For the past five years, I have written a short summary of what I’ve done during the year. This one was very close to not be written. It takes a long time, and to be honest this year has been rough in many ways. 2015 is not going to my history books as particularly worthwhile. And as always, the most interesting stories are the ones I can’t write about. That’s corporate life I’m afraid. But this year was much worse than usual. I’ve spent so many hours, days, weeks on things that I can’t go into here unfortunately. That said, there were of course several stand out events that are still worth remembering. Below are a few of them.
- Our good friends Tomas and Tinny visited SF and we spent New Years together in our apartment, along with SF locals Carey and Joe.
- Went to Bolinas, the place that doesn’t have a street sign because they don’t want to many people visiting. A little overrated if you ask me.
- Still very into Nigerian music, and listened a lot to Dorobucci by Mavins.
- Ashley came over for a few months and worked with us. She is going to be my boss one day.
- As one of the most positive changes in 2015, I started going to acupuncture with a brilliant guy called Andrew. His initial assessment of me was that I was “severely depleted” which was quite accurate. But based on his recommendations, I stopped drinking coffee and eating raw food (yes, really). This has made a remarkable change to my life that has been riddled with digestive issues for many years.
- I made an Orlando tapas bar change their name.
- Met the Swedish future queen and prince at an event in Silicon Valley. Caroline and I gave them some Toca Boca swag for their daughter, the princess. The prince was unfortunately too professional to tell us she was a Toca Boca fan, but said that she used an iPad at least.
- Stood in a fancy meeting room in Menlo Park and held a presentation that I had been nervous about, but that was very well received. This was the starting point for a ball that kept rolling throughout the year.
- Flew to Toronto for two days and learned about the business of making physical toys. Saw some very cool 3D-prints of what was to come.
- Expanded the team consisting of Caroline and myself to also include two new colleagues – Eve and Daniel. Easily one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made. This year would have been a disaster without them.
- Had one of the strangest meetings I’ve ever been in, where I Skyped in to a conference in South Africa for something like ten minutes and was asked two short questions. And then that was that. I hung up confused.
- Miriam’s brother Joakim and his (then) girlfriend Sabina visited which was a lot of fun.
- We changed the structure of our Management Team days to only be in San Francisco in winter and in Stockholm in summer. Should have done that earlier.
- Moved to a new apartment. This is our new view.
- Both Toca Boca and Sago Mini rightfully won iKids Awards.
- Got really into Tilly’s Jam by Till von Sein.
- Went to SXSW where our marketing team put on an amazing event. One of the most true manifestations of what Toca Boca is about – pure play and creativity. As kids entered our booth they got stickers and then got to decorate it for us. Three days later, over 100 000 stickers had been put up. See pictures before & after. I also went on Fox to talk about it.
- Still at SXSW, I went to a panel on kids and screen time which was everything that is bad about panels. Two people agreeing with each other using anecdotal data and random examples. I turned into “the angry audience member” as I took the mic several times to point this out. They suggested that I get my own panel. So for 2016, I have. See you there.
- Signed up Caroline for Twitter and gave her an account that followed 50 cool women to start off with.
- Miranda discovered swings and started doing her first attempts of crawling. “Enjoy it while you can”, they said – and they were right. Movement since… increased.
- Did a photo shoot for Offscreen Magazine that came out a few months later.
- Discovered one of my most played songs of all year – Draisine song by Tonbruket
- Flew to New York to do a quick follow up talk at PSFK.
- Flew to Sweden, and then almost directly to London for a brief but intense PR tour. Met with The Economist, The Telegraph, Financial Times, and Monocle 24 in one day.
- Listened to more Naija and Ojuelegba by Wizkid was a favorite. It later came out in an even better remix featuring Drake(!) and Skepta.
- Announced that we had hired J Milligan for our new video project and that we were opening a New York office.
- Went on another short but intense tour and went to LA, New York, Boston and Rhode Island in a week. Boston was a great little break with Caroline and Gustav. We got bikes and cycled to Cambridge, ate ice cream, and talked about class.
- I spoke about designing kids apps at Google I/O in San Francisco.
- This tweet captured the Silicon Valley zeitgeist pretty well.
- The big interview with me in The Telegraph posted.
- Got interviewed by an 8-year old for Business Insider. Probably my best interview of the year.
- Offered my colleagues a lot of oblique strategies.
- Was on the Monocle 24 show “The Entrepreneurs” which was a bit of a milestone, given my semi-ongoing obsession with them.
- Miranda moved around like a small slug across the apartment and learned how to wave.
- I did a very strange photoshoot for the Swedish business daily DI that resulted in this.
- Miriam and I sold our apartment in Stockholm which felt like an enormous relief for some reason.
- Did the opening keynote at Dust or Magic, in a chapel in Monterey. This is the friendliest conference you’ll ever go to.
- Had a moving in party for our new office, a few months overdue.
- Went to WWDC and as usual spent all the presentations on the edge of my seat waiting for some sort of mention or reference to Toca Boca. I think we got a tiny one this year, if I remember it correctly.
- Flew to Sweden with Miriam and Miranda, and stayed there for the rest of the summer.
- Formed an unhealthy obsession with the lovely game Alto’s Adventure.
- Got really into Beats 1, but lost interest after a few weeks.
- Spent time working from the Stockholm office which was nice, since I hadn’t done that for a long time.
- Went on vacation which mainly consisted of taking Miranda on a tour of the grandparents. It rained a lot.
- House music made a brief return with Holding On by Julio Bashmore.
- Miranda took her first steps with a walker.
- Went to London for a meeting that ended up including a person on video call from… Stockholm. Brilliant logistics.
- Got early indications that my daughter might be a dancer. Such a lovely thing to see her shine up and naturally start to move when she hears music.
- Finally got to the always-so-great Malmö where we borrowed an apartment opposite Martin & Emma. Kind of the ideal way of living. Proximity is underrated.
- Celebrated Niklas 40th birthday in Södra Sandby. He said something profound about his shift to becoming a more healthy person: “I just made exercise into my hobby”. Simple.
- Celebrated Miranda’s first birthday with a lunch at Saltimporten Canteen. Everyone we invited showed up. That speaks volumes.
- Went back to Stockholm and prepared to move out of our apartment. Miriam was a hero and got rid of so much stuff. I still don’t know how we did it, but somehow we got everything out and into storage in time.
- This was the soundtrack of the Summer.
- Flew back to the US after two months in Europe.
- This news story broke which made life very complicated very quickly. That’s all I can say about that.
- Took a walk with someone and lost a lot of my respect that person while doing so.
- Took some paternity leave. By American standards it was a lot, by Swedish standards an insult.
- Keynoted at the Digital Kids conference. Our PR team said that they had never seen such a long line of people that wanted to speak with their spokesperson before. It’s a small world, the digital kids scene.
- I was quoted on CNN in regards to gender neutral marketing:
- Went to São Paolo in Brazil for 72 hours. I had never been before. They don’t have any billboards in the city which creates a super weird environment. Feels like you are in a film set or something.
- A bit of a milestone when I was interviewed and on the cover of the newspaper that I used to work for in Gothenburg.
- Went to The Progress, but it still wasn’t as good as my former favorite restaurant TBD (which burned down and has yet to reopen).
- This was the most thought provoking talks I listened to all year. I had to listen to it twice.
- Toca Boca passed 100 million downloads.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics _finally changed their stance on screens and started saying what we’d been saying a long time.
- Kanye West was angry about in-app purchases for kids.
- Went to Menlo Atherton for the first time and understood what Silicon Valley wealth really means.
- Had our second company trip ever. Everyone came to San Francisco and then spent two days in Santa Cruz. Absolutely fantastic experience. It’s a privilege to work with people like this.
- Miriams mom came over for three months to be our part-time nanny. Great to see Miranda form a relationship to her grandmother.
- Favorite song was Dragonfly by Malinchak.
- Went to New York to participate at Innovate 46 where Emil Ovemar and I were nominated. Stina ended up taking it, but Emil Eifrém should have won based on his pitch.
- I wrote my only blog post of the year, about trust. Just one post? A little bit pathetic.
- Read the best presentation i’ve seen on media/internet for several years. Move over Mary Meeker, there are new people in town.
- Flew to Toronto for a board meeting.
- Had a meeting which was so strange I couldn’t even comprehend that it was actually real. Felt a little like candid camera.
- Went to Arizona to participate at Google Zeitgeist. Saw a drone deliver a coffee, and a fantastic and moving presentation from Bryan Stevenson.
- Got stuck in Phoenix for a few hours after a cancelled flight, missed an important dinner, and had my first Frosty from Wendy’s instead. Thanks America.
- Went to Netflix in LA to participate in the Kids Creators Summit.
- Flew to Stockholm for four days to figure out some internal things. It worked, but it took so much energy to get there.
- This was the soundtrack of the Autumn.
- Went to a dinner with Swedbank’s board in Palo Alto. Emil E called them “the skinniest kid at fat camp” which was spectacular. They didn’t quite get it.
- Kept my healthy obsession with Softbank and loved the audacity of putting in $483m of your own money in a company to make sure that your incentives are aligned.
- Watched Master of None and loved it. The new Louie.
- Had Thanksgiving dinner at Linnea and Matt. I’m starting to like this American holiday.
- Got a flattering offer but didn’t take it.
- Read one of the saddest things all year.
- Had my most retweeted tweet of 2015, about the valuation of King.com.
- Managed to pay Martin a surprise visit in Malmö for his birthday, after some last minute logistics planning.
- Said goodbye to Jonas and Charlotte that moved back to Sweden. Having people move away all the time is getting a little old.
- Met Jack and Timo and saw something that I had never seen before. Pretty amazing.
- We didn’t send any christmas cards this year because we simply couldn’t find the energy for it. I’ve taken this very seriously before – buying ten different versions of cards from different countries each year, documenting who got what in a spreadsheet. That kind of level. But this year that ended. Also, our send-to-receive ratio was exceptionally low.
- Was interviewed in Venture Beat.
- Saw the Warriors for the first time, with Linus. Embarrassing that it took almost four years to get there.
- Wrote a limerick with Caroline for Ashley, that left Bonnier at the end of the year.
- Watched People, Places, Things and really liked it.
- Spent Christmas and New Years at home with a bad cold, together with a family that all had the same bad cold. Could have been worse. At least it has been a lot of relaxing family time which was badly needed after a long year.
Thanks to everyone that added some sparkle to this year. See you in 2016.