TED talks are great as always. Enjoy this fun and inspirational one from Clay Shirky, showing how democracies can take a lesson from the Internet, to be not just transparent but also to draw on the knowledge of all their citizens.
Here in Finland there are various public programs supporting and funding aspiring entrepreneurs. That at least is the publicly stated mission. Apparently reality has been more mixed, some people are happy with government efforts while some argue them to be inefficient and wrongly focused. The main problem many apparently see is the willingness of these programs to only support “safe and secure” projects and typical growth-startups can rarely be categorized as such.
Today I met with a local-level person from such a government program and discussed the UTU business plan with him. My hopes were not set very high, but reality was actually quite good. These advisors are ex-entrepreneurs or current entrepreneurs. This arrangement makes tons of sense compared to discussing business plans with “Ye Olde Civil Servant”. Most of the advice was along the lines I expected, but also got some fresh advice and had a chance to practice talking about UTU with brand new person.
There will soon be a continuation on this track. My hope is that ultimately some government support is forthcoming in one form or another.
Spring 1999 brought many changes to my life. Internet was really gaining momentum and I was riding the wave. It was ridiculously easy to find a job as I already had good working knowledge of many essential tools and technologies. I interviewed with three companies and was offered position with all. I picked Satama as they seemed to have nice people, professional attitude and well-known clients.
Satama soon became one of the largest web and digital media agencies in Finland. It was built by fusing together several small startups and boatloads of investment money. I was almost in time to be one of the early employees but not quite. We grew insanely fast and spread to several continents. I was in excellent position to work with so many great people.
Satama gravitated towards ever-larger clients. We started building really big and scalable web applications. I gained much better understanding of underlying business processes and moved towards more senior roles.
At Satama we were connected and keen on new things. We were among the first 0.01 % to join LinkedIn.
After the dotcom crash everyone moved onward from Satama. Many forged their new destinies in the digital world.
At Satama I did projects for Chunghwa Telecom, Finnish Red Cross, Finpro, HIM, International Youth Foundation, Nokia, Satama Interactive, S-Group, Sinebrychoff, Sonera, Talentum and Yliopiston Apteekki.
Year was 1999 and while studying in the university we were deep-diving into the world of servers and web hosting. After provisioning some capacity from US data-center during hobby project we realized that we could repackage and sell this capacity for Finnish customers.
Soon we founded a company on this idea and named it Da Vinci Innovations. I think we picked name like this so we could also sell IT consultancy alongside hosting. In hindsight must say that for pure web hosting our name was not too great 🙂
This being our first company and us being typical “IT guys” we had really limited understanding of business, sales and marketing. Somehow we still muddled our way to customers, revenues and ramen-profitability.
Ultimately we scaled this company down as growth was fairly slow, competition was increasing very fast, and our university studies limited the time we could commit into this venture.
The business plan for UTU is slowly taking shape. However, one can only go so far with own brainpower and imagination. Thus i have now contacted large group of suitable friends and associates. My request for them was to provide concrete and honest feedback.
I am quite happy with the results so far. Good comments and proposals are coming from all corners. I could always benefit from even more external input, but my brain is already being stimulated and new possibilities are appearing.
Big thanks to everyone who has participated and will participate on this track.
Internet was great. My first large application application combined Hotmail-style functionality with threaded discussion groups and media sharing. I was able to learn bleeding edge web technologies and core Internet protocols. This project was ultimately scaled down as we were unable to figure good product-market fit and decided to focus back on our university studies.
This project enabled me to find employment in the nascent dotcom economy of Finland.
I grew up in small town in Southern Finland. My mom worked in childcare and we had a small shop selling recycled building materials. My dad worked in construction and slowly grew his business to dozens of employees. Together with my younger brother we had good childhood and were privileged to gain excellent lifetime friendships.
During my early life Finland was next to Soviet Union while simultaneously being partially western. Slowly things changed in our society and modern Finland was born. Advanced technology became available and we Finns eagerly adopted it. Meteoric rise of Nokia boosted our hopes for the future. Internet arrived and irrevocably changed everything for many of us.
My life was totally hooked to computers since early junior school. VIC20, C64, AMIGA and PC models beyond counting. My coding life started when I was nine. Games and coding were my true passion. While in junior school I authorized some programming tips to the national IT magazine.
Together with my brother we operated fairly advanced multi-node and multi-line BBS from 2400 bbs until the arrival of Internet.
These precious early years were great fun and high adventure for me.