Monday, October 31, 2011

Oslo Stake Family and Marriage Day

This upcoming Saturday Lillian and I are speaking at "The Oslo Stake Family and Marriage Day". (Norwegian: "Stavens familie- og ekteskapsdag").

I have speaking assignments and do presentations all the time. But this, this is alltogether different.

First and foremost, I have the privilege of being together with my own sweetheart. Lillian and I have been asked to speak on the topic of "How to deal with digital media as a family". I think it's a challenging subject indeed, but we have a lot to share, since all our five kids (ages 6 through 14) are somehow affected by it. Come, listen in, as well as share your own insights! Sign up here

As you will see from the program, there are many other interesting topics / speakers.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Front Yard Project

During August and September we gave it our all and finished the front yard project. The recipee? A lot of patience and a heap of help from family and friends, especially my dad. Thnx so much!

Digging space for stairway

Removing 4.5 tonns og big stones

Removing 30 cm for ground work

Lucy and Ellinor eager spectators

Dad and his watchful eye

Leveling the field

Breaking up of the old entrance

Putting down the first tiles

Beginning stages of new stairway

Stairs almost finished

2 % of the work was putting stones in place

Almost done!

Night view of new entrance

Night view of new stairs

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Making a Contribution Always Has a Price

The power of storytelling is truly an effective way to communicate. It keeps the attention of the audience like no other way I know of. Storytelling is also ignored as a critically needed skill. Therefore it is sadly neglected.

Yesterday, at the annual Entrepreneur Of The Year event in this region, we were listening to Einar Lunde as he related some personal experiences with wonderful enthusiasm. Everyone in Norway knows Einar Lunde as the news correspondent and anchor of NRK for more than 40 years.

From Einar I picked up several valuable lessons. Here are three:
  1. If you want to make great contributions you must be prepared to sacrifice and pay the price, regardless of what people around you may think, say or do.
  2. When one door of opportunity closes on you there often is another one that opens up.
  3. Some success may take time to achieve. Stay at it!
Einar Lunde with Lillian and Vidar Top on each side.

Now that I've experienced Einar Lunde first-hand, as well as personally as an outstanding individual, I'm adding him to my list of great people!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Leadership

What are the characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership? Over the years a lot of research has gone into answering this question appropriately. Here's an indication of what may be significant.

Today Ernst & Young hosted another seminar on strategy. I spoke to a body of competent CEOs and CFOs, all keen on the subject. Why share?

Well, for one, it is evident that if companies are to have any success at all they need someone to lead them. Secondly, entrepreneurial leadership surfaces to be key in every respect. Specifically it means:
  • entrepreneurship comes in "two or more" (learning from each experience)
  • entrepeneurs see opportunities where others see problems (accepting calculated risk combined with tolerance of failure)
  • entrepreneurs often grow into seasoned leaders as a result of favorable conditions for growth
  • entrepreneurship succeeds when an ecosystem of funding and expert people support the idea
  • unsuccessful companies can learn from successful entrepreneurs
The Entrepreneur Of The Year program is a well established tradition which highlights and honors these traits. Tomorrow the regional event takes place at Ibsenhuset where prominent guests will be in attendance.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Google Will Outrun Apple

A little more than half a year ago I predicted that Google will outrun Apple long term. How does the playing field look today? Is there any indication that may tell us how they stack up against each other? Should I change my mind?

Along with many others I pay tribute to the amazing contributions that Steve Jobs and the people around him have made. There is little doubt that an innovative culture, which Apple represents today, can and will develop great products and services. However, let's take a step back and look at what history teaches us in this respect.

Companies come and companies go. What is the deciding factor that makes them great (i.e. valuable) long term? I've spent nine years looking into the subject of real long term success and truly believe that the first of three differentiators is this:
Company momentum!
What does "company momentum mean? The short version; its ability to effectively grow public support and establish financial collaboration.

Ecosystem-based Innovation
Apple is running fast, but with a limited number of people. On the other hand, with its current strategy and brand, Google openly includes any individual and company that would like to surf on their information platform. Google is not merely running fast. Google is flying!

Unless Apple evolves into "smarter openness" the company will eventually fall behind. You can have great ideas, but long term it's smarter to include more people to innovate value. Apple can fail only a few times, on its own. Google can fail many times, toghether with its ecosystem. Just consider the number of failures so far. It's staggering to witness how they quickly recover and just keep going.

If, however, a global financial crisis were to reduce the spending power of investors, then and only then, could Apple "win the race". But remember, we're not talking about who's currently leading the race or who has the most money. We're on the topic of long term success, and Google is definitely headed in the right direction. And, unless it updates its philosophy, Apple is not.

Example of 3rd party "Google innovation"