Sunday, May 31, 2009

Google Wave

Wow! Google does it again. If you haven't seen the Google Wave demo, you've got an amazing experience ahead of you. From my perspective it kind of builds up to a climax, and clearly towards the end it does nothing but impress you. Be patient though. Hear these guys out! It's worth it ;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ISBUK Prize Awarded

May 2009 has become the first year mark of the ISBUK Prize - a monumental and epic award to a dedicated and selfless servant of youth and children here in Grenland.

Winner of ISBUK
The prize was presented by Anders Vangen in behalf of a "Cross Cultural Forum for Children and Youth in Grenland". The Mayor of Skien, Rolf Erling Andersen, spoke with great pride and with lavish praise about this effort at the formal reception held in honor of this year's winner:


A photo of the statuette produced by Hjalmar Johansen high school in Skien. ISBUK is an acronym and short for "Ivrig Sliter for Barn, Ungdom og Kultur".

Harald Gravalid is the embodiment of what this prize represents and its criteria:
  • Dutiful Commitment - unusually dedicated effort beyond normal
  • Inspiring Example - peculiar ability to excite and ignite talent and individual ability
  • Faithful - steady contribution over many years both in small and big things
  • Hard working "Slogger" - initiative and drive in spite of bad odds and little help
  • Resourceful - capable of creating great memories in spite of few resources
  • Empathic - love and compassion for young people
Harald's anonymous and admirable leadership has set the standard for a lot of people the past 31 years, among others through FUNKIS, a local club at Åfoss in Skien. A complete listing of all Harald's work and effort would blow this newspost out of proportions!

Prize Jury
The jury consists of prominent and key people in Grenland, the details of which are available upon request. The local community in Grenland will work to make this award a yearly tradition and the foundation for a collaborative effort in supporting all those who labor selflessly to help and engage children and youth in wholesame activities.

Yearly Tradition
Every year a major show or event will be organized and the economic surplus will be used to modestly reward young talents while providing uplifting musical entertainment for elderly people. For more information about ISBUK and/or this yearly show, please contact the Committee Chairman.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The secret is to keep it a secret

Our family discussed a very simple, yet powerful principle today. If we want real lasting happiness, then we should forget about the glory and recognition. The immediate reward of the good that we try to do isn't really what we're after. What we want is the feeling itself. The secret is to keep it a secret.

...and it's so much more FUN!

Maybe the most profound lesson of life is to do something good simply because we want to be and do good?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun movie "Joe Somebody"

In my opinion a good movie is based on an interesting story and has charming actors that are able to create that special feeling. A good bonus is if in addition to entertaining it also communicates some healthy and uplifting values. (BTW, Lillian and I both enjoy romantic comedies ;-)

Needles to say, it should not contain any violence, sex / nudity or faul language. One movie that qualifies in every respect is in our familiy's opinion Joe Somebody with Tim Allen and Julie Bowen. We had a great time watching it and can certainly vouch for this movie. In fact, we recommend it!

Can't stop reading Harry Potter

My son is reading Harry Potter with an intensity, zeal and interest I've seldom seen in him before. It's amazing!

What is it about Harry Potter that's so intriguing?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eivind gets his 1000 meters mark

Eivind got his swimming mark for 1.000 meters. Congrats, Eivind! We're happy for you and the achievement.

Wow! I guess we're in the middle of an inspiring family competition ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

After show picture

Here's a most beautiful picture taken right after the show of some of the Young Ambassadors and the students in Skien on Thursday the 7th of May. The picture can also be found and tagged at Facebook ;-)

Family Home Evening - every Monday

Every Monday our family has Family Home Evening. It's a great time. Nothing interferes with this weekly family appointment. We play, we talk, we sing, we eat and then we play some more.

My own parents pioneered this weekly tradition. I can still remember playing hide and seek in a pitch black living room. My dad rather unsuccessfully trying to hide underneath the dining table and behind curtains is a memory that will live with me the rest of my life. Seeing the same thrill in the eyes of my own kids is as fun for me as it is for them. I strongly encourage a family tradition like this.

(The picture shows Lucy and Ellinor dressing up during a typical family activity.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bergby's mustard to the US

Did you ever taste Bergbys sennep (sennep = mustard in Norwegian)?

Seldom do we encounter a product that so effectively persuades consumer adoption --just by taste alone-- like this "niche mustard". It's the biggest in Norway, but is on a rapid incline and penetrates the market with a steady increase. Where does Bergbys sennep come from and how did it all begin? (Here's the short version.)

In the early 19th century, the Bergby family ran a small family business consisting of three hot dog stands in Telemark, Norway. In order to secure their customers and get as much repeat business as possible the family decided to make its own unique mustard.

The mustard did exactly what it was supposed to do. Customers kept coming back specifically stating: "It's not a hot dog if it ain't got Bergbys on it".

Over time, the customer base grew to such an extent that department stores wanted to offer Bergbys mustard along with other related food products. "The proof is in the pudding" and with Bergbys that's especially relevant. From the moment people got the taste of it, the jungle telegraph has been its primary reason for growth. Today, Bergbys mustard is famous for its widely applicable use in all kinds of foods and in every type of setting - not just hot dogs.

...and why am I sharing this story? I've never met a single US citizen that didn't like the taste of it. Crazy! In fact, they like it so much friends keep asking for privately sent shipments. This only means one thing; it's time to give the US market a chance, and I'm excited to share the latest news; "We're working on it" ;-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Young Ambassadors - here we come!

Today the Media team at Hjalmar Johansen high school decided to work their way to a visit at the BYU - Performing Arts Management. Their thinking goes pretty much like this: "If the Young Ambassadors can come all the way from the U.S. to visit us here in Skien, then it should be possible for us to do the same".

I was given the crazy assignment to check whether or not it's possible and it looks like every manager and parent will be in support of this WILD project. To fund the trip, the Media team will produce a DVD that will be sold for NOK 99,- a piece. Better yet, 10% will go to charity. I admire these young people, the drive they have and the proactive attitude this group radiates.

They've already put together a Facebook group, called "Young Ambassadors - here we come" (hence the title of this blog) where they will collaborate to make this a reality. My compliments, folks!

The Young Ambassadors visited Skien on May 7th 2009.

Friday, May 8, 2009


The Young Ambassadors got involved with more than 300 students in Skien on May 7th here in Skien, Norway. More than 800 attended the show last night. Here are som quotes from the people who were involved... (click the photo for full view)

Group photo of the Media team together with the Young Ambassadors + the first group of several others.

"Vidar, this is just overwhelming!"

"I've had the most wonderful time of my life. I'm speechless."

"This is beyond... Can we have them come back soon?"

"Oh, I wish they could come back..!"

"Since the minute they arrived, I've just felt so happy inside."

...I know, it sounds too good to be true - almost sentimental. However, I'm just giving you the facts ;-)

Some of the media coverage today in Telemarksavisa, Varden and TV Telemark.

This is from Vidar's personal blog. Check out his professional blog at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Marit Breivik stresses teamwork

Marit Breivik shared several stories to illustrate what she believes are possible reasons for the great success she and her players have witnessed. Having won the Olympics as well the World Championship of Women's Handball, her firm conviction rests with the importance of teamwork from beginning to end.

I especially appreciate her humble and down to earth approach. In every setting she began by first recognizing the talent of other people. All her real life examples were circling around how bringing out the best in each individual is critical to team performance. This went hand in hand with our presentation about One-on-One during the second half of the Sales and Marketing Forum in April.