Category Archives: Finland

That’s So Finnish

Nokia used to be a Finnish icon. Torchbearer of innovation, engineering and design.

Then, in 2007, Apple released the iPhone and denied Nokia the opportunities to be innovative, continue to create iconic designs or even engineer decent phones. If there’s anyone to blame for Nokia’s misfortune, slide in profits and marketshare, in the recent years, it has got to be the iPhone, Apple and their creator, Steve Jobs. Right? If only Nokia had invented the iPhone, all would be well.

Too many newspaper and magazine articles in Finland about Apple are blaming them for single handedly reducing Nokia from being one of the largest companies in the world to one which future as an independent company is no longer certain. (Microsoft could have bought them twice over with their cash holdings.)

Here’s David J. Cord for Helsinki Times: “[Steve] Jobs has probably been directly responsible for thousands of Finns losing their careers at Nokia or its subcontractors”.

Here’s another quote from Kauppalehti (to call them Financial Times of Finland is giving them too much credit but for the sake of familiarity, that’s the role they play there): “It is widely assumed that the [24th October] release date of Steve Jobs’ biography is timed to take press coverage away from Nokia World [which was on 26th Oct in London]”

Both quotes, I believe, represents the populist views that the press in Finland are eager to imbue. It’s easy to blame Nokias misfortunes to an outside force rather than be critical of the Finnish icon.

What’s worst in this is that this misguided view is mostly only held by the press and some of the public. Nokia management knew the ship was going to run ground unless the course was changed. They tried to change it but were not able to.

One personality trait that Finns have is a fear of failure. When you’re biggest fear is to fail it becomes near impossible to talk about it and accept it when you have failed. Nokia has been much more than just another company to Finns.

But that was in 2007. Now, in 2011, it’s high time for the press in Finland to grow up and 1) report on lessons that can be found in what went wrong with Nokia and 2) give a fair treatment to innovation that comes from outside the borders.

Double Save

Two things that saved my neck yesterday:

1: I was working on a recording audio and we had just written the script in TextEdit from notes gathered on A4’s. Only 20 minutes to finish, with absolutely no possibility to extend the time (for reasons I can’t explain here). You can probably see where this is going even before it started? So my MacBook craps out on me when pressing ‘stop’ after about five recordings. No mouse, no keyboard, no response and no time to waste. Reason why I almost panicked, was that of course I didn’t remember to save the text document after creating it. That was the major issue, it would take about 15 minutes to re-write the document, so it could be very tight to get it finished.

I was literally blinded with joy when TextEdit launched and automatically recovered my document. Blinded. I had no idea auto-recovery actually works on non-saved documents, too. Brilliant.


2: The other occasion I was saved in was at The Finnish Church in London. Not in the conventional way as you might expect from being in a church but by replenishing my coffee supply. As you know I go through a lot of coffee and about a week ago I ran out. Since moving to the UK about 5 years ago, I’ve maybe bought three or four packs of regular ‘British’ filter coffee and thrown all of them away. Rubbish. Buying it from a normal supermarket was not an option.

If you happen to be in South London or have some time to spend, I’d recommend visiting the church. They have a small shop selling Finnish products like coffee, rye bread and tons of different candy, a cafe and a proper Finnish sauna. The shop, by the way, to me is a bit like visiting Ikea Food Market is for a Swede. Except the produce is not aftermarket and 2nd class. You do pay for quality.

In other news today, Hannes Heikura, the photojournalist, won the Finnish news photo AND the photographer of the year competition, again. Have a look at his work here. He’s good.