A couple of weeks ago, while I was out in San Jose speaking for SDForum, I also did an interview for Moira Gunn and TechNation. Haven’t had a chance to listen to it myself, but people have told me that they really enjoyed it. You can hear it here or grab a podcast here. There are a number of other interviews and stories, etc, that I think I will put on my homepage which will undergo some redesign when I return from Mexico.
I got curious as to why, exactly, the Swedish pizza had evolved the way it did. Because it’s pretty unique – Swedish pizzas have been this way for as long as I can remember. So I asked some pizza-makers and was soon able to piece together some sort of explanation. During the 60s Sweden, like many Northern European countries, had a sever labor shortage and they hired guest workers from Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia. Some of guest workers ended up working together and setting up restaurants and dining places. Turns out that the pizza’s physical construction makes it an exceptionally easy item for all of these different people to mix and match their various food cultures. The pizzas is flat, cooks quickly, cheaply and easily and naturally allows for experimentation with food ingredients. Once the associative barriers around a traditional Italian pizza had been broken down the field was wide open. It, quite literally, became the place where the cultures mixed igniting an explosion of creative ideas.
Sweden has not, until recently, been well known for its spectacular food. One thing that Sweden has always excelled at, however, is pizza. If you are ever in Sweden–try some Swedish pizza. Now, I am not alone in feeling this way. I have had guests from around the world taste Swedish pizza and they too find it irresistible. Why, exactly, is that? Go to any pizza shop, any, and you will find a menu of pizza names that count at least 30-40, but sometimes upward a 100 different types of pizza.
You do have your standard calzone and you have your ham and mushrooms – type of pizzas. But they are soon dwarfed by pizza combinations that are generally not seen at an everyday pizza place in most places around the world. Check out Africana… curry, banana, pineapple. On pizza? Yes – and it’s insanely good. How about Venus? Tabasco, ground beef, chili, garlic and onion. Or how about Cozze? Mozzarella, mussels, giant shrimp, garlic and parsley. It struck me that Swedish pizzas employ a fascinating range of food combinations and that, usually, these food combinations are surprising to people outside of Sweden. At some point, clearly, Swedish pizza makers stepped into some Intersection and created a Medici effect - one that made the pizzas taste very, very good.
Over the holidays I spent some time with my parents who live in Gothenburg, Sweden. Had a great time until the end of my stay (Dec 28). By then it was known that thousands of Swedes had died in the tsunami in Asia – a development that paralyzed the country. Last time Swedenhad such a massive loss of life was some 300 years ago in a war against Peter the Great. Now, in some moments of reflection, it is a rather telling sign how interconnected world this has become – due to an incredible increase in the movement of people. A country like Sweden effectively closed down because of an earthquake in Indonesia. We are getting (but only slowly) used to things like this happening with, say, financial markets. Not yet with other aspects of life. This became particularly clear in Sweden because the country’s prime minister and foreign minister were incredibly slow to react to the catastrophe. It took upwards 36 hours before there was any official response and they are being hounded for it right now. The reason: the world is connected – but you have to look for, and understand, those connections. It did not seem like they did.
Leonardo da Vinci was busy creating The Medici Effect around Europe about 500 years ago. He traveled a lot and spent time in a number of different cities – one of them being the epicenter of the Renaissance, Florence. This has, of course, not been a secret. One would therefore, perhaps, think that researchers would have discovered most of what there is to discover about such a remarkable man by now. But not so!Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence
“The workshop rooms, located between the Institute for Military Geography and the Basilica, contain frescos painted by Leonardo that have "impressive resemblances" to other examples of his experimental work. The frescos include a triptych of birds circling above a subsequently erased representation of the Virgin Mary that "constitutes a clear citation of the studies by the maestro on the flight of birds", the three researchers, Alessandro del Meglio, Roberto Manneschalchi and Maria Carchio, said yesterday.”
OK, OK so now I am back to blogging!! Other bloggers – like Alex Pang and Peter Dawson, and many others that apparently have visited my blog have asked me why I have stopped telling my stories. I, of course, have no real excuse. There has certainly been a lot of travel (I’ve been to Sweden 4 times in the past 6 weeks or so – in addition ot talking about The Medici Effect around the US, in Prague, London, Copenhagen).But if Tom Peters can blog the way he does so can I. Thank you all for the encouragement!!!
It has been a very interesting time over the past couple of months and I will recount some of it over the next posts. The idea of The Medici Effect has certainly spread and the book has even made it onto a number of betseller lists – most recently in Canada. Soon the first translations will come out in Asia so I am excited about reactions from Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea over the next months. You will hear a lot more stories from now on and I will jump straight into a discovery recently made in Florence…