Ok, so I just started this new venture together with my kid’s godfather aiming at narrowing the gap between what Swedish companies could sell to Germany, and what they actually do. Germany loves all matter of things Swedish, and would buy more if only they knew about it, but the current Swedish generation isn’t telling much, or at least not in a language that Germany would understand. So there you go, a la grecque: EUREKA!!! Or more to the point, like one would put it in Swedish: VILKEN DUNDERIDÉ! [Pronounced doon-der-eee-day]
We have a working name for the venture, but as it turns out, it is not a very original one. Google being the new de-facto global trademark registration office, we googled it, and it’s the opposite of ogooglebar, that Swedish word that Google couldn’t live with and means ungoogleable. So I was driving at crawl speed on the autobahn on the way back from dropping my kid at school – My Own Private Version of counting to 10 when you´re mad at something at those times of the female month – and trying to come up with a word that would convey the essence of what Germany likes about Swedish products, and is not too offensive and in-you-face about the knack for stylish innovation and trendsetting creativity that Swedes have and Germans lack in equal abundance.
A little market research, i.e., a lunch or two with some people in the business at the local Italian, produced a worthy ROI as the subjects at the table were Germans talking about themselves, and not Swedes dissing Germans and commiserating the misfortune of can’t helping themselves from doing business with this large, sausage eating, beer guzzling, Speedo black swimming briefs wearing, pot bellied, rich market. The two insights:
One, Germany is a big and solidly risk averse culture with a lot of money, while Sweden is small and very inventive, and consumerism very ambitious, but not very rich. So it’s very good to let Sweden come up with and try new things first, and German business may co-opt it if it looks like it could work over here too. Like Hollywood re-doing The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo with their own born-and-raised-in-the-USA cast.
Two, Germany is puzzled by, but understands that Swedes look down on them, because German business people often feel the same about Swedish businessmen who, more often than not, display a baffling lack of sense for the importance of perfectly tailored business suits and precisely knotted ties. Swedish businessmen enter German business territory a bit like the Turkish Astronomer in St. Exupery’s “Little Prince” first presenting his discovery to the International Astronomical Congress: in Turkish garb, rather than Western clothes, so the Congress couldn’t take him seriously. Also, and perhaps more to the point, many German business people felt exactly about Russians the way many Swedes feel or have felt about Germans: Rich and Tasteless.
Thus I went to the drawing board: what seriously cool word would roll into one the concepts of Swedish, Pioneering, Innovative, and Excellence? The acronym stared at me in the face: SPIE. Which Google promptly told me was ” a not-for-profit international professional society for optics and photonics technology, founded in 1955″. Bye-bye, SPIE.
Still, I wouldn’t easily let go of that PIE bit in “spie”: a seriously cool and immensely trending suffix on YouTubiana, as shown by PewDiePie, the latest Swedish celebrity after the Swedish House Mafia closed shop. Né Felix Kjellberg in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1989, Sweden has a new global young celebrity (aged 24 at the time of this post) whose YouTube videos have been watched over 2.2 billion times, and is the owner of a YouTube channel with 13 million subscribers (called “Bros”). Yes, that’s more subscribers than Smosh.
From what I gather, the young Swedish YouTube celeb got famous doing a modern video-gaming version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, MST3K for short,a TV cult program from my once-upon-a-times in America. MST3K premiered in 1988, about a year before young Felix was born, and showed stupendously bad movies (e.g., Time Chasers) with running wisecracks by a man and a couple of robots stuck inside a space station. The viewers watch the movies with the silhouettes of the pundits in the bottom foreground of the screen where subtitles usually go. Just like the commentary in MST3K made most of the TV program – the other part is the numbing, dumbing self-schadenfreude of watching those worse than bad movies – PewDiePie’s running commentary in a little side window makes up for the edgy fun of the mostly horror and sci-fi videogames he walks us through.
But that’s not all. According to Wikipedia, after high school, Felix “went on to pursue a degree in Industrial Economics and Technology Management at Chalmers University of Technology, but left the university in 2011 to focus on his YouTube career.” And there’s more: Felix “PewDiePie” from Sweden is dating Marzia “CutiePie” from Italy, another YouTube celeb, aged 20, with a YouTube channel since 2012 now subscribed by 1,000,000 “Marzipans”. They met on the matrix: a friend of Marzia emailed her about Felix PewDiePie, she checked it out and liked what she saw, wrote to Felix, and the rest is happy F2F. They now live together with a pug with its own YouTube special called “Puga Does Everything“. Felix and Marzia also do YouTube specials on Swedish vs Italian language, kissing, et al. The happy family may well be the pioneers of Reality YouTube: You live it, YouTube it (*)
Back to Sweden-4-Germany business innovation: how about MoWiPie = 1st 2 letters of my real surname (Mo) + initials of my partners real surname (Wi) + Pie as in cool suffix AND acronym for Pioneering Innovative Excellence? It is “ogooglebar”… and that may well be the best said about it. Bye-bye, MoWiPie.
(*) © The author of Miss Morninglory’s Wall blog hereby asserts the right of authorship of the expression “You Live it, YouTube it.”