Notes from a Small Country

You’re always with yourself, so enjoy the company

“Listen to that, it’s sick! I’m gonna have one before I’m 30 to prove I did something with my life”

Said one teenager to another.

I was walking in London, from Whitechapel to Shoreditch.

Two teenagers were in front of me while a red Ferrari braked for the traffic lights. It then sat there revving its engine so everyone could notice and appreciate how awesome the driver was.

There’s no point showing off when there’s no-one to impress

It was a stark reminder of cultural differences between the UK and Denmark.

Differences such as confidence. Where in one culture your confidence comes from how others perceive you, and the other from how you perceive you.

I’ve been back in the UK this week, staying in Shoreditch for a work event.

Wow, I’d never really noticed how much we Brits seek validation from others (even those we don’t know or care about).

The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence

As a teenager, I wore second-hand clothing, read Batman comics and wrote BASIC on my Commodore Vic20.

None of those were accepted as cool choices in society back then.

And my confidence and self-esteem lowered continually over time.

It’s different for Danish kids. They’re happy with themselves.

When I first arrived in Denmark I mistakenly thought they weren’t an ambitious nation.

Yet I’ve discovered that Danes are ambitious, they just don’t like to show their ambition.

Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose

Danes like to succeed, though not in public.

There are virtually no taboo lifestyles, meaning there’s no right or wrong life.

They can choose the life that fits them, the one they want for themselves.

Not the one society says they should have.

When I see a person, I see a person – not a rank, not a job, not a class

My son is in Kindergarten, and even at his young age it’s clear to see that Danes are taught no matter what their skills are, they are important to society.

As they mature into students, they learn and accept that those who are great at science are not considered more valuable than those who are great at knitting or cooking.

Isn’t that awesome?

(the correct answer is yes!)

“The main purpose of Danish education is to help students develop individual personalities…” – Malene Rydahl

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it

I feel just as successful in Denmark as I did in the UK.

But I have no car, I don’t own a house, and my clothes don’t have expensive labels.

The measure of success is different.

Also, the world accepts geeks as cool now, that might be helping.

I hope you’re living the life you want to live. Not the life society or others want you to live.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot

I hope you enjoyed episode 6 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!

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See you next week for Episode 7.

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 12 April 2019

Quote I’m pondering –  Action expresses priorities” Mahatma Gandhi

I now see things differently – According to Gary Vaynerchuk LinkedIn is the next big social network to explode. I’ve had my doubts about LinkedIn, so it’s good to see people like Tim Ferriss and Gary V embrace it more, giving me confidence to invest the time. I’ve since been researching how to effectively engage on the platform. I discovered this infographic which is fantastic, 5 or 10 minutes each day and you’ll be well on your way to more effective LinkedIn engagement!

Favourite purchase this week – I finally subscribed to Blinkist. It’s amazing. If you haven’t seen Blinkist then take a look. Now I can get recommendations on books via summaries on my phone. It’s helping me decide whether to read a specific book or investigate more. If you like reading and gaining knowledge on any type of subject, Blinkist is certainly a great way to do it.

Will Smith shared something today about Effortless Manifestation. You can find it here on Instagram and on YouTube below. Will puts it well when he says opportunity is in abundance, you just gotta see it.

Long form read of the week. One of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with shared this article a week ago. I’ve not been able stop reading it since. It’s a fascinating view of Rupert Murdoch, both informative and worrying at the same time. If you consume any type of media, you might want to spend time reading this (at least a 20 minute read).


I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing what you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here. If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

See my other blog posts and interesting topics here:


5 Share Friday

5 Share Friday 5 April 2019

Quote I’m pondering – ” It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” – Hugh Laurie

Article that’s changed my behaviourAdam Grant’s NYTimes article on productivity is a worthy read. He shows how attention management not time management is the solution for increased productivity. I particularly liked the mention of Paul Graham’s blog where he describes dividing the week into “maker days” and “manager days”, I’m trying it!

Favourite purchaseCube Cross Pro bicycle. Being carless isn’t as easy as I thought in Denmark. When you bike everywhere, you need a really good bike. So I ditched all the prior advice on city bikes and bicycle living, focusing on my own needs. I found the Cube Cross Pro light enough and high spec enough for almost all cycling (with and without kids). I no longer get tired from trying to keep up with my wife on our family bike (she has battery power!).  If you’re looking for a bicycle to get you around town, take you into the country, carry or tow your kids, you won’t get better than this one for the price.

On employee experience – I saw another fantastic article this week. Part of it details how most of us are now in a stage where we have too much technology, and not enough time at work. The author goes on to describe how a major part of building an employee experience is simplifying the technology experience, and designing programs that happen “in the flow of work.”

Even in a relatively new company I’m finding systems I’m required to use (benefits, expense, IT infrastructure inc email servers and permissions to online systems etc.) appear to have been created in silo’s. They stop my flow at times, blocking my most important work. Imagine working for a company where systems thinking, resulting in departments collaborating on a ‘whole’ employee experience make everything flow, I want that.

Book I’m reading – I found my old John Titor book the other day. John Titor sparked great debate amongst friends and work colleagues years ago. This book is  a fascinating look at one of histories recorded time travellers, reprinting all of his posts online. I’m not saying I believe he was a time traveler, though I like to think he might have been. It’s an amazing read (Here’s a good online summary for those not aware of John).

Thankfully many of his predictions did not come true, though could it simply be that in our timeline they’re still in our future? 🙂


I hope you have a great weekend doing what you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here. If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

See my other blog posts and interesting topics here:

Opposites don’t always attract

When I think about communication, I think about 2 preference types. A person who prefers external motivation, and a person who prefers internal motivation.

I have an internally motivated preference. I don’t need others to motivate me in order to thrive. If there’s a problem, there’s no need to pepper it with positivity or other external factors to get me going. In fact, if you do so then I might even be suspicious of the intent.

When I meet others who have the same preference (most of us rarely think about which preference we have) a spark usually happens, where conversation flows easily, we are mutually inspired, and misunderstanding rarely happens.

When I interact with people who’s preference is external motivation it’s easy to feel a little difficulty, as free flowing conversation and mutual inspiration are rarely present. That’s ok, I know I have to adapt to each and every interaction. What I’m pondering is why I’m noticing it more than before? Am I changing, is the world around me changing? The answer of course is both, yet what I’ve realised is I’m surrounded by more people with an opposite communication preference than any time I can remember.

So lately I’m spending a lot of focus working on positive messaging, as well as  understanding the negative impact that comes from not understanding another person’s communication preference.

This is actually a wonderful and hugely challenging situation. I’m learning something, something that may already be obvious to many. Yet until now I can only wonder what the negative impact of not working on this has had on my previous interactions.

Where I thrive on hearing that everything is blowing up and no one believes it can change (as I will believe it can), a large proportion of people around me want to hear the opposite. They want to hear what good came from the blowing up and who supports and believes in them. There’s nothing wrong with either preference, though once you understand yours you can build on it and much stronger relationships.

If I’d have realised my preference years ago, it’s a safe bet I would have had many more positive outcomes, in and out of work.

Does all this sound obvious to you? Do you know your preference?

I don’t need to hear what good came from an explosion, I’m already working on clearing up the mess and understanding what caused it, what would you be doing?

“You have power over your mind―not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.” ―Marcus Aurelius