Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Swedish Affiar It's Not Cheating I'm In Love

Up above Los Angeles was a Swedish Community of entrepreneurs and leading business men and women from multiple industries mixed with many Americans trying to connect and maybe innovate together. In the Rockstar Mansion rumored to be rented for the event from the startup Airbnb they came together to chat and go over ideas or perhaps even make friends. Startup was one of the big words of the evening, the same was "ecosystem" "fabric" and "community" all buzz words used often for what the Swedish Affair was really about, starting businesses. The two-day event taking place over Sunday and Monday had multiple guests and special speakers.

To just get to the mansion was a trip up a mountain, but attendees we're shuttled from a Sunset Hotel. For my shuttle ride I had Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari joining me. Even before he entered the shuttle he had a small crowd around him. Later that evening he would declare himself a smart man even though most of his businesses are gone or owned by others now. If you've been with the site over the years, you may remember the reporting on the bitter end to his uWink restaurants that used computer screen menus and had playable on screen games. If he had waited, perhaps he could have become more like Stacked. The evening wasn't only about him.

On the way up on the shuttle I was listening to a story about how bad it can be in Sweden when it's Winter. With nothing to do and nowhere to go many game developers have plenty of time to doing coding with no distractions. Developers might come in during the weekend for no extra pay with nothing to do. Suicide rates do jump around then when there's nothing, but darkness. Darkness was cut short with a proposal of having a game studio half the time in Sweden and half the time in LA, so it always been sunny.

Sunny and beautiful was the Rockstar Mansion filled with people buzzing all about discussing business ideas or meeting for the first time. I got lost talking about the starts up of LA and the best Japanese actions films to watch.

I cam back from conversations to hear what Nolan Bushnell had to say. He started his speaking engagements with shooting down ideas and more often than not shooting down proposals. The he came up with some of his own. He proposed a movie that could be combined with gaming. A Prince needed in army, why not let the audience have controllers and be that army. Why not have the East Coast and West Coast fight it out in a video game. Why not have a real treasure hunt where you can win prizes in America. He came up with all these great proposals. He was trying to show great idea are out there, but many are simply not done.

His speech moved around like a palm tree in the wind. He talked about how hard it was to fire someone in a small company in Europe, but relatively easy in America. He switched to the reason why video games are profitable because they're addictive. When your brain enters a "flow it attains ultimate happiness he said, referencing a Ted Talk. He talked about how kids could be taught through games better than they are now. All through that time making jokes and getting laughs. He does know how to excite a crowd.

On teaching kids, he brought up one of his own children, one of eight. The reason he had so many? He thought there should be plenty of smart kids. "So many dumb people have kids and I though I should have some smart ones" he said with quite the ego. He brought up how one of his son didn't want to do busy work and was going to quite high school. Being a good parent he found a school that doesn't give home work and he son made it to graduation.

The talk ended with a bit of an upheaval. The Swedish community and UK gaming reporter questioned his ideas. One of them being on how easy it is to fire someone. A man brought up it's because the moral and ethics of business may be better in Sweden.

The night went on with more guest speakers and a buffet. Nolan was one of many speakers at the affair. The affair is a place for someone to connect to Sweden or already be connected to Sweden and perhaps get the resources they need for a break through in their start up or learn something more about how to help their business.