2014 in review

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Years in review

This is my annual summary. It is my way of remembering the year that past and to close the books. This is the fifth year I’ve done this, and if you are curious you can find 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 online too. 2014 was another eventful year and my third in the US. These are some of the things that I did over the year:

January

imageThe local coffee place in the not-so-great area of our second office.

  • Spent New Years Eve in Buenos Aires that surprisingly was underwhelming as a city. Looked like an old Paris which was nice, but nothing really worked anywhere. On my way home some bad weather made us miss our connection in Miami and a guy from American Airlines screamed in my face that he was calling the police. Happy New Year!
  • We knew Miriam was pregnant by now, but kept it on the low for another few months. We had three miscarriages prior to this so we didn’t want to take any chances.
  • Tried to hire a CFO after our last candidate decided to leave before he even started. People, don’t sign contracts if you are not going to honor them. Found a good replacement in the end.
  • Toca Boca did our first event in the Apple store in San Francisco, where we invited kids to build both physically and digitally.
  • Got interviewed by Polygon for a great piece on kids and IAP that posted in April. 

February

imagePerks of the job – going to Toy Fair.

  • Finally got a big story in the New York Times – something I had been hoping for a very long time.
  • Flew to Stockholm for a board meeting, loads of work, company group photos and one of those fancy Manilla dinners.
  • Wrote an op-ed for The Telegraph about why being gender neutral is the right thing to do for toymakers.
  • Was interviewed for the Swedish magazine Filter.
  • Had to deal with a patent troll for the first time. That system needs to be reformed badly.
  • Flew to New York to speak at Toy Fair.
  • Was filmed for a documentary called App: The Human Story. It got Kickstarted later during the year.
  • Found my new favorite restaurant in San Francisco and went there… a lot.

March

imageThe Toca Boca booth at SXSW 2014.

  • Publicly thanked a lot of people that had helped me out and given me a break in my career. I should do this sort of thing more often.
  • Went to SXSW including my first time at SXSWedu. A pretty depressing experience where everyone was trying to sell a software platform to teachers. Also did an interview about why Toca Boca wouldn’t become an education company, and manned the balloon booth at the Games Expo. Also sang a lot of Taylor Swift in a rental car.
  • Flew Austin-Los Angeles-Phoenix-Austin in one day and had two strange meetings. One of them included the best phrase about Toca Boca during the whole year: “Two words: limitless potential"
  • Announced that Miriam was pregnant and that we were expecting in August.
  • Toca Boca got a big feature in The Guardian
  • Got told off by a colleague which was unusual, but sort of refreshing. He was right in his criticism.
  • Had a crazy weekend in Amsterdam celebrating my friend Magnus’ birthday.
  • Flew to Stockholm for two weeks which was overall pretty exhausting. Attended a lunch at the US Ambassador where the CEO of Coca-Cola, Muhtar Kent, was a guest speaker on the topic of “Millennials”. A little surreal the whole thing.
  • Went to my parents over the weekend and to my surprise I was introduced to Nigerian Afrobeat (Yes, Resteröd beat Pitchfork by nine months). Started listening to it a lot during the whole year, and the best track is this one.
  • Spoke at Webbdagarna about Toca Boca and received compliments about my sweater.
  • Thought that we were selling our apartment in Stockholm, but we changed our minds at the last moment.
  • Flew back to SF again and booked two colleagues to a meeting, but sent them to a well-earned massage instead.

April

imageA humorous clay statue of yours truly.

  • Went to my first parent group class for soon-to-be-parents. Thought I was going to absolutely hate it and turned out to be wrong about that.
  • Flew to New York to speak at PSFK, amongst other things. Actually looked like a speaker!
  • Read a fantastic interview with Kelis, that is apparently making sauce now.
  • Sara J visited and bravely learned how to surf!
  • Started obsessing over Robyn’s and Röyksopp’s Monument, but the EP didn’t really deliver.
  • Went back to Stockholm again and unexpectedly found a statue made of me by Arvid!
  • Swedish Outnet asked me why I do what I do.
  • Spoke at Startup Day about how to take your company international and making it work. Mentioned the difference between having an office culture vs a company culture.
  • Took at meeting with an entrepreneur that tried selling me on a pyramid scheme. Couldn’t believe it at first. Then I threw him out.

May

imageDay-tripping outside of Vancouver.

  • Decided to get a tiny studio/office of my own – a third space. Found a potential candidate and fell in love. Signed the contract a week later.
  • Visited Tobias and Tiffany in Vancouver over the weekend and had a great time.
  • Went to a parenting course which was generally embarrassing for everyone. Grown people that thought that it was funny and/or awkward saying “vagina”. Silly.
  • Had a management retreat and did one of the most memorable things of the year: walking with a horse. It was the strangest thing, and intended as a provocative management method. The way you interacted with the horse was supposed to be representative of how you manage overall. And strangely… it sort of was. Weird experience.
  • Celebrated my first Memorial Day with a BBQ at Jon and Kakul.
  • Finished off with a weekend trip to one of my favorite places in California, Sea Ranch (the picture below).

June

imageThe view from our window at Sea Ranch.

  • Apple held their annual WWDC and Toca Boca was included in the keynote! Sitting in the audience was a proud moment.
  • Flew to Fjällbacka to attend Caroline’s and Gustav’s beautiful wedding. Read a long limerick and wore a tuxedo for the first time. Don’t know why it took me so long.
  • Fredrik W visited and we went straight to The House, because that is what we do.
  • Hosted a Midsummer party in our court yard in the middle of the day which led to the Home Owners Association to forbid all parties there forever. That’s the summer spirit right there.
  • Saw Robyn and Röyksopp perform at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

July

imageMy green card.

  • Spent the weekend in Big Sur and then a full week in Monterey for a focused week of remote work. I was preparing for a big board presentation in September where I had to present the 10 year vision, and a plan to get there.
  • Brandy covered Coldplay’s Magic and did it so well.
  • Started my vacation at the end of July which was more or less just waiting for labor and delivery.
  • Missed the best pun of the year when the Swedish leadership magazine “Chef” (which means “Boss”) put me on their cover.
  • We bought a car because we figured that we would be needing one soon. We were right.
  • Took some life advice from Justin Bieber and Big Sean.
  • Gave up on Foursquare once and for all.
  • Tina and Anders visited with the kids which was a roller coaster of fun as usual.
  • Did my first seed investment in the female health app, Clue. It was officially announced a little later.
  • Received my Green Card and felt a huge relief and sense of freedom. Not sure why, but it was an important thing for me.
  • Read a good reminder to not be an asshole.
  • Tobias got married and I wanted to be there, but our delivery date was too close for us to fly anywhere.

August

imageMy daughter Miranda.

  • On August 6th, my daughter Miranda Vox Elisabeth Jeffery was born. I didn’t know I could feel this much love. I took the month off and spent it with my new family – my daughter and my wife.

September

imageLEGO advertising that we are coming to visit. A milestone!

  • Listened to the best album of the year – My Everything by Ariana Grande.
  • Moved into our new office on Folsom Street in San Francisco. Finally, – our own place.
  • Did Escape the Room as a team building activity and was both impressed and confused.
  • Voted in Swedish elections at the consulate. No one won that election since the racist party increased a lot.
  • Spoke at The World Congress of Play to a room full of believers.
  • Took some of my board members for a Silicon Valley tour, which included a memorable conversation with my friend Mandeep. He had taken his kids out of school because it couldn’t keep up with them. Yes, that way around.
  • Miriam’s mom visited and helped out with Miranda which was a big help.
  • Went to Google Zeitgeist in a very hot and humid Phoenix. Saw two former presidents in just as many days, and sat next to the Vice founder that said that “Disney is going to give me a TV station”. Quite.
  • Took the whole company to LEGO in Billund, Denmark. This was the first time we ever did something like this together and it was great fun.

October

imageCrossing the Bay Bridge after a trip to Sweden.

  • Left LEGO a few hours early to fly to a Bonnier strategy day. The content has been widely publicized, but in short the message was: times are hard, so start to collaborate and go digital.
  • Had a big Toca Boca party including a hair salon for kids, and a life-size Toca Cars track.
  • Flew back to SF and presented my plans to the the board. Success! And stress about getting all of it done immediately followed.
  • We de-published our first app because it simply wasn’t good enough any more.
  • My parents visited to see their first grandchild.
  • Listened a lot to Jungle – Busy Earnin’.
  • Got a thank you note from Joakim N which was both appreciated and a reminder from the past.
  • Spent quite some time on a potentially project that we finally decided not to move forward with. Maybe it will go in the book one day.
  • Obsessed about the podcast Serial, along with the rest of the Western world it seemed.
  • Found The Good Wife a few years after everyone else.

November

imageMiranda thinking.

  • Flew to LA for a day and was yet again reminded of another kind of America that is right around the corner.
  • Did a presentation for some visiting Dutch retailers. One of them fell asleep. I think that’s a first for me actually.
  • Went to New York for a week and ate “freshly killed chicken” at Hanjan.
  • Used the app Breather for the first time and liked it.
  • Obviously hung out with Miranda a lot.
  • Toca Boca was called the Van Gogh of kids apps!
  • Did a lot of hiring interviews for the new initiatives coming up and realized that if the tables were turned, I wouldn’t even have gotten an interview.
  • Relaunched tocaboca.com to tell people more about what we believe in.
  • Tobias visited and after a nice walk we got to this view, in the middle of a semi-heated discussion.
  • Had Thanksgiving at Caroline’s and ate a moist turkey.
  • Toca Town was included in the global (RED) campaign in the App Store. Very proud of being a contributor to that.

December

imageSago Mini Plush Toys!

  • Discovered London Grammar’s Hey Now and listened to it over and over again.
  • Wrote one of my few blog posts for the year, about playing the long game.
  • Sago Mini released their plush!
  • Azealia Banks gave Discobelle a nice shout out.
  • Wrote so many Christmas cards this year. Not sure I’m doing this again actually.
  • Swore my first oath while applying for a passport for my daughter.
  • Started mentoring Anders for his new company. Exciting challenge for me.
  • I watched the final episode of my favorite TV-show, The Colbert Report. This was one of his best.
  • Spent Christmas with Miriam’s dad and stepmom, and I got a lovely Lumio lamp from Miriam. Bought Miranda a lot of Sumikko Gurashi and Sago Mini plush.
  • New Years will be spent at home with both old and new friends. From Sweden and the US. Seems fitting somehow.

That was it for 2014. Thanks to everyone that made it great.

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