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This is the comments section for the (food) comic website Mostly About Food.

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In other news...

ComicsPosted by Kalle Tue, June 14, 2011 21:27:06

(Posted originally on June 26th, 2006)

Yeah, well, this one won't mean that much to you unless you can Swedish. Sorry for that. As mentioned in the introductory comic, I will see if I can translate the comic to English and publish - at least parts of - it on this website. No, it is not exactly food related, but I don't think anyone would mind, if there were a link to it on far right. And, as stated in the introduction, there is a lot of drinking going on in that story, so it's not entirely irrelevant.

As a whole I am not quite sure what to think of the book. Yes, I am proud for having published an actual book, by an actual publisher and having seen the book being in use at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. That is - I assume - the no. 1 tech university in Sweden, so having people read your book there is something I tell everyone at the dinner table. On the other hand, the book project has been going on for such a long time and has been so troublesome that I am a bit tired of it. Here's how it all went:

After many problems, agreements, disagreements and rearrangements I was sent, as a participant in Site Management Research Project, by a research group at Åbo Akademi University, to this third-world country called Pobrestan in the book (for those of you with Spanish skills: yes, the name is deliberate and describing) for four months to work and observe at Star Diesel's (that - along with every other name is changed, too) gas/diesel power plant building site. That I did. Then, when I came back I drew a 108-page comic about the experience, based on the diaries I had written while at the site. The comic (originally in Finnish) became a sort of organic attachment to my master's thesis, which in turn passed with second-best possible grades in May 2000. (THAT made me a bit too proud, because hardly anybody gets an "Eximia" and absolutely no-one I've ever heard of has got a "Laudatur" - the best grade - for their theses)

So, I was glad for having experienced a great adventure and for being able to put comics in my thesis and thought, that's it, let's get on with the couple of exams I have left, take out the papers and move on to the big world. But then the research group proposed that the thesis should be reworked a bit and published as a book, to be used on project management courses. Of course I was thrilled. To be 26 years old and an academic writer! An author. Cool. What happened was that the biggest research co-operation partner of the research group, Star Diesel said "Over your dead body". The book offers at times a not very flattering picture of the project organization. Meaning, it is not very good PR for the company (which it evidently thought a research co-operation with a university should be). And we are talking one of the largest heavy-industry companies in Finland here. So, in order to keep the research work going, the professors put the book plans on ice and told me that it would only happen if we got a go-ahead from Star Diesel.

The fun thing was that the director at Star Diesel, who put his foot on the book, thought it was a very honest and useful story about that project. So he asked me to some as a guest speaker at their own project management seminars, and I was glad to accept the invitation. I experienced some more or less heated discussions during and after those presentations and after my last presentation I got the company's permission to publish the book. I went back to PBI to tell the good news. They told me to get it in written. I did that, sent them a copy of the agreement, and waited.

In the mean time (we're talking somewhere around 2002-2003 now) the research group had evolved from a research group within a university to a privately owned consultant firm. They were probing for some new customers and the chairman of the board thought it too risky to show them, what kind of material the consultants might write and publish about them. They also let me know that it wasn't really the core business of the firm to publish books. This I found somewhat insulting, the whole book thing being their idea in the first place.

Anyways, I was advised to contact professor Claes Gustafsson at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and see, if he could help. And that was exactly what he could. First, a manuscript of the book was chosen as one of the course books to their advanced project management course and I got to go there to lecture about it a couple of times. Then, last summer, if I remember correctly, he got me in contact with publishing company Liber in Malmö, conveniently just across the strait from
Copenhagen.

And now, it is done. Six years it took, but at least I can say to have published a book. I would like to see it translated to Finnish (because the comic is so much better in its original language) and English (for obvious reasons). I don't expect much income from it, but I'm eager to see if it succeeds to raise any discussion within project management studies, or something like that. I'm just going to have to sell it a bit more aggressively.

A long story, but now it's told. So you may understand, why I am a little tired of a 6-year old comic, the publication process of which has been stopped and revived quite a few times. In any case, I am very glad to have done it and I am most grateful to everyone, who's helped me to publish the book.

Like it was stated in the introductory comic, I will translate the prelude to the book, called "Diesel Power" and put it up on this site for you to read. More about that later.