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Oddly, writing comes in fits, not piecemeal, not rare and not often, just fits, thrown by some authority that controls serendipitous readings, conference deadlines, and co-authors’ schedules. But most of all the authority of an inner clock building up something to type. There’s a song by Lorenzo Jovanotti, maybe about the jump into such a fit and into a solitary production of text in full trust that it will be in need of many revisions:

di vivere di un fiato
di stendermi sopra al burrone
di guardare giù
la vertigine non è
paura di cadere
ma voglia di volare

Great fortune brings me to Italy, to wonderful co-authors and old friends. The pics with the hipsta app were shot a few days ago in Trento, with Loris Gaio, Alessandro and Leonardo Rossi and Alessandro Narduzzo. So great to be here and not in the 70ies.

musica seria, luce che varia
pioggia che cade, vita che scorre
cani randagi, cammelli e re magi!

détermine le menu du soir! The motto was already promising and the sky meant well tonight: the dinner at Anabanana was terrific, definitely among my best vegan menus of all time and a must-visit when in Luxembourg. The atmosphere was a bit like visiting friends at home. A Tuesday night is probably the most quiet weekday night anyway but I was the only guest. The salad contained dried fruit pieces and nuts, a great start. The main course was a plate “dégustation” and contained a wonderful chickpea stew, broccoli with sesame sauce, a small warm carrot salad and various other small delights. Dessert was a mango cream without cream and sugar – if I understood the chef correctly it was oat cream that smoothed the fruit and grilled cashews chopped over it. I’ll be back.

Le menu du Cinquesgivine 2010 à la française

Aïoli fait maison, baguette, bâtons de légumes à dipper
Soupe à la choucroute avec les baies rouges (crainesbèriese)
Salade verte et graines rôties de potiron avec crêpe fourrée
Potiron gratiné au fromage
Intermezzo créé du stauffine authentique aux olives noires
Vol-au-vent au champignons de saison
relevé d’un coup d’absinthe suisse
Fantaisie du châtaignier

After the soup, we switched from the Champagne (Pol Roger) to red Bordeaux (Clos de l’Oratoire 2005). Remember that our Thanksgiving tradition requires recipe variations to be based on traditional North American ingredients (pumpkin, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes) with a theme. Next year’s theme suggestions from the guests include: Indian, Molecular, Russian, Ayurvedic, Chocolate …
For those who want to try this at home: the sauerkraut soup with cranberries was excellent and the vol-au-vent was made with thyme and absinthe, a great combination! And special thanks to my aunt Ruth for forwarding the chestnut cake recipe, a blast!

What a fantastic week in Austin this was! I hardly remembered after 3 years of not going there that it’s one of my favorite cities ever, from a climate point of view up there with Lisbon!

I tried something Texas has become known for throughout the world: waterboarding. However, my phone did not survive the practice and is now somewhere on the bottom of the river. My friend rang it and the only sign from the night river was a bunch of bubbles: she said it was still ringing…

One more thing all visitors to Austin should check out: the new trend of gourmet trailer restaurants. The G’Raj Mahal is an excellent Indian backyard restaurant only blocks from the Convention Center! Next door, there are bars literally set up in former private homes and yards.

It was 1987 when I first visited Austin with my parents, an Easter holiday to Houston, where our relatives moved for a few years. Back then, we drove in a Lincoln Towncar through Texas and parked in this very spot, re-visited yesterday!

The new Academy of Management Annals 2010 came out with more than one promising article! In the first one, I spot one of the most beautiful comments on scientific debates I’ve read: “While integration may not bring resolution, it can bring transcendence” (Leonardi and Barley, 2010: 3). The last article in this issue by Alvarez and Barney picks up the debate on entrepreneurship mentioned in a recent blog post about the underpinnings of opportunities (discovered or created?). Can’t wait to read them fully.

Teaching note: the social construction of technology and the complex, reciprocal, multi-layered impacts on organizations and users, as discussed in the User Innovation class this week, may just have received a further important spin with the Leonardi and Barley article! Related is the Orlikowski and Scott article on sociomateriality from 2008 in the same journal.

My good friend and mentor (in becoming an editor) Charles Baden-Fuller of Cass Business School speaks in a video about business models, what they are, how they operate as models, and why two thirds of businesses have not articulated their business model!

In the current issue of the Academy of Management Perspectives Marc Gruber, entrepreneurship professor at our sister institution in Lausanne, publishes a book review that talks about the virtues of planning by entrepreneurs and how to revise the plans based on specific experiments. Without mentioning it specifically, the debate is also about whether entrepreneurial opportunities are discovered or created, whether they are out there or in here. Our own article on user entrepreneurship, forthcoming in Research Policy, takes a clear stance by arguing that opportunities are created by entrepreneurs who “end up” in new markets, with new offerings to customers they haven’t necessarily targeted initially. However, this slightly philosophical question may not help entrepreneurs very much while in the midst of revising a business plan and Marc Gruber makes a great point in his critique of the book he reviews. The learning that leads to revisions in the business model needs more attention in research. Experiments with product launches, advertisement campaigns, and test markets lead to valuable insights regarding the key assumptions underlying the business plan.
The entrepreneurs we studied in the emerging field of Machinima seemed to follow their passion of shooting film inside video games while radically changing the business model they hoped would sustain their ventures. As Ketchen, Rindova and Berry (2009) pointed out, many entrepreneurs who venture into radically new terrain do what they like first and then try to finance their fancies. Granted, this does not usually apply to the corner shop bakery but it frequently does for high technology, services, or art. Of course, this empirical claim remains to be validated and I hope to read and write more about this topic.

… and then the guys at the tanker didn’t want to give us a tour and their espresso was lousy, Thomas and I were back within 20 minutes. International shipping isn’t what it used to be.

Photo by Marion Poetz

A day at the northern tip of Denmark was all sandy, salty, sunny, and with a whiff of dead fish in the air… very nordic. Thanks so much to Marion and Thomas for organizing the trip. Our bikes took us all over the peninsula and to a handful of ice cream shops.