Kunal Mukhopadhyay

Archive for the ‘Sweden’ Category

Sven Hagströmer

In biography, Blogging, Sweden on June 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Lately have been coming across a lot in the media about Sven Hagströmer so I finally got hands on a recent article in Dagens Industri about this charismatic venture capitalist.

For one I was impressed by his down-to-earth personality as it appeared. No airs about who he is – answers the phone himself on the first ring and takes quick decisions. Sharp, terse, focused.

And that at his age (67) he is training to get his pilot’s license! That was an inspiration in itself.

I first saw him on the TV show Draknästet and was somewhat intrigued by his persona. It isn’t surprising he is who is he is today given that at the age of 14 when boys his age were more interested in football, he was buying shares and following the stock market.

(Another celebrity who bought his first stock at the age of 15 is author and criminilogist Leif GW Persson.)

Hagströmer and Qviberg were the founders of  (the lately infamous) HQ bank in Sweden. And speaking of banks, it was intriguing to see him go on the offensive against the greed-infested bankers in his quote-

Jag tar mitt ansvar – säger någon. Genom att sitta kvar!

Hur tänker man då?

I finans sektorn, med krisen i baltikum som bra exempel, är ju ledningarna inte lösningen, de är problemet!

I hope to have lunch with him some day.

Simply(?) the best…

In Social trend, Sweden on June 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

Came across this news article on The Local about a non-profit organization having conducted a survey of sorts and concluded that Sweden is the “best ” country in the world. Here are some interesting snippets from the Local’s report. My first reaction on seeing the title was “HAH!” as in, “yeah, right.”  I hope to write a more thought-processed and structured response to that later.

We combined the countries placings in the various lists into an overarching ‘meta-index’. Just as when we last did this three years ago, Sweden comes in first place, averaging 4.6. The other Nordic countries take the next four positions. Other countries on the list include Germany, which averages 15.0, the UK on 18.9, the US on 25.4, Russia 72.9, China 82.0 and India 90.6.

These surveys of everything from competitiveness to human rights, the environment and democracy are based on systematic comparative analyses. The fact that Sweden and the other Nordic countries are strengthening their lead is interesting in such a rapidly changing world. Their leading positions strengthen the image of Sweden and the Nordic region as the national park of the global society.

Modern Swedish society is built on various traditions: the right of public access, village councils, private ownership, the social movements, social solidarity – all of which have represented a continuous struggle for a better society, and which are now doing the same on a global level.

The analysis shows that Sweden is not a typical country, if there is such a thing.

However, one area Sweden has fallen back somewhat since our last analysis: the ease of doing business. Sweden is in 18th place, and this is Sweden’s only ranking outside the top ten.

Among the range variables that define business climate, the only one in which Sweden comes in the top ten is trade. Sweden is only the 43rd best place to start a company, the 18th best place to wind up a company, 117th best place to employ workers, 57th best at protecting investors and 71st best for obtaining credit. This ranking list is published by the World Bank.

The timing is quite nice with respect to BD’s recent blog on the impending doom on the future generations if some major reforms to pension plans are not made at the earliest. My biggest peeve at the system right now is the definition of age of retirement. I haven’t understood yet HOW this limit was defined and WHEN. Is it time to re-visit the age-limit in light of the improved living standards in modern-day society compared to 40 or more years ago?

To be continued.

Irony of ages

In Blogging, Sweden, USA on May 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Today is Annandag Pingst. The day-after-Pentecost or Whit-Monday. The Netherlands and Germany are closed. (And maybe more countries…but I know these two are for sure).

This is one of few CHRISTIAN holidays that are still a bank holiday in Europe. These include Epiphany, Ascension day, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday among the more common ones.

What I find ironic is that Europe is by far, much more secular than the US. Yet ironically – there are MORE religious holidays in Europe than in the US!?

Irony of ages.

Preventable or not?

In Blogging, Sweden, Technology on May 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Last week there was a thunderstorm in the area that took out the electricity for a good couple of hours.

My first thought was – 2010 and they STILL haven’t figured out a way of preventing power loss everytime a storm goes through. And they talk about sending man to Mars…..

I had to pull out all the power cords, telephone lines etc. It was storming pretty bad and lightening struck somewhere within 1km radius (yes I was counting!)

When the power came back on – the internet was Kaput. I was too tired in the evening to bother so I waited till the next morning. And of course – it was still out of order. Called it in. “We’re working on it” was the answer. This was Friday morning. End of Friday. Whole weekend goes by. No internet. It’s Monday afternoon now – still waiting. Have called in again. They are still working on it.

More than 60% of banking in Sweden (I cannot remember if the figure is correct/updated but I remember seeing it somewhere) is done online. It is the age of WEB 2.0. Social networking. E-business. Email.

And it takes freaking FOUR days to fix the internet connection? What is this? The middle-ages? What part of “Hi-speed highway” did the people repsonsible for planning miss out on?

Granted that “natural catastrophe” is unpredictable. But safety measures, back-up plans and prevention tactics is not, is it?

Storms and weather irregularities cannot be prevented. I wonder if STUPIDITY is to be included in that category.

Very annoyed.

Not my business – my foot!

In Sweden on October 27, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Den är helt otroligt och OACCEPTABELT.
Jag kan själv förstå hur det känns att VILJA arbeta, men inte få något jobb i Sverige. Men att utnyttja sig av människas vedermödor är absolut synd och helt omänsklig. OCH hur kan man leva med sig, och ha nånting som kallas för “samvete”, när man ser människa som slavar på arbetsplats…att sega, nej värre då…TÄNKA…att det är “inte min business”! Skäms!

Blog-on yo!

In Blogging, Carl Bildt, Social trend, Sweden on February 8, 2007 at 9:15 pm

If you blog you’re hip…..or at least a bit geeky. Well, if you still had doubts, then here’s a source of inspiration. Carl Bildt has a blog site too! Another demonstration of the… power of blog!