I Love Nokia


Backtracking December 2007: I started then to work for Allianz SE, German insurance giant located in Munich. For everybody in the headquarters, I came essentially from Nokia country. One of my closest colleague and a brilliant brain, Pramod from India, said to me: the two companies I really follow in the world are Apple and Nokia. And certainly: I was a proud inhabitant of that symbolic Nokia country, I loved to be the messenger of the brand because it meant quality, customer-orientation and agility.

Of course very little is left now but that is not my point. I just want to take a little tour of gratitude with my relationship with Nokia. When I start think of it I notice there are huge amount of things I am grateful for. I just list the seven most important ones:

1)      I am grateful for Jorma Ollila and the “dream team” he formed in the early 1990’s. We had experienced –as a country and economy –an enormous crash as a result of the fall of the Soviet block (export crash) and housing bubble (financial market crash). Nokia showed our way out of that demise, mended together our shattered self-confidence and put our country on the track to become a showcase of digital-based knowledge society. Though Ollila failed to leave the company early enough get the organization catapulted to the next trajectory, thus suffocating its creativity, I am still very very grateful to this man who did such a marvelous job to uplift my country

2)      I am grateful for having been a proud owner of around 20 Nokia mobile phones (yes I know it sounds like megalomaniac consumerism which I don’t like but this has been my obsession/exception). The last one -Nokia Lumia 1020 – is an absolute masterpiece, no doubt the best smartphone in the world: incredible pictures with 41 megapixels, smooth operations and wonderful properties. But much earlier, ever since the first phone (was It 2110?) it always felt Nokia phone has a certain touch of quality. I loved the operating system, it felt familiar and reliable and though design was seldom anything real fancy, it was all right, enough to ease my appetite. And the first communicator, the world first smartphone, was a real feat what all a phone can do! I loved to show it to my foreign friends wherever I went. Nokia phone was Finnish innovation in the nutshell.

3)      I am grateful for Nokia because now we have over two hundred new companies started by those who have left Nokia. Entrepreneurs are what Finland really needs. There are also good amount of capital spread to Finnish businesses by those Nokia-fellows that got rich while working for the company.  Without having numbers to back me up, I have the sense that money generated  by and through Nokia is much more active than “old money” of industrial families

4)      I am also very grateful for Nokia because in all these years Nokia had  progressive flair in the way they run their business. In developing countries – with India as prime example – they provided cheap but quality phones for people. It was not the usual crap that companies sell to poor people. They were also prime doers in building the industry standards, a hugely important work particularly in the 1990’s. In environmental and larger sustainability issues Nokia was always the most progressive among the peers.

5)      I am also very grateful that Nokia is transforming itself into something new! The sale of the phones marks actually the new beginning. I started to sense the tidal change coming a year ago (you may track it from my past columns). There was not much public belief for Nokia around that time. To all of us that thought then- in spite of market sentiments -that Nokia is on the way to a new trajectory, also in terms of value creation and as investment target, that insight has been rewarded generously in the market valuation ever since.

6)      I am grateful that Nokia has released itself from essentially 5th wave business (see my theory of the waves…) and is now getting ready for the 6th wave business: to build a infrastructure to a much smarter world in terms of resource use and sustainability. I am sure Nokia is finding its way to contribute to that new emerging and very different world

7)      To sum up: Thank you Nokia, you made my life a lot more exciting in the past 20 years. In the last years you’ve been through heaven and hell. Through hardships you have become humble again. Furthermore, the Nokia of the future - networks, mapping+navigation systems, patents and 5 billion additional cash - has enormous potential. With new hunger for success, 400 hundred new recruits this year, which other technology company holds more potential for the future?

Nokia, I love you for all this and I bet you will create new wonders in the future

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