Please FAIL today!!!

Ok, please write a note to your calendar for today. Please write; ” Today I failed!”

Don’t worry. Failing is good. Failing helps you learn from your mistakes. Failing will show what has to be improved. I encourage you to fail. Even better, I challenge you to fail. Finland challenges you to fail!

Today, 13th October 2011, marks the first nationwide “National Fail Day” in Finland. What is it all about? In short the Finnish society hasn’t been very encouraging in the unfortunate situation where a person – whether an entrepreneur, an athlete, me or you, anyone – has failed. Unlike in many other cultures failure in Finland is (soon “was”) personal. From children to adults, from students to professionals, from young to old – we fear failure so much that we don’t even try. We fear that other people will judge us based on our failures rather than our success.

However, today marks the time when Finland began to change its ways. Today, failure is celebrated. Share your failures with all the people you know and encourage them to do the same! Spread the word and visit the official website (sorry, only in Finnish) to see how some of the most prominent figures of Finnish society have failed. Learn from your failures and learn from the failures of others. Remember that when you have failed, you have the chance to learn how to be better the next time. Failure is an opportunity to succeed!

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Inspiration

A while has passed since my last post. Better be more active in the future. My post today is about my inspiration to entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs have different sources of inspiration. Just like any other people in the world, we are inspired by the achievements of others, by our heroes, by books, by videos, by quotes, by pictures, by events…… You can be inspired by pretty much anything.

For the past year, for me, there have been a couple of sources of inspiration. Firstly seeing my fellow student-entrepreneurs creating great ideas (like this one or this one), developing the ideas into novel and innovative business models and opportunities and later actually making their ideas turn into reality as products, services, apps etc. What inspires me most in these stories is not that they would be told by heroic people with super-human abilities and skills, but they are told by regular girls and regular guys. They only thing they had to posses was the self-confidence (don’t push it too far or you’ll turn out cocky) and belief in their visions. Obviously it takes hours of effort to understand your market, your customers and iterate your ideas, but still, the people who make it happen are not too different from you and me.

Being part of something that is possibly changing the course of a nation for the years to come is something that drives me to work with many of my ideas. As you may know, Finland is growing to become a start-up hub in the Scandinavian and Baltic region and maybe even in the whole of Europe. Steve Blank titled this “the Finnish Spring”. It has also been noted widely in media e.g. by Wired magazine and The Next Web. The possibility of looking back and saying I was part of that is something worth pursuing.

To end this post I want to give you all something that I find very inspirational. It is a simple video a friend of mine showed me on his laptop perhaps a year ago. Take a minute to watch it and perhaps you too will get inspired.

Fun, play and rockstars

Today I want to talk about something that caught my eye whilst browsing through the website of the largest newspaper in Finland.

First of all, I will say a few words as a reply to an article in Helsingin Sanomat. For those who don’t speak/read Finnish, the article talks about the current trend among young people in Finland to experiment with start-up companies. Across Finland students are coming together and spending their summers as the writer sais “sitting in meeting rooms and creating business plans rather than going to rock festivals and partying”. Instead of looking up to guitar smashing rock stars, young people in Finland have found new idols in the likes of Peter Vesterbacka and other entrepreneurs. Where is the fun and what has happened to our youth, asks the writer..

Well what has happened to our youth is actually a response to the current situation is Finnish society. Young people have realized the crumbling state of the Finnish economy and corporate ecosystem. Instead of taking to the streets, causing havoc and sitting on our butts, students have decided to respond by having fun, playing and experimenting with friends, ideas and new ventures. Sure, a lot of these experiments will never end up as new startups and a lot of the stuff will be forgotten in time, but for those few ideas that turn out to be successful and interesting, the people involved will look back at the early days and say “I was there, I was part of creating that and I’m proud of it!” In stead of complaining, we are actually creating something. Oh and, yes, it is pretty cool to hop on a plane and go pitch your ideas to people in Silicon Valley. Something, you will surely look back to after the years have passed.

And the fun fact of the day is that all this experimenting, fun and playing with ideas and startups doesn’t exclude any of the “more traditional” fun and play of forming rock bands, partying through the night and causing havoc in the eyes of others. We just came up with a way to have fun with friends all the time doing the exact stuff we like. I’m not so sure if this is worth the criticism. Another fun fact is that a lot of the startups that are being created are actually directly related to music, arts and pop culture.

Related to this I want to share a TED talk (click here) I found rather brilliant. Check it out and tell me what you think.