Saturday, 18-Jun-22 15:05
Happy customer checking in!

Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I found these awesome recycling bags that will now replace a rather worn out plastic bag as my main receptable for paper and cardboard. The upgrade in the kitchen feels is immediate. Though these were expensive, they seem very, very durable so I think I'll get a good 20 years or something out of them. And at least they are far more pleasant to watch.

However, I did not just receive a great product. I got this wonderful handwritten card and some extra sweets with my order. This is what we at work call a Magic Moment - the feeling that you have suddenly made a connection, or found an unexpected source of joy, or realized that you have made a better purchase than you intended. They're those moments that make you go and recommend a service to a friend; or that make you go back and make a new order; or even just make you browse the catalogue - and recommend a product to a friend.

Those Magic Moments are however difficult to achieve. If you always add something extra to every order, it's a) bad for your margins and b) it becomes an expected thing as opposed to something new and wonderful. People get bored easily when things are repeated. (Every magician knows this - you must vary your performance. Doing three "pick a card, lose a card, find a card" -tricks in a row is just boring, no matter how skillful.)

But you don't need to feed people with a constant stream of magic moments. All you need is one, every now and then, so that people remember that moment when they were truly delighted or surprised and associate it with your service.

Friday, 17-Jun-22 00:48
Putting on the old LARP boots

After two decades of avoiding LARPs, I signed up on a whim to Seaside Prison, a LARP about the life of two families in occupied Åland. It was a black box LARP, so there was no preparation needed, which was nice.

To add to the experience of living under occupation, one of the players was from Gaza, and the LARP was mirroring many things that regular people in Palestine are experiencing daily.

It was a harrowing experience to say the least. My family suffered two big losses: My character lost a daughter and a niece in what could only be described as random acts of violence. Perhaps thanks to my late losses, it was frighteningly easy to feel the death of two fictional characters weighing heavily on my shoulders the rest of the game. But there was also laughter, and a wedding and dancing and chess. And watching the sea and small moments of togetherness.

But this game was some seriously heavy shit. As a co-player put it as "it feels somehow wrong to enjoy such a haunting game." I don't know if it is wrong, but I did thoroughly enjoy it, even if it ended up being a bit of a cathartic experience. Tears might have been real, but the deaths were not, and we did all sit down and enjoy a beer afterwards.

Thinking back, it's actually really rare to get five hours of uninterrupted time for yourself these days. Even on the best of days, usually you at least glance your cell phone every hour, but today we were completely offline, and just played together. I'm starting to remember why I like LARPing. Not because it's escapist, but because of the way you can investigate and explore new ideas, new places, new situations and your own self in a safe, immersive way. In a way, that actually sounds much like what I would describe my ideal job - the joy of discovery without interruption.

Anyway, will play again. It has really been too long.

"Come with me tonight so that we might make tonight a shared past, says the one afflicted with longing. I will come with you to make a shared tomorrow, says the one afflicted with love. She does not love the past and wants to forget the war that has ended. He fears tomorrow, because the war has not ended and he does not want to grow older."

- Mahmoud Darwish-محمود درويش, In the Presence of Absence

Monday, 06-Jun-22 07:15
Life changes

Exactly sixteen years ago, I was sitting in my office in Nokia Ruoholahti, and feverishly hitting F5 to refresh my blog. An hour earlier, I had posted my marriage proposal to my blog (which ended up being featured in Digitoday - so I am possibly the only person ever whose marriage has been featured in IT newspapers. How supergeeky is that?) She said yes (after keeping me waiting for five hours - asynchronous proposals are NOT a great idea for the impatient!), and things went very much uphill from there.

But things don't always end up happily ever after. We are now separated, and divorce papers have been filed a month ago. This is very painful and difficult for me, but somehow I think I need to close the loop by posting it here on this blog as well. The internet is now however a different place now, and my readership has plummeted, so I'm not going to pour my heart out too much here. Those who need to know the details do know them already, and if you want to get in touch with me, you know how to reach me. I am grateful for anyone who did and who wanted to help.

However, this all has prompted me to start writing more. I write here, I write elsewhere. I have the free time, and while I am trying to rebuild my life, I will be grabbing onto some old, dear things that I think need a bit of dusting, such as this blog. Let's see where this path takes me again.

Sunday, 05-Jun-22 11:19

So, finally saw Top Gun: Maverick yesterday. The original holds a dear place in my heart - it was a part of a growing up ritual, when we had a small sleepover party in a friend's place with no parents home, and we could watch the movie from a big screen since they had a video projector and a sound system. I recently rewatched the original with my kid who's 13, and with a few more years under the belt I realized how incredibly well made the movie is. It's not high art, but it is absolutely beautifully shot and lighted. Many of the scenes in it are iconic, and for good reason.

So Top Gun: Maverick had some very, very big shoes to fill. It succeeds in some and fails in some. It's very much a sequel in writing and style. I don't know if it's better or worse, but it is the sequel that the original Top Gun should have. Aerial shots are as gorgeous as ever, plot holes are wide enough to ride an F14 through, characters are thin - but this is all what we would expect. Where this movie trails the original is the cinematography and shooting. It beautifully replicates some shots from the old movie (and the beginning is absolutely a blast to watch, music and all), but doesn't quite elsewhere live up to the same level of iconic imagery. But it does make it up on the flight imagery, of which there is a lot, and it's a beautiful mix of real-life extreme flying and CGI.

I was not at all unsatisfied watching this movie in an IMAX theatre. It's a movie that was worth making, and worth watching, if you were into the original.

Friday, 03-Jun-22 00:34

(Sorry, a bit of a drunken rant follows.)

I remember back in 2017-2018 telling a friend that "we should now enjoy these days, because it will only get worse from now on." I was specifically referring to the global climate catastrophe and the loss of wildlife, but considering how things went down from there, I'll accept my ahort-term victory prize as well: The global pandemic, the death throes of a superpower attacking Ukraine resulting in a global food crisis, rise of fascism, and my marriage going down the drain (which seems pretty small all things considered).

The thing is, none of those really my underlying predictions. Things will continue to go, in general, for the worse for the foreseeable future. Of course we will also find short-term victories: I am very glad to see the electrification of transport which is going pretty well (even if it will mean a huge reshuffling of jobs and automakers); the decarbonization of power generation (not going so well, but at least there is a possible path to victory); new technologies for agriculture (but maybe too little too late?); The global crusade against fake news (though it raises many, many questions); etc. I believe we will see in the next couple of decades a big reshuffling of power and money from old hands to new hands and vice versa, as we're trying to cope with the rapidly changing environment.

So, I think the important topic for everyone for the next 20 years should be resilience and adaptability. I don't believe in survivalism, because that's a last ditch effort to stay alive at any cost. Instead, I believe the winning societies will be the ones that embrace compassion, resilience, adaptability and reason. The Nordic countries are well suited for the future, because we already embody a large number of those qualities. I also believe that companies that are positively contributing towards a better society and embrace the same values do stand a better chance for long-term success, no matter the business model itself.

As I am aging, this realization is becoming increasingly important to me - it's not enough for a job to be interesting; I believe it has to contribute positively to the society. I've had a few offers from ad companies, and on some level they are interesting to me: big data, high optimization, lots of potential. But I have always turned these offers down because I just can't see how ad tech positively affects the society. Now I work for a co-op (or a conglomeration of co-ops to be precise) to bring food to people. This matters to me, on a level that an ad service could never do.

I don't really know what I'm aiming at here. I just have a bad feeling about the future, and I just hope I can make a small positive impact somewhere, somehow. For your kids and mine.

Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.

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