Notes from a Small Country

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Marty McFly

It was the summer of 1985 and I was in the USA staying with my dad. We watched Back to the Future in the movie theatre and it became a film that stayed with me forever.

In the UK, it was a time when people met up more, a time when consumerism of goods hadn’t become so throw away, and a time when shops closed every Wednesday afternoon.

“If my calculations are correct when this baby hits 88MPH, you’re gonna see some serious s***”

Living in Denmark in 2019 can be like living back in 1985.

A life with one car families. People spending a lot more time outside. Social skills are highly valued, and TV watching well balanced. Oh, and high street shopping is very much alive and kicking too.

Honestly, Ferrero Rocher and Lion Bar are hugely popular as well.

It’s not all white t-shirts and Levi’s however, Denmark is a mix of old and new. It’s a country whose population is made up of tech-savvy people who love early adoption of devices and technology.

The key difference between 2019 in the UK & USA and 2019 in Denmark is mostly a mindset.

Technology compliments Danish life, it doesn’t drive it.

Take me back to the future

Going back in time isn’t all good.

I love the calm, I love simplicity. I don’t love Sunday with not much is open and very little going on outside of the city.

During the week, local shops and post offices close for lunch. They really do! The busiest time in a UK post office (if you’re lucky enough to have a post office) is lunchtime. I honestly don’t know how Danes can do personal chores outside of working hours. It’s increasingly obvious they do it in their workday and employers are sympathetic to it.

Our doctor’s surgery doesn’t even have a website. It’s so old school there’s a piece of paper sellotaped to the front door with the phone number and opening hours (which are 9-5, Mon – Frid btw).

Back to mindset

The 1980s felt like the last decade of calm. Busy lives were left to the bankers, CEO’s and fast-paced white-collar workers. It all started to change towards the end of the decade when Thatcherism pivoted society towards less community and more ‘what’s in it for me’?

Thankfully not so in Denmark, where it’s poor taste to think you’re better than the next person just because you have more money. The villains in Danish movies will often be rich people and it feels like being successful is more about living a happy life than the car you drive and money you make.

White poo all over again…

So I’ll take going back in time, as it comes with calm, simple and unselfish living.

I’m not sure about the white dog poo though? Remember that? It was everywhere in 1985, and it’s all over the place in my local neighbourhood right now in 2019.

Where’s my DeLorean?…


I hope you enjoyed episode 4 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

See you next week for Episode 5.

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Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at

Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: Marcus Purvis Newsletters

5 Share Friday

5 Share Friday 21 June 2019

Quote I’m pondering “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

I’ve recently started to Bullet journal and I can’t believe I didn’t look into this before now. If you don’t know what it is then check this link for an overview

I’m using the Leuchtturm1917 notebook.

Looking for a summer read?  Bill Gates does it again with a fantastic selection. My wife bought me A Gentleman in Moscow, a gripping read that may actually take most of the summer for me to finish due to it’s size!

I finished the podcast To Live and Die in LA (mentioned in my 5 share last week). I have to say it’s one of my favourite non lifestyle design podcasts. It has all the ingredients needed: compelling, thrilling, reflective, action and adventurous. If you’re looking for a true life / crime listen then look no further.

Parenting and entrepreneurshipThis article by Mario Peshev has some great tips (even if you’re not a parent). I already practice the 1-3-5 list technique, which he lists as No. 3 Level up your time management and productivity, it has the benefit of helping me feel accomplished when I finish up work. His No. 5 Let working hours be all about work is also a crucial lesson I adopted years ago (from Tim Ferriss’ blog). Check out the other 6 and improve how you focus.


I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

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