Stress – a king medical umbrella approximation of them all. More harmful than life, more reaching than death and as difficult to control than a Heffalump on cocaine.
Guess what, the darkness of stress dominated Middle Age might just be over giving way for the light of Renaissance as Moodmetric is here! To sort out our plight, they have forged us in the depths and blazing fires of Mt. Techmore the true lord of the rings – the one to conquer them all.
No, don’t be mistaken to regard it as another lifelogging device, this one is something more fundamental. This is response to the prayers for us who have been struck down on our knees so bad in the final frontiers of resilience that we had to crawl back years to be operational again. This is the tool for those daring to look in the mirror and fight not to leave even if they don’t like what they see, because the popular quick fixes do not offer hope neither humor anymore.
Again, if you think this is yet another heart monitor, activity bracelet, or magical ametist moodring, giving this ring a chance you are in for a surprise.
I was privileged to take a FTD glimpse into a day at Moodmetric. Let the poor-to-mediocre attempt to capture the essence of the day in a video speak for itself. Warning: Video contains harsh imagery and self promotion.
Finally I see a clear guiding light to the dark places within me that are the most difficult to manage; me. I see a sustainable solution to gain control over many different types of condition that were previously measurable only in lab conditions (and therefore also totally useless in real life too): autoimmune disease treatment, chronic inflammation relief, cortisol control, and maybe even unexplained infertility. I see also maybe a bit of fun giving my friends a lie detecting test to spot the psychopaths. I see hope.
Thank you Niina Venho and Henna Salonius for a one-of-a-kind FTD, but also strengthening my hope for better!
Remeber my previous FTD Family Affairs at BPS Finland? Guess what? They were nice enough to invite me over again for a re-run!
I will tell you only so much that my intentions were to shoot a regular video report, but in the name of honesty it came out so boring, I decided to do a something little different.
Just when you think you have embarassed yourself enough already, there seems to be something inside that makes you want to raise the bar even higher..
Please check out the video report below to find out what happened!
Damn you videos. You have not seen the last of me nor us!!
The still shots, however, came out all right, I guess. We jumped into these quite late in the afternoon, so a little more time could have made it possible to stage some more scenes. Below you can see some pic thumbnails.
Picture above: CTO Tommi Luoto and Tech Consultant Duy Le bringing solutions to the table.
What a typical FTD morning: I am up before well before the alarm goes on and out on my three wheeled scoot-monster to start the day early with maxed out momentum.
In particular, I was in for a interesting day with BPS Consulting, a family run business and an official partner for SAP. With their company established since 1998 and taken through multiple structural changes they are 10 people in Finland and 4 in Hungary strong. But don’t let these employee numbers fool you, they bolster also an extensive partner network in both of the previously mentioned countries (70 + 50 top-notch subject matter experts respectively) to deal with even the most demanding challenges.
Talking more specifically about my personal drivers to spend a day with BPS Consulting, I have to say that business feels sometimes a bit too serious and boring maybe because people safe guarding their smart image – not to say I’m personally any more de-armoured myself in my typical business conduct. Cool and aloof with suit and tie on is a pretty safe bet. Anyhow, in the end we all want to spend engaging and enjoyable time and I think it’s a huge driver in business too. I was drawn to BPS Consulting, because I’ve simply had such rich, non-filtered and fun information exchange at a couple of different events with BPS 2nd generation top management CTO Tommi Luoto and COO Janina Luoto. I was also curious to see better, how their family run business really works.
In terms of the agenda of the day, I was supposed to take some photos and video there, but their office is being renovated currently, so some furniture is missing and most of the people were out of the office at their clients. Change of plans. I would probably get this profound feeling of something being totally wrong, if the initial plans some time really actually held through the day.
Anyhow, it made more sense to focus on their new websites with their tech wizard Duy Le who apparently has more SAP certificates under his belt than John Rambo is packing explosives on his typical trip to jungle.
Website design, SEO, content etc. – these same topics seem to follow me where ever I go now. Discussing the previously mentioned topics around corporate communication takes you easily to more fundamental questions of the company, such as:
Who are we?
What do we do?
What is our vision and mission?
What is our value proposal?
Besides other interesting things, BPS is also focused on rocking the latest SAP technologies like S/4 HANA so we got to look at a SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer solution too that their bright talent Markus Lindevall had been working with.
God, I wish I had my alter ego business partner Henrik Kaila -eh, I mean Don of Finland from Don & Branco -a smoking sales gun anyhow- to check what the Finnish tweaked German solution was about. Don could have also helped us with the website section obviously too.
All in all, a great chunk of the day passed also in friendly but brutally honest dialogue between a software vendor and a buyer that are not financially attached in any ways. In addition to what happens between a client and a vendor, it was very revealing to hear about what happens kind of behind the scenes among vendors themselves and SAP.
Obviously, discussion also lead to selling and for instance how they had try to tackle the challenge of cold calling.
What is so god damn difficult about cold calling?
Everyone hates cold calling – the prospects obviously, but no doubt the poor salesmen too. Without knowing what kind garbage behavior people throw at you when you are trying to sell something, let me tell you it apparently can get nasty. From the sales point of view, with the odds being what they are (100 knack, 10 snack, 1 tack – as the Swedish door-to-door salesmen used to say.) and no matter how you decide it’s not personal, the constant flow of being rejected is a tough bit to swallow for even the most robust sales gun.
I personally always think it’s a bit odd how people get so upset if someone tries call and offer them a deal on a magazine. Seriously, you might want to reconsider how you treat phone sales – you know they are people too and they are just trying to make their living. As a business, you also might want to consider how you represent yourself.
Related to these sales initiative, I was all in all pretty impressed by some recent changes BPS top management had done in the company management implementing an extensive score card system to support their growth. Sure thing, you have to use heuristics to set such KPI’s but I think even targets that steer you slightly wrong are better than overall vague nonsense or no targets at all.
Reflecting on the day the most describing word for the day was honesty and transparency. Janina, Tommi and others at BPS seem to foster an amazingly open working culture that is genuinely quick to try something out and also fail fast.
BPS seems to stand tall with who they really are and don’t just do things for appearances. Now, as this goes so them knowing that it might hurt their short term gains over long term excellence, I give them my huge admiration for their integrity – maybe it’s a family business thing? I’m sure waiting to know more as we set another training session for the autumn.
Oh yeah, one more thing; I met a cool person Jannika Joutsenniemi from Mobedig – a start up currently at least partly sheltered at BPS office. They are working on a cool new social service to manage our free time better that will come out later this year. We also agreed on a FTD for the coming autumn, so stay tuned!
Pohjustetaan kanvas heti raportin alkuun parilla hellyyttävällä nostolla meistä suomalaisista.
Suomessa ei lähdetä kokeilemaan kevytkenkäisesti, varsinkaan ilman selkeää tavoitetta. Meidän pitää tietää, mitä teemme ja tehdään.
Varmana asioistamme kiirehdimme suu viivaksi puristuneena aamulla askareisiimme. Kiirehdimme ehtiäksemme mahdollisimman pian takaisin kotiin, jossa meitä ei varsinaisesti odota mikään, paitsi ehkä naapurikateus.
Kateus ilmenee mm. kahvipakettitarjous-price match –kilpailuviettinä, joka saa meistä sankat joukot alennetuksi omaksutun perässä töykeää niskahikeä höyryäviin jonoihin ja konkurssien kellistämille haaskoille.
Halpa on ok, mutta ilmaisella ei ole kuitenkaan enää arvoa – siinä on vastavuoroisuusansan käry. Tänä päivänä edes golf-osake ei löyhkää ilmaista epäilyttävämmältä.
Yllä kuvatulla näyttämöllä Perjantaiharjoittelijan arki on kiivas ralli intensiivisten virtaustilojen rei’ittämää ajantajua. Silloin kun käydään pilttuussa tapahtuma- ja tunnelokia harkitummin läpi, puidaan paljon odotusarvovirheitä, hallitaan eri tasoisien hylkäysreaktioiden pettymyksiä ja mietitään tekemisen suuntaa. Valtaosa kaikista vuorovaikutustilanteista on eräänlaisia kylmäsoittoja. Pitää tunkea itsensä tahdikkuudesta piittaamatta toisen kiireeseen ja yritä löytää WII FM:n taajuus yhdellä huitaisulla kanssakävijän vastaanottimesta tarjoten hernerokkasumuiseen eetteriin epämääräistä apuasi. Myy siinä sitten itseäsi, kun on vielä ylpeyttäkin.. Kaikesta päätellen hyvä harjoitusohjelma siis.
Pettymyksistä puheen ollen, kyseisen viikon alkuperäiset harjoitteluvaraukset lakkasivat harmikseni olemasta. Yksi lenkki murtui pitkässä ketjussa.
Vaikka olenkin perjantaisin ilmainen, aikani on arvokkain voimavarani.
Piti siis keksiä jotain korvaavaa – jotain, jolla pääsee takamatkalta viimeisellä kierroksella alkuperäisten odotusten kanssa tasoihin ja vieläpä aiheutuneen pettymyksen ohi.
Jos ei ole hävittävää, ei kaihda myöskään riskejä.
Oli irrottava etelän betonisesta kuplasta Susirajalle – niilleviimeisille rajamaille, jossa Prisma-tavaratalot ovat olleet aina muodissa, ihmiset juovat vieläkin maitoa ja ruuassa on limaista gluteenia sekä pöhöttäviä hiilihydraatteja. Niillä seuduilla Instagramin peukutuksin ravitsema kiiltokuvamaisuus kääntyy takaisin kotiin jättäen sisun jatkamaan yksin matkaa.
Onneksi minulla oli pohjoisen taivaankannella kotoinen tähti, jota kohti kulkea. Sen tähden alla on isoäitini pullalta tuoksuva pirtti. Onpa lähettyvillä vieläpä muutama globalisaation voimia uppiniskaisesti uhmaava sukulainenkin. Näistä rajaseutujen kävijöistä enoni Jari Tanskanen lupasi ottaa palmujen alta tulevan, etelän sukulaispoikansasiipiensä alle päiväksi. Haroittelupaikka oli Joensuun kaupungin Maastomittaus, päivän aloitusaika miehisen varhainen ja päivän epistola muissa perjantaiharjoitteluissa jo tutuksi tulleen tuntematon. All systems go.
Itse asiassa oikeasti maailma tuntui hetken työhön perehdytettäessä jopa rajalliselta, kun oivalsin, että olen rimpuillut jonkin hetken tämän pitkän ja haaraisen infrastruktuuriarvokejtun eri vaiheessa Insplanilla harjoitellessani.
Vielä ehkäpä noin 200 vuotta tätä samaa rataa, ja voisin pystyä hahmottelemaan jotain kokonaisempaa ajatusta yhteiskunnan toiminnasta!
Toimistolla päivää käynnisteltiin keräilemällä ihmeellisen näköisiä varusteita ja jotain risuisilla viivoilla ruuhkautettuja papereita kouriin. Muotiväri vaatetuksessa tuntui olevan silmää kirveltävän keltainen ja sain itsekin sitä ylleni. Kahvitilasta ammennettiin vielä kierros Havukka-ahon Ajattelijan hahmon,Kuolleeksinaurattajantarinankerronnan tyylillistä kulttuuriperintöä ja evästys päivään oli valmis.
Tavallisessa arjessa tuskin tulee monestikaan ajatelleeksi, millainen määrä kaikenlaista liikennettä jalkojemme alla maan syövereissä kulkee. Niiden putkien, piuhojen ja kaapeleiden varassa pysymme kuitenkin todellisuudessa mukavasti hengissä. Pirullista maan syömässä infrastruktuurissa on tietenkin se, että se on ilman karttoja ja huipputarkkoja erikoisvälineitä silmältä piilossa – ja myös hyvä niin. Pirulliseksi tilanne äityy kuitenkin niille, joiden pitää päästä joko siihen verkostoon käsiksi tai erinäisistä syistä maan ydintä kohti tunkeutuessaan välttää vahingoittamasta sitä.
Päivään mahtui reilu kourallinen näyttöjä ja joitakin kartoituksia. Mentiin hyvän asiakaspalvelun ja hoputtavassa aikataulussa pysymisen ristivedossa leppoisista kohtaamisista kiihkeisiinkin tilanteisiin. Päivän aikana huomasin ja minulle osoitettiin paikkoja, joissa oli varaa digitalisaatiolle.
Itse asiassa moni pullo vaikuttaa olevan täynnä digitalisaatioketsuppia odottaen ulospääsyään, mutta tavara on monesta syystä tiukassa pullon perällä.
Ei mennä tällä kertaa kuitenkaan niihin yksityiskohtiin, miten digiketsupin saisi pullosta liikkeelle. Todetaan vaan, että ehkä se vielä alkaa valumaan sieltä Suomessakin ulos, kun aika on kypsä.
Varhain aloitetun päivän todennäköisesti myös päättää aikaisin. Perjantaiharjoittelijalle sen sijaan päivä päättyy oikeastaan aina liianaikaisin kellonajasta huolimatta. Löimme toimistolle palattuamme, ennen kotiin lähtöä, vielä pari kierrosta korttia – ja mitäpä muutakaan kuin moskaa. Ottivat harjoittelijakummajaisen etelästäkin kierrokselle eivätkä suunsoitostani huolimatta antaneet edes hävitä! Melkoista vieraanvaraisuutta ja ehkä minua auteltiinkin isällisesti vähän. Tilanteessa välittyi ihmisten vilpittömyys ja veljelllinen empatia. Huomioonottaen vaikkapa Googlen löydökset parhaasta työtiimistä, näistä tunnelmista moni työnantaja maksaisi isot lunnaat.
Noista tunnelmista erkaantuessamme tuli mieleen eräs kansallisen kirjallisuutemme klassikko. Pahoittelut kajoamisesta, mutta ajattelin lainata sinua vallinneesta säätilasta ja viikonpäivästä johtuen hiukan soveltaen:
Hyväntahtoinen viikonloppukatseli heitä. Se ei missään tapauksessa ollut heille vihainen. Kenties tunsi jonkinlaista myötätuntoakin heitä kohtaan. Jahellao
Maybe about a month back, I had some spare time on one of my FTD’s and I got invited to visit Uusimaa Innovoi event at Urban Mill in Otaniemi, Espoo. By looking at the the event presentation headlines, the general idea was focused on the today’s new working models, new methods and cooperation. Working on the questions of this area pretty much every day, I decided to go and have a look what the commotion was all about. Would it be yet another case braggadocio with little impact at the end of the day? There was only one way to find out.
To be honest, it was a pretty random event. You had a bunch of 3D-printing wiz ‘kids’ printing miniature demo items, there was a bicycle start-up company (also using 3D-printing tech), some laser scanning scientists, municipal representatives, etc. Not to make the other participants any less important, but for me, the real attraction of the carnival, The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society, was naturally at the back of the hall – just like milk or bread in any given super market.
Admittedly also, as I was evaluating the previous night the possible usefulness of the event and coming across the term frugal innovation, I had to look it up. After a short research and understanding the basics of the ideology I felt a jolt of excitement bursting out with cheerful laughter. Yes, this is so fundamentally me and even more so what I have been starting to shift more towards to. Why had I not seen or heard anything about this before?
After spending an inspiring and engaging 20min or so at the TNFIS stand with Venkata Gandikota, the Founder and President of the Society, it was one of those discussions after which you actually wanted to share contacts with someone to get in touch with them later – and not just because it’s customary.
During the next couple of days we exchanged some thoughts online with Venkata. I became obviously fascinated with his work and ideas, but I also felt I wanted to get involved and provide help for his cause maybe learning something new on the side. With back and forth bouncing emails stretching beyond reasonable length yet still not yielding clear steps for action, I proposed to set up a workshop one Friday at Urban Mill and we agreed on the idea. Great!
Like with pretty much all FTD’s, as the anxious wait and preparation the night before turned finally into the actual training day, the lapse was gone as quick as snapping fingers. The day was also mostly not what I had expected – this is typically the kick ass part of all FTD’s. However and not denying it, I felt I couldn’t add value much as our lively, free falling discussion pretty much stayed on the idea level – as with our emails -, but the thing is that you never really know what eventually comes out from situations and actions. Let it incubate.
In fact, our session demonstrated one of the typical problems of a FTD, where I cannot get enough traction to start helping because of not being clear about the vision to form a clear mission. Sometimes this is a communication problem, sometimes it’s a problem of trust and sometimes the vision itself is missing altogether. With a few FTD hosts however, like Insplan, we have somehow managed to get past this problem. This mutually beneficial cooperation is the ultimate state of flow, like a good improvisation with every single handover strengthening the story.
Also, not a FTD without the good ol’ folks at Don&Branco. This time me and my loud mouth had promised to join them in a coopers test – one of the most brutal physical fitness tests. I felt short in my target (3600m) covering only 3330m or so – btw pretty much the exact same result as on my 30th birthday and also being 20 years old in the military. I just seem to lack speed. Kalle Elo from D&B covered the spectacle over Periscope. Go check it out!
Starting to build your own social presence in the web is a cruel test to find out that people don’t really give two dimes about yet another blogger (-hey, did you ever stop to think, maybe it’s just your mediocre content, duh)! You have to push a lot, sell yourself, and keep a lot of noise about your every single turn. Even if I acknowledge this, posting something about my extraordinary life (sarcasm) takes me always a bit outside my own comfort zone.
Having said that, I was really dumbstruck to be honest to get this notification mail a couple weeks back from Joel Mansnerus via my own website contact form that is (-Yey, the functionality apparently works!) about some possible FTD assignments. Being dumbstruck was not only due to having kind of received a message-in-a-bottle, but also the straight forward, cutting to the chase question of
“Yeah, there is a ton of things to do -Wanna take a swing at something?”
Granted, this whole FTD concept is not the easiest to understand for most people (honestly: no hooks, no gimmicks, no intended reciprocation bias!), but entrepreneurial CEO’s like Joel seem to be able to grasp the idea with highest probability.
Before anything else, let’s say a couple of words about Joel. By all means, he’s nothing else than a super charged entrepreneur sitting on top of a self built empire of more than half a dozen of companies – currently 8 or so to be exact, some venturing also outside Finland. His companies are mainly in the business of providing IT services for Mac and mixed environment and devices, reaching from authorized service for devices (the turf of mCare) to software development (eg. Voltio) too. As you can imagine, the setup of owning more companies than an average paid worker is employed by through her/his entire career, naturally keeps Joel busy from all extracurricular shenanigans of any sort. On top of this he has a family with small kids. I guess I am some sort of a bionic nuclear dynamo myself, but I salute you Joel.
Unfortunately but also fortunately Joel being busy the actual FTD, I got to team up with Matti Uronen, a relatively new gun slinger in Joel’s gang. However, far from being wet behind his ears, the Service Manager role at mCare since the beginning of the year wasn’t his first in this area of business. In fact, Matti had an organically grown career path from assembly line to managing operations from a competitor to mCare. Furthermore, he had also been trying his own pair of wings in Austria, but realized that the market is not yet mature enough for the services he was offering and returned to Finland. Having talked to him for a few minutes as we were getting introduced, I was not surprised to find out he was cooking up something on the side of his mCare engagements.
Generally, the fact that Joel had hired an entrepreneur openly stating to have a demanding start up on the side could be a questionable move for some, but thinking about it, choosing to hire an entrepreneur spirit instead of just someone showing up at work makes a lot of sense in the end – it’s sort of like choosing between a bar of dynamite and a self triggering and guiding tactical missile, you know.
The actual assignment of the day itself had to do with starting the work of implementing certain ISO standards to their operations. With the speed mCare is growing and as Apple devices are being offered also as employer provided devices, such certificates are strategic assets in many ways. In B2B business and especially for services provided to the public sector, certain standards might be explicitly required.
During lunch, I got to ask Matti a bit more about his background and also his start up. All in all, with their product launch planned in June, I don’t know what is safe to say about it (even if I think they have sort of applied logic from Moore’s law on their side), but what I can tell you is that in case they make it, it will be BIG.
With their service launch looming in a few months time, they were really seriously geared up to make it happen. You know, sometimes people use the word “start up” to describe some safe zone 9-to-5 tinkering with limited risk exposure, but Matti and his associates were literally all in: they all have moved to live in a same duplex house to facilitate seamless working 24/7 (yes, really 24h a day – until 4 am last night for example). Also, they have split their daytime activities as a team in different ways to rake in money for launch of their service. –Talking about dedication and passion for what you do, right?This is some down right Silicon Valley hero story in the making! Who knows, I might revisit Matti’s start up on a separate FTD session..
As with all previous FTD’s, the day draw to a close much too soon. Fortunately, I think we were able to scrape something concrete together with Matti to pave the way for the next ISO steps at mCare. Who knows, maybe I get even invited back to mCare to continue with those ISO standards..? All in all, days like these make you think how hard you are really pushing eventually at your own work. Agreed, I might have a skewed perception of what the global competition is nowadays, but I think in terms of overall competitiveness, at least these two trail blazers are fine.
At the end of the day, even if don’t get paid as a trainee from FTD’s, the amount of inspiration I get from days like these makes me feel I should be paying my hosts and not the other way round. However, I guess the equation is in balance when I get direct expressions of gratitude and indirect suggestions of trying to find ways to compensate my efforts.
Like any other serious entrepreneur (sarcasm), I woke up right after 5 am to beat the clock working through today’s agenda. Ok I admit, honestly it was my significant other who woke me up putting her stuff together to catch a red eye flight to a meeting. I could have slept a little longer and would have even wished to do so, but the light sleeper I am, I totally lost intrest in stayng in bed because I got too excited thinking about the day ahead.
This particular Friday Training day was actually a continuation to last weeks Friday, when I spent the entire day doing sanity checks on a couple of business ideas of my friends Juha and Lauri, both solid entrepreneur spirits waiting for the spring to come.
With all reasonable open questions solved regarding what we had been brainstorming one previous night -sort of my FTD assignment-, I got to work also on some of my own ideas. With a bit of luck on my side, one of those ideas got me travelling towards Lohja, to see Lauri Ant-Wuorinen, the CEO of Plastex, a Finnish plasticware company -an undeniable classic.
I am not assuming people outside from Finland would be familiar with Plastex. Not even if they have some products that were designed by some of our true world class industrial designers (see Eero Aarnio for instance), but coming from Finland, you are probably so familiar with their products, you might not even notice them anymore. Take this watering watering pot as an example (maybe in a bit more subtle color though) – or this innovative rolling pin brought almost tears to my eyes – a true blast from the past.
Working my way to Lauri’s office, I found him busy finalizing an offer to one of the biggest grocery retail chains. Having my day job at public sector, I sometimes really envy these entrepreneurs at some way because of this opportunity to chase a sale. What a wonderfull challenge it posses! -yes, I know selling is not just fun and games – in fact, it’s pretty ruthless to be honest. But if nothing else, it brings something very important to the center of you attention – your customers and the value you can add to them. Talking about challenges, real private firms also have scarse resources. Obviously, you can’t trow away money to every single direction and that puts sense in all activities.
After some greetings and catching up briefly on the most recent events in life, Lauri gave me a compact but very interesting tour on their products and some recent acquisitions. I already knew, they had a lot of products in their catalog, but seeing a sample of them on a shelf, I was really amazed.
As our discussion continued, it became clear that even with products that appear fairly established and simple, in order to survive, a company has to stay in touch with what is happening in the world. Collaboration, innovation hubs, design, rapid prototyping, crowd sourcing, business platforms, story telling etc. Adding to the above, for example sourcing channels are also global, so it’s not just about blowing plastic pots in your own little bubble.
Equally exciting was it also to pitch a couple of my own ideas -just some small innovations- and see that there might be actually something to push further. You know, having had these ideas in my mind for a while, it’s funny to realize that internal resistance for taking concrete steps to test the real potential of your dreams.
Eventually, it is safer to just keep on dreaming about your future big game changer because you don’t need to sacrifice or risk anything until you start taking concrete steps to chase your dreams -even small ones. There is also a high chance that your ideas and dreams aren’t really all that brilliant after all.
Regarding these small innovative products, situation is still very much work in progress, so I’d rather not go into specifics yet. But I promise you that after I know where some of the ideas are going, I will keep you posted on my findings. If nothing else, there seems to be a good case to study conceptualization, branding, selling, coordinating the logistics, etc. There are a lot of interesting takeaways already and I’m just getting started!