Archive | Spontaneous updates

Real life business vs the business plan

Hi there! It’s certainly been a while since this blog got a proper update. Fear not though: the blog hasn’t been forgotten. The non existing updates have mainly been due to a combination of that so called work life and a heavy writer’s block (caused by no time for reflection). Writing for a living comes with its ups and downs. Up: it’s fantastic. It’s creative. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing and now I’m doing it. It’s very rewarding, developing and fulfilling to see one’s work come to live in front of you. On the downside: you put all of your heart and best efforts (obviously) into your client’s needs and desires and products. And then when you’re done with that, you notice everything else that’s been going on in the world while you were busy working. You look at your perfect business plan and all the actions you were supposed to take, such as for example keep your blog updated with relevant content. (After all, people might be looking at your website so it’s probably a great idea to also practice what you preach).

You look at all the crises you could have approached and written an in-depth and interesting analysis about, only to face the fact that still, you didn’t and besides, 50 thousand other people already commented on it so you realize that you just have to let that one go. On the other hand: once you’ve settled in that good old ”feeling the imposter syndrome again” and calmed down a bit, you’ll also realize that delivering value to your clients and focusing on your real life business obviously is exactly what you’re supposed to do and what you’ve done. And that once those new experiences and lessons learned during the projects have been processed properly by your brain, they will most likely be able to translate into something more valueable to share with the world. You know, more than just posting updates of your morning coffee in order to maintain some sort of content stream on Instagram.

Are you with me? Well. This is pretty much where I’m at right now. Working. While pondering, reflecting and processing all the things I’m not writing about. (Oh the irony!). I’m lucky to be working on a couple of really fun and challenging projects. I can feel that I’m growing and evolving almost every day, but yet at what I consider to be a managable level. Still not gonna lie to you though, not being able to maintain this blog updated will always be a guilty conscience for me. Plus, I don’t want to get caught up in ”only” writing for business. I need these tiny, personal updates every now and then as well. If nothing else, just to have a little check in with myself and see what’s going on.  

So here’s to this Thursday and one of these tiny updates 😉

I’ll be back.

/Malin

 

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”You’re never gonna feel like it”

I’m no huge fan of inspirational speeches. The cynic in me often find them either too general or just extremely naive. However, for whatever the reason: I tend to make some weird exception for Mel Robbins. In case you’ve missed it and are in a state of January procastination right now, watch Mel’s talk on ”How to stop screwing yourself over”! Even though I’ve already watched it, I like to get back to this session and remind myself of the fact that motivation only takes us so far.

At the end of the day – discipline is truly what matters. Being a highly sensitive person is often an advantage to me. Except when it comes to discipline on those difficult, unfocused days that I go through too. I’m constantly working on learning to close down my feelings when it comes to pure execution. Constantly working on that old Nike thing and just ‘doing it.

Don’t get me wrong: I get a lot of things done. I am doer, without a doubt. It’s just that my own internal working process is probably so much harder than it would need to be sometimes, due to all of the introspection and analyzing my brain loves to dive into if not restricted!

Today has however been a splendid Saturday. I got up early to deliver on a deadline without any overanalyzing whatsoever and all of a sudden I found myself in that fantastic state of mind when both productivity and creativity flows! I love those days. I was done with my articles rather quickly, then enjoyed some time to summarize  thoughts from a meeting earlier this week and circle back to a contact as promised. I’ve also had time to tick of both a meeting and a webinar from my to do-list, thus I have to say it’s been a great working day.

I have yet to get back to my promised blog post about goals for 2019, but in case you wonder about this pretty random blog post: writing and updating more spontaneously this year will definitely be among my goals!

Initially when I started to blog again, I was very much influenced by my previous working position and sort of lost in my old way of ”corporate thinking”. I had some grand idea that this would indeed be an extremely professional blog – just pure communication topics and professional matters. I guess it’s easy for all of us to fall into that trap, however, having had some time to reflect and evaluate, I realised that I will indeed be making some changes here! I will still strive for writing posts on interesting matters within media, communications and writing. But in order to keep up my own spirit and drive to do that, I can’t be deadly serious/on professional call 24/7. It’s just not who I am or how I typically behave.

I don’t want to turn this blog into a collection of anonymous articles and updates without a soul. Thus, this year I’ll also allow myself creative times to just post spontaneously about a bit broader scope. Hope you’ll still like it here and whether it’s big or small ideas: do let me know if you’ve got any wishes or suggestions for future blog topics. Just drop me a note: malin@ambaurora.se and I’ll see what I can do!

 

/Malin

 

 

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Breakfast seminar: Digital trends 2019

Constantly learning new things is something I continuously strive to do. Luckily, here in Stockholm there’s always numerous events and breakfast seminars you can sign up for. This morning I visited a breakfast seminar at digital bureau Cloud Nine which focused on the the digital trends that will affect us in 2019.

Cloud Nine’s David Aler took us through a very interesting and fun seminar. Without further delays, let’s dive straight into some of the trends mentioned and the key takeaways to bare in mind this year!

 

Trends – key takeaways

Trend – Subscription on demand
This trend should of course not come as a surprise to anyone, but our behavior of paying monthly for the subscriptions we like to have (Netflix, Spotify et cetera) still remain strong. This is mainly driven by our need for convenience. There’s also an increasing number of personalized subscription services, here in Sweden services as Linas matkasse or Glossybox are typical examples of this trend.

Also: it looks like we’ve got some good news for the newspaper industry as well, as David mentioned that between 2017-2018, the number of digital newspapersubscriptions almost trippled.

 

Trend – IoT and GDPR

I know – I’m tired of hearing IoT and GDPR too! However, we’ll just have to get used to it, as there are still lots of practical (not to mention ethical!) questions popping up as the IoT trend continues to evolve. All the data sharing – Google and Mastercard anyone? – that takes place can of course be scary as we as users and individuals loose control of a lot of integrity aspects, but it should also be pointed out that IoT also brings us useful products.

Did you for example know that nowadays there’s such a thing as smart diapers as well? Let’s not get into more details about diapers in this blog than we need to (!) but in short: this diaper senses when the diaper is done with its mission and then gives an indication so that the parents know what they need to do…

Previously, we’ve spoken about IoT as in ”Internet of things”. In the future, a more realistic scenario is that we’ll use ”The intelligence of things” instead, as AI is integrated into the calculation as well.

 

How to handle….

So how do you handle these trends then? Especially as some of them might indeed be tricky to keep up with, given the rapid technological development. David shared some tips on this too:

Trend: Data

– Be transparent with how you’re handling your customer data. An interesting case here is H&M and how they’re currently adapting their stores locally by using big data
– Show the customer that the customer gains more on his/her data than your company does
– Cut down – don’t collect more data than you actually need
– Fix your forms now (GDPR is coming for ya….)

 

Trend: Voice search is increasing

Whether or not you have started to use voice search, you’ll have to be prepared as your stakeholders soon will be using it. Here’s some practical things to think about when you write for your web or app:

-Write your preambles as if they were ”featured snippets” (position zero)
-29 words or less are common answers to voice searches
-Bullet lists and structured content = exceptionally good
-Think about the difference between spoken and written language

Last but not least, some candy for all you fellow aesthetic nerds out there – Pantone 16-1546 TCX! Yup. This is the color of 2019 according to Pantone. Google it and let this beautiful coral red tone seduce your senses for a while before you head back to work 😉

 

/Malin

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Print is dead. Long live print!

Print is dead. Media is dead. Journalism is dead. Nobody reads printed editions anymore. Right? Or is it really that bad? Perhaps not! This morning I visited a breakfast seminar which certainly awoke some hope for a brighter future for print products.

Photo: black and white product images of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

Despite the strong photograph on the cover of the magazine, it’s the typography that first caught my eyes. It’s delicious – functional with great readability, yet so attractive, soft and inviting. Simply irresistible. Oh, by the way. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, perhaps now would be a good time to add that both typography and graphic design are old and nerdy interests of mine. Thus the strong need to dive into these kind of details.

Having cleared that out, let’s get back to where we were. Swedish content agency Make your mark and their client Försvarsmakten have been nominated in The International Content Marketing Awards (CMA) for their staff magazine “Försvarets forum”. This is the third consecutive year in that the magazine has been nominated in the CMA.  

Photo: color image, close-up of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

On a breakfast seminar this morning, Editor-in-chief Fredrik Helmertz and Art Director Markus Hillborg talked about the working process behind the magazine. It’s been a long time since I last felt so eager and inspired as I did after this seminar! Few things are as interesting and amazing (if you ask me) as when you manage to combine great journalism with well thought through communication initiatives, graphic design and photography. And talking about photography: Fredrik Helmertz also touched upon the subject of newspaper photographers during this morning session. Needless to say, working conditions for professional photographers have been been rough during the past few years, with lower budgets for photo materials and so on. However, turns out that at least “Försvarets forum” is one of few magazines out there that still has its own photographers contracted.

This is probably one of the many success factors behind the magazine as it allows the creative process to take place in a more integrated, long-term and holistic way, instead of “just” buying photos and putting together something hasty.

Photo: black and white close-up from the inside of the magazine "Försvarets forum"

As a lover of both good journalism and printed media, initiatives like this makes me genuinly happy! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for “Försvarets forum” in this year’s edition of CMA.

Nerdy greetings & happy Friday!

/Malin

 

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Flow, thankfulness and juggling multiple roles

Ain’t it funny when you experience those ”mornings from hell”, get into a bad mood and sort of expect it to set the tone for the rest of your day as well? I definitely had one of THOSE mornings today.

There wasn’t really anything specific that happened. Just that it turned out to become a morning when nothing went according to plan. Just getting out of the house without interfering with myself almost seemed like a project – you get what I mean…

Photo: color image of bright, organge autum leaves on a path in the forestHowever, thankfully the day did not turn into a catastrophe. On the contrary. Instead (ironically!) I experienced one of the best work flows I’ve had in a very long time. I managed to just quietly shut down my thoughts, focus and get going. All of today’s to do’s got done. Even the boring ones, without putting to much emphasis on how I felt about doing them or overanalyzing the exact outcome of them. Hallelujah moment indeed!

Whether I would like it or not, my burnout last year is somehow always present in my mind. Not in such a way that it directly interfers with my work; it rather pops up during certain working processes when I notice that I’ve indeed changed so much as a person and how it’s affecting my ways of working today – compared to then.

Thus, there are really no proper words to express the thankfulness I experience during days like today when things just run smoothly and I experience a little bit of the good parts of my ”old” self. (I do not miss my unhealthy, no-boundries-workaholic-self at all).

Juggling multiple roles certainly comes with the job when you start your own business. However, a lot of times we tend to whine about the nasty and challenging parts of these roles and completely forget about the fun roles we juggle in life as well: consultant, writer, girlfriend, sister, friend, manager and so on.

Even though it’s a lot of hard work to do: I’m so incredible thankful for the freedom that comes with being my own. Being able to truly focus on the roles that excites me the most: marketing and communications, meeting and reaching out to new people, discussing business opportunities and unexpected collaborations. No boxes. No boundries. I love it!

What are you thankful for this Tuesday?

/Malin

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Have we completely lost it?

Phot: black and white image of a cute cat, looking a bit hyserical while hiding behind some flower pots.I swear to God that if one more of these “Preaching Wannabe A Unicorn Entrepreneur™” self help articles pops up in my feed, I will slowly strangle myself. It seems to me like 2018 became a year when we finally completely lost it. Social Media Collective Stupidity VS Human Intelligence: 1–0.

I’m going through my different social networks. As could be expected, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the worst at the moment, but the trend remain strong throughout all platforms. All I can feel is “Congratulations Gary V, Oleg, Branson & Company!”. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m sure that all of the above mentioned entrepreneurs are both very good at what they do, and nice people as well. I don’t have issues with them. But I do have issues with trying to understand the sheepish behaviour of their followers.

Maybe it’s the unstable times we’re living in that sort of forces this development upon us? When most things out there in the great wild world seems to be either about climate disasters, nuclear threaths and forest fires: why even bother anymore? Perhaps it’s just easier to go to church and get your daily dose of religion. Learn the 13 Things Only Successful People Do! Learn all about how Business Leader XYZ structures his time. Hint: yes, it will include one of those “get up at 04:30 and be done with everything by 9 a.m.” tips.

Forget about originality and integrity, just copy and adapt to someone else’s life concept instead.

I can’t of course point out exactly when all of this online stupidity escalated, but at some point, the large masses started to visit the Digital Church of Entrepreneurship and Success Stories™ for their daily preachings. And there they’ve stayed.

Maybe I’m just keeping bad company, but I can’t help but notice that more and more people around me have started to actually quote, spread and firmly seem to uncritically believe in various of these “success stories”. It’s as if it’s the religion of 2018. It’s just as if all of their common sense has completely left the building. And before you ask: No, I’m not talking about teenagers but actual adults. And no, neither am I talking about people in desperate need of education. On the contrary. And I worry about the effects when too many, once intelligent, grown ups start to spread this propaganda into our work places and public organisations.

Whatever happened to believing in your own values, trusting your own, unique experiences and beliefs? After all, you’ve got them for a reason. Based on what you’ve been through. Not based on what generated the most clicks for an Oleg, Branson or a Gary. Why would you need several strangers out there to tell you how to live your life and conduct your business? I’m desperately trying to understand this phenomenon as I seem to be the only one NOT wanting to play along in this little emperor’s new clothes game, i.e. ancient universal truths, wrapped in an updated package.

The emperor has been stripped so long in front of my eyes that I don’t think I can take it anymore. It’s just as if humankind has completely lost its intelligent mind.

As I’m a child of my generation (-86) as well as a product of my industry, I’m aware of the “danger” of publishing a post like this. It is certainly not in accordance with any global brand manual to post this kind of whining online for all search motors to index for all eternity.

Still I can’t help but wonder: where did all the grown ups go? Whatever happened to critical thinking? (Probably not snappy enough, nobody would know how to best adopt such a dinosaur idea into a juicy SEO package).

So yes indeed, I wonder: have we completely lost it?

I sincerely hope not.

/Malin

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Läsning för semestern – mina bästa tips

Varm, torr och soldränkt – juli är här. Vare sig du gillar det eller ej, nu går tempot ner då många av oss checkar ut samtidigt och försvinner på semester. Passa på att göra det bästa av den stillsammare lunken genom att dyka ner i en härlig bok! Här kommer mina bästa tips för sköna semesterdagar – en mix av skönlitterära pärlor, deckare och några managementklassiker.

Bild: pocketböcker på en soldränkt balkong

”Ängeln på sjunde trappsteget” av Frank McCourt – det här är en av mina mycket tummade favoritböcker som jag alltid återkommer till och läser om. En klassiker som aldrig blir uttjatad. ”Ängeln på sjunde trappsteget” var McCourts debut, en självbiografi om en tämligen eländig irländsk barndom, dock berättad med ett sådant fantastiskt och underhållande språk att den är helt omöjlig att lägga ifrån sig. Så belönades den också med Pulitzerpriset!

”4 timmars arbetsvecka: konsten att leva mer & jobba mindre” av Timothy Ferriss. Vad är väl bättre än att inleda din semester med lite av det där hederliga, berömda perspektivet på saker och ting? Rekommenderar den här boken för dig som ännu är lite småstressad och har svårt att komma ner i varv. Använd den som ett sätt att lura din hjärna att du fortfarande är lite produktiv så får den varva ner successivt innan du ger dig på andra böcker.

”Svensk maffia” av Lasse Wierup och Matti Larsson. Boken har förvisso över 10 år på nacken, men är i allra högsta grad fortsatt aktuell. En djupdykning i hur kriminaliteten i Sverige förändrats – utpressning, beställningsmord, tystade vittnen och mutor. Bakom utvecklingen av en ny typ av brottslighet står kriminella gäng som under ett decennium vuxit kraftigt i antal. Gedigen, dokumentär skildring när den är som bäst.

”The Art of War” av Sun Tzu. Det händer att mina vänner skrattar åt mig när jag envisas med att komma dragandes med något uråldrigt citat från den här ljuva lilla klassikern. ”The Art of War” är precis som titeln antyder kort och gott en bok om krigskonst och strategi. Fullproppad med taktiska knep och klokheter. Kanske lär du dig något du kan använda i höst när du ska tillbaks och tjafsa med kollegerna? Perfekt för hängmattan med ett glas single malt!

Foto: färgbild, stillebensporträtt med böcker och en vacker kaffekopp

Busters öronav Maria Ernestam. Att sortera under kategorin skönlitterära pärlor. Oförutsedda svängningar i en stark historia som porträtteras med synnerligen verbal spänst. Bladvändare.

”The 2018 Influencer Marketing Handbook” av Aron Levin (med team) på Relatable. Fick ett exemplar av den här på ett event nyligen. Till skillnad från stora delar av ”mumbo jumbo”-snacket om influencers därute är den här boken precis vad den utgör sig för att vara – lättbegriplig, konkret och hands on! Bra. Digital variant av boken hittar du här: https://www.relatable.me/book/

”Polis, polis, potatismos” av Maj Sjöwall och Per Wahlöö. Vad vore väl en sommar utan Stockholmspolisens klanterier, Gunvald Larssons italienska mockaloafers och Månssons envisa förkärlek för ”Gripenbergare”? Inget. Avnjut gärna Martin Becks trötta cynismer i valfri titel av Sjöwall & Wahlöö. Ultimat strandläsning.

”Ordets makt och vanmakt – mitt skrivande liv” av Jan Guillou. Jag blir sällan starstruck. Förutom när jag läser valfritt verk av Jan Guillou och bara har att kapitulera för avundsjukan och stjärnglansen. ”Ordets makt och vanmakt – mitt skrivande liv” är givetvis inget undantag. Underhållande och rappt så det förslår. Icke att förglömma: lärorikt.  Om den inte redan är det, så borde boken omgående bli obligatorisk kurslitteratur i svenska språket på samtliga lärosäten runtom i landet.

”En tryckare på Blue Moon Bar” av Hanna Hellquist. När en futtig krönika i DN lördag är på tok för kort – Hannas samlade krönikor och kåserier från 2003-2015. You’re welcome.

Foto: färgbild på en vacker solnedgång som ses genom att fönster.

”Så blir du framgångsrik – utan pengar, utan kontakter och med helt fel bakgrund” av Stefan Ekberg. Jag kommer inte längre ihåg när jag först upptäckte Stefan Ekberg och hans helt fantastiska förlag Redaktionen, men hans utgivning har hängt med mig länge nu. Jag gillar verkligen Stefans syn på livet och arbete och hur han kompromisslöst applicerar den i sin vardag och allt han tar sig för. Den här boken kommer du antagligen att vilja hetsläsa i ett sträck, men den funkar precis lika bra att ha som ”uppslagsverk” på skrivbordet när du kört fast i dina egna ursäkter och behöver en uppsträckning, konkreta tips och råd. Läs den som en ”cut your crap”-boost inför hösten!

”The Magic of Thinking Big” av David Schwarz. En hederlig, gammal amerikansk klassiker! Har några år på nacken så har överseende med att en del av exemplen kommer att få dig att flyga i luften, därmed inte sagt att den inte fortfarande fungerar utmärkt som vaccin när du blivit utsatt för en överdos Jante. Du kan med fördel plocka upp något kapitel och läsa någon Hallelujah-historia om kämpande försäljningschefer som lyckades se ljuset genom lite sund megalomani och kämparanda.

”Den tredje rösten” av Rolf Börjlind och Cilla Börjlind. Det är ett bra tag sedan jag läste den här boken nu. Minnet sviker mig, men eftersom jag gjort en fet notering i mina anteckningar om att det var en otroligt spännande och välskriven bok så får ni lov att lita på mina ord. Passa gärna på att värma upp med deras tidigare bok ”Springfloden”, som också gick som serie på SVT för något år sedan.

 

Hoppas att något av tipsen ska falla dig i smaken – önskar en riktigt skön semester!

/Malin

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Celebrations: The Birth Of My Business

After a couple of intense months, things are finally starting to come together! Last week, I got the final approvement needed from the Swedish authorities to be able to actually call myself ”business owner” now. Such a happy, yet freaky feeling for someone like me, who’s always been employed.

A bright color image of balloons on a bridge

Celebrations and some bright balloons are in order when you start your business, am I right or am I right? 😉

This week has been intense too, as I’ve been working hard on finalizing the details and the texts for my website. You would think that things would be easier when you’re working for yourself, being able to have the final say on everything, right? Ironically, it turns out that instead it’s the other way around. Or at least for me, a never ending Virgo born critic…

It certainly seems that for every text finished it’s possible to immidiately find a new one that requires attention and corrections. On the other hand – definitely not complaining as this is really something that I love to do! As of right now I will still have to have some patience before I officially ”launch” my website and this blog to a broader audidence, as I will need to sleep on some texts and details before hitting the ”go public” button.

Stay tuned though, as I’m not only excited to get my business started but also being back as a blogger! Primarily, my blog will be written in English as I have lots of English speaking peers and stakeholders in my network with whome I want to be able to discuss. Still, I am based in Stockholm so I think that there will be a mix between English and Swedish blog posts here as I most likely also will want to comment on current events within Sweden.

Welcome to my blog, hope you’ll enjoy spending time here with me!

/Malin

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