Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I've been trying hard to solve this puzzle. But it's impossible.
Tell me, can you do it?!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hot Pot - Simple and delicate

Hot Pot – Chinoise Fondue
Kollwitzstr. 54
Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

When I thought of going to a chinese restaurant the first thing that my Copenhagen mind could think of was deep fat fried shrimps and a cheap buffet. But as I saw the promising look of Hot Pot (Chinoise Fondue) by Kollwitzplatz I was sure that my perception of chinese dining culture was about to change.

I went there with my girlfriend spending a couple of hours with simple and delicate dining and drinking. It was a joyful blast, and romantic too. Usually my girlfriend comlains that I dine too fast getting all hyper and wanting to move on to the next station. This night she had no complains. And for once the dinner outlasted our usual bottle of wine – and not the opposite.
Hot pot consists of a simmering metal pot at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. The meat is sliced deli-thin to prepare it for hot pot cooking which takes about 20 seconds. Then you grab a bite and enjoy while contemplating what to put in the pot now. Or you look your partner in the eyes and think about something funny to say. And with this dining ritual there will surely be time for talking. Which also makes it suitable for a business dinner.

The soup in the pot at Hot Pot has a very delicious flavour with a significant taste of among others lemongrass and it is neither too thin nor too thick. After the ingredients is cooked you can dip it in the sauce cooling it down a bit and giving the flavour an extra twist.

What I really love about going to the Hot Pot is that they create the perfect setting for the hot pot ritual. The service is very friendly, there is no haste and we had a double table to spread our many plates and the mess we made.
The red wine we chose was the house wine which was spicy and very good for the price. My date chose the sea food dish and I chose the traditional with lamb, beef and pork. Both are recomendable.

All in all we payed 50 euro for this two person feast. A version of around 30 euro was possible with cheaper dishes. These prices for a good reason double at what you pay at the value for money restaurant Duy Thai at the end of Kollwitzstraße towards Danziger Straße.
So go for Hot Pot for a nice dinner and a great time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tata Nano: A fuel economic car for $2500?

The Indian company Tata Motors has created the world's cheapest car: Nano – the People's Car. It costs $2500 and it will drive 20 kilometres per litre in combined city and highway driving.
Whether the car will meet European safety standards remains to be seen, but the company states that it will only release the Nano on the European markets “if it achieves a four-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash.”

No matter what, Tata Motors has shown that it is possible to produce a cheap and environment friendly car. To minimise the pollution in our cities I would welcome city cars like this instead of the big Land Cruisers that, let me be frank with you daddy, has nothing to do in our cities.

Video of the Nano with some Indian "rap" music:)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Silver Jews + "heat up" band, Monotonix

I went to hear Silver Jews in Columbia Club (Berlin) yesterday. We were having a big Hefe in their free garden. Everybody were smoking and I felt like too, but I didn’t!
A half beer later the music started. Drums and guitar, that was all. People went inside to check it out. We considered staying out here in the setting sun until Silver Jews would enter. But then again, what if the support band for once was something!? And it was!
This is how the Monotonix show started:

And this is where they ended. On the bar!

We had never heard about Monotonix so along with the rest of the crowd we were shocked - laughing'n grinning we had to buy another beer. Silver Jews went out in the crowd to check out what happened and they stayed.

Then came Silver Jews. The concert was very good. Lead singer David Berman was a bit shaky in the start but he charmed his way back in the game with help from the six person band. Best was the duets between David and his beautiful wife and bassist of the band. The play between the two made the heat of the room reach same level as under the rage of Monotonix. Also the talented guitarist William made a great performance.

Thanks to the Silver Jews for coming to Europe again. Hope you will be back next year!
Monotonix is playing again in Berlin the 4. of June at Café Zapata in Tacheles. Count me in – if I still dare!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The job in Barcelona

I had a dream last night. I was talking to a guy in my business network I haven’t met since last summer. He told me about this phenomenal job in Barcelona that he wanted me to do. I was supposed to go and meet a very important person. He would tell me what to do. I saw his picture and I knew him instantly. I had seen him a couple of times on a TV or computer screen.
You know, though I had some other stuff to do, I didn’t mind going to Barcelona. Then I could go to the Sonar Festival also. But the agreement was that I had to take the train. I was not allowed to go by any other means. And you know, I hate trains just as much as I like planes. This journey would be as long as going from Dar es Salaam through the savanna to Mbeya with the Tanzanian rumble train. Still I packed a back at my parents’ house and hooked up with my girl at the station. I had fixed a free ticket for her so she could hang around at the Sonar Festival.
The trip down there was actually ok. We had a great laugh with some Dutch dj’s. Arriving in Barcelona, where I have never been, I knew this was so right. Still I never got to meet my contact person because I had to look for my girl all the time. So the theme of the dream changed.
But maybe I should still go and meet him.

The Sonar Festival is from the 19. to the 21. of June.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Facebook will fix the cracks

CNN runs a story about Facebooks rise and supposedly near future fall. The main problem is Facebooks disability to turn the imense amount of traffic into revenues. The challenge of going from popular to profitable. Finding cracks in Facebook is the title of the story, and yes they do find some cracks in the surface, but Facebook is already fixing them.
I saw the pessimistic view from CNN repeated in The Risk Takers blog .

When Microsoft paid $240 million for 1.6% of Facebook it corresponded a value of the company of around $15 billion. The revenue generated last year was $145 million. It doesn't take an economist to realise that the short-term profitability is not very good.

So the question is: has Microsoft paid too much (ie. the fair value is not $15 billion) or will Facebook make money in the long run? Can Facebook convert traffic into dollars?

Facebook launched Beacon, that would allow friends to see one another's activities on other Web sites turning consumer activities into viral marketing, but Beacon failed because the users didn't want it. Beacon was marketed by founder Mark Zuckerberg as a revolutionary invention for the users, the marketers and ultimately for Facebook the company. But as we know, the users did not accept it. Zuckerberg sums up the failure: "We made mistakes in communicating about it," he says. "We made mistakes in the user interface. We made mistakes in responding to it after it was out there."

Beacon actually just follows the same concept as one of Facebooks main features: the News Feed. The News Feed brings the user news about their friends and their activities on Facebook. Upon the launch of The News Feed in 2006 there was protests from users complaining loss of privacy from broadcasting of their behaviour. But this targeted broadcasting of the things you do on Facebook is the unique feature that makes your activities worthwhile. Joining a group becomes a statement and a recommendation. One click, it's stated and your gone. Posting photos and tagging your friends in them also makes your photos a statement of what you do and who you do it with. And so on... The News Feed add value to your activities.

Surely Beacon 1 was marketed very clumsy and has cost Facebook some goodwill points. But while they try to win these points back by giving the users more and better functions they will have time to develop Beacon 2 because the idea is not stupid. It is very similar to the offline world where we love to give and receive tips on goods.

So now the mission for Facebook is to continue developing their service and make it even clearer why we should invest our time in building the platform together with the company. Facebook have to keep investing in the love from the users while of course building it on a healthy business case. That is why they hired Sheryl Sandberg who successfully has built the Google AdWords division and their goodwill organization, google.org.

There is cracks in the surface, yes, but Facebook has a very healthy foundation. Because we haven't loved a web service this much since Google came about.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slime Volley two player

Just replayed Slime Volley - great fun on a lazy sunday!
If you haven't tried it yet, try Slime Volley one player now.
Or Slime Volley two player.
Apparently you can play Slime Volley against your mate across town P2P here: http://www.networkslime.com/ I haven't tried it though. Report me if you do!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Facebook - nice to have or need to have?

Remember the days when the first mobile phones appeared in the streets? People would shake their heads at this strange sight of people apparently speaking into the air. Because only few other people had a mobile phone the joy of being mobile was very small, and the bills were way too big. A few years later the share of people carrying a mobile phone rose and the benefits became more and more obvious. It seemed nice to have a mobile phone, but the prices were still high. And going mobile also was a lifestyle choice and a statement that divided people. Some years later almost everybody had gone mobile and the last offline hippies had to surrender. Now you needed to have a mobile if you wanted to play, personally and professionally. Of course you can use your phone in many different ways and modus, but being available on the platform is indeed mandatory.

The same scenario seems to be evolving with Facebook – but in a much faster pace. As only a smaller percentage had a profile on Facebook the site gave the users new possibilities of interacting with some of their friends and a addictive way of spending some time between other activities. Facebook was something new, a useful tool or a playful toy, but you could live without it.

But this changed as the group of followers also entered the platform (the followers recently entered for the age group 25-30 in Denmark). As your network is complete (everyone in a group is present on the platform) it makes sense communicating only through this channel. The network economy of Facebook is increasing the benefits of participating. And the remaining people, the opponents or what you might call the „Faceless", are experiencing greater costs on not being on the platform. And the costs of not taking part will increase as the basic messaging, posting and sharing tools on Facebook will improve and increasingly become an integrated part of the way we communicate – personally and professionally. Like the time where all your friends finally had an email so you could send invites via mail. Do you remember when you had to call or (sms)text the email opponents? Did you remember to call them?

Facebook is changing our lives, just as the phone, the mobile phone and the email has done. Facebook makes communicating easy, effective and viral. It is no coincidence that Facebook were the hype of 2007 and in 2008 has become a favorite place for medias to find news stories. It is because Facebook offers the essential proposition for the web 2.0 netizens: a home online. And you need to have a home, don’t you?!