TAKEOFF 2014. The reflection (photo-report).
Takeoff 2014 has been a truly great experience and a successful event this year. One of our previous posts provided the brief event summary, however we would still like to reflect back to the key points of the seminar.
Donna Kivirauma from TeamUp started our great line up of quest speakers. TeampUp has grown in need to ease the follow up of sponsorshipment return for companies, teams and athletes. TeamUp started their service in Finland in 2012 and they have just begun to expand abroad, teams like Real Madrid are starting to use their service. 4P’s was the key in Donna’s speech for future entrepreneurs. Purpose, passion, perseverance and positive thinking. With those qualities you can turn your chance to success.
Jyrki Saarinen started his company, Heptagon, back in 1993. Business didn’t really start until 2000, but this micro-optics spin off company from University of Helsinki has really gone big after cameras came to mobiles. Jyrki’s topic was ’10 challenges of the startups’. Before going in to that he underlined that there is no mistakes in doing business, only learnings. List of challenges included things like business idea, customer acquisition, pricing and recruitment. All things were walked through with examples from his own perspective in Heptagon.
Olli Tiihonen is the co-founder and the lead developer of the health startup Caktus inc. Caktus inc is developing a health product, which will help people monitor their water intake and thus help keep them hydrated. Tiihonen is a 4th year student at LUT, which made his presentation even more exciting. Tiihonen was a perfect example of the Break The Limits -spirit by starting his journey as a entrepreneur at a young age while still studying at the university.
Marc Dillon, the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Jolla, graced us with his presence as one of our keynote speakers. According to Mr. Dillon, the idea to continue improving the Meego operating system despite it being previously scrapped by Nokia, happened because some of Nokia’s former employees saw potential in it and wanted to continue developing in further. In addition, Mark also stated that the abilities to collaborate and build a team with high team spirit is one of the cornerstones for a successful entrepreneurial endeavour. Regrettably Mark was on a tight schedule during the day of the event and had to leave right after his keynote speech. However, he did not leave before he was given a pink LUTES shirt as a souvenir (He separately asked whether we had any spares).
After the first part of the seminar all the participants were invited to the cocktail break, where they had an amazing opportunity to network and socialize in the atmosphere of entrepreneurship spirit! After the break seminar continued to its second half!
Fredrik Löfberg, Integround OY – “When there is revenue, there is always hope!” After the cocktail break, TakeOff 2014 kicked-off with an interesting speech by Fredrik Löfberg, the CEO of Integround Oy. Fredrik is a genuine LUT alumnus, and a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. Among the key drivers for Fredrik’s choice of pursuing an entrepreneurial life-style was his desire to do more, what he calls the “start-up fever”, as well as the desire to make some money. While he notes that money is generally not the primary motive for entrepreneurs, there are likely very few who would not like to do well financially while pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
Fredrik captured the attention of the gathered crowd by sharing great stories of entrepreneurship: from small-scale high school business ventures, to great ideas with an unfortunate lack of actual markets, to finally finding the big idea with a real demand. His speech was truly inspirational, showing that in entrepreneurship, perseverance is king when considering the keys to success. Integround OY occupies a space in a quickly growing cloud integration market, providing state-of-the-art functionalities that are the most advanced available in the Nordics.
Antti Vilpponen, UpCloud OY Following suit in the cloud computing theme, Antti Vilpponen was up next to take the floor. He introduced us to a rapidly growing company in the field of “infrastructure as a service” companies, taking on many of the giants in cloud computing, such as Amazon. UpCloud offers first-in-class reliability and stability in their cloud services, at a highly competitive price-point. Antti left the crowd with an expanded understanding of what companies face when they decide to go international. Antti said that the key in his opinion when competing against the industry giants is to offer the product or service with more flexibility and greater agility, at a reasonable price point.
Henkka Hyppönen – radio voice, anchor, business coach. Taking us away from the cloud themes, Henkka made an immediate impression by being the first speaker to get the microphone working! Henkka is a multi-talented individual, who is perhaps best known in Finland for his long career in the media industry, having been a prominent radio-voice and tv-face. He has also accomplished himself as an author, an entrepreneur, as well as a professional trainer and business coach. Henkka talked about many themes from everyday life that often go unnoticed, and which greatly influence the business world and entrepreneurship. To start things off, he asked the crowd to ponder the act of doing things, from a philosophical point-of-view. From a pessimistic viewpoint, he provided a quote from a book called Metsäjätti (Forest Giant), which went as follows:
“Nothing is worthwhile. Whichever action you choose, the expected benefit is no better than having not chosen anything.”
Prescribing to this line of thinking can be thought of as un-entrepreneurial, and is not something Henkka himself would follow as a philosophy. However, the school of thought that Henkka himself considers as his own could be summarized in another quote:
“Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends on what you want to consider.” – David Foster Wallace
So despite all the odds being against you, nothing is impossible until you have at least tried and failed. And every now and then, unlikely things do became huge things. Was likely that the Finnish game industry would take such leaps and experience the boom that it is in now? Was likely for Nokia to pave its way into being the leading mobile phone manufacturer in the world for over a decade? None of this was likely, but because people refused to believe that it is impossible, great success has been achieved, Henkka argued.
Henkka also spoke about the “yellow cars” in society, which are in essence the obvious peculiarities that can easily be observed, if we didn’t train ourselves to ignore such deviations from the norm. As a prime example Henkka demonstrated this phenomenon with the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which was ignored or called crazy by most industry experts, but later turned into one of the greatest songs in popular music.
Jonas Kjellberg – one of the Skype creators. What is the key to business success? If you would have asked this question from Jonas in the early 2000’s, an executive at search engine Lycos at the time, he would have no doubt said “Frequency”! It was his dogma at the time, following the 100/10/1 rule of a door-to-door salesman: for 100 “knocks”, you get access to 10 people, of which 1 will convert to a sale. Frequency was the primary focus of Jonas, following the thinking that if you knock on enough doors, you will inevitably sell enough to be successful. So what went wrong? According to Jonas, “a shitty little company from Palo Alto California made a better product”. And that’s just not fair, says Jonas.
In the theme of better products, Jonas spoke about finding the delights of the customers. By delight, Jonas means that special extra beyond the functionality and efficiency of the product. As a word of warning though, if the delight becomes the core of the product, it risks moving down tiers to be a basic functionality, and thus no longer provide extra value.
TAKEOFF has been a great opportunity for us to spread a good word of entrepreneurship in Lappeenranta and we will continue completing this mission by inspiring the crowd and providing them the necessary support! Thank you too all, who had a chance to attend the event!
The event continued by the Sauna evening, where the seminar attendees could discuss all the entrepreneurship ideas and thoughts in the informal atmosphere.
Brought to you by Veronika Kiseleva, Michael Lindén, Sebastian Rainbird, Markus Laukkanen, Markus Siivola and Anne Polak