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Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to make real money out of virtual money in your virtual world

I attended a very interesting event with a presentation around the topic "Virtual Worlds and Entrepreneurship" at the IVA center in Stockholm, Sep. 22.

Guest speaker was Robin Teigland, Associate professor at Stockholm School of Economics (SSES),

Here are som quick facts (but I encourage you to view the embedded presentation).
  • 579 M users
  • 68 MUSD invested in 1Q 2009
  • Tweens biggest user group
  • 39% increase in userbase from Q1
  • Games and strategy players have started incorporating on their resumes/CVs facts about what they manage and are capable of doing in the virtual world
  • 2 BUSD in micro transactions
  • One example, Mindark's Entropia Universe has got 780k users, 420 MUSD in revenue AND a real and virtual bank
  • Another examle of how you can make money, one guy sold the virtual Asteroid Space Resort for 100k USD in 2005

Some Chinese sites on the subject;

Robin and SSES are using Linden labs' Second Life services, for education, research and cooperation with other universities. See as one example the SSE Island area on SecondLife.

The use of 3d virtual worlds will expand to develop demos, showcases and training programs. IBM is e.g. using it to design "green" data centers.

Some company examples; IBM island and Accenture island, for more information about research contact robin.teigland at

Contact Thomas Lidforss International for select representation and management of business partner and outsourcing services!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Epicor 9 - Product launch event at Nalen, Stockholm

I attended the product launch event of Epicor's latest, Epicor 9. For those of you who do not know Epicor; Epicor is a world-wide developer and distributor of ERP systems. Epicor has more than 2800 customers in 143 countries. Epicor is a Microsoft Gold Partner. See for company details.

Stefan Westelius, swestelius at, partner evangelist at Epicor Sweden introduced the launch event.

The theme for the event was Protect, Extend and Converge. The goal; protect existing iScala customer base and installations while allowing a kind of "best of breed" set of service extensions to be made available and the option of converging into one system with the new Epicor 9 release.


iScala - The ERP

Some interesting notes around new release, support for the following areas:

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is an EU payment standards initiative. The EPC (European Payments Council) develops the framework needed to implement the Single Euro Payments Area. See for details.

Svefaktura is a Swedish standard for electronic invoicing. See information from SFTI steering group for details,

SAF-T (Standard Audit File for Tax Purposes) support. See,2340,en_2649_33749_34910329_1_1_1_1,00.html for guidance information.

Epicor has an interesting way of supporting old products as long as customers buy maintenance services without forcing customers to upgrade to new releases.


The "extend concept" allows for ala carte type set of selecting your most wanted applications for your business. One good example demoed was Storefront, the e-commerce site service. I really like the way Epicor does a demo, you integrate your powerpoints with hotlinks to iScala and log in to the live service. This provides an excellent view of what you are presenting and what the application does for your business.

Storefront your one stop shop for e-commerce sites that can be used as a complement to your existing website or also as a tool for creating your business site.


With the new Epicor 9, in addition to the integration of different products into one system, comes new front ends. You do not have to be used any longer to find information the "traditional way" with a client application looking through tables and forms. Now, you can just search, like the "Google generation", just search and you will find the answer. The new release comes with search integration and information presented with hotlinks and relevance count, so you can find an answer to any question you may have. I like the format, very blog label inspired.

Since I had to leave for a conference call, I missed the afternoon part with the tech details but I have to say thank you to the Epicor people for an excellent setup and arrangements. I understand why SAP is watching what Epicor does...

Contact Thomas Lidforss International for select reprensentation and management of business partner and outsourcing services!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes from Sweden - US Entrepreneurial Forum 2009, Sep 16 in Stockholm

I attended the first day of this event in Stockholm. Here are some key notes and comments from some of the presenters;

Magnus Aronsson, Managing Director for ESBRI, the institute for entrepreneurs and small business research, and Randy Mitchell, Private Equite Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce were the co-chairs of this event. Randy talked among other things about the usefulness of the SBIC, Small Business Investment Company. For more info see

Jöran Hägglund the State Secretary, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and COmmunications was also part of the introduction. A panel about the role of government followed. Us view basically "Get the Government out of the way"... where as the Swedish version is more of Government guidance and control...

My two cents out of this is basically, I think Sweden needs to explore the "Chinese" way of developing businesses, "create economical free zones" where you as an entrepreneur can get a number of years of no tax and other benefits to get a chance succeeding building a new business that can become a big enterprise. All the political parties and people are just too focused on getting (re)-elected to their offices and cannot do what it takes. One simple example is, why should I have to pay 100k SEK (about 15k+ USD) to register a corporation in Sweden when it will cost you about 30 USD in Las Vegas and less than 250 pounds in UK... and why should you have to pay about 55% tax on personal company income (salary)??

The next session focused on how to get funded these days in the aftermath of a world-wide financial crisis.

Kimberlie Cerrone, entreprenuer and involved with The Angels Forum in Palo Alto, CA. See and kimberlie at or +14153782838.

Some points;
  • 1M USD in revenue is what investors are looking for
  • "Put me as no 1 on your B round of funding"
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Great crop of companies will evolve in the years 2012-2014 in the valley once liquidity available

As a reference for Kimberlie, see also

Clare Fairfield, Managing Director Concerto Ventures was next, for more info about Clare see

Some points;
  • Government programs can be more useful for entrepreneurs these days
  • Use service providers
  • VC companies with over 50M USD will get new SEC regulatory rules
  • Consider cross border alliances
  • Break down funding needs into smaller pieces
  • Conserve, conserve, conserve your cash needs
  • Use milestones whenever possible
  • Funding rate 1-2%
  • Success rate 10-20%
  • Fail rate 20-40%

A conclusion I make of his presentation was basically as before, do not use VC money unless you have no other way of getting funded.

Katarina Bonde, Managing Director of Kubicorp was up next in the funding section. See for e.g. for her public LinkedIn profile.

Here are her options for getting funded;
  • Through revenues
  • Regional funds
  • If you have got positive sales go to bank
  • If you are in the export business go to EKN (Exportkreditnämden),
  • Use covertible debt
  • Finance through invoices
  • Joint projects with customers
  • Partner with distributors
  • Create a pre pay business model
  • Barter of trade your products or services
  • In Sweden check out the SVCA list of VCs,
  • Look in different regions of the country and start there
  • Partner with customers in a coop, example given, in state of Washington, a wine development company started by inviting interested customers to buy shares of the company to get started
Mikael Karlsson, Managing Director and Fund Manager presented the newly created ALMI Invest.

ALMI has been around for quite some time but this spring they have launched the new investment part of the company. See

  • Regional offices owned by Swedish counties to 49%
  • They do equity investments
  • 1-10 MSEK put up by them
  • Mission is to bridge gap to get started
  • They have 7 regional funds, 1B SEK, launched in spring 09, 50% EU funding
  • Max 50% co-funding is the rule
  • They are looking for 5-15 MSEK investments, companies with good potential and within 7 yrs an exit

Contact Thomas Lidforss International for select reprensentation and management of business partner and outsourcing services!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Update on Windows Mobile Marketplace launch event in Stockholm

Here's an update on an event I attended early summer. For those of you that missed the presentations, Per Ahlberg Developer Evangelist Microsoft has made the presentations available om his MDSN blog,

Johan Huss Mobile Solutions Specialist Microsoft presented Windows Mobile 6.5 that will be available on Oct. 7 in Sweden. Among the features, a "thumb" friendly touch friendly UI with good support for widgets. I tested the new UI features on an HTC Touch and Samsung Omnia and works very well for touch operation.

In addition to "touch" being a big thing with launch of Windows Mobile 6.5, MyPhone is a new convenient service where you as a user can sync and manage your phones data on the web. Works very well for managing contact data and syncing with your phone. This service works for older phones also, you do not have to wait for 6.5 to start using it. See for further details,

Philippe Goldstein, Microsoft France presented the launch of Windows Mobile Marketplace.

Some comments;
  • No Java or scripts allowed in marketplace
  • Native code, managed code and widgets allowed
  • 3-4 weeks for application certification
  • Cost 99 USD for 1st year for 5 apps thereafte per app
  • Revenue sharing, developer gets 70%, Microsoft (and partners) 30%
See for more information the Windows Mobile blog;

Contact Thomas Lidforss International for select reprensentation and management of business partner and outsourcing services!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sino-Sweden Mobile Internet Business Seminar about upcoming GMIC conference in Hangzhou

Some quick news about a Chinese delegation visiting Sweden and the Kista Science City in Stockholm. I attended eariler today the Sino-Sweden Mobile Internet Business Seminar at the Stockholm Kista Science Tower, sponsored by ISA, Invest in Sweden agency and GWC, Mobile Internet The Great Wall Club.

The Global Mobile Internet Conference 2010 is coming up in March 2010 in Hangzhou, China. The theme of the conference is Mobile Internet Opportunities in Asia. GMIC wants to promote international cooperation around mobile internet services and issues. GMIC sess Asia as the area of the world where mobile internet is going to be the key area whereas Europe with GSMA is more the mobile operator center and USA and North America is more internet and internet software.

The GMIC is an organization;

Guided by
  • Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China
  • Minstry of Culture- Ministry of Commerce
  • State Council Information Office
  • China Association of Communication Enterprises
  • China Internet Association


  • Mobile Internet the Great Wall Club,


  • MCF (Japan)
  • YRP (Japan)
  • IVP (japan)
  • Sino-Japan Communication Industry Promotion Association
  • KINTERNET (South Korea)
  • KWISA (South Korea)
  • CDMA
  • CDG

On a personal note, this event was well organized thanks to Tomas Bennich from Kista Showcase and people from Invest in Sweden Agency but I have to complain about whoever manages the facilities in the Kista Science Tower, no ventilation and warm humid air does not work very well for any event, blame global warming or whatever but facilities management has to work in a business building...

Contact Thomas Lidforss International for select reprensentation and management of business partner and outsourcing services!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What to do about Plaxo - Nuke it or?

Plaxo is I think a sad story, it started as an ambitious service for all office outlook users as a way to synch your business contacts back in 2002 if I remember correctly. Then once the social networking services hype got up to speed, Plaxo became a social networking site with a lot of promise. But with limitations, lack of access to info, screwed up (I think) user interface, and very little has happened even after Comcast acquired Plaxo, I see no future in using Plaxo, I think it is a service that is also rude to users;

Why should I as a user receive hundreds of invitations to get connected by people and I cannot view them (get the warning too many requests, you are too close to the limit 1000, please remove some so you can accept...) but on top of that Plaxo suggests I should connect since there are 5100+ people that I according to Plaxo know. There is no logic to it... to me it seems like if I have too many connections, It should not even be possible for other users to send me a request to connect, they should simply get a message that I have reached Plaxo's limit and that is it!