I am Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson, proud founder of Cortex City. My life is overflowing with interests because most things in the world intrigue me. Having spent the last 18 years of my professional life in the software industry, product development is a strong passion that continues to teach me things also about the “real world”. From a career perspective, things really took off when I was finally dragged out of my programming obsession into the sunlight of leadership, product management, and executive management. And yes, I once wrote a C++ book that was reasonably successful. Published by the world’s best publishing house for computer science literature, Addison-Wesley, in 2005, translated to Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Polish, it’s proved to have been read cover to cover by at least 5 people. Me, and the four unfortunate translators. Well done, and my condolences! The next book, Corporate Citizen, will leverage all the things I learned from writing that book, and also the great teachings of a book on writing well that unfortunately I didn’t read before writing…
A few pet peeves of mine are continuous incremental improvement, domain models to help navigate the world (such as Triple-E), and the belief in the existence of enormous potential in all of us to go out and change the world. We just need to think long and hard enough to figure out what needs changing. I’ve been blessed with meeting people who are willing to let me show the general direction, and go about doing their magic in taking us forward in ways I could never have foreseen. Some of those people are now citizens here, for which I am also grateful. Our journey has just begun.
The Moonshine Farm
When not working, which is really a strange thing for me to say since I always work, my family and our farm get my attention and time. The Moonshine farm, a name that implies nightly activities including distillation (but might in fact be a play with words – hard to tell), is the place that keeps me real and true to the most important things in life. Animals seem to be everywhere on our farm, including pigs, sheep, ducks, chicken, cats, rabbits, a dog, and sometimes wild animals (especially birds) that end up in our care.
Wanted Position – Jack of All Trades
As was mentioned before, just about everything interests me, and therefore I want to learn as many things as possible. Perhaps that’s why I am so impressed with those who can do just about anything. Having multiple skills and experiences from widely different domains is a fantastic tool to understand how the world works, and how we all work. With hobbies ranging from farming and animal care to writing and music, a fearless attitude to fixing things that appear broken, my professional life is geared towards leading people, teams, and companies, in need of transformation. The jobs I am interested usually start with a C (CEO, CTO, CPO, COO, …), but it has nothing to do with the title and everything to do with the chance to work cross-functionally and holistically to reach beyond what was previously thought possible. Think about that before offering me a job.
I created this place for many reasons, some petty and personal, some grand designs of a far-reaching vision. Let’s talk about the latter, and allow me to get a little bit crazy here. I seek eternal life. Perhaps not for myself (although a personal goal is to become a thousand years old) but for life itself. The notion of a universe that’s spitting time and space from the big sneeze of its birth makes no sense to me if there’s no life there to observe it. The beauty, the possibilities, the hardship, the passing of seasons, evolution, love, passion, hope, and everything else around us, need to be part of eternity. Perhaps that’s already the case — I don’t know if there is lots of life in other places. That would be good. But what if there’s not? What if it’s only the animals and insects and humans on this Earth that are here to witness it all. Well, if such is the case, it’s clear that we cannot rely on our small planet to keep us going forever. Relatively, life on Earth has a super-short time to exist in the Big Picture of the Universe. So we need to colonize space with life. How? No idea. But Cortex City will somehow play a part in that work, and it begins now.
Let’s not dive deeper into this philosophical well of dreams — snap! — back to the here and now.
Cortex City was started in March 2015. It started with nothing. A non-existent city with a homeless Mayor. After a week of nighly work it was live on the Internet, and on April 1, 2015, the city gates were officially opened. As I write this, two weeks later, we have 57 citizens, and several of those are actively contributing to building the city. We focus on building a hybrid network — a community with people from the corporate world — and incrementally improving the city. Growing the population, the value of the content in the city, expanding our services, adding products, mentoring our citizens; there are thousands of actions that will step by step take us beyond what we can do today. We will break through the walls of impossibilities.
Whether you want to become part of our journey to get rich, to learn, to share, or just have some fun, doesn’t really matter. You are here, you are reading, and you are thinking about Cortex City, and that brings life and energy to our journey.
As we move forward, there are many big decisions to make and huge challenges to overcome in order to ensure success. Do we build line-of-business applications on the industrial-strength foundation that is already in place for Cortex City? Do we focus on building the business interactions and transactions? Do we start with content building as the way to draw in more citizens and share our thoughts? Truth be told, here’s where the unique value of Cortex City comes into play. We purposefully target more areas than can be attacked, and we go for breadth before depth. Compared to our competitors and contemporary best practices, it’s fundamentally different. Which makes me believe we will be hugely successful.
Thank you for reading,
Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson