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steve blank in finland sept 2011


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steve blank in finland sept 2011

  1. 1. Draft 6th Oct, 2011Steve Blank in Helsinki September 5th 2011 - September 9th
  2. 2. Editor Kristo OvaskaPhotos Lauri LehtovuoriLayout Anna
  3. 3. twitter “ Steve Blanks @sgblank visit to Helsinki seems to create abt 10 times more noise than Dalai Lamas ...
  4. 4. “Finland in crossroads of something wonderful. It takes a single person to make the change.
  5. 5. Program of the week Monday, 5th September 2011 I University 08:45-10:15 Faculty Talk, Otaniemi 11:40-12:00 Press Conference, Otaniemi 12:00-14:00 Faculty Workshop, Otaniemi 14:00-14:15 Talouselämä Interview, Otaniemi 17:00-19:00 Lecture for Students, Helsinki 19:00-19:10 Ajankohtainen Kakkonen Interview, Helsinki Tuesday, 6th September 2011 I Angels and Startups 08:15-10:00 Angel Panel, Otaniemi 10:15-12:00 Startup Sauna Coaching Session, Otaniemi 12:00-12:15 Seura Interview, Otaniemi 18:00-22:00 President’s Circle Dinner, Otaniemi Wednesday, 7th September 2011 I Venture Capital 08:45-10:15 VC Panel, Helsinki 11:40 Pickup from Hotel 12:00-14:00 Sitra Lunch, Helsinki
  6. 6. Thursday, 8th September 2011 I Public funding 09:00-11:00 Public Funding Workshop, Helsinki 12:00-13:00 Lunch with Mr. Matti Alahuhta and Mrs. Tuula Teeri, Otaniemi 16:00-17:30 The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries Panel, Helsinki 17:30-18:30 Helsingin Sanomat, Kauppalehti, Prima, Bloomberg Interviews, HelsinkiFriday, 9th September 2011 I Entrepreneurs and Media 08:00-08:45 Breakfast with Mr. Jyri Häkämies, Helsinki 12:00-14:00 Leading Editors-in-Chief, Otaniemi 14:00-16:00 Startup Sauna Coaches Workshop, Otaniemi 17:15-19:30 Speech and BBQ, Otaniemi
  7. 7. UnIVErSITy Faculty Talk I Learn Steve Blank’s Plan to Demolish the Status Quo in Entrepreneurial Education Program 08:30 Doors open 08:50 Opening words, Mrs. Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University 09:00 Keynote, Mr. Steve Blank 09:50 Q&A 10:10 Closing words, Mrs. Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University Location TU2-Hall, Otaniementie 17, Espoo Host Mrs. Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University Organizer Mr. JP Hernandez audience 300 faculty members from Aalto University and other universities in Finland, Ministry of Education representatives “ EVERY official in TEKES, TEM etc in Finland should watch the Steve Blank talk now in progess. Seriously! #aaltoes @sgblank8 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  9. 9. UnIVErSITy Blog I Taneli Heikka What Finland needs: ”Entrepreneurship for pre-school kids” Institutions of higher education should open their doors In her fairly radical proposal, she envisions kindergarten for pre-school children to learn entrepreneurial attitudes, kids entering the Aalto University ”Aalto Venture Pre- said Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University on Mon- School”. Children would visit the university to learn day. about being an entrepreneur from real entrepreneurs just as they visit fire stations to learn about the work of fire- Mrs Teeri made the opening remarks on Stanford Uni- men. versity Professor Steve Blank’s visit on Monday morning Faculty Talk. After the lecture, where Mr Blank encour- ”What do children know about different professions? aged Finland to push for a radical renewal of university They know about doctors, bus drivers and firemen. We level business education, Mrs Teeri said the change is need to raise entrepreneurs as equal models and heroes on it’s way. ”Our aim at Aalto is to build a world-class for children,” she said. growth-entrepreneurship curriculum.” She says Finnish popular children’s culture lacks the posi- But Mrs Teeri thinks change needs to happen on all levels tive model of a business man, such as the entrepreneuring of society, and the traditionally risk-averse Finnish cul- kid selling soft drinks familiar in American comic books. ture needs to change, too. ”Risk taking is something we need to build in our society. Failure is something that can Mrs Teeri dreams of an Aalto Venture Pre-School, where happen and you won’t die of it. Hopefully.” kids could learn about entrepreneurship through play, and Aalto student and real entrepreneurs would tell them what entrepreneurship means. ”We could have CEO of ST1 telling the kids how selling gasoline really is.”10 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  11. 11. UnIVErSITy Faculty Workshop I Building a World-class Technology Ventures Program Program 12:00 Opening Words, Mr. Hannu Seristö 12:10 Introduction of Participants, 30 seconds each Lunch served 12:30 Speech: the Past and the Future of Entrepreneurship Education, Mr. Steve Blank 12:45 Workshop: Vision of Entrepreneurship Teaching 13:45 Conclusions, Mr. Hannu Seristö Location Aalto Venture Garage, Backstage, Betonimiehenkuja 3D, Espoo Host Mr. Hannu Seristö, Vice President of Aalto University Organizer Mr. JP Hernandez audience 30 selected faculty members across the Aalto University ““Incubators a Reaction to the lack of Practical University Entrepreneurship” @sgblank “We’re Standing at the Beginning of the Entrepreneurial Revolution”@sgblank at @arcticstartup12 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  15. 15. UnIVErSITy Lecture I Why Startups are not small versions of large companies Program 17:15 Opening words, Mr. Juhana Nurmio, Mr. Juho Kokkola 17:30 Keynote, Mr. Steve Blank 18:30 Closing words, Mr. Juhana Nurmio 19:00 Afterparty, Tavastia Location Aalto School of Economics, Main Hall, Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki Host Mr. Juhana Nurmio, Aalto Entrepreneurship Society Organizer Mr. JP Hernandez audience More than a thousand students from all over Finland “ Waiting for doors to open for @sgblank’s #aaltoes startup keynote. Huge crowd here. “ @sgblank ”There’s a Finnish Spring: streets burning things they’re ready to start companies” #aaltoes Instead of students running in the16 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  17. 17. UnIVErSITy Blog I riku Siivonen What Finland needs: Forget the MBA’s and get out of the building! Think of this: you own a large corporation and something according to Mr. blank, there are six types disrupts your business. It can be a change of the tastes of of startups: customers. It can be legislation or technologies, but it is out of your hands. New needs and new markets emerge. 1. Lifestyle startups: work to live your passion. Selling But your corporation is slow to turn. You have hired surfing boards during the day and surfing three months people who can execute a business plan. But they can’t when you feel like it. innovate. 2. Small business startups: work to feed the family, no “Accountants usually don’t run startups”, says Steve intention to grow. Blank in his opening speech at Aalto University on Mon- day. 3. Scalable startups: born to be big = Silicon Valley start- ups. These kind of changes are happening faster and faster in the 21st century. More and more companies face the kind 4. Subset of scalable startups: buyable startups. The aim of disruptive change that Nokia or the Finnish forestry is to sell the company to a larger company. cluster have faced in the recent months and years. 5. Disruptive innovation inside a large company. That is why this is the century of startups. They are agile, they are fast. 6. Social entrepreneurship startups: solving social prob- lems. That is why we need to demolish our entrepreneurial education system, Mr. Blank highlighted. Management ”These require different skills. They can not be taught the science is for large corporations. Entrepreneurship in same way”, Mr. Blank said. startups is more like art than anything that can be predict- ed. And actually, you can’t talk about startups in general. First of all we shouldn’t teach only management science. ”We have somehow managed 300 years without MBAs. But startups are not smaller versions of large companies, even if our curriculums assume they are.”18 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  18. 18. ”Nothing wrong in an MBA except when you try to apply Mr. Blank has a dream: an e-school for to a startup”, he added. The goal would be creating a methodology for startup creation. This school would have a hands-on emphasis.Mr. Blank said that traditional business schools have It’s curriculum could be taught remotely anywhere, insome other limitations, too. For example, many profes- a university or an incubator. The curriculum would besors consult large companies. about the search for a business model.”And what’s missing in universities and incubators is a Aalto University and Stanford University have nowrepeatable methodology for startup creation.” teamed up to radically renew business education in the twenty-firstWill century. The curriculum will no doubt beIn Mr Blank’s definition, a startup is ”a temporary or- built upon Mr. Blank’s credo on customer development.ganization used to search for a repeatable and scalablebusiness model.” “A startup’s first job: get out of the building. Listen to your customers. Iterate – without crisis.” 19
  19. 19. AngELS & STArTUPS Angel Panel I Angels in the Finnish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Program 8:30 Opening Words, Mr. Risto Siilasmaa and Mr. Hannu Seristö 8:40 Speech: How and Who, Mr. Steve Blank 9:00 Panel discussion: How to Get Angels to Invest, Networks and Policy 9:45 Conclusions, Mr. Petteri Koponen Location Aalto Venture Garage, Backstage, Betonimiehenkuja 3D, Espoo Moderator Mr. Petteri Koponen, Lifeline Ventures Founder Panelists Mr. Risto Siilasmaa, F-Secure Founder and Chairman of the Board Mr. Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake Corporations (Habbo Hotel) Mr. Hannu Seristö, Vice president of Aalto Unversity Mr. Ari Korhonen, Vice Chairman, Finnish Business Angel Network Mr. Steve Blank Hosts Mr. Risto Siilasmaa, F-Secure Founder and Chairman of the Board Mr. Hannu Seristö, Vice President of Aalto University Organizer Mr. Claes Mikko Nieminen audience 140 angels from the Finnish Business Angel Association (FiBan), Boardman and Finnvera “ Risto Siilasmaa: ‘I don’tI’d rathergive a fortune to my kids. want to spend it on start-ups’ #aaltoes “ Timo Soininen: ‘Real loosers are not people who failed but those who never tried’ @headfuse #aaltoes20 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  23. 23. AngELS & STArTUPS Blog I Taneli Heikka Before shooting innocent animals, talk about startups Risto siilasmaa of F-secure hopes the old money ”How’s your startup doing?” elite will get into angel investing He hoped for awareness of what angel investment is and ”If a bomb exploded in this room probably half of the creation of networks for stepping into the game. Finnish angel investors were dead.” Accoding to Finnish business daily Kauppalehti, particu- While the joke of panel moderator Petteri Koponen may larly former Nokia employees are injecting new money be true, the body count would still be significantly higher in the angel investment market. However, Mr Korhonen than it would have been a few years ago. Which is a great says the total amount of big venture capital funds is thing. There is a buzz in the Finnish startup community, smaller than five years ago. and that buzz has raised the attention of wealthy inividu- als in Finland. The host of the panel, Risto Siilasmaa, who has been a vocal proponent of tax incentives for angels, didn’t bring A full house of hundred angel investors gathered at Aalto up the issue this time. The government has turned the Ventures Garage on early Tuesday morning. The aim of idea down. the event was to change the way startups are funded and created in Finland. Instead of going for the tax incentives, in his rather colourful style Mr Siilasmaa encouraged elderly wealthy ”There are many wealthy individuals who could enter citizens – who in Finland often carry the untranslatable, the field”, said Ari Korhonen, Vice Chairman at Finnish 19th century title ”vuorineuvos” – to really get into start- Business Angel Network up funding so that it would be a norm to invest on them and talk about them for example during their hunting trips to South Africa. ”Before starting to kill innocent animals, they’d ask how’s your startup doing”.24 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  24. 24. Cheat sheet: Words that mean money!networks rather than tax breaks Here’s our short vocabulary of for all you newcomers toThis, he believed, would encourage them to angel invest- the world of pouring your extra money in startups in hopeing that is still too rare among the suits of the Old Money. of what Steve Blank calls ”obscene returns”:Mr Korhonen from the Finnish Business Angel Network Angel investor. Typically a wealthy individual. Invests,says legislative changes would be welcome, if not the say, 20 000 euros into a startup. Ideally, gives not onlyfirst steps needed. Legislative measures would consist of money, but his time, knowledge and networks to theeg. tax incentives and co-investment funds. In the latter, company.government and pensions funds would invest into startupsalongside angels. Angel fund. A syndicated fund of several angels who manage their own funds. By syndication the amount of”There’s no reason why Finnish investors should not be investment per individual can be as low as 5000 - 10 000treated equally to British, Portuguese or French inves- euros.tors”, Mr Korhonen concluded. Venture capital fund. A fund where investments are pooled and managed professionally. Size of fund usually up to tens of millions. 25
  25. 25. AngELS & STArTUPS Blog I BoostTurku Angels Watching Over Us The second day of Steve Blank’s visit to Finland started with a morning panel discussion on the current state of angel investment in Finland. Topics related from current amount of angel investments and activity of Finnish angels, the motivation in investing into startups, to the uselessness of written business plans. no business plan survives the first contact with the customer The need for a written static business plan in an early stage startup searching for customer and business model and tackling for multiple unknown just is not there. Us- ing your valuable time to write business plan instead of getting out of the building to find your customers and traction is just counterproductive. Instead business plans should embrace Customer Devel- opment methodology and Business Modeling However, you shouldn’t confuse business plan with business plan- ning.26 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  26. 26. Change the Culture the “dumb money”, instead find investors who are willing to support you with their advice and networks.Steve Blank emphasized that the Finnish angel investorsand startup entrepreneurs should embrace the spirit of The requirement of investing beyond the money is alsothe Valley which means that any person is actually able the rationale why we should get and grow more localto contact anyone for help and feedback with no require- angels and VCs to Finland instead of going for the inves-ment of the helping side getting any compensation out of tors abroad. Money can always be transferred but to getit. mentoring on a regular basis is that much harder if you are 1000 miles away.This has created in the Valley a culture and loop of help-ing where the successful founders help the next genera- a-team with a b class idea will usuallytion who will in time help the next generation. The cur- triumph over b-team with a class idearent Finnish angels and successful founders should be theinitiators of this loop of giving back in Finland. The discussion touched also the subject of investing in the idea versus investing in the team. The lessons fromsmart Money building startups in the Valley have clearly pointed out that actual ”quality” of the initial idea is not near as im-When talking about the role of the angel investors, one portant as the quality of the team.big thing is that the investors should think the actualfinancial stake only as part of the investment. Big part of When you are operating with uncertainty and constantthe deal should also be giving advice and guidance to the change, the teams ability to search, learn and pivot isteam invested in. much more important than how good the original idea was.This point should also be remembered by the startupfounders when looking for investors. Do not go for So go on and start building your superstar team! 27
  27. 27. AngELS & STArTUPS Workshop I Startup Sauna teams Program 10:15 Welcome, Mr. Wili Miettinen 10:20 Demos and Feedback: 8 Startups, 3 minutes demo + 5 minutes Q&A 11:40 Concluding Feedback 11:45 Lunch Location Aalto Venture Garage, Backstage, Betonimiehenkuja 3D, Espoo Host Mr. Wili Miettinen, Microtask Founder, Startup Sauna Coach Organizer Mr. Ville Simola Mr. Antti Ylimutka audience Most promising startups from Startup Sauna accelerator. Campalyst, Ovelin, Futureful, Tribestudios, Tuubio, Dealmachine, Audiodraft and Blaast. “ @sgblank coaching our most promising teams! First time teams from all three batches in the same room! #aaltoes #Russia “ ‘You know what we call a failed entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley? Experienced.’ @sgblank “ @sgblank: I’m going to invest to two @startupsauna teams who pitched yesterday. There’s a revolution going on!28 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  31. 31. AngELS & STArTUPS Blog I rudi Skogman Steve meets Startup Sauna and Summer of Startups All the teams are slowly filling up the small room at De- Ovelin’s pitching as second and before starting their sign Factory. The feeling is surprisingly cozy when you pitch Steves already saying that he loves the idea and think that they’ll all be pitching to Steve Blank himself in that’s it. Surely amazing for the team to hear this. Ovelin a while. has been making progress too by creating harder levels for professional musicians. Steve’s forecasting that in The teams pitching today are: Campalyst, Ovelin, Future- three years Ovelin won’t be doing Wild Chords but the ful, Tribestudios, Tuubio, Dealmachine, Audiodraft and product has evolved to something else. Blaast. Next up is Futureful, presenting Steve and the rest of us Wili Miettinen, one of the active Aaltoes mentors, is their progress in the last months. Private alpha coming up opening the workshop and introducing Steve to every- in a few weeks! Steve’s getting a private demo from the body. He also introduces Steve to the programs, as he founders. Looks like it’s working and according to Steve knows what these startups have been through so far. this might be one of the companies that gets bought in an instant after demoing it to the right people. Campalyst takes the floor first, only one of the team members is in Finland, others are out around the world, tribestudios is taking the stage next and presenting creating contacts and doing business. Campalyst has had one more former winner product of the Startup Sauna. a very impressing year so far and they’re still pushing on The first story, Velvet Sundown is coming out soon! and on top of that they’ve been following Steve’s advice, But remember that the platform, Stagecraft is the most talking with customers! Great! Steve’s however worried important part, it enables continuity. Steve’s asking some about the pricing model of the company and their prod- important questions and Elina’s answering them well. uct. Something for Campalyst to think about.32 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  32. 32. tuubio is the fourth one up on the stage. They also have blaast is the last but surely not the least! Joonas is assur-a personal demo to show Steve on a phone. Personaliz- ing everybody that he’s not high on crack even though heing a radio broadcast for him. Seems to be working well. might appear crazy. Great laugh from everybody, maybeGreat process on the product from the team. Steve’s also the cameras shouldn’t be taping this… Blaast is doing thegiving Tuubio some important points to work on and amazing work of bringing smartphone apps to the afford-think about. able devices. Steve’s worried about how to get the phone carriers to join Blaast. Steve loves the idea anyway!Dealmachine takes the floor as the fifth team. Making Amazing!CRM a game for the salesforce. Actually Timo endedup telling how it has been going and where their journey Steve loves everyone in this group and is absolutelyhas taken them. He’s showing off a new possible prod- amazed. It’s great to hear! He’s still giving some lastuct and asking if dm should be integrated as the coaches pointers for all the teams to read Alexander Osterwaldershave been saying for months. Steves offering important book and do a business model canvas and show it tocontacts and information, absolutely amazing! every possible investor to show the progress. And when speaking about investors, the companies basically hasTeemu Yli-Hollo is presenting audioDraft and playing two choices, to move to the U.S. or not to raise U.S. VCthe Nokia Tune, which Steve doesn’t instantly recognize. money. The floor now opens up for questions and discus-The question he’s asking is, what does your brand sound sions between the teams and Steve. Amazing atmosphere!like? What tune would instantly say Steve Blank? Au- Keep on rocking!dioDraft has over 50 customers at the moment, and theircreating the new Nokia Tune! That’s crazy amazing! 33
  33. 33. AngELS & STArTUPS Dinner I President’s Circle Program 18:00 Doors Open 18:20 Opening Words, Mrs. Tuula Teeri, Mr. Mikko Kuusi 18:30 Starters 19:05 Speech: Finnish “Startup Scene” Today, Mr. Risto Siilasmaa 19:20 Main course 19:50 Speech, Mr. Will Cardwell 19:55 Keynote: Why should and how could university and corporations help to increase the number and quality of startups, Mr. Steve Blank 20:25 Q&A and Discussion, Moderator Mr. Will Cardwell 20:55 Dessert 21:30 Coffee 22:00 Closing Location Otaniemi, Espoo Host Mrs. Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University Organizer Ms. Jessica Sinikoski audience 80 people, biggest private and corporate donors of Aalto University. Top managers of corporations, influential owners of Finnish corporations. “ @sgblank “Why found die.” in Finland? companies Because old ones Steve talking about building a 21st economy. #aaltoes34 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  35. 35. AngELS & STArTUPS Blog I Charlotta Liukas In the time of destruction, create something Tuula Teeri’s thoughts on entrepreneurship and innovation in a university context On Tuesday evening, Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto Uni- “Those who are waiting for the recession to end, so versity hosted Steve Blank, Aalto supporters and stake- someone can again hand them work, could have a long holders as well as Aalto startups to discuss the univer- wait” sity’s role in entrepreneurship and innovation in the time of economic hardship. “We are not going back to the good old days without fix- ing our schools as well as our banks” In essence, we are faced with a few significant challenges - Thomas Friedman • We’re undergoing a structural transition from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based, cre- ative economy • Simultaneously, the population is decreasing with fewer young people entering the job market In practical terms, this will require a new way of think- ing about educating the new generations to stand on their own feet and problem-solve. Rethinking is needed across research, education and innovation to offer the tools and skills to tackle the future. With a vision to become a hub for startups and technolo- gy, Tuula acknowledges that a strong grassroots culture is already in place but what is now needed is a world-class venturing program for ambitious students and researchers at Aalto to take on the challenge our society faces.36 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  37. 37. VEnTUrE CAPITAL VC Panel I Finnish Venture Capitalists Association Program 08:30 Doors open, breakfast 09:00 Opening words, Mr. Artturi Tarjanne 09:15 Speech: VC ́s are gamblers, Mr. Steve Blank 09:30 Panel discussion: What could be done to get the VC ecosystem to flourish in Finland 10:15 Conclusions Moderator Mr. Will Cardwell, Head of Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship Panelists Mr. Vesa Wallden, Senior Partner, Capman Mr. Mikael Jungner, Member of Parliament, Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party Mr. Timo Ritakallio, Deputy CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Ilmarinen Mr. Lasse Männistö, Member of Parliament Mr. Steve Blank Location Restaurant Bank, Unioninkatu 20 00100 Helsinki. Host Mr. Artturi Tarjanne, Chairman of the Board, FVCA, partner at Nexit Ventures Mr. Will Cardwell, Head of Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship Organizer Ms. Krista Rantasaari audience 150 leading VCs, institutional investors etc. “ “those students know more than you” Steve to VC’s ... #aaltoes “ @sgblank to VCs: You better get on this revolution quick - I WILL invest in these startups before you! “ Jungner of SDP promises to fight for tax cuts for business angels #aaltoes @sgblank “ #SteveBlank - From words to concrete: “VC’s should also be startup mentors and spread their experience!” @sgblank38 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  39. 39. VEnTUrE CAPITAL Blog I Taneli Heikka Sorry, Finns, your national anthem got it wrong Our land is poor, so it remains This could be the credo of many an economist and policy fund Ilmarinen). He has more money than god. He just maker in Finland. Government funds are needed to estab- ain’t givin’ you any of it!”, Mr Blank blasted in his lish industry. Capital is scarce, and the little we have we speech at Sitra portfolio day on Wednesday. can’t afford to give to the risky business of startups. think of changing society! Perhaps we believe this nonsense, because it’s dug in our subconscious. The line is from the second – though rarely The worth of Ilmarinen’s investments in 2010 was 29 sung – verse of Finland’s national anthem. billion euros. Steve Blank is here to turn this belief upside down. Mr Ritakallio probably got the smacking of his life at Finnish Venture Capital Association Panel on Wednesday ”Finns are good enough and smart enough. The govern- morning. ment must just get out of the way”, he said when asked should foreign investments be persuaded into the country “Some part of your brain ought to be thinking how to to build a startup cluster here. change society!” said Mr Blank at Mr Ritakallio’s face after the panel where both gentlemen took part. No, he said. It’s the job of Finnish people and blue and white money. The problem is that the people who hold Mr Blank said he met with Aalto Startup Sauna compa- the keys to money and decisions invest in a very conser- nies on Tuesday and concluded all of them were ready to vative way. pitch in the Valley. In lightly disguised criticism on Finn- ish investors he said that he personally would invest in “Who was the gentleman who sat beside me in the panel two of them before the Finnish VC’s realize the potential this morning (debuty CEO Timo Ritakallio of pensions of the companies.40 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  40. 40. Jungner of SDP promises to fight for tax cuts for business angelsthe most conservative investor Social Democrat party secretary, MP Mikael Jungner promises that tax incentives for business angels are not aMr Blank encouraged Mr Ritakallio to take a leading role lost cause. He says he’s personally committed to finding ain supporting the startup ecosystem in Finland. Accord- solution for resurrecting the initiative that crashed duringing to Mr Blank, such a move could be done and still give PM Matti Vanhanen’s Government in 2009.the population weary of their pension money the messagethat “we’re still the most conservative investor in the “The reasons for not finding solution were in my opin-business”. ion practical rather than political. I believe they can be solved”, Jungner said at Finnish Venture Capital Associa-“Just the fact that you will do it will change the thinking tion Panel on this room”, Mr Blank referred to an auditorium full ofVC’s. Jungner vowed that he and fellow panelist, MP Lasse Männistö of the Coalition party share the idea and areMr Ritakallio did not turn down the idea of increasing pushing it forward.the weight of high risk – high return investments in theIlmarinen portfolio. “It’s quite possible”, he said. “What Jungner believes the future of Finland is worth buildingwe need now is belief in the future and growth.” upon startups. They are agile operations best suitable for searching profitable business opportunities that bringHe advocated asymmetric funds, where public and jobs. And jobs and growth are what we need in the cur-private money would be pooled in to finance startups. rent economical gloom.He referred to the way Finnish university financing wassupported recently: private donations triggered a two-fold “Startups are a fast remedy. It is a change in mind set thatsum to the chosen university from the taxpayer. can give returns worth of billions of euros in less than five years”, Jungner said. 41
  41. 41. VEnTUrE CAPITAL Lunch I Sitra workshop Program 12:05 Opening Words, Mr. Jari Pasanen 12:07 Speech: Main Learning’s from the week, Mr. Kristo Ovaska 12:10 Introduction, Mr. Juha Mikkola 12:20 Introduction, Mr. Jukka Ruuska 12:30 Discussion and briefing about the next talk Location HTC Helsinki, Meeting Cabinet, Styyrbuuri C4, Pinta House, Tammasaarenkatu 1–5, Helsinki Host Mr. Jari Pasanen, Vice President of Business Development, Sitra Participants Mr. Juha Mikkola, Mr. Jukka Ruuska, Mr. Pauli Marttila Speech I Sitra’s Portofolio Companies Day 2011 Program 13:00 - 14:00 Location HTC Helsinki, Kolumbus Auditorium, Pinta House, Tammasaarenkatu 1–5, Helsinki Host Mr. Pauli Marttila, Director of Business Development and Strategic Investments, Sitra audience 80 companies from Sitra’s portfolio42 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  43. 43. VEnTUrE CAPITAL Blog I riku Siivonen & Taneli Heikka You ought to believe that God has given you a vision “Twenty-five of the 28 companies here will go out of business. Sorry. But the three will be filthy rich.” In these bubbly times and sky-high validations of com- panies Mr. Blank encouraged the audience to believe in startups in Portfolio day organized by the Finnish Innova- tion Fund, Sitra. The day gathered people from compa- nies Sitra has invested in. After a few days in Finland, having spoken to up to 2 000 people and worked closely with Aalto Entrepreneurship Society Mr. Blank thinks there is a “Helsinki spring” go- ing on, an entrepreunial revolution. “Those 20-year-old students know exactly what is hap- pening in Silicon Valley. They are born global. The only thing missing is venture funds, angels and incubators that understand that.” boost your ego! The well-clad investors and businessmen and women in the auditorium of High Tech Center in Ruoholahti listened to Mr Blank act as an messenger of the new revo- lutionary culture bustling just a few miles away on Aalto Ventures Garage.44 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  44. 44. ”Startups who are done by 20-year-olds who are too “A startup is temporary organisation designed to searchdumb to know that it can’t be done”, Mr. Blank advised. for a scalable and repeatable business model. Startups need their own tools which are different than those of“Startup is a calling. You ought to believe that God has large companies.”given you a vision. And in the right kind of entrepre-neurial ecosystem we should have equally insane people That means that for example the role of the board is dif-risking their money as investors.” ferent. In a startup board’s role is to teach the CEO that his job is not a technical exercise but a search for a busi-Mr. Blank reminded the Sitra audience to boost their ness model.egos. Because a big ego is not only what a startup found-er needs, but also a startup investor. This requires the investor to actually understand the busi- ness of the startup and contribute his time and networks”If you don’t have a larger ego than the average Finn - to the search of the business mode with personal riskwhich is not difficult – you don’t belong in the startup involved. This is a very different modus operandi com-business. Startups are about people who are uncomfort- pared to the traditional public funding institutions’ way ofable about being second. These are crazy people on a working, where the government signs a check and and –mission from God.” well, that’s about it.startups search for business models Blank stated that agile development is how startups should be build. The founders should “Get out of theNow, back to more profane facts. According to Mr Blank, building!” – one of Mr. Blanks catchphrases – and learnstartups are not smaller versions of large corporations - their business model straight from the customers.although a lot of people thought so for decades. 45
  45. 45. PUBLIC FUnDIng Workshop I Public Funding in Finland Program 09:05 Opening Words, Mr. Petri Peltonen 09:15 Keynote: Situation of Finland as Mr. Blank sees it, Shakeup! Mr. Steve Blank 09:45 Q&A and Discussion, Moderator Mr. Petri Peltonen 10:45 Conclusions, Mr. Petri Peltonen Location Ministry of Employment and Economy, Negotiation room Aleksanterinkatu 4, Helsinki Host Mr. Petri Peltonen, General Director of Ministry Employment and Economy Organizer Mr. Pertti Valtonen, Industrial Counsellor, Ministry of Employment and Economy audience 30 managers of the main public funding organisations in Finland “ @sgblank “People are comingcluster.Nordics and Baltic area to Helsinki. from Those are first signs of a Magic is going on.” #aaltoes “ @sgblank won’t talk Finland: ”No one in any of my meetings has talked about Nokia. 5 days in What you about will kill you first.” #aaltoes Lunch I Mr. Matti Alahuhta and Mrs. Tuula Teeri Program 12:00-13:00 Location Kone Building, Espoo Host Mr. Matti Alahuhta, CEO of Kone Mrs. Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University46 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  47. 47. PUBLIC FUnDIng Panel I How to develop Finland into the leading startup hub of Europe? Program 16:00 Doors Open, cocktails 16:10 Welcoming Words, Mr. Pekka Lundmark 16:20 Keynote: Where is the potential and what needs to change in Finland, Mr. Steve Blank 16:40 Panel Discussion 17:30 Conclusions, Mr. Pekka Lundmark 17:30 - 21:00 Buffet Dinner Location Kansallissali, Aleksanterinkatu 44, Helsinki Moderator Mr. Pekka Lundmark, CEO of Konecranes Panelists Mr. Peter Vesterbacka, Mighty Eagle, Rovio (Angry Birds) Mr. Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Mr. Hannu Seristö, Vice President of Aalto University Mr. Mikko Kuusi, President of Aalto Entrepreneurship Society Mr. Steve Blank Host Mr. Pekka Lundmark, CEO of Konecranes, Chairman of the Board of The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries Organizer Jukka Viitasaari, Director of Information Technology Industries, Federation of Finnish Technology Industries audience 120 people including industry leaders, key stakeholders and hosts of the week “Mighty Eagle @pvesterbacka: the Valley, Singapore andwith as nr 1 startub hub #aaltoes Finland should compete Israel “@alexstubb wants to make finland a top 1 country and attractive to startups and talent!48 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  51. 51. PUBLIC FUnDIng Blog I riku Siivonen & Taneli Heikka The Mighty Eagle says Finland should now compete with the Valley, Singapore and Israel When Steve Blank’s visit to Helsinki started on Monday, While Mr. Stubb gave the official confirmation to the for some, the idea of developing Finland into Europe’s raised targets, the real energy generator of the panel was startup hub may have seemed like a fantasy objective of Mr. Vesterbacka with his nonconformist views. a few dozen hyped nerds who had spent too much time staring at their laptops. Or perhaps soon we can call him a conformist. He said a huge attitude change is on its way in the Finnish society, by the end of the week, we have Helsinki spring, bigger in its significance than the radicalism of the 1960’s and the stakes have been supported, raised and and 70’s: officially confirmed. “the change in attitude is tangible and amazing. “Why would we want to be Europe’s startup hub? We It’s a culture change.” already are. What is there in Europe when it comes to startups? Not much. Why would we want to be the At moments frustrated to the Finnish realism of his fellow second best?” said the Mighty Eagle, Peter Vesterbacka panelists’, Mr. Vesterbacka cried out: “We can compete of Rovio in a panel where he sat alongside with Steve with anyone!” Blank, Minister of Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb, Miki Kuusi from Aalto Entrepreneurship Society and Hannu The protagonist of this revolution is the individual who Seristö, Vice President of Aalto University. The panel was knows better than the government. hosted by Pekka Lundmark, CEO of Konecranes. This is particularly true in financing early stage startups. So there we are now competing with Silicon Valley, Israel Asked what would happen if the Finnish public innova- and Singapore. Minister Stubb, quick to sense that times tion funding body TEKES was abolished, he replied: they are a-changing, tweeted that he’s “newcomer to this “Nothing bad would happen. We would save 600 million scene. Want to learn more”, and declared that Finland euros for 10 incubators. There would be no harm.” now should aim as number 1 country to fly to, live in and run startups.52 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  52. 52. save the organic emergence of clusters from theinstitutions!The fundamental problem with public funding of start-ups, according to Vesterbacka, is that the government cannever know better than the entrepreneurs, where success-ful business models and clusters are born. For instance,the gaming industry in Finland was not spotted or startedby TEKES officials.“It was started in the Assembly events”, he said. As-sembly “computer festivals” were started in the 1992 byvoluntary people to gather people from Finland’s demoscene.Slashing the Finnish institutions that still haven’t gottenthe revolution, he said the government’s effort to pourmoney to institutions like the SHOK’s , Strategic Centresof Science, Technology and Innovation were like try-ing to guide rarely floating shipwrecks on the high seas.Neither the guide nor the ship know where to go. It’s timeto ask the entrepreneurs.Of course, according to Mr. Vesterbacka, it matters whatthe government does or doesn’t do.“By taxing we cannot increase the number of for exampleangel investors. But again it is about the general attitude:we should admit that the government doesn’t alwaysknow the best.” 53
  53. 53. PUBLIC FUnDIng Blog I Taneli Heikka & riku Siivonen How to build a magical startup cluster? Welcome immigrants with baskets of flowers, “People are coming from the Nordics and the Baltic area says steve to Helsinki. Those are the first signs of a cluster. Some- thing magical is going on”, Blank said. Immigration is a central element in making Finland the leading startup hub in Europe, says serial entrepreneur, High growth startup companies created 50 000 new jobs professor Steve Blank. in Finland in the last four years. ”If I were you I’d be on the border with flower baskets to Entrepreneurs are queueing to Finland welcome entrepreneurs from Estonia, Russia and else- where in the Baltic area. Make entry for entrepreneurs to So who’s coming, then? Jevgeni Peltola, a Russia expert this country as easy as you can”, he said. for Aalto Entrepreneurship Society who works as a proj- ect manager at Pitney Bowes, said “everyone” in Russia After three days in Finland Mr Blank is convinced that wants to come to Finland to start a business. Helsinki has the right elements to “become the new Paris, Rome or Florence”. But he said politicians often miss “There are plenty of skilled teams from Russia, Bal- the subtle difference between immigration in general and tics and Poland who would like to come to Finland and immigration for job creation. He opined that the US has establish a company here. They are hard working and done it’s post 9/11 entrepreneur immigration policy badly, motivated and really give a benchmark that inspires the but talent keeps pouring in because of the strong pull of Finns too.” the Silicon Valley.54 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  54. 54. One of the reasons for the entrepreneurs leaving Russiais that it is fairly complicated to do an exit in Russia – tosell the company to global markets.“There were 80 teams who wanted to come to Aaltoesprograms but there were only two places. If we couldsomehow make it easier for foreigners to come here itwould make a huge impact”, Jevgeni said.aaltoes goes RussiaAaltoes will have one-day-events in five Russian cities aspart of the Startup Sauna Warm Up -program.“We will have for example a pitching competition wherethe winner teams can get a trip to Silicon Valley”, Jevgeniconcludes. “@sgblank says thanks for the disruption #aaltoes 55
  55. 55. EnTrEPrEnEUrSHIP AnD MEDIA Breakfast I Mr. Jyri Häkämies Program 8:00 - 08:45 Location Ministry of Economy and Employment, Aleksanterinkatu 4, Helsinki Host Mr. Jyri Häkämies, Minister of Economy Organizer Mr. Petri Peltonen Workshop I Leading Editors-in-Chief Program 12:00 - 14:00 Location Aalto Venture Garage, Backstage, Betonimiehenkuja 5, 02150 Espoo Host Mr. Hannu Leinonen, Editor in Chief, Kauppalehti Organizer Ms. Henrietta Kekäläinen Mr. Antti Vilpponen, Arctic Startup audience 8 Editors-in-chief of leading Finnish Medias “Evenpress wasmedia gets it!ab Birds. Tod Dagens Industry reported on #HelsinkiSpring. Fin last to write Swedish #aaltoes56 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  57. 57. EnTrEPrEnEUrSHIP AnD MEDIA Blog I Taneli Heikka Steve: Finnish media treat beacons of hope as enemies of state Whenever a paper mill is shut down in an obscure vil- work their butts off to create jobs in this country (and lage in Lapland, TV cameras rush to the scene, politi- to become obscenely rich) feel their cause has not been cians establish a task force to “create jobs” to the area, understood in the media. and newspapers run spreads and op-eds to reflect on this unexpected disturbance in the Force. And it’s not only the young. Mr Blank said that co-creator of MySQL Mårten Mickos, who now lives in the Silicon When Finnish wind and solar power startup The Switch Valley, is still bitter to the Finnish media for how the exit was sold to the US with 190 million euros, leading busi- of his company worth 700 million euros in 2008 was ness magazine Talouselämä started to inquire weather the treated. company should now pay it’s public TEKES funds back, since there might be a euro or two of taxpayers’ money in “My personal job is to have Mårten Mickos come back to the owners’ wallets now. Finland. He’s still pissed. These guys have created jobs. They are the beacon of hope.” “Anywhere else these guys would have been treated as heroes in the media. But here they are treated like A digital Helsinki Spring enemies of the state”, serial entrepreneur Steve Blank scolded Finnish Editor-in-Chiefs at a working lunch at Mr. Blank thinks that the return of the first generation Aalto Venture Garage on Friday. startup champions as heroes and business angels to Fin- land would flourish the grassroots of the Helsinki startup Present were the likes of host Hannu Leinonen of Spring. This requires an attitude change in the Finnish Kauppalehti, Tapani Ruokanen of Suomen Kuvalehti and media. Eljas Repo from Arvopaperi. The purpose of the luncheon was to discuss the significance of the grassroots startup Why, then, does the Finnish media not get the Helsinki phenomenon to Finnish society. Spring? Steve Blank offered a very good starting point in offering an explanation: the media simply doesn’t know “Mårten is still pissed” of it. As a journalist I’m all for questioning the use of public Mr Blank referred to Helsinki Spring as viral phenome- money. But is there a pattern here we should be aware non like the Arab Spring. It spreads through social media of? At least the young entrepreneurs at Aalto Garage who without geographical borders. The youth immerses itself58 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  58. 58. digitally into new information, ideology and perhaps They’re not going to go to concerts, do drugs or come tomost importantly, borderless markets and finances. the summer home with you. They want to go to incuba- tors, start coding and run startups.”I’m not surprised that the media in Finland doesn’t real-ize this. Following social media is not part of Finnish What a frightening scenario!journalists’ routines. Twitter, where Helsinki Spring wasevident early on, is alien to most journalists in Finland. And how were these tidings received by the Editor-in- Chiefs? Tapani Ruokanen from Suomen Kuvalehti, anSenior journos have even taken strong opinions against inquisitive mind and author of several history books, putsocial media. As significant societal changes – the racist the phenomenon in perspective. He said that in Finland,wing of the True Finns being an excellent example – in- the definition of success for his generation was to movecreasingly rise through social media, this attitude is a real from the countryside to cities for university education andproblem. get a steady job in a government agency. Now things are radically changing.A true ideological revolution “Now everything is on your shoulders”, he said andThe second reason Steve Blank offered for the resistance looked at Ville Vesterinen, Mohamed El-Fatatry andfor the Helsinki Spring in the Old Guard of mainstream Kristo Ovaska at the is spot on, too. He asked the young entrepreneurs to call him anytimeWe’re looking at a true ideological revolution, something and keep him updated.that the angriest of birds, Mighty Eagle of Rovio PeterVesterbacka called greater in significance than the previ- Now that’s a good start. Perhaps we will also see report-ous generational uprising in the 1960’ and 70’s. And the ers of Suomen Kuvalehti getting their faces on Twitterold instinctively resist what the young do, even if what and feet on the streets of Helsinki Spring?they were doing was money.“Your children are going to do stuff that you are going tohate”, Mr. Blank advised the Editors.“A good number of them are going to be capitalists. 59
  59. 59. EnTrEPrEnEUrSHIP AnD MEDIA Workshop I Startup Sauna Coaches Program 14:00 Opening Words, Mr. Petteri Koponen 14:10 Introductions of Startup Sauna coaches, 1 minute each 14:30 Introduction: Coaching and Mentoring startups, Mr. Steve Blank 14:45 Discussion: how to coach and mentor Startup Sauna startups 15:45 Conclusions and Action points, Mr. Petteri Koponen Location Aalto Venture Garage, Backstage, Betonimiehenkuja 5, 02150 Espoo Host Mr. Petteri Koponen, Founder of Lifeline Ventures. Organizer Mr. Antti Ylimutka audience 25 Startup Sauna coaches, “ @sgblank: “Startups that are done by 20y-olds are done by people who r too dumb to know that it can’t be done60 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  61. 61. EnTrEPrEnEUrSHIP AnD MEDIA Speech I the Customer Development Model Program 17:15 Opening words: Antti Ylimutka, Startup Sauna, 17:20 Introduction: How Customer Development has changed my life Mr. llkka Paananen and Mr. Jussi Laakkonen 17:30 Keynote: Successful strategies for products that win, Mr. Steve Blank 18:45 BBQ and Sauna 20:30 Fireworks Location Betonimiehenkuja 3d, Espoo Hosts Mr. Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, Mr. Jussi Laakkonen, Founder of Applifier Mr. Ville Simola, Aalto Venture Garage Mr. Antti Ylimutka, Startup Sauna Organizer Mr. JP Hernandez Mr. Juho Hyytiäinen Ms. Henrietta Kekäläinen audience 800 entrepreneurs around the Europe “Oh my god, this is a true celebration of startups 800 ppl listening @sgblank #aaltoes “Listening to @sgblank giving an epic talk. Times, they are a’changin’ #aaltoes “@sgblank: Helsinki spring much like Arab one: you’re doing smth your parents wouldn’t approve and your government has no clue about #aaltoes62 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  63. 63. EnTrEPrEnEUrSHIP AnD MEDIA Blog I Teppo Hudson Customer Development is everything thinks Steve Blank Watch Top Gun. And you understand how it feels to run a startup. I really loved this analogue by Steve Blank dur- ing his lecture today. Think how the fighter pilot operates in the cockpit: OODA loop. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. This concept is basically a strategic level mind- set in military operations, and can easily be applied to un- derstand startup leadership. It is a rather complex system of decision making and imagine you have to do all those decision while flying mach 2.1, and you have only split seconds to react. That’s how it feels. The quest for a business model In a scalable startup (for more on different type of start- ups here), the founding team is in a search for a repeat- able and scalable business model. That is very different from actual execution in a company. The main difference with startups and corporations are that, in the latter one,64 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  64. 64. the executive management already knows the business to test your assumptions. If your assumptions are correct,model because it has already been found. The startup you should have no problems to add revenue to pay forphase should be temporary during the project’s transfor- the future development. If not, it is time to go back to themation into a company, and the sole purpose should be to drawing board and tweak the model a bit.understand the metrix needed to make reliable decisions. Steve Blank thinks that many startups fail because theyUnlike in a corporation, the only accounting needed in found no customers. Not because they could not delivera startup are a) burnrate and b) how much is left at the what the technical feature set failed. The startups justbank. Nothing else. Profitability or such do not matter un- ended up building “a house where nobody wanted totil the startup team has verified the business model. When live”. So like the fighter pilots in “Top Gun”, the startupthe model is verified, the company will actually deliver a founders have to move fast with limited resources. Theyvalid value proposition for the their customer segments. have to do decision calls with limited amount of data. Essentially the thrills come through those decisions madeDo the customer development blindly, with gut feelings. Just remember, your gut feeling will only emerge by talking to the customers and devel-Please, do not waste time on business plans. No business oping from there.plan will ever stand the test of an initial customer encoun-ter. This is often the first fatal flaw. The second flaw is to Most importantly, remember to find and document “whatthink all the imaginable features should be in the product. have we learned about customers and what is our story”.Learn to go lean and have just minimal viable feature set That is what makes headlines. 65
  65. 65. Blog I riitta raesmaa The Finnish Awesomeness and Entrepreneurship Something exceptional is happening here in Finland. The Helsinki Spring is here, as Steve so nicely put it. I However I think that the foundation for that has existed a am optimistic; the fruits of this week will be many. I am long time, only to wait its time to come. And it seems that very proud of this young crew, Finnish Awesomeness at the time is here and now. Let me explain. its best. I am a startup entrepreneur and I am considering my- the Finnish Way of being self very lucky that I have had the opportunity to follow somewhat amazing chain of events happening in the Serendipitously I happened to bump into another type of startup scene of Finland. The young crew from the Aalto Finnish awesomeness. I listened to Senior VP of Design University, so-called Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, has at Nokia Marko Ahtisaari’s presentation at the Copenha- worked hard for two and half years, and finally this week gen Design Week. they publicly proved that their vision and the actions taken truly are a very powerful force. The first 12 minutes (the rest of it is mostly about Nokia design and future development, interesting as well) of his I am not describing here in detail what has happened dur- speech ‘Patterns of Human Interaction’ had an effect on ing the past weeks; actually you’ll get the picture of that me. His humble way of speaking about how better design easily by checking out their blog . This great team man- can help us to make each other feel that we are welcome, aged, together with the legendary Steve Blank himself, to is just awesome. A beautiful perspective! initiate many important discussions and processes – and I do believe that they managed to make a difference. Another observation I made is his style of speaking, it is very Finnish (read: very non-American). He is not We will certainly hear more about startups in the Finnish shouting and feverishly waving his hands – no, instead media and we now expect more from our decision-mak- he applies the traditional Finnish style: he is calm, speaks ers too. Hopefully we will also see actions based on the very softly and is overall adorable and kind. And all ideas born during this week’s ‘revolution’. that without being boring. It kind of reminds me of the66 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  66. 66. way Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks. Or Alex Quietude as a Finnish“Natural Way of Being” [pdf], withOsterwalder, or Aalto Entrepreneurship Society’s presi- the following description:dent Miki Kuusi. So I warmly recommend you to listen toMarko, at least the first 12 minutes. “A Finnish communication code that structures some cul- tural scenes as occasions for positive silence, exhibitingsmall talk and Positive silence a social model of personhood for which this is a valued, respected, and natural practice.”These great people and the two events – AaltoES withSteve Blank & Marko Ahtisaari and his talk about more I just love this expression, positive silence. Please con-human design principles – made me think about what is sider positive silence as time for thinking, reflecting, and“Finnishness”, and why I’ll find it awesome and full of listening. The paper explains the Finnish way of com-possibilities for the entrepreneurship too. munication with many good example stories; it can trulyThe Finnishness?, you may ask. Yes, we do have some help in understanding us Finns…national characteristics that can be more rare among othernationalities, we can be seen as very shy, but on the other Another great read is this short article of the Helsinkihand our curiosity and creativity makes it easy for us to Times – No small talk please, we’re Finnish, in whichconnect and share. To connect and share, and most impor- freelance journalist Susan Fourtané describes her experi-tantly to listen. On top of that we are very persistent and ences:diligent; we don’t like to give in. Except in football. “I particularly enjoyed the thoughtfulness and the mo-We Finns can easily be silent in company with other ments of silence in between, giving space for observingpeople. It’s natural. Foreigners often find our silence our own thoughts before speaking. Yes, you have heardodd, or fascinating. Professor of Communication Donal it right. Finns don’t do small talk. They don’t think aCarbaugh, from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, moment of shared silence is awkward. On the contrary, ithave written an excellent paper about this – Silence and is part of the conversation. A direct question gets a direct 67
  67. 67. answer. There is no nonsense talk about nothing. There is In his excellent presentation at the Aalto University Steve no asking “How are you?” ten times until someone says Blank touched on these topics in his own creative way. A something else, or stating the obvious. Finns are more startup entrepreneur is living on the edge with all senses interested in how you think, how you perceive Finland open. An ability to observe, discover, pivot, adapt and or what keeps you in this small and cold country, as they finally to adopt is crucial. On top of his great experiences refer to beautiful and peaceful Finland.” that Steve shared with us, I enjoyed his attitude, very re- freshing. And I especially loved Steve’s analog of startup Less small talk and more positive silence, I believe that entrepreneur as a fighter pilot! I feel like Maverick quite this enables better listening, and further better under- often. standing. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friend- What “the Finnish way of being” has to do with the ship” Finnish startup ecosystem success? The AaltoES team is showing a great deal of creativity, Let me explain. I have blogged a lot about my three persistence, and most importantly the ability to get things favorite topics. And I truly believe that creativity, innova- done with the help of the surrounding ecosystem. They tion, and better decision-making, in startups too, require managed to activate all of us, followers and fans, to par- at least some investments and understanding in these ticipate. This is priceless and I do believe that “this is the areas: beginning of a beautiful friendship” (couldn’t help myself quoting one of the most memorable exit lines in movie 1. Systems Intelligence (theory by my friend Professor history, from Casablanca). Esa Saarinen), 2. Recognition of the value and importance of serendipity The Finnish Awesomeness is something very genuine. Let (the weak links and the edges, re: John Hagel), us be proud of it. I wish that we don’t have to start to act 3. Recognition of the value and importance listening. entirely differently in order to be able to make a differ- These three capabilities require a certain attitude, an at- ence. We have all we need to become a vibrant startup titude of respect, with a touch of trust. hub in Europe, and in the World. Luckily many of these are a natural part of the startup I wish that the Finnish awesomeness could be DNA. We need to be open and cooperative; we need use something that other people can learn from. both sides of our brains and become better listeners.68 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
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  69. 69. Blog I Antti Vilpponen, Arctic Startup When A Blog Post Won’t Do Justice Even though this blog post will most likely be a feeble During the week, he met with two ministers, two MPs, attempt in covering the importance and the effect of Steve thousands of entrepreneurs & students, carried out 12 Blank’s visit to Finland and the region last week - I’ll still lectures, participated in four panels and gave about nine have an attempt at it. Last week was packed full of action interviews. To make all this possible, the people at Aal- and discussion where Steve Blank talked not only with toES organized his trip and put all the important pieces in entrepreneurs but politicians, MPs and academia. He also place. Kudos to them! upped entrepreneurship a few notches on the editorial importance for some of Finland’s newspapers as he talked Steve Blank also visited Estonia and was quick to com- to a group of editors-in-chief (including us) why entrepre- ment; “Met the Estonian startup scene for lunch. World- neurship is of vital importance to nations’ success. class guys, unique ecosystem.More Skypes coming from this group. Thx for making me smarter.” Steve Blank was visiting Finland last week to promote the importance of a working entrepreneurial ecosystem Steve Blank week’s highlights can be read from the blog to the region. I have a feeling his visit will go down in that focused on his visit and in no way will I try to cover one of those turning points in history for this part of the all the above mentioned bits into this post. Actually, that world. Not only did he incite more flames into the “Finn- isn’t as relevant as what he accomplished with his visit. ish spring” as he referred to the entrepreneurial revolution taking place in Finland, but he did so in a manner that Steve Blank’s visit to the region sent shivers through- politicians, mainstream media and academics can under- out society as media gave due attention to his message. stand. Blank was also honest in teaching the media how they should report on startups and the scene in general. He70 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  70. 70. gave an example with Mårten Mickos, the former CEO While startups and people in the region might feel thatof MySQL, still being pissed off about how the Finnish quality of companies isn’t good enough to take over themedia covered their $1 billion exit in 2008. As opposed to world, Blank saw otherwise. He said numerous times thatapplauding these everyday heroes, media downplayed the while the ecosystem is still evolving and finding its shapesale as an unpatriotic act. - the quality of startups is equal to that of Silicon Valley.In addition to getting the media to understand the im- Not only did he praise the quality, he put his moneyportance of entrepreneurship, Blank also preached to the where his mouth is. Before the end of the week, he wrotepoliticians. Having participated in some of the events cheques to two of the Startup Sauna companies thatthroughout the week, it’s incredibly difficult to under- pitched him. To which startups and how much he invest-stand how politicians have the situation under control. By ed, he did not disclose.situation I mean the creation of jobs into the economy. Regardless of the disclosure, Steve Blank truly came, sawHe furthermore outlined that entrepreneurial activities and conquered the region with his charisma. AaltoES didfrom the government should be always temporary by na- a truly great job in organizing the week and putting theture and should aim at putting themselves out of business pieces in place to start changing Finland and the regionover time. These days many activities are still seen more into one of the leading startup hubs of the employment programs for government workers insteadof truly helping the cause. Steve Blank week may be over, but the effects of his visit are just beginning to show. The “Finnish spring” is trulyHe commented on startups and the government, “having on its way.government officials choose the winners of tomorrowfrom the startup scene is like having a priest give you sexadvice - it just doesn’t work”. 71
  71. 71. Blog I Taneli Heikka Helsinki Spring - a revolution of enterprise support Steve Blank, a professor at Stanford University, and a re- In Finland, values, education and competence are taking tired serial entrepreneur, visited Finland in early Septem- the right turn with regard to growth entrepreneurship. The ber. Thousands of people attended Blank’s talks, boosting Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, which brought Blank to the civic movement of growth entrepreneurship that has Finland, is an example of this. The establishment of the been gaining momentum in the decision-making process job market would require more diversity tolerance and an for a couple of years now. extensive increase in immigration. Most of the startups in Silicon Valley have been founded by immigrants. Perhaps the comparison where Blank’s tent lecture evening (which concluded with fireworks) was described However, the financing system is the worst bottleneck. as the Woodstock of the entrepreneur generation was Blank finds traces of socialism therein. In Finland, the slightly overblown, but there was something significant in government intends to control where growth is created the air in addition to the big words and the smell of gun- and to make investment decisions without the personal powder. The concept of the Helsinki Spring emerged on risk of the investor. According to Blank, these are the ap- Twitter – a sweeping change that, in the spirit of the Arab propriate principles of funding growth entrepreneurship: Spring, may make our young people become capitalists. 1. The investment decision must always involve a Blank’s visit had a revolutionary message related to the personal risk and reward. This is the only way the financing of enterprises. Civil servants who use taxpayer investor will take a risk that is correctly proportioned money for enterprise support will have to decide whether to the operating sector of growth enterprises. they support the Blank entrepreneur movement or wheth- 2. In addition to money, the investor must provide their er they are against it. competence, time and passion to the enterprise. Blank considers the world from the perspective of growth What kind of public funding system would be established enterprises. All of a sudden, they have become significant for growth enterprises on the basis of Blank’s views? because old enterprises do not grow and provide jobs like And, is such a system needed? Growth entrepreneurship they used to. is a very special form of entrepreneurship that questions many usual Finnish values and ideas of entrepreneurship To address this issue, ecosystems – clusters of entrepre- and fairness. Why does something like that require public neurship with the aim of rapid growth – have emerged in support? Silicon Valley and then in Israel and Singapore, among other areas. In them, capital, education, the job market and values encourage the rapid creation of startups.72 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  72. 72. About 90% of startups fail. The successful one provides a Taxpayer money can be channelled into asymmetricalnice profit to risk investors. The existence of this system funds where private capital and public capital go handis justified by entrepreneurship being the best way of in hand. Funding decisions are always market-based.finding new business models and creating new jobs. The This means that taxpayer money is always invested in atask is so difficult that it needs a high-risk system that has company where a private investor is also willing to investbeen optimised to the maximum and that provides large their own money.rewards. Another way of channelling the support could be to estab-Will not a system like this create a new Facebook and lish a group of enterprise incubators. While Blank wasRovio without public funding? Yes, it probably would. visiting, Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio said that the EURBut capitalism does have its flaws. And they are related to 600 million budget of Tekes would provide Finland withFinland. ten incubators, each having a budget of EUR 60 million. It is an interesting thought experiment to consider wheth-Enterprises at the very early startup stage are not funded er this would result in more innovation than the wayif the ecosystem of growth enterprises is underdeveloped, money is currently used. Except that it is not a thoughtwhich is the case for Finland. This is a stage where the experiment. This is the way Israel operates. Incubatorsideas of enterprises are vague and difficult to identify. In can be privatised when they operate on their own.Silicon Valley, such ideas may receive private funding.But there are only a few hundred angel investors in Fin- What will the Finnish model be like? Blank pointed outland, and there is not enough money for all. Finland does many times that the approach used in Israel, which theynot have a funding practice where wealthy private people, found after 30 years of failure, is excellent but Finlandjoint funds of angels and professionally managed venture cannot copy it. Finland must find its own way of makingcapital funds would invest in startups. Helsinki the world’s leading startup cluster.This means that the practice needs to be established, Blank said that after having met with a large number ofand this is where the Finnish government can help. This politicians, business sector opinion leaders and execu-does not mean that the government would create a new, tive civil servants from the Ministry of Employment andpermanent form of enterprise support. The ecosystems in the Economy, he had not met one person with a visionSilicon Valley and Israel – the leading startup clusters in of what kind of funding system the Helsinki Startup Hubthe world – were established so that the government sup- would have in ten years, and who would show the wayported the venture capital funds of the startups for years there.and then exited. 73
  73. 73. Top articles of the week Helsingin sanomat 12.9.2011 Suomalaisten valtti on kylmä intohimo tekniikka ja talous 9.9.2011 Yrittäjyyden henki nousee Suomessa kauppalehti 6.9.2011 Yrittäjaguru Steve Blank tietoviikko 5.9.2011 Kasvuyrittäjyysguru vierailee Aallossa - luvassa sivuaine huippuyliopiston kanssa kauppalehti 5.9.2011 Startup-yrittäjä - varo epäonnistumisen kaavaa talouselämä 5.9.2011 Kasvuyritysguru Steve Blank: “Suomen on irtauduttava neuvostokulttuurista”74 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  74. 74. Metrics of the week33 000 pageviews on steveblank.fi9500 visitors on steveblank.fi2840 people registered to eventsthousands of tweets62 influencers met(CEOs, entrepreneurs, politicians,government officers)37 blogposts12 lectures9 interviews4 panels2 funded companies2 ministers met2 MPs met1 tv-documentary 75
  75. 75. Organizations Aalto University Established in 2010, the Aalto University was created from the merger of three Finnish universities: The Helsinki School of Eco- nomics, Helsinki University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki. The new universitys ambitious goal is to be one of the leading institutions in the world in terms of research and education in its own specialized disciplines. Website: Key persons: Tuula Teeri, President. Hannu Seristö, Vice President Aalto Enterpreneurship Society Founded in late 2008, Aalto Entrepreneurship Society is an independent, privately funded student and post-graduate led commu- nity initiative. It encourages high-tech, high-growth, scalable entrepreneurship, providing a tight startup community in Northern Europe. Website: Key persons: Mikko Kuusi, Chairman. Juhana Nurmio Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) offers innovation, commercialization, and start-up services for Aalto University re- searchers, students and other stakeholders. In addition, ACE facilitates innovation and growth entrepreneurship by coordinating research and education of these areas across all Aalto schools. Website: Key persons: Will Cardwell, Head Arctic Startup Founded in 2007, Arctic Startup is the biggest technology website reviewing and reporting on technology startups and growth entrepreneurship from the Nordic and Baltic countries. Arctic Startup aims to encourage entrepreneurship and to help create a radically optimistic entrepreneurial culture in the Nordics and Baltics by writing about the startups. Arctic Startup continuously gathers tens of thousands of readers from over 130 countries, giving the regions startups an unrivaled media channel for global recognition. Website: Key persons: Antti Vilpponen76 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI
  76. 76. Elinkeinoelämän keskusliitto EK, The Confederation of Finnish IndustryEKs task is to create a better and more competitive operating environment for the business community in Finland. This requiresstrong action in both Finland and the European Union, because the rules concerning companies are being regulated increasingly atthe European level. Website: persons: Timo KekkonenFiBAn - Finnish Business Angels networkFiBAN is a Finnish network of private investors that aims to inspire and increase the amount and quality of private investmentsmade in early-stage companies. For investors, FiBAN offers training, events and co-operation with other Business Angels. FiBANalso makes it easy for entrepreneurs to submit their high-growth business summary for Angel-members to study. Website: http://www.fiban.orgKey persons: Ari Korhonen, Vice ChairmanFinnveraFinnvera is a specialised financing company owned by the State of Finland. It provides its clients with loans, guarantees, venturecapital investments and export credit guarantees. Finnvera has official Export Credit Agency (ECA) status. Website: http://www.finnvera.fiKey persons: Hannu JungmanFVCA - Suomen pääomasijoitusyhdistys ry, Finnish Venture Capital AssociationThe members of the association are entities acting in the Finnish private equity and venture capital markets. FVCA accepts as itsassociate members communities or private individuals who play a part in the development of the industry in Finland. The numberof members at the moment is 40 full and 49 associate members. Website: persons: Artturi Tarjanne, Chairman of the Board, Krista Rantasaari 77
  77. 77. Konecranes Konecranes is an industry-leading group of lifting businesses that offers a complete range of advanced lifting solutions to many different industries worldwide. Website: Key persons: Pekka Lundmark, CEO Lifeline Ventures Lifeline Ventures is a team of serial entrepeneurs that invest in sectors they know from previous experience. They often start working with a startup even before it has launched its first product, typically taking it from the inception to successful Series A investment and beyond. Website: Key persons: Petteri Koponen, Founding Partner, Timo Ahopelto, Co-Founder nexit Ventures Nexit Ventures is a mobile venture capital firm focused on mobile & wireless innovation. Leveraging its extensive network in the global mobile marketplace, Nexit invests primarily in Nordic and US-based companies with products and services for a global market. Website: Key persons: Artturi Tarjanne, General Partner rovio Rovio is an entertainment media company based in Finland, and the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise. Rovio was founded in 2003 as a mobile game development studio, and the company has developed several award-winning titles for various mobile platforms. Website: Key persons: Peter Vesterbacka, Mighty Eagle78 stEvE bLank WEEk In HELsInkI