Thursday, October 20, 2011

What would MacGyver do?

We won't budge

We finns are determined folk it would seem. Yesterday the police was dispatched to see that the tent would be taken down. The protesters then took shelter in a mobile performing stage that has been on the market square for years and has a roof on top. The city of Turku then sent someone to remove the stage from the square leaving the protesters with nothing against the weather but their wits, some equipment and determination.

The situation called for some MacGyverism. An improvised shelter was put up using some tarps and benches in the pouring rain and a pretty nifty one I can witness. It was completely dry despite of the rain and no stove was needed when everyone was packed tightly together in the shelter. As a matter a fact someone thought it was a bit too warm. I was about 4 deg C outside(39F) It brought back childhood memories of making such huts indoors at home with friends and declaring them as our forts.

You could find the fort by following the sound of laughter and passionate speeches about the world, environment, economy and other topics.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We are living interesting times!

The following note was "flewn in by the wind" today

Due to civil activism (tents at Wiklund corner) we ask all merchants at the market square to take care when visiting the restroom that the activists don't accidentally get the access code for the door. Also care should be taken in order not to allow strangers slip in when entering or leaving the facilities. Other kind of assistance(giving water, electricity etc) is discouraged. Notice this when going to the "washroom".

Warm water will be available as soon as we get the boiler fixed. It's known to the people who decide these things but we don't yet know about the timetable.

We are living interesting times!

In the note was included a four digit code written by hand.

Thank you very much merchants at the market square!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lessons of life and work

In 1980 Heikki "Hessu" Salmela opened the first Hesburger fast food restaurant in Turku Finland. The chain grew fast and in 1988 he sold it for almost 200 million finnish markkas.(At that point the reason for selling was exhaustion and stress.) Only a few years later during the recession, he bought it back for 25 million. The chain has grown ever since and expanded to other countries as well. The things that have made this possible are: hard work and self sufficiency. Almost everything in the production process apart from farming is done in-house. That and little luck is a recipe for success. Marketing helps, but only if you've done everything else right.

I have always been interested about how one makes a business really successful. The stories that tell the history of great successes often are stories about personal sacrifice and hard labour. Very few people have the qualities this requires. I believe one has to learn how to fail many times before the lessons that enable one to be truly successful are learned.

The first lesson is: don't take shortcuts. The quality of your work is that much less when the product you offer is not exceptional. Only by offering truly worthwhile stuff you and your customers can believe in the work you do. With bad products/services no one has any incentive to turn to you.

The second lesson is: know when to take shortcuts if absolutely necessary. Sometimes the situation just needs for quick action. There's not very much time to think things trough in situations like these and unless you are a very seasoned expert you are going to make bad decisions.

Third lesson is: how to avoid situations when you have to take shortcuts. When you've been doing something long enough you start to develop an eye for situations that tend to escalate towards an unwanted result. Experience and hard work are the only ways to get this foreknowledge.

Anyone that has some experience in business or other serious undertakings that take time and effort should have learned these lessons at some point. It's just too easy to forget these things when you're obsessing about one specific detail about your work. I hope to remember by having this text as my personal reminder. (finnish) (finnish)

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