 39 U.S. start-ups U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors. Since this is a tiny portion of the total amount of start-up companies, she called them unicorns to capture how extremely rare and magical they are. Some of them you've probably heard of since they are consumer-oriented such as Uber, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram while others such as Nicira, Splunk and Tableau target enterprises. 

Since then the concept has caught on (even though many seem to have forgotten who coined it) and when searching on Google for unicorns you end up with more references to companies then to the mythical creature (or it might be just the way Google tweaks the search for me...).

In a recent count (Nov 2015), Lee found 84 U.S. unicorns, which means an increase of 115%. The picture illustrating the first article featured a single unicorn, whereas the 2015 article has a whole heard at the top. However, the numbers are changing all the time why there is a constantly updated unicorn leader-board. For those interested in unicorns from other countries as well, can take a look at Fortune's compilation or the CB Insights list updated in real time.

Since there is now a substantial group of unicorns, others than Lee and her team have been looking into what they have in common. Some like Adeo Ressi, claims to have found the recipe for success: using a cycle of three main tactics: (1) the Push, (2) the Markup, and (3) the Backfill. However, I must say that this looks exactly like what VC put us though in the 90ies. I believe Heidi Roizen fictive story is much more pedagogical, although it tells you what not to do.

As is usual when it comes to VC information, it is focused on valuation and capital raised and not so much about the company is doing in terms of sales, profits and customers. And it is also the question of how the valuation has been done, by investors (creating so called paper unicorns) or the market. At least one of the unicorn CEOs is not happy about being bunched together with the other creatures:
"Much the way all wildlife isn’t the same, all unicorn companies don't share the same degree of long-term promise. No one's interests are best served by prescribing the same, one-size-fits-all outlook to such a wide breadth of startups. And judging a category by valuation alone isn't just unfairly harming the reputations of the companies concerned. It's also exaggerating the popular impression of a tech bubble that's ready to burst." Kirk Krappe, chairman and CEO of Apttus
Since the birth rate of unicorn has started to decline, more and more articles have been published containing warnings about an increase in unicorn mortality. For example, The Economist claims that it has become clearer that the high valuations firms achieve in private are not always maintained when they go public. The Bloomberg View concludes that few unicorns have what it takes to protect an acquired monopoly. CNBC is concerned with the lack of public IPOs among the unicorns.
Doug Henwood compares the current situation to the dot. boom and at least takes comfort in that fewer households are now investing in stocks than before.
"Of course, when this bubble bursts—as it inevitably will, especially with the Fed having ended its massive money injections and now talking about raising interest rates in the fall—the narrow holding of tech investments means that fewer innocents will suffer collateral damage from the implosion." Doug Henwood
However, some claim there is no bubble at all. Miguel Helft at Forbes puts it like this:
"Taken as a whole, the 93 firms based in the U.S. (Americorns?) are worth $322 billion, 14% less than Microsoft and a bit more than Intel and Cisco combined. Which would you rather own long term? Microsoft or a basket that includes Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and Pinterest along with scores of others, a few of which will surely emerge as future PayPals, Twitters or Fitbits? Is that even a hard decision? And if not, what are we worried about? Quite the contrary: If you’re looking for growth, the unicorns minted in the last few years may well be one of the most attractive investments anywhere." Miguel Helft

Well, similar to Andrew Chen I like companies that set out to live forever rather than to become unicorns. I suppose I simply like workhorses better than unicorns.
From Varnhem Autumn 2015


Photo Competition 2015

On and off I have organised a kind of photo competition here at my blogg (20072010, 2011, 2012) The rules are simple: vote for the picture you like most before Februari 10 and then you have a chance of winning some flowers. The competition is open for people I know and you cast your vote by adding a comment here on the blogg, or in Picasa, or sending me an email, or a message on Facebook or LinkedIn. Feel free to motivate your choice or not :-)

This year I have ventured far out from my comfort zone and present to you pictures of me. Since I'm often safely behind the camera, there are not that many of them around.

However, this year I actually found quite a number of them in my albums. The pictures are from various travels and trips: Sweden, Kenya, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thank you so much, friends and family, for providing proof of that I was actually there too!

1. Göteborg. From Photo Competition 2015
2. Mölnlycke. From Photo Competition 2015
3. Billingen. From Photo Competition 2015
4. Nairobi. From Photo Competition 2015
5. Pilane. From Photo Competition 2015
6. Ven. From Photo Competition 2015
7. Fjällbacka. From Photo Competition 2015
8. Baku. From Photo Competition 2015
9. Baku. From Photo Competition 2015
10. Armenia. From Photo Competition 2015
11. Azerbaijan. From Photo Competition 2015


25 Metaphors

  1. They say that time's supposed to heal ya
  2. I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
  3. I'm sorry for breaking your heart
  4. It's no secret that the both of us, are running out of time
  5. You couldn't handle the hot heat rising
  6. I was running, you were walking
  7. I want every single piece of you, I want your heaven and your oceans too
  8. Let me fall into your gravity
  9. I miss you when the lights go down, it illuminates all of my doubts
  10. Every story has it's scars
  11. When the pain cuts you deep, I will be your remedy
  12. No river is too wide or too deep for me to swim to you
  13. Come whatever I'll be the shelter that won't let the rain come through
  14. Our love ain't water under the bridge
  15. If you're gonna let me down, let me down gently
  16. But it's in my roots, in my veins
  17. I can't love you in the dark
  18. It feels like we're oceans apart
  19. Please don't fall apart, I can't face your breaking heart
  20. Deep down I must have always known
  21. To earn my stripes I'd have to pay
  22. I miss it when life was a party to be thrown
  23. Give me a memory I can use
  24. The sweetest devotion hit me like an explosion
  25. It is the world to me that you are in my life, but I want to live and not just survive
Adele 25 Lyrics and Videos
From Varnhem Autumn 2015