Looking Back to Look Forward

past and future

Last year was exhilarating, strange, painful and adventurous journey for me.

Scaling up is never easy. One has victories and one has defeats. Easy things are easy while hard things are really hard. Culture, focus and right people travelling with you are definitely the keys to success.


How did our companies do last year? Nepton grew 28 % and Hoika grew 51 %. Total revenue reached 1.8 million euros. My focus on Dimensional and Centibel remained somewhat fragmented, but they both progressed onward quite a bit.

What about the future? What about that scary and unknown land of infinite possibilities?

We are all humans and life throws surprises to us. There is too little time to achieve everything. If we learn from our mistakes, then making no mistakes is our greatest mistake. Be brave and embrace the future. Go to places, take risks, make mistakes, break things and have fun doing it all.


The Change Function

Why some technologies take off and others crash and burn?

This book was released in 2006. The big idea is that people are only willing to change when the pain of their current situation outweighs the perceived pain of trying something new.

Ideologically this book is somewhat  related to lean startup movement. It’s a reasonably good read. But that’s not the main point. Instead this book was staggeringly interesting, because it so nicely reminds us how much the world and technology really has changed in ten short years.


Platform Scale

platform-scale-bookSangeet Paul Choudary explains platform thinking very well in his various books and online articles.

The Platform Scale book gave me new insights into Centibel. Reading through the book I tried to understand everything in the context of Centibel. This proved to be quite fruitful approach indeed.

Now one key Centibel platform property has been clearly identified. Realizing this property would drastically assist in Centibel growth and scaling. First this seemed impossible to achieve, but now I believe otherwise.

There and Back Again

Napoleon_Guard_Tirailleur_and_Voltigeur_by_BellangeWildfires are a common and costly phenomenon in warm climates. On the island of Sardinia alone there are 3,000 wildfires every year. On worldwide scale dozens of lives are lost every year while the infrastructure damage is counted in billions of dollars.

At World in a Box we have been creating a new wildfire simulation model with a special focus on fire perimeter evolution. The model is simple, fast and reversible. Our hope is for the new model to better assist communities in reducing the risk and cost of wildfires. We call our perimeter model Tirailleur, a shooting skirmisher in French, as it closely reflects the nature of our model.

Together with our academic partners we presented Tirailleur research poster in the 2nd International Conference on Fire Behaviour and Risk. It was well received and our work on fire simulation is continuing with application deployments to Southern and Central Europe. Our core perimeter model is open sourced and available on Codeplex.


Email = Power

Email in Fire. Computer Graphics.Email remains the main tool for many organizations. You can drastically affect your career by having excellent email and communication skills. Too few really understand how important such skills are. For me this is an infinite journey of improvement. Far from drudgery I consider this journey a privilege and an immense source of enjoyment.


Please take my gift of tips from below and use them well. May your journey of improvement never end.

  • Always be improving your email skills
  • Email is not good for complicated or emotional discussions
  • Clear and direct subject line. There are so many who haven’t reached even this simple level.
  • Try to understand your message from recipient point of view. Change your message so that the few core items you want to highlight are immediately crystal clear for the recipient.
  • Send your message only to those who really need to know or decide
  • Write your message so that maximum number of people can stop reading as soon as possible
  • Unnecessary participants in the discussion? Just drop them out. Please.
  • Divergent discussion? Split to child discussion so that each has less participants.
  • Reading about X while wanting to discuss about unrelated Y? Give each a fighting chance. Give each their very own discussion. They deserve it.
  • Too complex discussion? Too many participants? Consider using something else than email. Become a hero and invent something new which massively improves life for everyone.

And finally….

  • Have an actual email process. It really doesn’t matter much which process you use. Just make sure you never drop or forget the important balls which are constantly given to you. Whatever method works for you is OK. It really is. But you must use something or you will forever remain a child in the land of email giants.