Saturday, 20 April 2013

Finland: the garden of technology

(I am still surprised someone still reads this blog as my last update was almost a year ago... but it seems that some crazy guy still visits this... Thanks!)

Anyway back on the topic I had in mind, random thoughts about stuff and technology. If you don't know I am working as CTO of Jolla, a finnish based mobile phone company, and I had a lot of different discussions lately with startups here in Finland.

Just yesterday I realized what luck we have to be living and working here.

In a land were most of the people are shy and prefer to talk to you via IRC (I am one of those BTW even though I am not shy) and darkness and ice are there for several months a year you might think that living here is just boring and totally not fun (well sometimes is not fun when it's -20C outside...). But if you happen to be in the technology field, jeez, this is Colorado in the age of gold mining.

The talent is tremendous and when you hear a pitch it might sound and look flat, but that's just due to the Finnish accent of the guys that are presenting. If you look at the contents you understand the amount of top notch talents that are available in Finland.

Why now?

So where the heck was all this talent all these years?

I believe most of them were working in Nokia and now with the fallout happened after year 2011 all these ideas were liberated, all these top notch talents had to actually find a job and Nokia helped them not to find a job but to create new ones (kudos to Nokia for that!).

So 2013 is the year when Finland has become the Silicon Valley of Europe, the Ice Valley of technology.

Why does it work?

The scholastic system of Finland. It's not about the PISA rankings guys, it's about the fact that everybody is the same and receives the same education. There are geniuses but all the rest is good as well. So if there is a lack of geniuses well the system still works.

Collaboration. Finland gets it right, is not by going solo that you will become the best, you have to collaborate and share the ideas, only in a place where ideas can grow and flourish the collective intelligence will lead to common success. If you have a beautiful flower and this flower lives in the desert with no possibility to get water... the flower will die.

Ideas in Finland are watered every second, people talk, share ideas, collaborate (by the way Linux was born in Finland in a cottage) and the whole nation grows.

What does not work?

Money. We have been running around and talked to so many people to get some money to start Jolla (eventually we managed) and in Finland unfortunately there is not yet enough access to money for startups. Entrepreneurship is getting better but everyone's willingness to take risks is still quite low and definitely lower than Silicon Valley. It's getting better but still it can improve.

Any big guy there listening? Finland is the place for innovation in 2013 (and gaming industry is supercool here with SuperCell and Rovio among others) put some more water (money) into the system and this place will become the best garden for technology in the world. Please ;)