Reflections

So New Year is coming up

Not that this has been the best of years in memory.
Let’s hold the detail and just acknowledge that the economies crashed, Saab went into a Coma and I have spent most of the year fighting for survival of my own workplace and fighting an entire muncipality getting them to acknowledge that my daughter is a Gifted child, not a social misfit to be kicked out of school.

Never ever make any New Years Resolutions. Period.
Life is what it is, live it.

The time now is that little period of breathing in between Christmas and New Year. Time for Rest, Recreation and Reflection

Jason Becker sets the tone:

Ever thought of what really, really matters?

Was it the fighting, losing or winning?
Or did you trancend yourself by once again expanding you vision and attitude whilst fighting the good fight?
Did you move your mind? (Saab marketing stuff, but nice expression anyway) If you did then you have acted out what can’t be done by New Years resolutions.
Changed in mind, matter and soul by acting.

Over to Steve Vai:

You may notice that my choice of music is music only. That leaves the interpretations open for all.
Which is exactly the point. Reflection is internal, basis of the acts that follow. Noone has the complete answers.
Those forces opposing you have their own answers and solutions, and they will follow those. This is the natural state of things. Being right holds no validity without meeting and understanding your opponent and their basis and letting changes involve yourself.

Resolutions changes nothing. They are an expression of your own singlemindedness.

Trancend, Expand, seek knowledge and act in accordance with that.

So we and up at the Black Sabbath:

Happy 2012..Move it

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Guitar magick (Building the shred machine)

The aim of all guitarists seems to be the ultimate hero.

Here’s the deal .

Learn to sight-read, get a copy of The Guitar Grimoire, a thesaurus of all known scales patterns and chords, know how chords and scales relate to each other, know every note on the guitar ”cold”, concentrate, practice every hour on the hour, program your body to perform all the necessary movement without reflection, and:

Hey Presto!

A new God is born.

Easy right ?

By now you are about as interesting as a any other juggler or conjurer, so let’s move on to what comes after the basics.

Charge your music with what you are.

This is not a static condition, but (hopefully) a state of eternal change, simply because living is changing. You could be a Robert Fripp fan one day and a James Hetfield fan the next day. Remember that all guitarists have something to offer, and can seriously affect your playing if you care to listen. But the starting point is still you, so find out what you are and what you want to be, because it will spill over into the music consiencely or unconsiencely ( If you are an aggressive player you don’t want to be in a mellow laid back band, and the band don’t need you ). Once you have figured out what you want to be right now, keep repeating to yourself :

”I am that”

So how about the practical application ? The most individual traits in guitarists are not their use of different scales and chords, but much like violinist it is in Vibrato, Intonation, Pick attack, muting etc.

Listen to for instance BB King, Yngwie Malmsteen, Angus Young, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck ( some of my own vibrato favorites). They are very different in their approach and you may not like their music, but they are instantly recognizable when they play. Pick out your own gurus for the different aspects of playing.
Remember to do one thing at a time and focus entirely on this until mastered ( it is hard to be a BluegrassNeo-Classic when you’re learning) Do not get caught up in mastering ALL techniques or you will be 98 before you start playing for real. Next step:

Transcend yourself

Once you have reached what you wanted, make a new definition of what you are and want to be, and as a final step forget the definitions and start working on yourself and in your self. Meditate on your techniques one by one by just doing one thing until exhaustion and boredom sets in. Keep it up. At this point you will start coming up with new ways of doing things.

Alternatively:

Go down to the crossroads.

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Et par relevante vurderinger omkring Saab og den svenske regering

Da der allerede er nogen der har gjort sig den umage at skrive et par velvalgte ord om hvorfor den svenske regering agerer forkert i sammenhæng med situationen omkring Saab må jeg da absolut linke til det

De Bevingede Ord

Jeg er så absolut enig med ham.
Specielt fordi jeg stadig har en fundamental tro på at enkeltstående økonomisk vurderinger af virksomheder er en fejl.
En regerings ansvar er at tage sig bedst muligt af sin befolkning, og det kræver langt større og overordnede vurderinger end blot at betragte en enkelt virksomheds økonomi.
Hvilket de da også har bevist i flere lande med storstilet støtte til kriseramte banker gennem finanskrisen.

Jeg ville så ønske at de ansvarlige regeringer ville udvide deres tanke til noget lidt mere visionært

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Shooting at Vultures

So…..

The end is Nigh
The Phophets of Doom predicted The End Of The World for Yesterday. Somehow they seem to have miscalculated.

Maybe they are some sort of family of Chatterton in the Ray Bradbury novel “Here there be Tygers”.
Who knows?

But anyhow, there are lots of Doomsday visions and fear of unknown territory going on.
Which brings me to Saab.
How come everybody expects any attempt to refinance saab to be either lies or prone to fail?
Lets take the quick overlook of the situation:

Saab is the only independant established automaker in Europe that is available for buying in to.
There is a liquidity problem which has halted production due to suppliers refusing to deliver until they are payed.

Saab needs financing to pay off suppliers, who are putting up serious demands for delivering again.
On the other hand suppliers would very much like to see Saab survive, so they have common interests.
The suppliers are also businesses, so they need their payments to come through in order to survive themselves, so they are jumpy. But they need the business from Saab to maintain their current positions.
They want to deliver, but they need their payments and some assurance

As Vladimir Antonov is still waiting to be accepted as investor, there are deals being made in China, an enormous market with lots of potential, and lots of people who can actually see the potential in Saab, both as technology base and brand.
The brand alone is still worth a lot, so there is no reason for the Chinese to let Saab go bankrupt and then buy the technology.
They will only be able to use the technology in China, as the rest of the world will always assume that chinese products are inferior. Don’t really know why, but that’s the way it is.
For making the best of their investment they need production in Trollhättan, a Saab alive and producing in its original location, parallel with any production in China.

Bring in the MOU between PangDa and Saab. What is in this is a 2 part agreement.
First:
Pang Da buys production cars for import into China, prepayed to get production up and running.
The CEO states that his target for sales in 2011 is 10.000 cars. Not bad. Initial orders are 1300+700, paid in two payments.
This should be enough to get Saab up and running, and provide shortterm financing.
Off Course we still await the extremely slow bureaucracy of government institutions and EIB to approve Vladimir Antonov, but somehow I think they are just waiting to see that other investors are ready to backup VA and deliver better guarantees for longtime survival.
Part two of the MOU is to prepare for production in China.
This is at the moment at the NDRC, who are taking very good care of Chinese interests in this.
We may not like their ways of controlling their investors and production, but they will do exactly as they like.
At the moment Youngman, who has been negotiating with Saab, apparently blocks things by having an application in for a JV with Saab, thus blocking for others.
As the chinese are not stupid, I think that this blockage will disappear quickly.
Pang Da may state that they want to produce in China, but their partner in the manufacturer industry is BAIC, a state owned company, as opposed to Youngman who is private, which also is the company that bought the old Saab tooling and technology for making their own brand cars, and also the company that was expected to get the new 9-5 when GM put Saab into liquidation, as they are good friends of GM 🙂

Not because I want to make up any conspiration theories, but I just think that the facts are that BAIC and GM had planned to let BAIC take over more of Saab in 2009.
Spyker instead bought it, even though there were problems with VA, who withdrew.
GM still has major interests in Saab, and would like to see Saab live.
I also think that GM likes BAIC, and that Pang Da would very much like to be exclusive distributor of both european and chinese produced Saabs in cooperation with their partner BAIC.
Which bodes well for the possibilities of survival of a Saab based in Trollhättan.

My view of the situation is a simple as this:
Pang Da keeps Saab alive shortterm by buying cars on prepayment
Pang Da and BAIC makes an agreement to produce Saab in China, distributed through the Pang Da network
GM and BAIC congratulates each other
Longterm financing is secured
Vladimir Antonov gets approved once the longterm financing is almost ready and will probably try to set up some sort of production in Russia in cooperation with BAIC and their old Saab technology
All involved parties will have just below 30% of Swedish Automobile stocks

Saab lives happily ever after, suppliers live happily ever after, great cars follow and I can again curse the fact that Danish car taxes are 180% and contemplate moving to Sweden.

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The Facts of Life

Overview of the Saab Saga

Since conspiracy theory is running amok all over SU, maybe It’s time to take a more complete look at the situation.

Let’s start at the beginning around Dec 2009:

Oderly Wind Down.
This was the effect of Koenigsegg who pulled out because of the delays with government being very thorough around the EIB loans. This has been covered a lot around the time, so no need to go too much into that.
A pre-requisite for the sale was the EIB loans, and GM was worried.

Spyker came in and negotiated the deal.
Lots of problems with Vladimir Antonov, who had to get out in order to satisfy all parties.
The retirement of VA clears the problems and Tenaci is the money behind the deal. Mullers own finances with backup from undisclosed sources.

The deal is done with the legendary “Fully funded business plan”. And trust me, with all the involved parties looking into it with both political and economical reasons it WAS a fully funded business plan.
If not someone would have pulled the plug.
GM is still heavily involved in Saab with a lot of responsability, and the Swedish Government has taken a great
deal of flak for supporting the deal.
And the EIB are not excactly giving money away for fun.

So without the “Fully Funded Businessplan” there would have been no Saab in 2010.

2010 rolls by, a lot of strategic agreements are being made, development is running fast and new high profile
people are being introduced.
Unfortunately probably not enough as sales are disappointing in regards to the targets.
Not a problem yet, but it hollows out the business plan, and the fix is reducing costs at considerable speed to keep the overhead.
Regarding the “not enough people are being introduced” my own theory is that many of the people in the organization still suffer from GM syndrome, aka. “the guys at the top knows best, so lets not rattle the bushes”, and the fact that earlier being part of a large corporation with lots of money people gets a litte conplacent because they have always had the big brother bank to go to in case of acute problems.
I think that this is still part of some of the culture at certain parts of Saab.

Endresult after 2010 is about 40K cars sold. And probably this can not be counterweighted by rationalization.

Geneva introduces the 9-5 SC, the PhoeniX and a lot of future technologies. The 119g/km 9-3 Sc is also ready.
Everything is looking good.

Probably development costs for all new tech is a little higher than normal production, but it is important to show the flag for Saab as an innovative company and attract new buyers as many of the old ones are not coming back for all sorts of different reasons.
The new 9-3 is still scheduled for production in 2012 and the 9-4x will be introduced during the year.

Still remember the “Fully Funded Business Plan”? It is still the basis of most things going on.
And please remember that a lot of people have prestige, politics and money invested in this.
And that everybody has had a very thorough look at this plan

The release of Spykers Annual Report coincides with JÅJ announcing that he will retire and a emission of shares worth 23.1 mill EUR with connections to Russia. And the new CFO decided not to start
Sales for Q1 is about 10k cars.

Probably time to pull out a couple of skeletons from the closet:

The suppliers took a heavy hit when GM decided to Wind-down, and had to accept a low payment of their outstanding invoices when Saab restarted.
Many of them probably still considered Saab a high-risk but can not live without Saab as buyer, but they make shorter payment terms with the company, at least some down to 47 days.

The retirement of JÅJ in my view was probably a preparation for a change to let VA in as an owner, thus both giving him a possibility to step down in glory, and get a new CEO for the next step.
A well calculated plan involving both getting VA approved as stakeholder and eliminating the EIB loans that are high interest rate, and has taken security in much more than the actual worth of the loan
This has been a stated wish since Spyker took over, so it should come as no surprise to anyone

What happened next was a case of the worst kind of chainreaction FUD I have seen for a while.

Saab is ramping up production to meet the increased demand, and the suppliers can see their outstanding payments will be on the rise. JÅJs retirement announcement probably spooked the suppliers, and Schenker decided not to deliver due to unpaid bills.
This could come from a new Finance system inside Saab, or just the ralatively common practice of letting the
suppliers take the hit by not paying in time, thus keeping cashflow at balance by extending the payment.

Well..

It didn’t work.
When first Schenker started many of the suppliers got even more nervous and also stopped deliveries, effectively halting production.
Some suppliers started talking publicly about pre-payment or close to pre-payment for deliveries and talking about stopping deliveries when this was not met.

This is the point where Saab HAD to stop production until matters were solved.

The demands from the suppliers, reasonable or not, effectively means that in order to get production up to the expected levels more cash would be needed to finance the parts.
Since parts are almost 50% of the costs of Saab this is serious, and it completely breaks any kind of sticking to the original business plan.
The original business plan was also calculated in USD, but the exchange rates has changed so much that Saab did a complete recalculation. This may also have been a reason for the production stop

All of this accelerates the need for a quick approval of VA as shareholder, but again government checking and approving delays the process. Not only in NDO, but also with the foreign investors.

In order to keep the damage a low as possible, both economical and image wise, production needs to be restarted asap.
The quickest solution is to sell and then rent the property, thus generating short-term cash until VA is approved and solutions for the EIB loans are in place.

The new owners of Saab property will 2 banks owned by VA, so he is still not in, but he is most definitely there with a quick solution.

So we can expect to see the production start again during the week with these short-term finances.
At the same time VA can work on being approved by all parties as Shareholder.

There is absolutely nothing new in this.

It has been a wish form VA and VM from the start to get VA involved again.
Work on this has been done all the time.

The problems at the moment are in my view just a result of very jumpy suppliers combined with the fact that the plan for getting VA in during the year backfired due to this and bad PR.

Antonov is and has always been the buyer of Saab, with Muller as the visionary up front.

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Random quotes

The little dots of life:

“As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake.” Mark Twain

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” Mark Twain

“All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.” Henry David Thoreau

“People usually think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and ingrained opinions, but generally act according to custom.” Francis Bacon

“All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?” Friedrich Nietzsche

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.” Martin Heidegger

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” Rollo May

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Music and Anime

A little bit of Western Swedens finest combined with Anime:

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Live long and Prosper

Hi

It looks like 25-03-2011 will not go down in history as the best PR day for Saab.
Or it may, as it has generated just as many headlines as the PhoeniX and Iqon.

Lets see. What have we got? Another perfect storm, or natural evolution?

Spyker presents their annual report with a loss of 140mil. or something Euro.
Less than expected, and certainly a lot less than the red figures GM could produce while Saab was selling at their peak.
And still better than or according to the plan
But nonetheless red figures.

New emission of 5.5 mill Spyker shares. Value about 23.1 mill Euro, and the buyers are 3 companies, All either connected to Victor Muller or with russian connections and customers.

The newly appointed CFO decided not to start. Probably because he got an offer from his former employer that he could not refuse. At least his job at Lindab suddently grew a lot larger.

CEO Jan Åke Jonsson announced his retirement. This was the event that made the media world go crazy with conspiration theory.

Theory because all of the above would have been insignificant on their own.

The usual suspects of Car analysts, unfortunately one of them located in Denmark, roll out their general and somewhat antiquated looks at the autoindustry.
They seem to suffer from the same disease as the FIAT Head Marchionne, Which is that NO company can survive unless they are part of a much largeer corporation, due to lack of finances and funds for development, and the lack of large production benefits.
What they miss in that assumption is the fact that most of the Amarican Car industry died from that.
The reason there is an independent Saab is that GM actually died.
AND they are still in even more economic troubles than Saab.

Even though Christer Karlsson should be an expert on Innovation and changes in the car industry, he has missed that there is a paradigm shift making it possible for smaller companies to survive and introduce new models while at the same time reducing costs by sharing and selling technology.

This is big company advantages, but with small company benefits of not being tied into the larger corporation needs to recycle shared platforms and engines between brands.
Crisis either kills companies or create new ways of survival.
The analysts need to face those facts instead of reiterating outdated manufacturing paradigms.

This is where all the analysts fails regarding Saab. It is new ground

There has been a lot of cooporation arranged between Saab and other manufacturers, just check the press releases from Saab over the last 6 months.

The best example of what I am talking about is probably the iQon in-car infotainment system.
I have written something here that tries to describe what I think is its essence, but the general idea is that there is no need to start from scratch re-inventing things that actually is already made, you can use an open system, adapt it for your needs, keep the openness and have interested parties help develop, thereby reducing development costs yet still control and adapt for use in the specific environment.

The influence of this can not be underestimated.
Even though Saab needs larger volume sales to follow the original business plan, the cost reduction lowers the needed new sales to break-even.
What the Annual report shows is that Spyker/Saab is making losses, but still according to plan.
Not much news in that.
The interresting bits in these kinds of rapports are mainly for investors looking for either longterm investments or shortterm winnings.
If the plan is kept on track the losses or winnings are not that important.

And in view of that it puzzles me that there is so much suspicion regarding the new-emmision of Spyker shares.
Someone wants in. Probably longterm investors, as there is enormous potential for growth in Saab.
And of course there are russian connections. Vladimir Antonov wants to be in Saab.

At the end of this post from 20-02-2010 I wrote this.
This is not because I am psychic or a genious. This was clear information at the time.
Things have not changed since then.
Antonov is ready to make the necessary investments to keep Saab running even if the business plan should fail, and maybe even develop a new smaller car.
How could this be a danger to Saab?

Then we have the Major event:

JÅJ resigning.

What is there to say? We will miss him. A lot.
But in view of the above the timing is just about right.

The Business plan is coming along, costs are reduced to give some extra air in the original plan, there is a lot of new technology prepared or in development for production, partners have been found and VA is ready to come in with extra money.

This is also an important shift at Saab, no doubt about that, but there is no need to suspect any conspirations or imminent death to the company.

This is evolution. This is also what keeps companies alive. Changes come and needs to be handled.
I think that Saab is very much ready to handle all kinds of changes.

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Conscious?

You are about 1/2 sec late.

According to experiments conducted by neurofysiologist Benjamin Libet, the human consiousness is delayed. When the brain is ready for action ( measurable by EEG) it takes about 0,3 sec before you have a perception of Will and another 0,2 sec before the action.
What does this tell you ?

Firstly:
Subjective consiousness is not needed for action to take place. Human reaction time is shorter than 0,5 sec. (And most of what you do is unconscious anyway, just trust your body)

Secondly:
The experience is over before you become conscious of it, allowing the perceptions to be structured to general consensus (culture) and formed into this language. We see what we think we percieve, not what we actually percieve. What we experience have been added meaning before it becomes conscious. The conscious mind is a speaker, communicating your world. And that world is a simulation.

Meaning is only meaning in reference to or in distance from other meaning. Meanings are multiple, changing, contextual. There are no absolute truths beneath the shifting sands of history. There is only local and contingent truth, generated by human groups through their cultural systems. Even the unconscious is a cultural construct, as taboos are culturally formulated. Language itself, not some essential humanness or timeless truth is central to culture and meaning. It follows that the world we think we occupy is not the world we factually occupy. The world is a construction of ideology, the aforementioned simulation of the way that the world is. And this simulation even shapes our Selves.

Now enter Gödels and Turing. No logical system or language can prove its consistency from the inside. Randomness is what can not be expressed in an algorithm, and noone knows if it can be expressed in an algorithm before it actually is. We know there is order if we see it, but we cannot know that there isn’t order just because we can’t see it. The world can not be expressed in a complete theory, because all systems refer to their CENTER, the thing that created the system in the first place.
Until further notice the only map of the world that works is the world. and that’s a lot of information.

If information is not the problem, it is structuring the information ( wisdom ) that matters. Which leads us to logical depth. This is information processed by the sender into the relative simple system of language. The sender packs his personal perceptions, feelings and experiences into nice little consensual packages (words) that are supposed to have the same meaning to the other person who theen unpacks them and fills them with their own perceptions, feelings and experiences. They might not be the same as the senders, but if both are from the same ”world” elephants are generally big and grey with four legs.
More general: A subject sends out an object (word, art, music etc.) that is received by another subject. Normally the way we look at communication is that the actual message is the essential, but if you throw in the concept of presence (actually being there, speech) you get an object that carries much more than itself. There is a subliminal transferrence of your Self to the recipient, which will affect both sender and recipient. And the most important here is the fact that it is subconscious and as such goes beyond the simulation of the world. In this context it is actually the ”noise” of the message that becomes interesting. And the noise is an opening towards another way of perceiving the world, because it at the same time carries other meanings of language and is free from language.

Because we cannot detach ourself from the simulation (it forms our Selves), what is necessary is not to make new binary oppositions (just denying what is and deciding to believe in something else), which is just proceeding with the old order, but to look at the existing and erase the boundaries to show that the order and values implied by the oppositions are not rigid. This way you open up the world and put chaos into play. You can not escape your conscious mind and culture by Will. It is your starting point.

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A little more philosophy..

The simple truths of life:

Rappers need women to look cool.
Rockers are cool, so they get women.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a fact.

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