Wrapping up in California

I have been in California for the last 2 days, but am getting packed up to fly back to Orlando tomorrow afternoon. I came out for more interviews, I flew straight in and headed straight to the studio here for a day and a half of interviews, lunches, dinner, and breakfast. I spent a lot of time with the people that work here which was good. I am in Mountain View, CA, which is right in the heart of Silicon Valley, just driving around I have seen every major tech company has a presence here. It is a really nice area.

Last day in Sweden

Today is my last day in Sweden, I head back to the US tomorrow morning. I decided to head back into Stockholm to check it out before I left. Definitely a good decision, Stockholm is pretty awesome. I'm not sure where it ranks in terms of big European cities, but it is for sure one of the coolest cities that I have ever been to, maybe the coolest one of all.

As for the sun situation, I checked out intently last night. This place was dark, dark, dark by 11:30, then I went to sleep. I woke up at 3:30am and noticed that it was a bit lighter outside. It was still dark, but getting lighter. I fell back asleep then woke up again at 4:30am and the sun was rising then. That was a bit odd, I fell back asleep but it was probably full daytime by 5 or 5:30 in the morning. I wonder if it is dark that long in the winter here.

I got some good sleep and woke a bit later than normal, but that was ok because I had no where to be. I got ready and jumped on the train to Stockholm. I sent all day humping around Stockholm, checking out quite a bit. I checked out the standard city stuff, then walked by the Parlamaint building and the Royal Palace, then strolled around Old Town which was the coolest part of everything. Then I grabbed the train back here to Uppsala and had some dinner. Now I just need to pack and head out in the morning.

My latest observations on Sweden:
1) Probably the thing that I have found the funniest is that the Swedish word for Hi is Hej, which is pronounced as hey. But the "y" is annunciated a bit, so everyone sounds like Fonzie when you walk into someplace, everyone goes hey!.
2) Going out to breakfast is not really part of the Swedish culture. There are no Denny's or Ihop's (maybe I could make a fortune opening some). That is why my hotel was packed on Sunday, people go the breakfast's and brunches at hotels, because there really is no restaurant breakfast industry.
3) Sweden has an odd way of making me feel ordinary (height wise). It's not that I am gigantically tall, but I am a little taller than average. Especially in a place like Manuas, Brazil, where I was a certified giant. But, I am probably average or maybe even a little below average height here. Swedish genes are amazing, blond hair and tall.

Here is a photo of the Parliament building. They were giving tours, but I decided to skip it and just keep checking things out.

Here is the Royal Palace, I think the royal family still lives in here. There were tours throughout it, but I decided to save some money and only pay to see the Treasury. The treasury was a collection of the crown jewels, swords, and scepters going back to the 1500's. They had one of the Queen's dresses on display as well. It was pretty cool, I didn't take any pictures inside the treasury because they were pretty serious about the whole no pictures thing in there. I think one of the coolest things was the chest that was used to hold the crown jewels in the 1600's. The security and locking mechanism in the lid was just crazy, that was some serious security.

This is inside the palace. There was a small museum, that was barely noticeable on one side of the palace, so I strolled inside. It was pretty cool, they had a few paintings that were made of the palace almost 200 years ago, along with tons of old marble scupltures. There were signs that I am pretty sure were indicating to not take pictures, but no one was around so I snapped this one. What was cool about this part of it was that there was an old painting of this hall exactly as it still sits today. The painting was at the end of the hall in the photo looking towards me.

Here is a good random photo looking into Stockholm from the Royal Palace.

This is Old Town, Stockholm. It is really cool, almost no cars, just all walking and it was just packed full of people, mostly tourists. It was all a bunch of small shops, cafes, and restaurants. Really nice, there is nothing like this in the States.

Captain's Log, Day 2 - Sweden

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable here now after spending my second day in Sweden. It is amazing how quickly you soak in new languages and cultures, when you are immersed in it. It's not that I am speaking Swedish or anything, but I can at least identify individual words when people talk. I have no idea what they mean, but I can here individual words now. I figured out a few individual words, but that is not going to get me far. Now, I still have yet to meet someone that does not speak English, everyone is bilingual here, it is pretty amazing.

I woke up this morning and got ready for my interviews. I was meeting Patric (the CEO of the company, Hansoft, that I am interviewing with), and he was accompanying me to Stockholm by train to interview with a consultant that they are using for some specific hires that they are looking to make. The train to Stockholm was quite nice, only took 40 minutes to get to Stockholm, and we spent the time talking about Sweden and the general area.

The interview in Stockholm was really interesting. It was kind of like sitting down with a psychiatrist for a couple of hours. The primary goal was to get a good sense of my personality and qualities. We started by me giving a brief 2 minute intro into who I am. That lead into graphing out how happy I have been at various points in my career, and why the high points were highs, and the low points low. He would occasionally intervene with some slightly different line of questioning, and then go back to that graph to continue discussing my career. Then we talked about who has influenced me in my career so far and why. At one point he asked me to identify what 3 important traits for the position that I was interviewing for would be. Then we came back to it and he asked me to put myself compared to 100 peers on each of those traits. That was hard for me because I am not cocky at all, but I think I got through it. Then we talked about 3 groups of people that I was looking forward to interacting with in this position and why.

Finally we wrapped up with a photo of the 7 dwarfs. He told me that this was my team for a project and asked how I would go about leading them. I decided Doc was the most influential, so I was going to partner up with him to influence the team as I assumed the rest of the dwarfs really looked up to Doc. Then we talked about Grumpy and why he was Grumpy, I eventually chose Grumpy as my #2, as I thought that by recruiting him to my cause could get rid of some of the grumpiness and have a huge effect on the team. Sleepy was always late, so I had to deal with that, and Happy was probably hiding something and didn't actually know what was required to get the job done, that is why he was so happy. Dopey had a lot of good ideas, but ultimately I decided that he was just too immature for a real leadership role. Then he showed me an abstract painting for about 30 seconds and then asked me to write down everything that I remembered seeing. That went pretty smooth, I asked what the purpose was afterward and he just wanted to see how many details I noticed, which I assume was pretty good, because we didn't talk about it at all.

The only other interesting thing was that he set down 3 Swedish coins in front of me and said there are relationships between all 3. He then asked me to write down 10 of those relationships. After it was all over, I asked him what the purpose of that was, and he wanted to know if I focused on similarities or differences, there was no wrong answer, he just wanted to know which way I would go. I went with similarities, which I think was good, because we spent a bit of time talking about influencing others, and my main answer that I kept going to was that the key to influencing is finding out what is important to the other(s) in the group and what the group, including you, all has in common. After all of that, he just quickly said that is all I have and the interview was over.

The company's office manager picked me up in Sweden and drove me back to Uppsala which took about 45 minutes or so. That was pretty interesting because she lived in the States for 24 years, so she was able to give me a lot of information on the differences between America and Sweden.

I then had an interview with the other 2 founders of the company, Hansoft. After that was over, I had a quick wrap-up with 2 of the founders where we really focused on expectations and making sure I really understood the role that they are hiring for.

After that, I had some time to explore the city a little bit more, today I ventured into the more residential area near my hotel, then I crossed the river into the older section of the city where the castle and University are. That area was really cool, I will put some photos below. Now that I have spent another day here, this place really reminds of Ann Arbor, just older is all.

I think tomorrow I am going to head back into Stockholm and spend the day exploring Stockholm. It is only a 40 minute train ride (the train station is right next to my hotel), and only costs $10 to get there.

Some more observations:
1) Almost no one jaywalks here, not sure why.
2) If an offer is made and we decide that this is the best option for us, Max will be the big winner. The rumors about Swedish women are mostly true. Target rich environment for the young boy.
3) I swear that when I woke up in the middle of the night last night, that it was still a little light out. I was too tired to really look and fell right back to sleep, tonight if I wake up I will check it out in more detail. It is 10pm right now and is pretty dusky, but it is also really cloudy. Northern Sweden is in the Artic circle, so they get the 24 hour all sun and all dark cycles in the summer and winter. I don't think it is as prounounced down here in Southern Sweden, but I need to investigate.
4) The IKEA that I saw here is actually larger than the ones in America, found that interesting given that the big box stores are really an American thing.
5) I'm not sure that Sweden is as liberal as their politics would let on. This is entirely based on off handed comments made by people in casual conversation. One thing that I found interesting is that they had an isolated economic crisis here in the 90's and they got out of it by cutting spending, not increasing it.

Now for some more photos, here is the river that marked my comfort zone yesterday. On the other side is the older Uppsala where the University is located. It was really nice over on the other side, I quite liked it.

This is Uppsala castle. It was built in the 1500's, and was damaged in a fire sometime in the 1700's. They rebuilt it in the mid 1700's and fashioned it after French palaces, that is why it looks like that. It is up on this huge hill and overlooks the entire city, it was pretty cool.

I got up close to that church that I photographed from afar yesterday. Here are a few more shots of it.

This is just a random shot of the older part of the city. This area was pretty busy, I am right behind that restaurant on the river that I posted yesterday.

On my way back to my hotel, I happened by an Irish pub. Given that I didn't really have anything to do tonight, I was obliged to stop in for a pint of Guinness. It was my kind of place, they had 3 kinds of drinks. You could have wine (white or red, no selection), whiskey (huge selection), or beer (huge selection), and that was it, no Mojitos here. They were also playing rock music from the 70's and 80's. Now, while enjoying my Guinness (which was kind of pricey, about $10), I noticed they had my favorite beer, Hoegaarden on tap. Hoegaarden is a Belgium beer, that is just terrific, given that this is the closest to Belgium that I have ever been, I had to try one. Now nothing in my adult life has prepared me for what happened next. Mind you, that I have had yards of beer, and boots of beer, and other strange gimmicky concoctions of extra large beverage containers. But, what this Hoegaarden was served in defies expectation and description. I don't think that this photo does it justice, this glass was practically a glass bucket. It almost took 2 hands to pick it because one hand barely fit around it. The only thing that saved me was that the bottom of the glass tapered in a little bit and was octagon shaped, which allowed me to get a handhold on it. When you drank for it, the top was so large that you the top of the glass would cover your eyes while drinking from it.

New site layout

I got a little bored, and was get annoyed by some of the formatting issues with the old site, so I changed it up. Give me a little time to get everything updated.

How does everyone like the new format? Does having to click on read more on most of the posts bother you?

Alive and well in Sweden

I have arrived safely in Uppsala, Sweden. It was a pretty long journey, left Orlando about noon and flew to Chicago, then it was Chicago to Stockholm, which was about an 8 hour flight.

From the airport here in Sweden, I jumped on a train to Uppsala, which is the city that I am staying in (the 4th largest city in Sweden, a bit north of Stockholm). I am staying up as long as possible and will go to bed early tonight to adjust. I have interviews all day tomorrow, then I get Tuesday to do some exploring before my flight back on Wednesday. I am pretty tired now, but I wasn't able to go to sleep, so I walked around the city a little bit to check it out. It is 5:30am back home as I write this and I have not gone to sleep yet.

Some initial observations:
1) It is really quiet here (except for my hotel lobby, that place is hopping).
2) It is not very warm, the local Swedes probably enjoy it, but I am wearing shorts and a sweatshirt.
3) I wish I learned a little Swedish, I do feel a little lost even though everyone I have dealt with has spoken English so far.
4) The IKEA's in the States are just like the ones here (I saw one on my train journey).
5) I feel rich, the exchange rate on the Swedish Kronor is about 7.7 to 1 to the USD.

Bikes are really popular here, not sure what everyone does in the winter.

Here is a pic of the town.

I'm not sure what the name of this church is, but it is gigantic, I was walking by right at 11am local time, so all of the bells were ringing which was pretty cool.

This restaurant looks like a cool place to eat, it is right along this river (not sure of the name yet), I have no idea what kind of restaurant it is, but looks nice.

In just a bit I am going to do some more exploring and grab some lunch. Not much is open on Sunday in town (at least I think that's what the hour signs on the shop doors is telling me). My fancy Swedish to English translator on my iPhone is not very effective because it needs an internet connection, and paying for data usage is pretty pricey while I am here, so I am trying to avoid it.

Tomorrow, I am off to Stockholm for an interview, then back here to Uppsala for more interviews. Should be fun.

Checked out a new place for dinner

Our niece, Chelsea, is staying with us for the weekend. She is here in Florida for almost a month, but is mostly staying with Sarah's parents. We decided to check out a micro brewery at Disney's Boardwalk. Quite nice, good burgers, good beer. I had a sampler of all of their beers. Chelsea is 14 now, not ready to be put up on the Internet.

We found Lando!

We went to the Ocala flea market with G&G Butler and Chelsea and we found the ultimate treasure...Max has been asking for Lando (Han Solo's friend) for almost a year now and we had to check for him every single time we were at super Target but to no avail. Finally, today we found the original Lando Calrissian!!!

-- Post From My iPhone

Fireworks in Altamonte

We came down to Red, Hot, and Blue in Altamonte, which is the town next to ours. They have a small lake with a park all the way around it. Each year they have a big festival sponsored by a local pop radio station. Then they do fireworks on the lake.

We let the kids have some Coke for probably the second time in their lives. Fireworks start at 9:30.

Contact Details

Mobile Numbers:
Chris' Cell - (407)267-5420
Sarah's Cell - (407)267-2627

Email is always an easy way to get us. We both have it at home, work, and on our phones.

Chris' Work - cwynn@microsoft.com
Chris's Personal - chris@the-wynns.com
Sarah's Personal - sarah@the-wynns.com

Home Address
19221 NE 64th Way
Redmond, WA 98052

About The Wynns

The Wynns have just recently relocated to Seattle (January 2010). Chris and Sarah have been married since 1998 and have added a daughter, Ella, and a son, Maxwell to the family.

Chris Wynn is a native of Michigan where he spent most of his life. After spending 12 years producing video games for Image Space Inc, and Electronic Arts, he decided to take on a new endeavor in Seattle to work as a Lead Producer for Microsoft Game Studios.  He is currently the Lead Producer on Gears of War 3. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Sarah Wynn is also a native of Michigan, but spent most of her years growing up in jungles of Brazil. After returning to the states at the age of 17 was when she met Chris and the rest is history. Sarah is currently focused on being a stay at home mom to Ella and Max. Sarah can be found on Facebook.