Former Nokia CEO Kalle Isokallio is wondering about the fuss in Finland concerning Nokia and Microsoft collaboration

In today’s Finnish Iltalehti, the former CEO of Nokia Kalle Isokallio criticizes both Finnish politicians as well as other critics that do not see the opportunity of this new partnership that Microsoft and Nokia has created. Isokallo wonders how all these skilled Symbian developers would be worse off when given modern and more productive software product development tools when compared to that of Symbian’s. He uses a metaphor in the comparison between Symbian and Microsoft development. Assume that you are building house. Which tool is better: a Leatherman knife or axe and chainsaw. With the first one you will end up with a house eventually, but with the latter, you get results much quicker as your productivity is better.

Isokallio also wonders whether he is the only one in Finland that sees this as an opportunity and wonders why politicians and labor unions refuse to see the bright side of this. Nokia did not have a future the way they were going, and this new path gives all Symbian developers, the ones that want it, a new future.

I think Isokallio brings a valid perspective to the wild discussion in the Internet about the pros and cons of this new partnership. Isokallio concludes that the future is less about hardware, but the ability to provide one consistent view to the application that is consumed from the web. Consumers are no longer willing to have different user experience between different devices if they use the same application and I have to agree on this. If a billion consumers use Windows as the operating system, doesn’t it make sense to have a consistent user experience with a mobile device that looks and feels that same. I think it does.

Also, what I did not think about before was that maybe Nokia will be the one providing the tablet experience and hardware, not Microsoft. I think we can expect to see a Windows tablet from Nokia, the only question remains whether it is the upcoming Windows 8 or Windows Phone 7-based tablet. My guess is the first one.

Isokallio also concludes that the relationship between Nokia and Microsoft has something that Apple does not have and that is the cloud as I also concluded in my prior blog entry . Nokia now has access to one of the largest cloud vendors (Windows Azure) in the world and all of the developers that build solutions to Windows Phone 7. That did not exist with the Symbian development environment. Visual Studio provides tight integration to Windows Azure and Windows Phone 7 (out –of-the-box) so developers can focus on building the solution, not supporting infrastructure.

Microsoft has something that Google does not have and that is an operating system that everybody uses. Yes, Google is working on its own Android operating system, but if a billion consumers use Windows today, that is where the market is for time being. Google has the cloud but users will still want to use their productivity tools and provide seamless integration between different devices.  Apple has its operating system and iPhone and tablet (iPad), but the market share of iOS is still very low in enterprises.

Finally, Isokallio concludes that the ridiculous amount that Nokia paid for Navteq (5,7 billion Euros) might not seem so ridiculous anymore when the technology is combined with Bing technology. Bing market share has increased considerably and Microsoft is eating into Google’s market share and profits. Recently, there have been reports that Bing search results are even more accurate when compared with that of Google’s. I think that is irrelevant as of now. What is relevant is who provides a consistent user experience in business and personal lives and Microsoft has a new chance doing this with its Windows Phone 7, Zune, xBox 360Windows Live, Office Live and other similar services that will be integrated.

I really enjoyed Isokallio’s article (in Finnish) as he brings valid points to the discussion and his background as Nokia’s CEO gives him some perspective and validity to his opinions.

Do you agree what Isokallio is saying?

Understanding your Ecosystem and Leveraging it Using Modern Social Media Tools

Today I have been working on a chapter to my third book that has to do with ecosystem research and understanding the influencers within it.  This is something that organizations are slowly but surely moving towards and these are the reasons for it:

1)      Most organizations really do not know how to define their ecosystem .

2)      Most organizations do not know who the key influencers are within the ecosystem.

3)      Most organizations do not know who the competitors really are and how they use social media to get their voice to the target group of their product/solution.

4)      Most organizations do not know what to do with this information that is collected of the ecosystem that they are part of.

5)      Most organizations do not know how to position social media strategy in their overall business strategy including marketing and PR strategy.

6)      Most organizations do not know how to execute on social media strategy in their respective business domain.

I recently did a speech about this topic for a pretty large crowd (around 300) of people and based on the feedback I received was that it made them think about their own digital footprint and how they are seen in the cyberspace.  Many organizations are in the process of thinking about how to ensure that they are part of the cyberspace chatter and that they understand how it fits in their overall marketing and PR strategy framework.

It is also obvious to me that there are different maturity levels in the thinking based on the cultural background and also maturity level on companies and how they see social media. The most critical audience is the one that see social media as hidden porn or a way to peep into others life. Unfortunately they are missing the point.  Peeping has nothing to do with doing business using social media strategy and tools.

It is also unfortunate that social media has become almost inflated term to some extent and this is probably also due to so many snake-oil salespeople that have found a good way to educate people how to be effective in using Facebook.  These sales consultants usually do not tie the social media strategy to the overall business strategy which makes the senior executive management perplexed what happened. No wonder the budgets in many companies are not approved relating to social media!

But social media is really not about Facebook use or Twitter, it is a change the way we act and think. It is not replacing all of the marketing and PR activities in an organization. The way I see it is that it supplement some of the stuff that we are used to do. If an organization thinks that social media is the function of marketing and PR department, they are on the wrong track again. It is about educating the entire workforce how to think about social media and how to participate in it. I know that there are many that do not agree on this, but I do not see the old-fashioned, protected walled garden approach to work anymore. If somebody can give be evidence of me being wrong, I am more than happy to learn about it.  I have to admit it took me a while to really understand how to be part of the cyberspace flow, but now I see huge potential on a personal level and also as a company.

The approach that we are taking is a three-step process: map, monitor and mediate. The mapping exercise is to identify the ecosystem, its borders and the “reality” that we need to be focused on. How many times have you seen an organization that tries to sell everything to everybody? Not many… Neither have I… The mapping includes key influencers, their participation and what communities they are part of. It could be a special interest group or it could be a community of practice. If you are a software vendor think about the mapping as an exercise to identify your key target market, the name of the companies, the key influencers within those companies. It really isn’t anything new, the difference is that it is tied to the digital footprint that these organizations create on a daily basis.

Once you have done the mapping, it is time to put a strategy in place to monitor the ecosystem based on keywords that we define as part of our strategy. It could be monitoring specific competitors; it could be keywords with names of specific people or companies. It is all dependent on what we need to get out from the ecosystem and what type of actionable things you want to happen.

The final part of the research is to create a strategy for us to mediate in the ecosystem. This could mean that we participate actively in the discussion or it could mean that we continue to build our competitive strategy based on the findings of the monitoring. It all depends on what we are looking for.

The research that I did today included a deep-dive to a bunch of books that I have in my Kindle DX. I also ready a bunch of good websites, one of them being Jeremiah Owyang that used to work for Forrester but has now started a company The Altimeter Group together with Charlene Li that has also worked for Forrester. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff came out with an excellent book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies which deals with social technologies and social media from an educational perspective.

Whatever your approach is to social media, you need to really educate yourself to think about the process and how you apply it to your company. Without this, you won’t succeed and you won’t get your employees to work with you on getting your brand and information out the cyberspace.

My experiences are nothing compared to the collected experience of 30+ people

I am lucky. I have now concluded more than 30 interviews for my upcoming book Rohkeasti maailmalle. As an author, I have to say that I am very humbled of the hundreds of years of experience that people have given me in the form of stories of their personal life and how their families have adjusted to new countries. These stories are based on real life, they are not fiction and therefore very valuable for the readers. The process has been also pretty demanding on me as the focus and concentration during the interviews is typically intense.

I am now doing my final touches on the book before I send it for first iteration round to the publisher. It is far to long as of now, but I am sure my beautiful editor that I worked with in my first book knows what to take off from the book… And she does it so well without getting me mad.. I am sure that every author has some “odd” thinks that editors have to deal with.

Looking for expats and immigrants to be interviewed in an upcoming book

I am in the process of doing interviews to my upcoming book from Talentum. This book is about living a life outside your own native country with all of the different things that you will be facing during the years. I am looking for individuals, families to be interviewed in topics such as:

1) Reasons for moving abroad

2) How have you been able to balance your new life with your career outside your own native country

3) How do you deal with the fact that you can’t be active with your family back home

4) How do you deal with the fact that your parents are aging and you are not able to help them out?

There are lots of things that you do not think about when you move abroad and this new book will deal with lots of these issues, but will also give lots of good advice, advice that I did not have when I moved to US more than 10 years ago from my native Finland.

Copying with family when living across the Atlantic can be hard

When we  emigrate to a new country, we do not typically think about how to deal with our aging parents and other family members back home in your native country. I am sitting in a tram in Helsinki on my way to my wife’s mother who has been very illa for quite a while. How does one support the family if the travel takes 18 hours one way? How does one take the message when getting a call in the middle of the night that somebody has passed away like we did when my wife’s dad passed away 5 years ago? We do feel helpless and powerless and no money on this earth will make that better as money cannot buy precense, money can buy help that has nothing to do with love or passion for a person.

Tech job moving abroad? Offshore yourself with it!

If your job is moving overseas, maybe you should move with it. Many American IT workers have looked with increasing worry as programming and datacenter jobs shifted to India, China, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, with companies seeking cheap labor and Internet connectivity making offshoring a plausible business option. I like the approach that this article proposes. First of all, there is a lot of skills in the US that countries would benefit from and there is no return from the fact that work is global today. In my book that came out before Christmas 2007 in Finland, I urge Finns to view the world from a new global perspective using a new framework of mind. The ones that understand this, will be the winners of next decade.

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A required book to be read – In Spite of the Gods by Edward Luce

I have worked with multiple Indian companies for the past couple of years and I have to say it has been very, very intersting and also challenging. The challenges are mainly from cultural reasons and I am not saying it is negative; it is just so different when compared to Scandinavian or Finnish culture. It was very interesting to read comments about this book from a true Indian Jay Arjun Singh and his blog Jabberwock. His review of the book and be found here. As part of my globalization research, there are multiple good books to learn from as you can see from the included picture. As you can see, there are multiple things on my table and lots to read.