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.


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