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Svein-Magnus Sørensen's Blog


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After the bankruptcy of NSA a few months ago I started considering whether to stay with the buyout company Inmeta to accept a position with their consulting department or seek better pastures elsewhere. Since it in practice would be a matter of changing jobs either way, I decided that I'd rather switch to a job I had selected myself than one the fates selected for me. One might wonder if the fates would let themselves be tricked however, because it turned out that the perfect position was just around the corner and I ended up being offered a position as Domain Architect for Web-portals with Telenor, the incumbent national telecom operator in Norway, where I'll be an employee effective tomorrow!

Interestingly this isn't my first time being in the sphere of influence of Telenor. In fact my first "job" ever was a 1 week work-practice in middle-school which I spent at Telehuset, a Telenor-owned chain of telecom-stores. Later my university studies ended up being in the field of communications technology so a connection to the largest operator would be natural, and as it turned out I got a specialization project that was sponsored by Telenor Research & Development, but ended up on a different path after my thesis was complete. In a way it is therefore fitting that my exit from consulting would be to none other than Telenor Norway, where I'm now eager to get a better look behind the scenes...

Inmeta Crayon Logo While my position as a technology evangelist held much promise, the company which hired me unfortunately did not. For a variety of reasons I won't detail here, the management of the company formerly known as NSA chose to declare bankruptcy on October 8th. Needless to say the past few weeks has held some uncertainty and quite a bit of chaos, but nonetheless it has been a very interesting learning experience for me to be able to see how such matters play out from the inside.

Fortunately the current Norwegian job-market means that the bankruptcy of a consulting company doesn't carry a lot of risk for employees. Our jobs were kept and we were even getting paid on schedule as the bankruptcy was immediately followed by a buyout/takeover just two days later with personnel, clients and everything being transferred to a new company owned by the former competitor Inmeta Crayon. All the details of how this will play out going forward are naturally not quite settled yet, but for now everyone has their jobs to do and other than a change of office space nothing much has really changed.


sxsw-2012-logo.pngThis year was the first time I have had the opportunity to attend South by South-West Interactive, the digital part of the infamous music festival in Austin, Texas that quickly grew to include movies and multimedia. With the tech-boom of the recent decade nearly letting the Interactive section overshadow the other parts it has been dubbed "spring break for geeks" and it is one of the largest and craziest events around for all things digital. So naturally it is the place to be to catch up on the latest trends and hypes in everything from online social media to cutting edge gadgets and private space ventures. SXSW can only be described as conference overload. There is simply too much of everything so it is an entirely overwhelming experience to be there.

So how was it then? Absolutely incredible of course! Despite the downpour of rain throughout that gave me a pneumonia, and the unknowable number of sessions, lounges and parties that I missed out on, I still had five fully packed days with stimulating chats, interesting sessions, amazing food and fun nights out. In addition we took a Texas roadtrip after the conference where we got to see a whole lot of a place most Europeans would never even think to visit.


SjokoladesamlingInspired by my passion for fine dark chocolate I began spreading the love a couple of years ago by holding chocolate tastings for my friends and colleagues. The feedback I received was extremely positive, most participants really enjoyed my sessions and some even claim that their chocolate habits have been changed forever after attending my course. With such potential I sensed a fun and rewarding business opportunity that could bring the joy of fine chocolate to a lot more people, so last year I created the website sjokoladesmaking.no to promote my concept, and slowly but surely the demand for my events began growing.

Recently I reached a threshold for keeping this activity as just a hobby, so I would either have to start declining requests or step it up and get properly organized. With the potential for building a business on something I love I naturally chose the latter, so I have now registered an official business through which my future events will be organized!
Since owning a business involves costs and overhead this also means that I can no longer just idly wait for clients to find me, so I am now looking for partners and promotion opportunities that will get more people aware of my courses. Hopefully this will allow me to grow my chocolate tastings as a side business and maybe make it a full time venture one day... well at least I can dream :-)

After reading this, would you perhaps be interested in having one of my chocolate tastings held at your company or for your friends, or do you have suggestions for partners or promotions? In that case get in touch at post@sjokoladesmaking.no for bookings or to get or provide more information!

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NSA LogoIt has been three years since I first began working as a senior consultant and business analyst at Objectware. During this time many things have changed, including the name of the company, its strategy, my department, parts of the management and a good number of my coworkers, but despite this the contents of my job and the essence of the company has in many ways stayed the same throughout these changes. It probably would have continued that way for several more years, but this summer a former colleague suggested that I consider interviewing for a position with a company called NSA where he was currently working. It was not *the* NSA of course, but a small Norwegian consulting company named for the three-letter-acronym of Norwegian Software Architects.

The position in question was as a Technology Evangelist for a Software Solutions Team focusing on Java and Open Source. With my diverse consulting background including java-development, being an active open data promoter and also a speaker on a series of conferences, the position suited me perfectly. Naturally I took my colleague up on his suggestion, interviewed for the position and getting a very agreeable offer I ended up accepting the job. Now I have just completed my very first day of working in my new role as an NSA Technology Evangelist! Wish me luck going forward :-)
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Most of the work I do as a consultant is by its nature invisible to the general public. Some of this is because of security concerns, but mostly it is due to the work consisting of building or improving internal intranets, applications and collaborative systems, writing reports on various topics, holding courses in different technologies and aiding our salespeople with technical details in bids and meetings, all of where the results are rarely published externally. While these inputs are often important parts of the day to day operations in many organizations, they will rarely be appreciated by anyone beside those people directly involved.

However in the past year I've also been part of several projects that have resulted in public facing websites where my work will affect how thousands of people go about their day, and can be accessed by anyone in the world. The most ambitions and innovative of these has been the new site for the merged University Colleges of Oslo and Akershus, which was just launched a few days ago. I've also held a key role in planning the redesign and restructuring of the Norwegian Business School (BI) website, as well as managing the implementation of the Moonwalk RED campaign website for the Norwegian Red Cross. All of these have naturally been built as team efforts where my work have only played its part along with that of the designers, the developers and the clients themselves, but none of the sites would have appeared as they are without all the contributions coming together as one.