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A Few Questions for Tóti (Interview #2)

But mostly, I'm a lazy bum, quite happy with a good book, a latte and/or glass of red wine.

I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting a second interview and it is finally ready for you. What a strange and wonderful place the Internet is. When I was looking for Icelandic blogs, one of Tóti’s was among the first that I found. And it was through his blog that I discovered just how technology hungry, not to mention technology savvy so many Icelandic people are. I would tell you more in this introduction, but he tells the story better himself:

Born in 1967, making me a gen-x character. Have a degree in marketing and economics from a small Catholic college called Assumption College in Worcester Mass. Don't ask, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Started out working in advertising and media, but paroled myself from that particular career with time off for good behaviour. Went into international marketing with a focus on Software and IT in 94 and have sold and marketed stuff in places from Kamchatka to Taipei, US, Sweden and others. A map of my travels can be found here and my blog is at toti.simblogg.is. I can currently be found running a start-up called Hex Software which specializes in mobile services, including mobile blogging and speech based applications. Company motto: We build character, company goal: Make money, satisfy customers, have fun.

People in Iceland seem to be very interested in new technologies. Why do you think this is?

Tóti: I think it's a cultural thing. Since we, as a people, kind of skipped the industrial revolution and really joined the rest of the world after World War II, we went straight into the information age. All of a sudden we got new stuff that made our lives considerably easier, including lots of tech stuff. And we also figured out that we could use technology to make up for lack of manpower. So we got used to it as a concept, and therefore got interested in using it in our personal lives as well. Plus the fact that we've got some looooong cold winter nights to tinker with our toys.

What do you see as the future of moblogging?

Tóti: Personal content management, kind of digital storage bin for all sorts of stuff.

Other than in terms of technology, how do you feel that Iceland has changed in the last ten years or so?

Tóti: We have significantly more freedom than before, mostly due to our membership in the European Economic Area. Through that we have inherited a whole lot of personal and financial privileges which our political leaders were unwilling to give us themselves. This has also led to a more cosmopolitan attitude, as it has become easier for people to move elsewhere and work or for people to move here. Which is good.

What is the general attitude toward the continued military presence at Keflavik? What is yours?

Tóti: I don't really know how the general attitude towards the military presence could best be described, since we have very strange feelings about it. First of all there's the money we get from it. Then there are the search and rescue helicopters, which have saved many lives. But then again there's the feeling that the Cold War is over. It was in all the papers. We won. As for terrorism; the terrorist threat has existed in Europe for decades, and it was only when it threatened the US that it became a 'real threat'? And anyways, you can't defend against terrorism without running a totalitarian regime, and even then it's impossible. So we don't really see who we are being defended against. And we really don't get that the world is a dangerous place, since nobody is mad at us for anything. So I can't really say what the general attitude is, but we seem to find it a bit odd.

My personal view? If we are to remain members of NATO, we need to be defended, because otherwise we'd be the weakest link if someone wanted to make a point. Seeing that our GNP does not allow us to spend much on national defense, we would not be able to do so ourselves. If the US military presence here is cut down to only serve US needs, I would have to consider supporting us leaving NATO and asking the remaining military presence politely to leave at their earliest convenience, as we had decided to be truly neutral.

But mostly, I'm mad that when my dad was offered a ride on an F15 double seater trainer, he declined and did not volunteer me to take his place. Curse you, Red Baron :-)

What one thing would you tell a visitor to do in Reykjavik?

Tóti: Seek out the music.

Which Icelandic bands do you recommend?

Tóti: Kimono, Einar Örn, virtually anything signed at Bad Taste.

What sort of tourists annoy you?

Tóti: Tourists don't really annoy me at all. I get annoyed by the Icelandair campaigns that demean Icelandic women though, as I don't really consider them to be loose women at all. And if they were, should we really advertise that to others and increase competition?

You went to college in Worcester, MA which is not far from where I live. What can you say about that experience?

Tóti: Nice things. You guys have a nice colour scheme going there in autumn. The school was fine, good people, and generally speaking a good place to stay.

When I get back to Reykjavik, where do you recommend I eat? (I'm a poor school teacher on a budget though!)

Tóti: Umm... then you'll have to stun pigeons and cook them with your travel iron. I hear 'wool' is a good setting to use.

Seriously though, Vegamot, a bistro café is very nice, reasonable prices, smart(mouth) staff. That's where we go.

If you had a few free hours away from work and life's responsibilities, how would you spend that time?

Tóti: In the summer I'd go sailing. If we'd ever get any snow in winter, skiing. But mostly, I'm a lazy bum, quite happy with a good book (well, not all agree that what I think is good is good) a latte and/or glass of red wine. Preferably with the girlfriend within reach.

Well, I certainly had many more questions for Tóti but, as you can see from his blog and website, he’s a busy man. And who am I to delay the implementation of new technologies with a few questions. I’d love to hear more about his experiences in Worcester, for example. It’s about as far away from Reykjavik culturally as a person can go. Look for more interviews coming soon. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it. And if you know someone who’s just dying to be interviewed for this feature, pass his/her name along to me.

nóvember 14, 2003 | Permalink


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Tracked on 16.11.2003 13:01:32


Interview ME! ME! Oh wait, you mean an Icelandic person. Ahhh...great interview... Who are you interviewing next?

Posted by: kristen | 15.11.2003 08:21:06

Who next? hmmm...well, I have one interview on hold because the subject is Novembering in South Africa. Who'll be next is for the moment a secret (you know, one of those "secrets" that is a secret because I don't have anyone lined up at the moment).

Posted by: Joe | 15.11.2003 08:40:33

ahhh it's gudmundur isn't it!?

Posted by: kristen | 15.11.2003 09:44:07

Nice interview! Good questions. Tóti has great insights too. Hm, wonder where I can get a stun gun...

Posted by: smallfeat | 16.11.2003 13:09:41

i am rajender singh i need interview question for tourist visa

Posted by: rajender singh | 6.8.2010 04:26:00

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