Go Google books

There have been a few discussions in Swedish media over the past few days about Google books, where most of those discussions have focused on the risks with a "private monopoly" of books online.

I am not scared at all. I think it is wonderful that a private company is spending huge amounts of money on making the world's literary heritage available and searchable online. A few years ago, things were significantly different. If you didn't know which specific book you were looking for, you could get help to search on a few keywords - at best - and then possibly get your hands on a book within a few days or weeks. With Google books, you can search on all the text, and have the digital version of the book in your hands a second later.

The Economist wrote two pieces on Google books last week that is good. And all the nay-sayers who would rather see that Google stopped the project have one huge problem to solve: what is the realistic alternative other than a privately owned solution, if you want to make most of the books in the world available in 179 countries?

And from this perspective, I'm very happy with the Swedish government who have chosen not to file a formal complaint in the same way that some of our neighbors have.

The Google books initiative, more than anything that I've seen to date, will be the start of a new era in consumption of older books and texts. Tomorrow's networked e-readers will match and outperform Ender's tablet computer.


This year's Stockholm Marathon

I had the pleasure of finishing this year's Stockholm Marathon the other day. I was really happy about it, since last year's run ended in disaster thanks to my left knee. I've tried to run fewer kilometers this season, and done my best to come out a bit more regularly instead. I gotta admit I was really nervous about the knee all the way, but less kilometers in combination with a kind of "pose method" light seems to have paid off. The knee is still OK a few days after the race...

Up until last year, I didn't think much about either stretching or that it really mattered how you put in your kilometers during pre-season. Now I know better :)

I hope anyone who are thinking about the Marathon signs up for next year in Stockholm. The registration typically closes already early in the fall.

And if you know about a good race, let me know. I've signed up for the NYC Marathon ballot, but I really don't expect to get lucky just yet. But if you participate in the ballot for four years in a row, you seem to be guaranteed a start the fourth year.


Make money and save the world

Proud as always of my wife who did great job in yesterday's morning news show in TV4, talking about her new book, Tjäna pengar och rädda världen. She argues that a portion of today's stimulus initiatives in Sweden should be invested in encouraging social entrepreneurship rather than trying to protect old industries.

Needless to say, I would marry her once more if I could :)


The cover and leader are equally scary

I'm not exactly the type that runs around and worries about a coming Armageddon. And I actually don't think the financial crisis will trigger Armageddonish types of events on a significant scale (civil unrest, wars et c). But I do agree with the leader in this week's Economist that there is a significant risk that last weeks' signs of a turnaround is premature.

And the obvious risk would be that all different types of stimuli together with an unfounded optimism can create a boost that ruins the world economy even more. There is a reason to why you need to rest when you're sick.

And the cover is just brilliant. As scary as the inside.


President Obama's Newruz message to Iran

Joi writes about President Obama's Nowruz message:
US President Obama posted a YouTube video on The White House site. "This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. 'But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together,' he says."

The video has Persian subtitles.

Very impressive. Although some might argue that it's not enough and others that it's too much, I really like the respectful tone and change from the tone of the previous administration.



A proud dad - Oreo (not the cookie)

Yesterday, the electronic procurement company Oreo (no, not the cookie!) was acquired by Eniro (OMXS: ENRO), the leading Nordic search directory company. You can read the Swedish press release, or an English article on Wall Street Journal [subscribers only].

I worked as CEO for the company during 2005-2006, releasing the first public version of the service and signing the first customers and partners. Congrats to all my friends at Oreo, as well as the investors who have kept on believing and investing during these years!

Disclaimer: I am (or since yesterday: was) a small shareholder of Oreo.

A proud dad - our baby girl

On Feb. 28, we were blessed with our third child: a wonderful baby girl. She is absolutely gorgeous and wonderful, of course :)


Top Bushisms

Slate Magazine has published a hilarious list of the Top 25 Bushisms of all time. But since they published the list on Jan 12, 2009, they missed the last great Bushism uttered on that very day.

George W. was talking about his mistake to declare "mission accomplished" a bit too early. Time Magazine gives it to us:

"We were trying to say something differently, but nevertheless it conveyed a different message."