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Published: April 14th 2013
View of the Oslo Fjord
... from Akershus Fortress.
Our Norwegian business partner had invited me to speak at their client event in Oslo on the 5th
of April. The event took place in the Grand Hotel in the city centre. I arrived there the night before, stayed the night in the beautiful art nouveau hotel and was thrilled to be part of this event. My 45 minute talk was on “Fair Testing in Web 2.0”, and I was happy to present some of the ideas we have been working with for years already. But what was really exciting was that the other invited speaker was Michal Kosinski
from Cambridge University. He is well-known for his studies with facebook data: he found that it is possible to predict the Big Five personality traits
, but also other aspects like sexual orientation, ethnicity, or political views from “likes” on facebook. His talk was not only super-interesting, but also fun to listen to. It was on changing job markets in the Global Village and how this will change recruiting practices. He talked about his findings with the facebook data (the original paper is available here
), but also about new job markets like for example Amazon Mechanical Turk
After lunch, there were two more talks, but both of them
View of Tjuvenholmen
... from Akershus Fortress.
were in Norwegian. It was an interesting experience to be listening to a talk without understanding a single word of it, but still somehow getting the key message. After the event, the Norwegian colleagues invited Michal and me for an early dinner in a fancy restaurant in the new city district of Tjuvenholmen, right at the shores of the Oslo fjord. Unfortunately, Michal had to leave soon because he had to catch his flight back to London, but I was going to stay in Oslo for the weekend, so I could spend the rest of the evening with my Norwegian colleagues. They are always great fun to be with! After dinner, we continued to a beer bar where I tried out different kinds of Norwegian and English beers. Many different kinds of beers…
My colleague Espen had offered me to stay in his flat during the weekend because he and his family had decided to go into the mountains. That was just super-nice, thank you Espen! It was long after midnight when I caught a taxi to his house. I showed the taxi driver the sheet of paper with the address on it. The taxi driver asked me to
Modern architecture surrounding canals.
read out the address for him. I thought: “Oh my god, I have never been to Espen’s place, so if the taxi driver has no clue where we are going and drops me off somewhere, I won’t even know if it’s the right place.” I even had to help him look for the number. You can’t imagine how glad I was when the key really unlocked the door! It was a kind of surreal experience to arrive in a flat that you’ve never been to before slightly tipsy all by yourself…
The next morning the weather was cold but beautiful. I had breakfast in a nearby bakery and then caught the metro to the city centre. It did not even take me ten minutes to get there! I walked around a lot and explored the city. I started at Karl Johans Gate, the street that leads from the central station to the Royal Palace. It is mostly a pedestrian area with nice houses, and there is also the Oslo Cathedral right next to it, as well as Parliament. Then I walked past the town hall down to the fjord and back to Tjuvenholmen, where we had been for dinner
Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.
the day before. From there, I had a beautiful view of the Oslo Fjord and the surrounding mountains (the highest of them is about 600m high). I went to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. The building was designed by Renzo Piano and is pretty impressive. It has works for example by Damien Hurst or Gilbert & George, and I really enjoyed the museum. From there, I gradually made my way to the Opera House, another super-modern building that was finished in 2008. I had lunch there, enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere and view of the fjord and then went on to Akershus Fortress, the castle that was built in 1300 and from then onwards always altered and extended. For sunset, I went to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a park where there are many sculptures by the Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. I concluded the day with a lovely Indian dinner and got back to Espen’s place with really sore feet because I had walked a lot.
The next morning, I went to the Munch Museum. There was a great film introducing Edvard Munch’s life and work, and there was a nice and informative little booklet, but I must say
Akershus Fortress I
View of the castle from Tjuvenholmen
that I was a bit disappointed that there were not more paintings by the famous Norwegian artist there. There was only one room where there were a few of his paintings, but in the other rooms, it was mostly works by his contemporaries. A special exhibition will open in June because this year is his 150th
birthday, so I guess that was just bad luck for me.
After a light lunch not far from the Cathedral, I caught the express train back to the airport and caught my plane to Frankfurt, where I met with some of my colleagues in the evening. The next day was another exciting one: it was our task to find the best students in Germany at the Staufenbiel Best Student Challenge
. University students from all over the country could apply for it, and 2,500 had done so. With our online tests, we had found the smartest 75, and those were invited to the University of Frankfurt for an assessment day. They went through seven different challenges we had created, and in the end of the day, we had found the best students in engineering, IT and social sciences as well as the best bachelor and best master
student. And guess what? The best bachelor student was a psychologist 😊 and the best master student an Austrian 😉.
I was totally exhausted when I got home on Monday night with a few exciting days behind me. But this could not keep me from flying to Munich on Friday to spend the weekend with my friend Hetty. However, that’s another story!
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