Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NL WSA-Mobile 2014 entries

m-Commerce: FietsFinder
m-Health: Beat the Microbead
m-Empowerment: SOS4US 
m-News: Blendle
m-Culture: Touch Van Gogh

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

We take you to a global stage in Brazil  – 10 more days to submit your social project
World Summit Youth Award
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Need promotion for you social initiative? –Winning the Youth Award will help! Don’t miss the chance to apply!
WSYA winners have the unique opportunity to be part of an international high-energy networking event. This year the winners’ celebration will take place in Brazil, Sao Paulo, Nov 28th – Dec 1st.
Meet and discuss with young social activists from all over the world about what happens after the UN MDGs. How will they work post 2015?

To submit a project go to

Sunday, July 06, 2014

BPN 1683: The Finnish Prime Minister is wrong

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb accused Apple's late founder Steve Jobs of crushing his Nordic country's job market by selling innovations that caught Finland's companies off guard. "We had two pillars we stood on: one was the IT industry, the other one was the paper industry," Stubb told Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri.

However, the Finnish Prime Minister is crying over spilled milk. There was nothing wrong with the innovations of the Finnish and in particular Nokia. The company had the brick, the Communicator phone and mobile internet since 1997. And in 2000 Nokia had a prototype of a tablet in its US laboratory (Which company did not have a prototype? HP was working on its PC/hybrid turnstile screen).

Problem with the Nordic countries and particularly Finland was that despite the famous glass and clothes design, the IT companies did not have the design ability, which Apple celebrated as part of its company policy. Nokia was technically well advanced with its Communicator and shelved in 2000 the beta-development of the tablet for another five years due to the economic downturn.

My observation
In 1999 I was in Finland at the first Scholars’ Network Conference in Tampere, hosted by the Hypermedialaboratory of Tampere University in Tampere, the home of my friends Jarmo, Cai and Sohvi. As I had been studying the second wave of electronic books with Rocket Books, I presented an overview to the audience of the history and the near future.

I divided the history in two waves. Sony hijacked the term Electronic Book in 1990 and introduced a adapted discman plus a minidisk. The first device weighted 450 grams, had a black and white screen, but it rendered text, drawings and photographs as well as music. E-Books were produced for it and in fact the American novel Sliver was first published on e-Book and later in print. The device was introduced in The Netherlands in 1993 and a consortium of publishers and producers bundled reference works like a dictionary and hotel guide. The e-book adventure of Sony did not catch on. In my opinion for the singular function of reading books (no games, no diary), only the electronic cover was too expensive.

The second wave came in 1997 when internet was there as a distribution mechanism for e-books to be downloaded on a small tablet. Again, it was experienced as an exciting proposition for distributing and storing a number of book. But in my opinion it failed again by the louzy design, black/white screen and the single functionality. So in 1999 I projected that smart phones and smart tablets would meet e-book functionality. There were not too many smart phones around at that time, while tablets were just around the corner.

Invitation by Nokia
After the presentation a manager of the Nokia Venture Company came up to me and invited me to Helsinki to speak to the people of Nokia Research and Business Development. They wanted to discover the world of e-books, the production and the copyright issues.

By April 2000 we had set a date and I travelled to Helsinki. I was told that I was going to be picked up by cab and that I would travel with a Nokia researcher in the States. So at 8.30h we were ready and waiting for the cab. In the meantime we had gotten into a discussion on e-book, smartphones and tablets. So in the cab he opened his attaché case and took a demonstration tablet out. It was clear to me that this tablet was for games and e-books. Later on it appeared that the tablet should not have been shown to me. But I had had a peep into the future of Nokia; little did I know that the tablet would be on the market some 4 or 5 years later.

It was not innovation, but design
Looking at the statement of the Finnish Prime Minister, I conclude that Nokia missed the design ability of Apple and not the innovation capability. If Nokia had been able to apply more design to the Communicator, they would have been a competitor or Apple. Nokia launched some designs of future Communicators, but did not carry out further laboratory work. And Nokia stopped developing the tablet due to the economic downturn. These days we know that during low economic tides innovative development should not get shelved, but should get priority in laboratories.  

I also conclude that the Nordic countries did not take the threat of e-book serious enough and thought that dead trees would be the basic material for newspapers, magazines and books for centuries to come. At a meeting in Stockholm in 2000 on e-books, many directors of the pulp industry were present. My advice to them was to invest in e-readers and e-books like their American colleague pulp company Mead Corp had done in the seventies with Mead Data Central, the originator of the Lexis-Nexis online information service, now a Reed-Elsevier company. The Nordic directors did not. So, the North American companies like Amazon and Kobe are now dominating the e-reader and e-book market.

Despite the misinterpretation of corporate history, the Finnish Prime Minister is looking at the bright side of the Nordic development. The Nordic pulp industry is now at least investing in bio-technology, bringing in its pulp knowledge. And the Finnish IT industry is putting money on the game industry with companies as Rovio with Angry Birds and many app developers.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Trending Finnish companies on Startup100

Trending companies on Startup100

Startup100 is a monthly chart of the Hottest Startups from Finland. Our proprietary ranking system tracks over 700 startups, and lists them based on the companies' online marketing activities and performance.

Want to see the movers and shakers? Go to