PewDiePie, CutiePie – What’s my Pie?

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.


Godzilla on Mystery Science Theater 3000

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.

mowipie copy

(*) © The author of Miss Morninglory’s Wall blog hereby asserts the right of authorship of the expression “You Live it, YouTube it.”


Whistle Blowers and Willful Blindness

“May you live in interesting times”, says the Chinese curse. In interesting times, whistle blowers pay with their lives while the willfully blind multiply. Totalitarianism, plutocracy and even the ancient Chinese Legalism experience rampant comebacks, sometimes under obscure new names such as inverted totalitarianismwhile pluralism and idealism become tell-tale signs of moral weakness or dissent. Assange, Manning, Snowden – martyrs or traitors, heroic or evil? Putin – neo-autocrat or return to Virtue crusader?

Future generations will  have a clearer picture than ours of the moral value of their actions in our times. For now, here is a spellbinding tale fit for these interesting times we are living in:

P.S. – Segment on “whistle blowers” starts at 08:43.

Who’s Got a Filofax Full of Men?

Admittedly, two days post US election, I am a little late on the “binders full of women” slip off Mitt Romney’s tongue that reportedly alienated US women voters, spawned its own Facebook group, and ensured a veritable torrent of viral meme joy [my favorites: Psy Gangnam’s energy, Bill Clinton’s priorities, the candidates’ digital divideAll the Mitt’s Wives, Binders by Qualification Criteria,  Dorothy in Oz, and the 007 mission.]

But I couldn’t help share the fun with all as late as I on the less subtle – and all the more powerful for that –  ironies of the US election.

And wonder: in a televised debate between Heidi Klum, German-born supermodel turned business mogul and mother of four, and Angela Merkel, German-born physics chemist turned Chancellor of Germany and stepmother of two, which would be most likely to tell a German TV audience I’ve Got a Filofax Full of Men? Which would have needed some serious sleuthing to find qualified men to work for them?

Green Blood and a Slumdog beat Elections and the Superstorm

[From this morning’s top 10 most read BBC News on my iPad, sometime between 08:45-09:45 a.m. CET, including their upward or downward mobility on that list while I typed this post:]

1. Patient Bleeds Dark Green Blood [-]4
2. Obama set to resume campaigning [-]3
3. What the real Slumdog Millionaire did next [+]2
4. Hedgehog trapped in crisp packet [-]6
5. Have India´s poor become human  guinea pigs? [–]8

6. Pre-historic town found in Europe [–]9
7. 10 US Election Oddities explained [/]7
8. Greek officials “lied” about list [++]5
9. Shooting at US Halloween Party [++]1 ***
10. China fund buys stake in Heathrow [/]10

[…while the Editorial choices remained, in order of scroll down appearance in the News homepage:]
– US Campaign restarts after Sandy
– Nigerian Army accused of abuses
– Shooting at US Halloween Party [marked NEW]
– Greek Bank list Editor on trial
– Russia Blacklist law takes effect
– China fund buys stake in Heathrow

Note that the Editor can rub Nigeria in front of your eyes, but nobody gives a flying hoot about it , unlike the Halloween shooting event, which shot from 9th to 1st Most Read. A taste for Halloween blood, or that sad schadenfreude syndrome making blood bath news more edible than life saving blood transfusion news? (As mentioned in another post: we the Human species are not here for the long haul, and we can’t help it…)

*** There is too much tragic madness in the world for me to offer a direct link to more detail on this news. If you really must know, go to the BBC News site and look it up.

On Parenting: From Baby Boomer Quality Time to Z-Drones

Some time ago I wrote an article for my daughter’s school magazine on today’s kids outlook on what would make their lives Happy and Successful. This after interviewing the subjects on what they mean by Happy and Successful, as parents and teachers are always clueless about what that will mean for them, since we didn’t grow up as them. We grew up with our parents dancing to a different beliefs tune based on the imperatives and struggles in the world they grew up in, and passing those beliefs on to us. We, in turn, growing up and shaped by a world that moved on from our parents’ childhood themes, form core values and beliefs that we pass to our children. And our children now grow in a different world still, and this world shapes core values and beliefs that are uniquely theirs.

Children of the 1960s, the Generation X,  grew up in the superpower tensions of the Cold Wars – the East-West escalation and détente, rise of the conflicts in the Middle East – leading to an idea of individualistic success in life meaning personal status, achieved through power, money, Ivy League education, work and good connections.

Our children’s grandparents, growing up before, during and just after the WWII, plus the reconstruction after the devastation, believed and taught their children that the more you work, the worthier you are, the better for the family; and that education is a springboard must.

Somewhere in between, we got the Millennials, a bunch also referred to as “Generation Y”, “slackers”, “the boomerang generation,  and “Peter Pans”.  Growing up with the breaking down of the Berlin Wall, Solidarity, East and West embracing each other, Millennials are more liberal, less individualistic, more social and civic-minded than Generation X.

Generational Drives and Styles. Click to display a larger image on a separate window.

For kids my daughter’s age, the post-Millennial generation called Generation Z and born between 1995 and 2010, education is a way, not the way, to get there. Teaching means enabling, and learning is for life. Billionaire has replaced millionaire, and war correspondents have given way to unpaid iReporters. TV home has become social media, and TV Natives have given birth to Digital Natives. Being social is being me, a torrent of messages is normal, not an assault, and instant, real-time message merit discrimination is a basic communications skill. Z-ers are growing up with edited televised war narratives, unedited you-tubed war clips, ubiquitous social media, the pros and cons of globalization, a diluted sense of discrimination (as gender, age, skin and style don’t thrive online, where self-portraits are avatars of the moment), political superpower shifts (East has moved eastward, the Middle East has expanded south), and crazy weather with nightmarish geological shifts on top.

When measured up against the East-West escalation, the oil crisis of the 70s, the flower power movement, the dirty wars of South America and  terrorism and kidnappings in Europe, the fear of superpowers going nuclear and the anti-war movements – climate changes aside, is what happens in the world today any tougher than it ever was? Isn’t it just – different?

Parents today have no more clue about the soul of Generation Z than our Veteran and Baby Booming moms and dads had about our generation’s. We say our parents were sooooo [eye rolling moment 1.0] hopelessly old fashioned. Our kids say that we are sooooo [eye rolling moment 3.0] on top of them all the time. And soooo hopelessly juvenile [eye rolling moment 3.0 version 3.1], tech-wise, fashion-wise and any other wise too sad to consider, as parents who fail to grow old never offer that chunky, meat-loafy safety of old fashioned parenthood.

Wait till they become parents. If we are helicopters, they’ll be drones – savvy and comfortable to constantly stream their love-rules mesh and hover all over their kids via uber-hi-tech proxies in the evolved version of today´s primitive Cloud, without needing to be near them in person except in cases where Cloud proxies don’t work well, like hugging and kissing and changing the bandage of a bad wound.

And why would they do that? Because they can. Call it the dream of Quality Time Parenting come true in Digital Native Z-ers, unable to feel guilty about not spending enough physical time with their kids, as in-person contact with someone is just one part of the whole relationship experience with anyone, including the near and dear. Our little Z-ers will be drone parents driven by the same motives of all parents in all times: keep the kids safe, and hopefully do a good enough job raising them to be happy, competent adults navigating a future that, as American singer and animal rights activist Doris Day famously put it, “is not ours to see“.


Framed by Facebook in Unstable Spacetime

The BBC News that caught my attention this morning at breakfast was the picture of the universe just taken by the Hubble Space Telescope after some 500 hours of unblinking exposure, a 2D rendition of galaxies galore now and gazillion of light years away, back to just after galaxies started shining.

Galaxies 2012 rubbing shoulders with galaxies long extinct (but whose light only reached the Hubble lens now) within the confines of the same rectangle makes the picture a great piece of unpredictable spacetime, which is not the sort of thing futurists and meteorologists would get busy with, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, but an entretien of brilliant mathematicians since the crack of intellectual dawn, whenever that was.

Unpredictable spacetime (or perhaps just unstable spacetime which is a triffle less unpredictable) is also the place, or more precisely, the placetime, where Facebook briefly framed me yesterday. But whereas the Hubble picture shows a lot of different times in 2D space, Facebook put me in a lot of different places more or less at the same time, as I started filling the map feature with places I’ve been to in my life,  but without entering dates.

Messages stating that I’d just been to places as far and wide apart as Hongkong, Seattle, Nairobi, Narvik and Knysna started flooding my Facebook screen – and my friends’ screens, too. Within a few minutes, I’d been to more places all over the world than what it is possible within the current limits of avionics and light travel. A friend in Sweden asked dryly, “Globetrotting?”, while another in Frankfurt, about to cruise the Mediterranean, asked ” is it a nice place?”,  since their ship would stop there. I was momentarily clueless about the “it”, but mercifully the view of my map app was still parked in Taormina, which made sense, seconds before it moved to Sal Island, which isn’t a logical Mediterranean cruise detour.

I did end up entering one more time dimension than present time, obliging the message from a Belgium friend stationed in Bangkok urging me to “don’t forget Acapulco 1987!” Not that it makes any difference to the stability of undated Facebook placetime, triggering the first of a series of Morninglory quotes:

Time is overrated. Place is all that matters.


[From MsMorninglory toörgåsbord is a Scandinavian buffet of various dishes and foods originating in Sweden. The concept and word, minus the quirky Swedish accents, went viral at the 1939 New York World Fair where the Swedish Pavilion offered a smorgasbord to visitors. The word is a [1+1]+1 composite of [smörgås]+bord = [smör+gås] + bord = [butter+goose]+table. Smörgås is an open faced sandwich.