An Auspicious Autumn quArter

Minute Before the Flash Mob

Less than three months have passed since my summary post on Summer quarter. We are through all the coursework and more recently the Thanksgiving break, final exams, a holiday party and a quick North-Western study trip to Seattle. Time has come to close off Autumn and the 2012 calendar year with it.

Before it’s too late I’d like to apologize for the miserable alliteration attempt in the title. And I’d also really like to be able to skip the clichés like “time has just swooshed by” and “it feels like it was just yesterday!” but… it has and it does. We’re half through to graduation as Class of 2013 in June.

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On Skype and European Innovation at Stanford

I had an honor to speak at Stanford University on March 9th, as part of their European Entrepreneurship & Innovation Thought Leaders seminar series (see web site and Facebook group). I truly enjoyed the experience, meeting students, faculty and guests and joining a dinner in a smaller circle later for fascinating follow-up conversations around entrepreneurship.

Skype's Sten Tamkivi
(Photo courtesy of Steve Jürvetson, click on it for his notes from the audience)

Here are the slides I used:

As you might notice, my slides were just a light framework this time and most of content was oral and followed by interactive discussion. Unfortunately it is slightly more complicated with video this time. Please follow the instructions here, but beware that you need to create an account with the Stanford SCPD site (which you will hopefully find useful for accessing any other free seminars content they offer) and the videos are served using Silverlight, which may or may not be compatible with your choice of operating system or browsers, like Chrome.

Video Call with Her Majesty

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Just finished a video call with Her Majesty [Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands](
She was visiting Skype Tallinn office as part of her state visit to Estonia. I was babysitting at home. One of these physical location misses when [Skype]( really becomes handy.
Also, [Etta]( joined the ranks of the babies worldwide who have had their first video call while less than 10 days old.

Le Gavroche

Plate still empty
If you happen to be in London but feel the urge for really old-school French gourmet dining look no further than [Le Gavroche]( The settings resemble of an antiques store and the full two-dozen strong hierarchy of waiters (all French, *bien entendu*!) are so stylishly arrogant that I almost felt let down by the gray-haired gentleman who first welcomed us at the door: he was actually willing to shut an eye on my blue jeans on the condition that our whole party of three men wore the ugly blue blazers he lent us…
At least on your first visit, stick to the 8-course *Menu Exceptionnel* (with wine pairing). My favourites from that shockwave of tastes remain the grilled scallop and hot foie gras with cinnamon duck. And the word is that people travel from all over the world just to try Chef [Michel Roux Jr](’s (who was also visibly present at the venue all night) cheese souffle.
[Our full culinary trip is available as a photoset here](
**Verdict:** Le Gavroche might have lost one of their top Michelin stars since the eighties (today they have “only” two), but they are still very much worth your four hours of time and money.

Notting Hill Breakfast

If you have moved to London for four weeks, your son has fallen sick on the first night, but thankfully, two doctor occurences and five days later he can actually hold some food in, the sun is shining and spring is in the air, and to top it all, it is a Sunday which happens to be the (British) Mother’s Day, do no more than head to Tom’s Delicatessen for breakfast. And even if you’re lucky enough to escape the context we had by today, I can still recommend the place.

Get a fresh juice, one of their excellent coffees and, if you are not the full English breakfast type, Eggs Royale with salmon and caviar (pictured above).

Googling around I’ve found people calling this the best breakfast in Notting Hill. Have to agree, even if I haven’t had many out here. And, they are extemely kid friendly.

By the way, they say that Tom is the son of Terrence Conran. And what a talented, but down to earth gourmet son he is then. See more of his places to eat.

Uus IT Kolledzhi hoone

Alles eelmise aasta mais pidasid tähtsad mehed kõnesid ja asetasid nurgakive:

New IT College cornerstone

Ja selline on pilt vaid pisut üle poole aasta hiljem:

New IT College building

Eriti õnnestunud on maja sisearhitektuur ja -planeering. Tasub leida põhjust külla (või õppima) minna.

Palju õnne, IT Kolledzh!

Sushi heaven

Ikeda chef
This is actually a very very simple restaurant review: [Ikeda]( has the best sushi I’ve had outside Tokyo. Period.
When (shouldn’t be “if”!) you go there for a first time, say Omakase!*, sit back and watch the chef’s choice of freshest sushi and sashimi magically appear on the red counter pictured above.
Apparently Ikeda has been around for 25 years already. And there is a reason why.

*Footnote: *In Japanese, “Omakase” means “entrust” or “Chef, I’m in your hands”. (Taavet)*

Jaanuarikuiselt OpenCoffee’lt

OpenCoffee Tallinn
Täna jõudsin lõpuks Tallinna teiselt [OpenCoffee](’lt ka läbi käia.
Kokku oli tulnud meeldivalt eri valdkondade rahvast (nagu [kuuldavasti ka esimesel]( – tehnolooge, ettevõtjaid, riigiametnikke ja investoreid. Ebaeestaslikult öeldi ka võõrale tere ja kohaloldud aja jooksul vahetati laudu, et uute inimestega juttu ajada.
[BarCamp Latvia]( korraldajad olid oma roadshow raames ka Eestist läbi astumas. Suurelt ette võetud, hetkel olla registreerunud 400 inimest ja eeldavad veel paarsada lisaks. Eestist [hetkel registreerunud 17](
Väiksema ringi vestluste põhjal tundub, et vähemalt ühte Eesti tehnoloogiafirmat saan kohe pisut aidata Aasia kontaktidega. Loodan, et sedalaadi kiirelt realiseeritavaid mõtteid tekkis osalejatel veel – mis ühe jaoks võib olla keeruline pähkel võib teise jaoks olla kümne sekundi vaev kontorisse tagasi jõudes teha üks Skype multichat õigete inimeste kokkuviimiseks.
Keegi kurtis täna, et ilmselt teaks enamikku kohalviibijaid nimepidi, aga nägu ei oska kokku viia. [Panin paar pilti üles](, sildistage end või kolleege julgelt.

Dinner Joys Galore

A free tip for your next social event. Get a group of friends together in a Skype multichat. Set a date for a dinner. Divide courses and entertainment responsibilities and set no further rules.
If your friends are anything like mine you will end up with six hours of pure joy featuring:
* Three types of game sausage (boar, deer & moose)
* Pickled wild mushrooms
* Home made bread
* Thai-style chicken skewers with cucumber-coriander salad
* Veal carpaccio parmigiano
* Phaesant leg on grilled portobello mushrooms pictured above, with a topping of pomme grenade foam (latter á la El Bulli)
* Crème brulée
* Alsace Gran Cru Riesling, Cotes du Rhone Villages and 1er Cru Sauternes on side (not to mention the vodka for carpaccio)
* A pop quiz revealing the true usage of whiskey in 7th century Ireland (involving donkeys) and greeting traditions in Tibet (involving tongues)
Just lovely.

Happy Birthday, Mutant Disco!

Mutant Disco 10!
Last night the Von Krahl theater in Tallinn hosted crowds from all over the past ten years to cheer for the tenth birthday of Mutant Disco.
As for many other good things in this category, we have to thank again late John Peel. By becoming a fan of Röövel Ööbik and giving them a lot of BBC One airtime in early nineties, he inevitably helped to build a strong network between the Estonian and UK music circles, with the now inseparable tandem of Raul Saaremets & Chris “Rythm Doctor” Long to start with.
MD has been so much more than another club event here. It has consistently exposed local and international top performances to the scene, shaping our tastes and values. Bringing guys like Bob Jones or Frankie Valentine or Basement Jaxx or Moodymann over to a tiny cold Northern European capital must have been extremely hard for Raul and Chris when they started, but hugely because of their pains of the early years, Estonia has become the vibrant alternative music and culture host it is now. There is a video interview with them available on how they got started (mostly in Estonian): part 1 and part 2.
Over the years, MD has innovated with not just music, but also with consistent branding, their web presence and active online community around forums, creative flyers (first on paper, fully virtual these days), redefining Von Krahl from a theatre to happening, multifaceted event location, etc etc.
But most importantly, Mutant Disco has had an unprecedented effect on building a strong horizontal network inside a certain generation of our small country. Many in their student years gathering to Mutant Discos 10 years ago are now the who’s who stars of business, investment banking, government, law, technology, media and many others making things happen in arts – music, literature, visual arts, cinema, fashion. In the mixed nostalgic-euphoric vibe at the event yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder what extremely unique value has been created just because of the out of the box mindsets people end up with here. A successful attorney hanging out with music critics or a software developer with his best friends in experimental video think much differently than their colleagues stuck in narrow professional groups of their industry. The experience of belonging to the diverse group of mutants must have released ideas and energy in places we don’t even admit.
Respect, Raul & Chris, and happy birthday again!