Monday, December 6, 2010

orienteering in business

I'll translate this old text I wrote in 2007 in Finnish.

Think about orienteering competition where some of the participants would be in the forest without a map and compass. And also some of the control points would change their location every once and a while. Thinking in strategy terms, the map is the roadmap comprising the knowledge on the present and future situation. The compass is the strategy which doesn't necessarily take you to the goal but gives you an stable direction to lean to.

An experienced orienteer reads the map while running but not from the point he or she is at the moment but in order to create a picture of the scenery behind the next turn. And as the journey progresses, verifies that picture by making observations of the details of the scenery.
In an easy terrain you can put the point of reference or goal far away, in a difficult terrain you have to take smaller steps.
An orienteer can't also run straight to the goal, but one has to find all the control points.

What if you get lost? Of course you can start following another orienteer but he can be as messed up as you or just heading to a wrong control point.

Entrepreneurship compared to orienteering is funny in a way that you can set the locations of the control points by yourself and also draw the map and calibrate the compass. The goal is still the same for all: profitable business.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


went to see the play "Enron" written by Lucy Prebble and performed by Helsingin kaupunginteatteri.
a classic story about greed and money and "don't tell, don't ask"-principle in corporate finance. especially amusing (or scary) was a scene where board of directors, lawyers and finance assured themselves that the dubious financial trick is ok although there was nothing good in it. shared responsibility equals no responsibility.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

digital assistant

just what I tried to describe in hidden views, Anssi Vanjoki is mentioning in his technological testament when now quiting from Nokia.
(in Finnish sorry)

specifically the point number six: our digital twins or assistants take care and automate dull errands like paying bills or route planning.

also interestingly at the same it was announced that RIM acquired the Swedish TAT with lots of interesting ideas about user interfaces, also augmented reality stuff.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

hidden views

very nice examples of augmented reality in mobile apps,

especially hidden views rings bells, chimes with my wish to be able to peek around the corner or to the other side of the building.

one point I would like to add to the list in the above link, would be a metadata assistant. Like a personal secretary or assistant sitting on your shoulder and whispering to your ear:
-you met this person 2 years ago, his name is xx. He is interested in ...
-this place is rated "risky"by passers-by during last 10mins
-the car behind you has been tagged "road-rage" by 31 persons
-you should take this longer route it has less congestion

We have got so accustomed to googling whatever information we need that it's easy to imagine that tendency to drive also augmented reality. Where you can guide the googling by pointing or watching or just being in the right place. Context is everything. As well as location.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result. - A.Einstein

so I'm by definition insane because my daily work is basically to look for anomalies and things that usually work but then sometimes fail.
And what a pleasure it is when you find something irregular after tons of white noise in your problem-o-meter. and just a second later you think - where the #¤% I put my nose again.
playing: jamiroquai - virtual insanity
also the "different result" is not so obvious unless you are counting apples.
uncertainty in study or measurement is obviously a hard term to comprehend. So frequent are the situations where people use different kind of measurement results and facts without thinking the uncertainty or confidence interval associated to them.

-election polls: party xx is up 0.7% and beat party yy
-doctor: if your lab result is 1.7 you're fine, if it's 1.8, you're gonna die.
-scientist: eating ice-cream increases death by drowning in the summer time
-weather prediction: Helsinki tomorrow +5C

and another thing. when developing new stuff you keep hearing, " we tried that 1992, didn't work". sometimes finding new stuff requires banging your head to the same experiments again and again? well somewtimes it's wise to take a short break and wait for the world to catch up you.

alignment and forestry

been studying forestry lately, one thing I learned is that a forest at particular location roughly grows the same amount (biomass m3/year) regardless of the forestry actions performed by the forest owner. maybe this is an oversimplification but all the thinning and "grooming" and selecting the right wood doesn't significantly add biomass growth. but it aligns the growth into direction the owner wants. Making room for the wanted wood species and thus increasing profits.

hmm, is there some similarity to your average workplace? all those busy bees minding their own businesses and running errands based on volume control (who shouts loudest). sometimes looks like bees without any particular reason or direction. they all find something useful and fun to do. but maybe someone sees the forest for the trees.

Friday, November 5, 2010

physical browsing

I realized I have adopted a new way to search information on internet. If i need opening hours for a shop, I don't try to google the name of the shop on that particular street whose name I don't know. Instead I fire up google maps and fly to the shop's location. then check the opening hours by looking at the sign in streetview. Realizing that the picture could be one year old. Also when planning where to park, streetview is a good place to check the traffic signs beforehand. Ok, just call me control freak.

Needless to say, I find this way of browsing very natural. At least it works with local information, I wouldn't search paddington metro station info number via streetview browsing.

This physical browsing bears a close relationship to augmented reality, I find very intriguing the idea to be able to remotely peek around the corner to the next street while walking in city centre. Or take a bird eye view on the neighbourhood.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

look around

and you find the bits and pieces for the next revolution. As stated promptly on the right pane by mr. Gibson, future is already here.

In Guardian there was a jolly good story
about the same subject. How new ideas and inventions incubate when conditions are ready for them. They actually seem inevitable, it's just about the timing. Maybe the genius is in those who foresee that development.

Also an older citation by Henry Ford (from Hargadon's "How breakthroughs happen..")

'I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. ... Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.'

Andrew Hargadon also introduces in his 2003 book a term called "technology brokering" which is essentially the same thing as in Guardian article. Shamelessly borrow ideas from other companies and industries and disciplines to unlock the potential of distant analogies.

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Disappearing technology

a quick note while passing by.

Mark Weiser:

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it. "

Like transistor radios, how they were called way back in the 1950's. Later just radios. And nowadays those radios are merged to mobile phones and other apparatus. Making them invisible, immaterial memory of something that used to be concrete to us. Like leverage, downshifting, bottleneck, ...

One could argue that the more profound the technology is, the harder it is to distinguish from the realm of every day life.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Point of view

I review an idea made by a collegue, it deals with the big picture. I immeadiately start to think realization and details and problems with those. When I work with my own nitty gritty stuff I start to envision big ideas away from the dull details. Why is that, shame on me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Guardian: chinese are cheating in marathon contests. One reason may be that the scores effect on university entrance exams. Be it dishonest, but they have effort and ambition left. Something Finland is missing. I'm inclined to think that the situation in china is in some respect similar to Finland after WW2. Nothing to lose, a lot to gain and entrepreneuristic people. A period of high growth until they get too prosperous.

Future job

Kokoomuksen tulevaisuus-työ seminaari. Poimintoja:
-R.Mokka: maatalouden automatisointi maailmanlaajuisesti vapauttaa suunnattomat määrät työvoimaa. Intiassa nyt 70% maataloudessa, suomessa 3%.
-R.M: työn mielekkyys ei ole lisääntynyt 80-luvulta=>haaste. Työstä löydyttävä jokin muu sytyttävä tekijä kuin raha. Saattaa olla tämä mielipide hivenen esittäjän omasta vinkkelistä. Samoin, iso osa väestöstä kohta työvoiman ulkopuolella. Työvoimapolitiikan lisäksi pitäisi keksiä (yhteisöllinen) tapa saada nämä ihmiset mukaan tuottavuustalkoisiin. Japanissa ikäkriisi vielä pahempi kuin suomessa ja yksi syy jatkuvaan taantumaan.
-Katainen: vaatimukset tuotannon ja tuotteiden ekologisuudelle. Esimerkkinä elovena-hiutaleet. Onko niiden tuottamiseen käytetty 100L vettä per 100g? Paljo vai vähän? Ja kannattaako tuommoisia rahdata kaukaa maista jossa vedestä pula.
- JK:kestävien arvojen huomiointi kaavoituksessa.
Työpaikkojen luonti/säilytys veronkorotukset jäädyttämällä, mieluummin verotetaan energiaa ja suitsitaan energian kulutusta
-JK: ympäristösuojelu lähdettävä myös ruohonjuuritasolta vrt elovena, mutta silloin kuluttajaa ei saa huijata energiansäästölampuilla ym kupruilla.

Friday, January 15, 2010

old world

tää antaa perspektiiviä, ekan cd-soittimen esittely vuodelta -83.

joskus ollut tapana käydä kirjastossa lukemassa mikrofilmeiltä parikymmentä vuotta vanhoja lehtiä. erittäin hyvä harjoitus, liikuttavaa nähdä miten televisiossa oli kaksi kanavaa ja ohjelmat loppuivat klo 22. opettaa katsomaan nykypäivää enemmän ulkopuolisen silmin. tunnettuahan on, että lähitulevaisuuden kehitysnäkymät yliarvioidaan ja pidemmän aikavälin aliarvioidaan.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

customer ignorance as a profit center

Gary Hamel:
"if customer ignorance is a profit center for you, you're in trouble"

This quote was found in "Talent is overrated: what really separates world-class performers from everybody else" by Geoff Colvin I just bought. Priceless, the quote that is, the book cost some 20€ in local bookshop, in amazon it would have been cheaper. And that's exactly the point made by the writer. Information is cheap and financial capital plentiful. But talented people are scarce and in many cases, the bottleneck.
This reminds me about another book, "Free" by Chris Anderson. He urged to check what is scarce and what abundant. And how the balance between the two is changing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

ritualistic shopping

went to local bookshop and made the regular tour there. i have a standardized route there, a reminiscent from the times when I visited the place on a weekly basis. It is actually rather soothing to stroll the familiar corridors and check the same shelves, new books, popular science, business light reading, physics, economy, philosophy. The calm atmosphere of the shop is one essential ingredient in the "meditation" as well the transitions between the shelves/departments. You can't get the same kind of process in My bookshop tour has a beginning and end. It's kind of ritual. The same as morning paper, it's not the same if you check the news from the newspaper's website. The newspapers site as well as are infinite, endless. Which of course is also a nice feature, but initiates a different kind of tour, more like random walk or never ending story.

another interesting feature in my tour I've been observing, whether someone else has the same tour. I've had some partial matches but not 100%. I would consider this as an analog version of amazon's "customer who bought this.."