Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Curling Surprise.


What a day!  No business visits today.  Today was all fun.  Waking up to go curling for a couple of hours.  For those of you who do not know what curling is, it is a sport played on ice.  What you have to do is slide with a stone that is around 45 pounds to the other side of the court.  Now the thing is that you do have to let go of the stone before the first red line.  The hardest part is actually getting your balance while you are sliding that is not on the stone since once you let go of the stone you just fall over.  It took a lot of practice, but near the end most of us were able to get down the sliding part. 

Once you do let go of the stone there are two sweepers that sweep the ice in front of the stone to create less friction for the stone to glide.  There is almost like a bulls-eye on each side of the court.  The closer you are to the middle of the bulls-eye the better it is points wise.  Now there is only one point per stone in the bulls-eye no matter where the stone is located on it.  The more stones for one team on the bulls-eye means they can collect the points from the round.  There is only to be one team to get points each round. 

As a stone comes up to the bulls-eye it is allowed for the skipper, the captain, to also keep sweeping to allow the stone to glide past the bulls-eye.  It was a blast!!  I cannot wait to get back in the states and find a place that has curling.  I will get everyone I know on the curling court who is able to play without completely getting injured.  Our team was an all girls team and we won five to four.  It was a close call near the end.  If it was not for our skipper that swept the last stone out of the bulls-eye we would have been tied and we did not have time to find an actual winner.  For my competitive side this would have sucked! 

The girl that coached us is actually on a team that is training to hopefully play at the Olympic level.  This would be amazing for her.  She has been curling for eleven years and from the little she showed us, she is very good at it.  Some of us were trying to get her autograph for when she is famous we can see we know her.  We did not get the autograph, but we did all get pictures with her.  It is amazing what can happen when you try new things.

I have learned so much on this trip and I can honestly say it has changed me in some ways.  I view life differently and am more open to trying new things.  Before I thought in such a small box being afraid to branch out.  Not anymore.  Slowly, but surely, I am opening up and willing to do more and be more adventurous.  I want to say that I did something with my life and from what I have been doing I will not be able to say that to my grandchildren.

There is only one real goal in my life that I have accomplished.  Ever since I was a child I wanted my name to go down in history as something great.  Just like my father.  My father has been an amazing racecar driver his entire life and I have always been by his side since I was born.  I was only two when my parents first found me in the cockpit of his racecar.  I am pretty sure that to this day they do not know how I got in there.  I was able to accomplish that goal only a few years ago.  I started racing when I was twelve or thirteen and was not all that good I will admit.  I did get better and spent a lot of time at the track practicing.  Even had a few different coaches to teach me some new tricks.

My goal took place in the World Karting Association (WKA) racing series.  My very first year racing this series I won all four championships in the classes that I was entered in for the season.  It was an amazing feeling and it definitely felt good to see the giant smile on my dads face after some of the races I won.  It was even better if I had a pretty big lead and he would just shake his head at me with a smile on his face.  We have a different kind of understanding of each other than, what I would call, a normal father daughter relationship.

Now that I have rambled on.  I went down in history with WKA for being the only woman driver to get two Triple Crown awards.  This is a very big deal.  This award means that the driver won three or more championships in the year.  My father and I worked so hard for those awards and it payed off.  I know my dad's name will probably never be forgotten in his racing series and now I feel I have accomplished that same thing.  My name will not be forgotten in that racing series.  I love that.  I want to know that I did something with my life.  Even if it is a small thing as this.  To most this might seem small and seem that I am bragging, but that just means that you do not know me.

This trip has made me realize many things about my life.  I know I am heading in a good direction, but I want to head in the best direction possible.  I have big dreams and I hope to be able to say that I lived out all my dreams.  Maybe one day I will.  I need to remember that I cannot be afraid of taking risks.  I have plenty of family and friends behind me to support me and love me no matter what.  

Daily Reflections:
  • I love curling!
  • I want to go home and go ice skating.
  • I want to take every opportunity given to me.
  • Everyone is going to love their presents.
  • I am almost ready.

Monday, January 26, 2015



Our last day of visiting businesses!  It was interesting that the first business that we visited actually sent a bus to the hostel to pick us up.  Slept the entire way to the company.  It was around half an hour away.  I was going to get as much sleep as I could.

Auto Adapt is an amazing company.  Not by how they run the business and the people there, but by what they actually do.  They create products that allow people with limited mobility the chance to drive themselves around.  There are even products for those who do not have arms or legs.  It is amazing that they change the lives of so many that are in a sense stuck.

They have two factories in Sweden and are actually partnered with four different companies.  One of them being Bruno back in the United States that we visited in the beginning.  On average they make sales of $400 million SEK a year.  I loved how Hakan Sandberg and Anna Karyn presented everything. They did so well to answer our questions.  I know I had a lot of questions since I like this kind of stuff.  It is a good job that makes money, but does it in a way that they are truly helping people.

Due to the customer base that they have, the human resource department is very important.  Each employee needs to have the basis of how to talk to the customers without making them seem inferior or embarrass them.  With no doubt the technical skills are very important when designing and putting together the products, but the social skills are just as important if not more important.  They need to make sure that everything is safe for those using the product and they need to make sure that the customer feels comfortable with the people.

To assist their customers they have even built two apartments on their grounds for those who cannot find a hotel that can assist them with their needs.  Within the company there are 40 different languages that are spoken.  They do this so that they can relate to each customer since they deal with 55 different countries.  Their specific customers are normally the dealers.  The dealers sell to the customer.  Obviously when it comes to installing the product they have to go to the main office and have it done.

While we were there they had just finished a car for a customer who is in a wheel chair.  They designed the chair perfectly for her to get in and out with ease.  They also did a design of wheel chair so that she can disassemble it and simply put it in her backseat while in the driving sit.  On her key chain there is also a button for opening and closing the hatch.  I was surprised that it was a Mazda car.  A very nice one at that.  They also installed hand controls for the gas and brake.  I kept wondering if they did things like this for manual cars as well as the automatic, but I forgot to ask.  I also am not sure how they would actually make that work with the hand controls.

There are over six hundred dealers for Auto Adapt.  The main office in Goteborg has only 140 people there.  I love how they are very open with their employees.  Everything that is not significantly confidential, they know.  The sales, orders, deliveries, everything!  It is such an open company that I would think it would be a great place to work.  From what it seemed like, it is!

They design around four to five new products each year.  Some might think that there would be a lot of issues with having that amount of new technologies.  They actually have a warranty problem percentage of 0.3.  That is amazing.  Auto Adapt knows how to get the product right and test it multiple times to make sure that there are no kinks that need to be worked out.  They also make sure to buy all the best materials for the job.  90% of their products are made from steel.

As a company they work with 120 different car models.  On the low side it takes around two weeks to install a product.  Depending on how much really needs to be done to the vehicle it could take four to six months to get a car ready for the customer.  The customer normally ends up keeping the car for seven to nine years after getting it back from the shop.  Once they get their car though there is a one to two month driving school to take.  This just allows the designers to know that the customer knows how to drive the vehicle with all the gizmos that are installed.  They do have to take an actual driving test just like the driving test we all take as teenagers.

Auto Adapt is proud to say that they are exceeding in five areas of expertise.  These are getting seated, lifting and stowing, wheelchair lifts, restraints, and independent driving.  They also have a competitive advantage in five areas, which are, application engineering, customer support center, global network of loyal dealers, substantial product range, and delivery capacity.  On average it takes around three days to get a product delivered.  The competitors take about 14 days.  A major difference.  Their main competitors are in the US, Italy, and Germany.  They see Germany and Italy
as more of a threat than the US.

Lastly, I want to talk about their employees.  Their employees are actually moved around from department to department.  They do not want only one person to know things about a certain customer or system.  Everyone is able to work with each department and assist where needed.  This is something that I find very interesting.  In any other company, where you are is where you stay. Unless you try to apply for another position within the company.  They mentioned that they also do this for the reason for having less injuries and sick days.  Because they are consistently moving around they can adjust and get a break when things start to feel sore.

Our last company visit today and for the trip was Smart Eye.  They deal with the concept of eye tracking.  What this means is that they are able to monitor exactly where someone's eyes look at while driving, sitting at a computer, shopping, etc.  Smart Eye was founded in 1999.  So a very new company.  They are number one in the automotive industry of eye monitoring.  Soon there will actually be Smart Eye technology in every car.

Some of the major industries that they are a part of are automotive, marketing, usability, behavioral science, psychology, non-human primate research, etc.  Of these there are four that they mainly deal with.  Of course, the automotive industry along with aviation, neuroscience, and usability.

Not only do the measure the movement of the eyes, but they measure the gaze.  These means that they can measure how long someone looks at one point and also how many times they look at the same point.  Eye movement is the main point they work on, but they also work on head movement.  Based on the movement of a person's head they can determine the general direction of the eyes.  It is crazy what just a few cameras can tell about a person.

The specific measurements that Smart Eye can take are gaze direction for the left and right eye, pupil dilation, eyelid opening, the opening and closing speed, gaze intersections in world model, and many more.  With all of these measurements we were informed that at the point of 250 Hz they can see the actually movement of the eye that no one can see.  The eye is always moving.  Very fast and very slight.  If our eyes were to stop moving all the time we would be blind and ,I am not sure I heard this right, also possibly brain dead. 

Being the racer that I am I had to ask about the racing industry.  Magnus talked about the automotive industry, but that does not always mean that it includes the racing part.  Smart Eye actually assists a team in F1 to help them find the next upcoming driver.  With all of the measurements that they can take with the eyes they are able to tell so many different things about a person.

For example, the pupil size can tell so many different things.  To sum it up it can tell emotional responses.  The pupil size gets bigger when under stress, attracted to someone, or lying.  Apparently, in the States the government is starting to use this technology in lie detector tests. 

The marketing aspect mainly deals with the websites.  Smart Eye is able to determine where to place ads and what colors or fonts are more attracting to the eyes.  Ads are becoming such a major thing so that they can increase their sales.  In all reality, it is working.  The cameras used for this can be placed up to ten feet away from the subject and has an accuracy level of 0.3 degrees to 1.0 degrees.

Something that I did not really think would cause an issue but does is the eye color.  Lighter colored eyes make it difficult to receive data.  Unfortunately, when the cameras go to read the eyes the eyes are too bright so then the camera cannot tell the difference between the iris and the pupil.  For the dark eyes the eyes brighten up and make it easier to see the iris and pupil.  Something that I thought was already going to cause an issue were glasses.  They are making the technology better so that these small things do not have an effect.


Leisure time consisted of going shopping and getting some dinner.  I am almost done with my presents for everyone back home.  I just need to buy one more thing and I will be set.  Hopefully my luggage does not end up too heavy and hopefully nothing breaks.  So many things to worry about, but I am sure I can figure it out and be all ready for the travel home.  I cannot wait to see everyone.  This has been an amazing trip and I am so thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip, but I miss my family.  Family is so important and I would not even be in Sweden if it was not for them.  All of the support I have received helps me so much that I know they do not see it, but they feel it.  I love you all back home.  I cannot wait to see you all.  I am so glad I get to make it to my nephews birthday party.

Daily Reflections:
  • The future scares me.
  • The changes in cars I see to start trouble.
  • I am thankful for so much that I cannot find the words to say.
  • Decorating my apartment with all of the new things I got will be interesting. 
  • Thursday is going to be the best day ever!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Dangers of Ice Soccer!


I did not sleep in as late today as I did yesterday.  I set my alarm for 9 am and actually got up!  I was beyond surprised myself.  We did not have any businesses to visit today so it was nice to be able to relax this morning.

The first thing I needed to do this morning was get some breakfast.  I have no clue why I was so
hungry this morning.  Not like I really ate much due to the fact that breakfast is the same everything morning here.  I was determined to get some pictures uploaded to Facebook before actually doing something today.  I went down to the secret lounge and started posting pictures.  I only got the first two days of the trip up, but it was better than nothing at all.  Means that I have less to do today!

The group of us were all suppose to meet this morning in the lounge at 11:30am.  We all were there to find out that the bus that we were suppose to take was canceled.  The next bus was not coming until 12:30.  Most went back to their rooms and tried to get some more sleep.  A few of us went walking around knowing that if we went back to sleep we probably would not be getting up in time for the next bus.

Today was the day to go and see the islands.  Nya Branno Bod is one of the main islands near Goteborg.  Year round this island has 850 people living on it.  During the summer season though
there will be  nearly 4,000 people living there.  It was interesting to find out that cars are not allowed on the island.  For all of those people that live on the island they have to park in a parking lot on the mainland and take the ferry to their homes.  Looking at the roads though it makes sense why they would not want any cars there.  The roads are so narrow and hilly that I do not see cars maneuvering easily there. 

There were a lot of great places to take pictures.  I swear I took more pictures there than I have anywhere else.  There is such a different style of living there than in the city.  I love it!  We found herds of sheep there.  I was so hoping for some horses, but I did not find any.  The locals did create this nifty almost motorcycles to travel on.  They pretty much are little motorcycles, but on the front of them there is no front wheel.  The front consists of a piece of plywood and two smaller wheels.  It looks like something that my friends and I could get into trouble on.  Let's keep that just between you and me.

Since it was past lunch we stopped at this cute little restaurant for some food.  This place is pretty
much all family recipes.  Because of this it did take awhile for us to get our food.  At the same time we are a big group and it normally takes awhile no matter where we are.  Most of us got the fish and chips.  A few got the hamburger and one got the meatballs.  The fish was definitely the best of them all. 

Things got a little hectic after we all finished.  We only had about 20 minutes to get back to the ferry otherwise we were going to be there for another hour and a half.  Of course this was a problem!  We all wanted to get pictures of the sunset.  Also we wanted to get back and start blogging.  So much to talk about and only so much time to remember all of it.

Surprisingly, we all made it!  It was only when we were getting off the ferry were we worried about if we had everyone.  Going to the island for some reason we were missing Sam.  From what we know he was in the bathroom.  So getting off this time we made sure everyone was clear from the bathrooms and ready to get on the tram.

On the ferry out though I took so many pictures of the sunset.  SO WORTH THE RUN!!  It was so beautiful.  I do not know what I am going to do with all of these photos I have.  I cannot get myself to delete any of them.  How can I delete the beauty?  I cannot!!!!

Getting on the tram was a whole other story in itself.  We were all basically running for the tram.  It became a problem when a woman was coming up and needed help with the stroller.  Somewhat understanding her, I grabbed the stroller and started pulling it up.  Literally half way in the tram the doors closed.  No one could get the doors open and the tram controller was not even in the control room.  There were a bunch of people trying to pry the doors open.  Thankfully we were able to get the doors open and get the stroller in the tram.  Everyone was okay!  The child was a little bit confused, but did not have any injury. 

It was a relief to get off that tram.  The wait for the next tram was amazing.  We were having so much goofing off while waiting.  Sam and I started playing ice soccer.  I only hit him in the shin and ankle with it about a million times.  Of course an exaggeration.  It was not that many times.  A few times he jumped just in time and the piece of ice went behind him and ended up hitting someone else in our group.  No one was safe!

We were laughing so hard.  The tram finally showed up and we kind of rushed to get to it since there
were so many people around.  While doing so, Steph and Anna both slipped on some ice and fell.  No this was not the ice that we were kicking around.  This was the ice from the plows.  We were all laughing so hard.  It was a ricochet affect.  First Steph then Anna and then almost Lindsay.  It was the best sort of laughter.  No one could keep their faces straight.

Then we get on the tram and end up standing right in the middle of the two trams.  Sam and I are still laughing and goofing off.  The tram was turning a corner just at the moment that he gave me a slight push.  I almost went through the accordion tram connector I swear.  Then the joke went from the fall to me flying off the tram.  "This is my stop guys, see ya"  Then Sam sings, "Dumb Ways To Die."

Back at the hostel we started a version of of Swedish Taste.  We all broke up into groups of four and all were given a certain dish to make.  My group got the starter dish.  We thought of a type of finger food.  There were many ideas that we were throwing around and ended up deciding on almost a pizza and garlic bread combo.  The pizza part was really only cheese and crayfish.  Nothing really fancy.  Then the garlic bread part was pretty much the bread that we bought with the cheese.  It turned out really good and was really simple.

Daily Reflections:
  •  You can never take too many pictures.
  • Maybe I can really cook.
  • I have a lot to do when I get home.
  • I cannot wait to do laundry.
  • Sweden just keeps on surprising me with it's culture and beauty.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Frolunda! Frolunda! Frolunda!


No businesses to visit today.  Today was a sleep in and enjoy the day.  I did not wake up until 11am
and then went shopping with some of the group.  Since we have been here, we only got sun yesterday and today we had actual snow.  It was not the flurry snow that we have been getting, but actual sleet snow.  So glad I packed my snow boots!  While walking around Haga I finally found out how the plow the roads here.  They have farm tractors that they put plows on and they just go up and down the roads.  I was not expecting that, but it is a brilliant idea. 

Shopping in Haga was a blast!  There were so many shops to go to.  I swear we did not make it to all the shops.  There are still a few people that I need to shop for, but for the most part I am done shopping.  Besides for tonight when I bought myself A Frolunda Indians flag.

Tonight was the night that we got to go to the hockey game.  The game was amazing.  At first the game started out pretty slow, but it amped up a lot as the game went on.  To the left of the area that we were sitting at was the fan seating area.  These are the fans that have season passes.  They were ridiculous.  It was so much fun.  Directly across from them were the fans of the opposing team.  It was interesting to see the rivalry between the two groups.  One group would chant something and the other would chant something back.  It was at this point that I really wish I understood Swedish.

During the game we were surprised on how few penalties there were.  This only jinxed us.  Then there were penalties all the time.  Surprisingly, majority being on us.  There were plenty of times that the other team should have been penalized, but that is just how the game goes.  There was one goal made by the other team that no one was sure if it was going to count or not.  The referees were talking for a long time and they kept on replaying the goal.  Unfortunately, they gave the other team the goal.  It was at this point that the other team ended up being up one point to us.

It was a battle to the finish.  There were so many attempts at the goal, but we could not seem to get the puck in.  The team seemed to have a major problem with passing the puck to a team mate that was actually there.  Then they would try to pass it in front of the goal and there was no one there.  The team seemed to stay far away from the goal.  It was great when they did make a goal.  There were fireworks!  Yes, I am a little excited about the fireworks.

The game ended up being three to two the other team.  We were all pretty bummed, but it was still an amazing game.  I got so many great shots with my camera of the players in action.  I so wish I could post them all, but I think the website would break down.  There were a few fights that broke out and those were pretty interesting.  We all wished that we would have won.  Overall, the game was amazing and I am so glad that we were able to go to the game.  To be honest, being there made me really miss soccer.  Indoor soccer was my favorite.  I missing slamming people against the walls.  Indoor is such a different experience than outdoor.  I do not know.  Maybe you have to play it to understand.

The creepiest thing happened while we were all waiting for the tram to come.  Obviously, there are a ton of people at the stop waiting since the game just got out and the tram stop was not far from the entrance at all.  There were these two girls that walked past us.  We could only tell that they were girls by their hair, their clothes, their purses, and their voices.  Their heads were covered by a plastic bag.  Literally, there was a plastic bag over both of their heads with the eyes and mouth areas cut out.  I do not understand what happened and I do not think I even want to know.  

Daily Reflections:
  • I need to stop shopping so much.
  • I really wish Milwaukee could be like Goteborg, just walk around.
  • The atmosphere at the hockey games are amazing.  
  • There are some really weird people here.
  • I need to find something to occupy my time when I am at home.

"Never Lie, Craft It"

Sorry for the last post guys.  It has been a very long couple of days.  We had two business visits yesterday and an awesome dinner at Per Norlin's house.


WirelessCar was the first company of the day.  This company was founded in 1999.  The company is very small considering it only has 400 employees around the world.  WirelessCar is located in 50+ countries and have worked on around two million cars.  Per day there are around six million messages sent.  My mind cannot wrap around that idea.  Martin Lundh was our presenter who is the manager of service and strategy innovation.  He had a very detailed presentation to tell us about their ideas and what they are doing as a company.  WirelessCar is actually a part of the Volvo Group company. It is a fully-owned brand with in Volvo Group and is privately traded.

A few of their customers are Audi, Volvo Car, BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Infinity, etc.  It was definitely a shock to see Chrysler and Nissan in that list because those are not very big companies in the way of how the other companies are expensive and very up to date with all of the new technology.  I suppose this is their way of entering the market for those that do not have the funds to purchase such an extravagant car. 

Martin started off with a very interesting video.  There is a lot of new technology evolving with the fitness bracelet.  From what I knew of the fitness bracelets is that it calculated the amount of steps taken each day and that it monitors how people sleep.  What I found out is that it can do so much
more.  The bracelet can sensor when you will be waking up and start the car and the coffee machine.  Not only can it do that, but it can also tell the time, weather, and when to leave for which ever location with the information of the road conditions.  It can also sync up to your calender and send alerts for when the next meeting is or when to leave for the next meeting.

There is a major trend that is coming about.  Self-Driving Cars!  I am not a fan of self driving cars because there are so many issues that can come out of the self driving cars.  I do not understand the need for them.  People need to just work on time management.  Some of the cars they were talking about can change from manual to auto.  This would be a major problem in my eyes.  When if there is a shortage in the wiring and it transfers from the auto to manual?  The person behind the wheel is going to be too busy doing whatever they are doing and not be able to grab the wheel and prevent an accident.  If they do truly decide to go ahead with this idea they will need to think of absolutely every situation that could happen.  I personally do not like the idea.  They are looking for it to be 2025 for the first self driving car to come on the market.

The second business was Getinge Group.  Per Norlin was amazing.  He is the senior manager of automation.  When viewing is name it is Per Norlin M.Sc MBA.  The company is actually named after the village that it initially started in.  Getinge is a company that deals with infection control. They work with many hospitals to guarantee that their surgery tools are disinfected and ready to use when needed for surgery.

A little on the background of Per is that he worked at ABB for 20 years.  During those 20 years he moved his family to Detroit, Michigan.  He only lived here for about four years, but he still was working with ABB and that is how J.J. met him.  Now he has been working at Getinge for four years.  The company itself started in 1983.  A fairly new company that truly does not have many competitors.  In the future they do plan on having some competitors.  They are just in an industry that is not that big and fairly new. 

Getinge has about 13,100 associates and around 109 sales companies.  They also have 25 production facilities.  For awhile they were having an increase of 50% in sales each year.  Getinge did run into a small rough patch, but when does a company not have a rough patch?  As long as the company bounces back everything is great.  Getinge actually consists of three smaller companies, Medical systems, extended car, and the infection control which is Getinge.

When starting a new project Getinge goes through a four step process.  First, there is a user study,
then a work flow analysis, user case scenarios, and lastly the user design validation.  Without these steps there will be something missing in their product that will effect the sales more than people really think.  Every year they do go to Medica which is a trade show for companies.  In 2013, Getinge won the Red Dot Award.  This is a very big deal in this industry.

One thing that I took away from this presentation is how important communication really is.  Everyone needs to have the same understanding for anything to work properly.  Something that I already thought was important, but it was a shock to see how much greater this simple idea really is.  Understanding the customer's needs is the most important.  It is amazing how these simple steps can be ignored.


Today was fairly busy so we did not have much down time.  The only down time we had was at Per's house.  Asa is an amazing cook.  She made so many different dishes.  I cannot believe that I ate pickled herring.  I am so glad that there was sauce on the herring so that I could not look at it.  If I would have seen the herring itself I probably would have not eaten it.  We also had pea soup.  I am not one for peas or soup so I was proud of myself for eating the entire bowl.

My favorite dish of course was all the sea food that we had.  Asa made many plates of shrimp, crab
legs, crab claws, and crayfish.  I ate at least one piece of each type of sea food.  We started making shrimp sandwiches and that was amazing.  It was funny watching Asa just sitting at the table peeling shrimp to help people out.  I have never seen so much sea food in my life.

It was great to learn about the traditions that Swedes have.  What we ate last night was more of a Christmas meal.  Something that was for a major occasion.  There are songs that they sing before eating the first dish.  In English the song is very interesting.  Talking about, "Let's go to hell with juice and tea."  It was great learning the song and singing it with Per and Asa.  With these songs there are drinks that go along with it.  It is pretty much a shot of Sch-nobs.  I had the first shot, but after that I was not going to have anymore.

Lastly, we had some amazing dessert.  It was a type of cake that had morange, chocolate, rice crisp, and frosting.   At first it was not that good because it was something completely new, but it was amazing once we started eating more of it.  It almost had a taste of popcorn which I know my dad would love.  It was a great time with some amazing people.  Their dog Alfred was so adorable.  He stole the show for sure.  He is only a year and a half so he was very playful.  He is still pretty skittish, but if you have the squeaking chicken he will love you. 

Asa did tell us this amazing story from when she lived in Detroit.  She had on this shirt that had
Swedish writing on it.  She was not concerned about anything because she knew exactly what it said.  Asa walked down to the school to pick up her daughter and son.  While waiting outside the principle came outside and said to her that she should probably not wear that shirt to school.  They understood that the words may mean one thing in Swedish, but in English there is a different meaning.  One of the words on her shirt being "slut" which in Swedish means end!  A very funny and interesting story.

Daily Reflections:
  • Per and Asa live in the middle of no where.  (on the ocean!)
  • Never lie, just craft it.
  • Make sure you know the translation of words before you say them.
  • I love seafood more than I thought.  
  • Sweden has some amazing companies.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"I can make a better one."


Businesses, businesses, and more businesses.  I am absolutely loving the experiences of visiting businesses that are in so many different industries.  Many of these businesses have made me really look deep into what I really want to do with my life after graduation.  I cannot say I have figured that one out yet.

Andew Hammod with Valea was out first stop of the day.  Valea was founded in 1894 and is a patent
company.  This company does work in classic patent/tradework handling world wide, design and domain name matters, searches to map market areas, license agreements, agreement disputes, and litigation.  Andrew is an European Patent Attorney.  He actually has a background in engineering and law.  Due to the set up of the company it is almost required to have this type of background.  The engineering background helps with designing or fixing flaws in ideas.  The law background obviously is for the attorneys to understand the laws for each patent and what products can have what patents.  It is definitely a difficult business to be in.

In the initial process of becoming a patent attorney there is a three day exam that needs to be passed.  From what I understand it is a great thing that the test is only once.  Of course, there are some classes and test that need to be taken while in the industry.  Laws change and the attorneys need to be up to date.  Otherwise they are going to have some pretty upset customers when they promise a patent to pass and it does not.

Valea has around 100 employees and are located in five locations.  These locations are Goteborg, Linkoping, Lund, Malmo, and Stockholm.  Besides Goteborg, all of these locations are pretty far away.  We asked why they were located in Goteborg with all of these other locations.  Andrew's response was that, "The customers want us here."  I would say that is a pretty valid point.  A good amount of their top customers are located either right in Goteborg or just right outside of the city.  Because they only do work of the highest quality they need to be close to their customers.  In 2013, Valea had sales of 185 MSEK.  This is a great number when taking into consideration that they do not discriminate against anything when it comes to their customers.  No matter the size, or any other matter, they will accept a customer if they see that there is an idea that will help mankind.

Some of Valea's customers consist of SKF, Volvo Cars, Getinge, Ericsson, St. Jude Medical, and
Volvo AB.  Just to name a few of the big companies.  The money that backs these companies are in the millions to billions.  Clearly, they do not have an issue with paying for patents and the attorney fees for them.  For those who are not as fortunate are able to get funding from the government.  The government in Europe actually has money set aside for inventors.  The ideas from these people who need the funds have to have an idea that is of commercial use. 

With some ideas it can be tricky to determine if it is an invention or a discovery.  Some might argue that fire is an invention.  This would be incorrect.  Fire is a discovery.  How to create fire on the other hand is an invention and can be patented.  An example would be matches as an invention.  Some very famous inventors are Leonado DaVinci, Alfred Nobel, and Steve Jobs.  These are only a very small few.  DaVinci invented the helicopter and the parachute.  Alfred Nobel is actually from Sweden and invented dynamite.  Most of us know who Steve Jobs is.  He is the master mind behind all the computer technology in mobile phones. 

For a couple of inventions that were not so popular.  Someone tried to create a dog hanger.  If a customer did not want a dog to get the inside of the car dirty they could hang the dog outside of the car.  I do not know how anyone could have thought of that.  The first thing in my mind was safety issues.  The dog could easily get killed and then what?  Not the best idea in my opinion.  Then there was someone that tried their hand at hands free mobile.  What they did was use a rubber band and attach a cell phone to it.  This went right around the person's head.  I can only imagine the marks those people would leave with on their foreheads.  People have tried to come up with some great ideas, but they all still needed some work.

As we can see, an invention can either be a tangible product or a method of how to obtain that tangible product.  I am not sure if this next item is a product or method.  It could potentially be both, but most will argue that it is a product.  A thirteen year old girl in Sweden came up with an amazing idea.  For athletes it gets difficult when they want to fill up their water bottles and the faucets are only do deep.  This young girl thought of the idea of having an opening on the side of the bottle to fill it up.  She came up with the name Binibottle.  Bini is actually a latin term for pair or twin.  Which fits because of the fact that the bottle has two openings to it.

An idea this simple would cost someone around $25,000.  This cost also covers the patent in five to
six other countries.  Even with a patent as simple as this, it is not that simple.  In today's games patents have to be very specific.  If they are not people can find loop holes and end up earning more money on your product than you are.

This is why the list of things that can be trademarked is so long.  A trademark can cover a name, word, logo, slogan, symbol, number and/or letter combo, jingle, color, smell, or even a sound.  The largest trademark in the world right now is Coca-Cola.  The trademark is simply for the name.  It is crazy how much Coca-Cola could sell only the name for.  Probably a couple billion.

Hasselblad company was founded in 1982.  The name itself was started in the 1940's during the second world war.  The Air Force came to Victor Hasselblad, the founder of Hasselblad, and asked if he could create an aerial camera that would help them fight.  The Air Force actually found a crashed German aircraft that had a camera, like the one the air force was looking for, on it.  They asked Victor if he could replicate the camera.  He said no, he could make a better one. 

Victor initially started out just enjoying photography.  Never really thinking about creating a business
out of designing them.  He enjoyed taking pictures of the birds in flight.  Back in these days that was very difficult because the cameras did not adjust and snap pictures as fast as they do now.  Especially with still having a good picture that is not all blurry.

In 1945, Victor decided that he wanted to make a camera for the citizens, not only the military.  The very first camera he ever created though was in 1943 and a second one in 1944.  The first few models were actually made from wood.  Today they are made from aluminum.  Designing the cameras was not enough for Victor.  He started to design the film as well.  He did not want to only take black and white photos, he wanted to take color photos as well.  The only difference here being, he wanted to be able to change the film quickly on the site.  He succeeded in that.

The prices of these cameras range from 8600 euros to 30000 euros.  It is even more expensive in American money.  Due to the fact that they are so expensive they are not normally sold to the average citizen.  These cameras are sold to places like the military, NASA, and very famous journalists.  NASA actually used Hasselblad cameras on the moon.  They bought around thirteen to fifteen cameras and only one returned.  There is one camera that is still on the moon by the first foot print.  The rest are floating around in space somewhere.  Who knows maybe one day we could get them
back.  Might be interesting.


SWEDISH TASTE!!!!!!  We finally got to cook a real four dish dinner.  We were split up into groups and were given different dishes that needed to be made.  My group got the starter dish.  The starter dish had the reindeer.  Unfortunately, I had to prepare the reindeer.  It was not as bad as I thought it was.  It tasted a lot like steak.  The dish turned out great with reindeer, beets, egg, and a sauce.  It was great.  Even the chefs said so.

Another group had soup which was delicious and I am not one for soup.  The third group had the main dish.  This was actually roaster, mashed potatoes, and onion.  The fourth group did an amazing job.  They made the dessert.  The dessert was sponge cake, sorbet, caramel nuts, whipped cream, and these very citricie berries.  I do not think I have ever been so full in my life.  I could not believe how delicious the food tasted and how we made it, not the professional chefs.  The fact that they thought it was delicious too just added so much to the experience.  We even got to keep our aprons.  This was definitely a once in a life time opportunity and now I can say that I can COOK!!!!!

Daily Reflections:
  • I guess I can cook a little bit.
  • I wish I had money for a patent.
  • There is so many different foods that go into making a single dish.
  • I will always enjoy working in teams.
  • Too much garlic Tanner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Help! I'm out of nut goodies!


ABB Robotics is the first company visit today.  A company that our professor, J.J. has worked at.  He actually worked for the company for eleven years.  Bertil Thorvaldsson was our presenter and was actually J.J.'s boss at ABB.  Bertil is the product manager at ABB.  As his children explain his position, he sits reading papers and drinking coffee.  It is very interesting with his children.  He has three children who all were born in different countries and all live in different countries than the one they were born in.  His daughter was born in Sweden and lives in America, his one son was born in American and lives in Sweden, and his other son was born in Germany and lives in South Africa.  Bertil used to live in America.  He lived there for about twelve years.  He claims that his favorite thing about America is Taco Bell.  Every time he comes to America he goes straight to Taco Bell and gets a bean burrito, chili cheese burrito, and a doctor pepper.  He also loves these nut goodies that are only found at Menards.  Bertil once told a colleague about them and warned them that they are addicting.  His colleague bought them anyway not really believing Bertil and a few
weeks later Bertil receives an email saying, "Help! I'm out of nut goodies!"

Going back to more of the business and what Bertil does.  He originally started as a developer in 1976.  Then was in R&D for awhile, then marketing, and some work in customer service.  Due to his background in almost every major part of the company besides on the manufacturing floor he was able to get the position as product manager.  Product manager deals with about every single department in the business,  his background with the company allowed him to apply.  He loves his new position and finds it to be a "cool job."  The one thing that he finds most challenging about his position is the fact that he needs to "deal with the fact that there is not enough time."  Meaning that he cannot be in multiple places at once and needs to work with the different departments at different times.  The one thing that he misses from his other positions is having a team.  In his new position it is pretty much only him.  In his previous positions he was able to have team members in all different departments and would work together to get a task done.

Bertil brough up a brilliant point about his position.  He believes in being a leader, not a manger. 
Being a manager means that you use threats and rewards to get people to do what you want them to do.  A leader conveniences people and gets them to want to do things.  Bertil works as a leader.  This gave him some troubles when opening a factory in India.  The people of India work with managers.  They work by someone telling them instead of some trying to convenience them.  They did not like having the freedom.  This is based solely on the culture of India than the people that were hired.

ABB is big in Europe, fairly decent sized in America, and small in Asia.  They are working to grow the presence of ABB in Asia.  The headquarters for ABB was not always in Sweden.  The headquarters was once in Shanghai.  Shanghai does have the largest factory of all the factories of ABB.

When going back to India.  Bertil was the master mind of opening a factory there.  As he looked at it, they had the same education, the same skills, and they would work for a fifth of the salary than Swedes.  He was thinking it was the perfect opportunity.  The only issue though is that he was running that factory the same way as all his other factories.  Bertil forgot to add into the equation of their culture.  Within the first year of opening the factory most of the people hired quit.  Due to this difference in culture most of the businesses have been pulling out of India, but Bertil is determined.  He plans on going to India soon to work with the people there some more and find some equal ground.

J.J. brought up the question of what Bertil thought was the ideal student coming out of college to ABB was.  He described it as being a marketing and accounting major and having some sort of
knowledge of the organizational behavior.  Most be a good thing that I was not thinking about applying at ABB since I have neither of those majors and have not had some studies in organizational behavior.  Organizational behavior does sound very interesting.  I think that is due to the fact that organizational behavior has something to do with HR.  HR is human resources and is a field that I was looking into.  That or PR, public relations.  I enjoy working on relationships with people.  Not only within the company, but also outside the company.  I believe that the relationships are the most important part of a successful business.  Without them there is not business.

The motto of ABB seems to be, "make the customer's life easier."  The point of the robots is to do demanding tasks for the customer at a faster pace and with ease.  There are four parts to the process.  Programming deals with giving the robots directions.  To do this there is the program Robostudio.  When talking about Robotstudio.  Bertil actually came up with that concept.  Another reason of why he is in the position that he is.  He added to a lot of the success that ABB has.  Dealing on the commission side there are these tablets that can connect to all different parts of the robot to inform people of any issues and of productivity by that robot.  Operation is pretty much everything that goes into creating the robot and setting up the robot.  Supervision is similar to commission.  In any location outside the factory the person in charge can check on the status of the robot.  Right before bed the manager can quick look at their phone and get an update.

There is this major robot show that happens once a year.  IREX brings all the competitors together and try to sell their product as better than the others.  From what I saw of the pictures all the products from each competitor is very similar.  This makes things difficult for having a competitive edge.  Some company needs to stand out from the rest.  ABB does a great job of doing just that. 

There is a new robot that is launching in March.  They named this robot YuMi.  I found it funny that they have gone through multiple different names for this robot.  A couple of the names were Messe and Frida.  Apparently, the name YuMi translates into some slang word of Japanese.  Bertil would not tell us what the translation was, but in all reality I do not want to know.  That happens sometimes and that is why there are multiple items with names that came from somewhere else.  I believe that YuMi will be very popular and profitable.

At the end I asked Bertil which country he enjoyed working in the most.  I do not believe he could truly pick one.  Bertil likes Sweden because that is where his roots are.  He enjoyed living and working in America because it was a good place to raise a family.  Bertil also enjoyed Germany because it had such a huge contrast from what he was used to.  Germany has an old style language, but is still very modern life.  He also talking about how Sweden spends more time on the planning portion and because of that they can spend less time with execution because there will be less mistakes.  It is completely opposite in America.

Stylt Trampoli is in the hospitality industry.  They deal with web development, furniture design, and pretty much the design of everything.  Stylt strongly believes in first impressions and the designs that they have done so far have great first impressions.  From what we were told they try to use traditional market communications.  Which I can definitely see because they do not really market themselves.  They market through the projects that they do and word of mouth.  I like this train of thought because there have been so many studies on how word of mouth is such a better way to market than anything else because people trust those that they know.

Par Svensson was out presenter.  He has many titles with Stylt.  To keep it short he pretty much is the product manager.  He deals with PR as well.  In all reality, he does everything, but not without a team.  Each project is done in teams.  This way things can get done correctly and allow for different styles to be brought up in discussion.  They have three steps to their processes. First, they create a story.  Once the story is created they start to design the story in the furniture and the branding.  Lastly, they wait for the success.  Every project they have done has been successful.  There is one restaurant that Par talked about with us that they actually made up a story for the design.  Sometimes that is needed if there is not a true story behind the location or owners.

Majority of the projects he showed us were located in Stockholm.  Stylt did have a project in Denmark though too.  They mainly deal with companies in Sweden.  Majority of them being start up companies that need a design.  Almost wish that they did designs in America.  Their work is amazing.  A few of the places that they designed are Le Rouge, Lydmar, The Reef, Fjall Puben, Griffins Steakhouse, Marion's Gastrodiner, Jay Fu, and The AmAsian Steakhouse.  Le Rouge and Fjall Puben are actually owned by the same chef.  I like this because to me that shows that they do a great job with designing.  Why else would someone go back to them to design another place if they did not love what they can do?

Marion's Gastrodiner reminds me of Katie's Diner or Ferchs back in America.  It has this almost 50's feel.  Very Americanized design.  When talking about The AmAsian Steakhouse, it is a combination of Asian and American.  Along with the kung fu pictures there are country side pictures.  On the door of the bathroom is design of a guy in a cowboy outfit with the hat.  Something that would probably freak me out the first time is that once you go in the bathroom and use it the guy starts kicking and moving around.  This is a video that is somehow playing in the door.  I am not sure how it works, but it is an amazing idea.

The founder of Stylt is Erik Nissen Johansen.  He was an artist and decided on a business to express his art in different ways for others.  The name itself was founded around 1986.  Creating Stylt Trampoli was founded around 1992.  A fairly new business, but one that has been doing amazing.  On average is takes around six to nine months for complete an entire project.  The first 200 hours is spent on discovering the story.  The story is the most important part.  The designs are based on the story line.  Due to their previous success with customers they always have some project that they are working on.  They do not have a type of season for their company as most do.  I say seasons as in the down season or up season.  For example, my job back home, our up season seems to be in winter when everyone is trying to get tires for their vehicle when the snow is falling.  The down season seems to be right around summer when customers would rather spend their money on something else. 


After the ABB presentation we were able to eat lunch at the cafeteria at ABB.  It was really good and
it was nice to sit down and talk with Bertil more personally.  There are so many interesting things that he was able to tell us.  One thing was how they used to have their building downtown.  The people that worked there did not want to move to their current location.  They kept using the excuse that they were in the middle of a project and did not have time for the moving process.  The higher up people only accepted that excuse so many times before they forced them to move.  Some people apparently threatened to to quit if they were forced to move.  No one quit.

A bunch of us decided to go shopping after the company visits.  Because we had such a large group we broke off into smaller groups.  I did some souvenir shopping and some shopping for myself.  It was hilarious when I would see a store I wanted to go into and Sam would just throw his head back regretting being in my group.  Sabrina was in our group too and that was fun.  Sabrina and I really like books so the two of us in a book store was interesting.  Sam was regretting that as well.  He started giving us time limits.  It was not until the yarn store that the time limits were not really enforced.  Sabrina was so happy.  It was like a little kid in a candy store.  I do not know anything about yarn, but I do know about color combinations so I did help her pick out some colors that went really well with each other.  It was a good time shopping with them.  There are only a few more presents that I need to buy for other people before I can really shop for myself.  YAY!!!!

Between business visits we had a little bit of time to look around.  A few of us went into the church across the street.  It was absolutely spectacular.  It was all white marble stone with gold.  It seriously looked as if it was a preview of heaven.  At the same time it kind of made me uncomfortable, because if I am still living I do not want to know what the afterlife is going to look like.  I want to be surprised and I have a long life ahead of me. I do not want to be thinking about that. 

Daily Reflections:
  • Do not wear my heel boots when shopping.
  • The design industry catches my eye.
  • There are definitely some interesting stores in Sweden.
  • I have not seen some of the books here in America.  
  • J.J. really knows some great people.
  • I cannot wait for the next business visit.