Tag Archives: Startup

Once upon a time there were Gyro Gearloose, Little Helper, Dewey, Huey, Louie and Scrooge McDuck…

who had their dream. They formed a team that had a mission to create a successful startup company. They did a lot work to reach their dream. Team contacted with the customers and learned the art of selling. At times they were desperate, they did not sell enough and there was no way out of the valley of death. They had to develop their services and concepts. They needed more money from their business angel. However, they believed in themselves and in the future of the company.

This story is a polarized example of elements which should be included in a successful startup. In addition to enthusiasm and a common goal there has to be a great team. A team which tirelessly strives to their common goal.

The first element, which needed in a startup team, is the mother/dad of the idea – Gyro Gearloose. Present-day Gyro Gearlooses are often the people who are capable to write the computer language (coders/programmers). Gyro Gearloose is a character who can´t do everything in a startup. That’s why Gyro needs the help from a contemporary Little Helper. The Little Helper is the character for designers. They help Gyro to design the program/application in such a way that John Doe (normal citizen) can use it.

When Gyro Gearloose and the Little Helper have found each other, they need some marketing- and sales-oriented people to seek all the customers and to all the deals. Thus, they have a much-needed economic fuel for the company. Namely, Gyro Gearloose and the Little Helper don’t often have the time/desire/capabilities to sell and to do all the marketing stuff. In the energetic and positive marketing and sales team we have Dewey, Huey and Louie – of course!

In the end, Gyro Gearloose, the Little Helper, Dewey, Huey and Louie need some financing to realize their dream. At the start of a startup they don’t have any paying customers yet. No panic! For this need assistance will brought by Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge – in the Finnish level – can be e.g. a business angel, banks, Tekes, ELY-Centers, Kansalaisrahoitus, Finnvera, crowdfunding platforms etc. Nowadays, Scrooge McDucks are  very accurate for teams of startups. The team can be a much more important element than the original idea or products. That’s the reason why you should really focus on building a great team!

PS. Remember that this story was a polarized example of building a startup team! 😉

If I am not me, who da hell am I?

When I agreed to write this blog post about a week ago, I did it for the same reason that I sometimes wonder whether I should start my own personal blog. The reason is that when I read news about recent politics or some other events concerning society, I almost always get pissed off and I would like to have some way of saying my opinion. In other words, I enjoy ranting about stuff. However, this week was an exceptional one in my life, since I wasn’t pissed off about anything. That however poses a problem concerning this blog post because now I don’t have a topic for this.

Then I started to think about alternative topics and realized that I definitely should introduce myself and my role in MikkeliES, since it happens to be quite special. I’ve had the honour to have my role in the board of MikkeliES named after me. So, Hello my name is Heikki Kurhinen and my role in MikkeliES is “heikki”. For people who know me, what I do is quite obvious, but for others it may need some clarification. Basically what I do is I’m the nerd of the board. If we need a new app for something or some technical assistance I’m your guy.

My background is that I’m a generalist of IT and a specialist of programming. To clarify a meaning of that, I currently work as a programmer but I have a background in electronics and embedded systems. I’m also interested in hardware, robotics and basically everything you can find in 90s nerd movies.

So what am I doing in a entrepreneurship society? The short answer is that at some point I want to be part of building something cool, something new and something awesome and I feel that having your own, or being part of, a startup is the way to achieve that goal.

Do… or do not. There is no try.

There are 10 kinds of people. That’s binary by the way, meaning there are two kinds of people: those who are techies and those who are not.  Luckily, it isn’t that black and white. Everyone has to understand the basics and be at least a bit techie to get around in the information society and use various services and products.

This has everything to do with being a startup entrepreneur in any scene, especially in tech scene. You need to be able to build your dreams and the team while understanding what you are aiming at. I think that a quote said a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away is very appropriate to emphasize that you do need to understand tech, there is no try at that.

My name is Mikko and my role in MikkeliES is to connect tech with people and vice versa. That includes relations with organizations and companies as well as organizing hackathons, code schools and other events. I’m spreading the word of technology and making sure people are and will be the focus. My day job in Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences (MAMK) research and development projects supports this role and I’m happy to connect the students and staff of MAMK with MikkeliES. In addition to technology know-how becoming a civic skill in the information society, it has become crucial in making startups. Here are some reasons.

In order to innovate new products and services or shake the existing status quo with disruptive business you need to understand what to shake and how. It could require knowing how to develop nerdy things. Do you think Netflix or Spotify could have been made into business with no understanding about protected streaming of audio and video? That sounds like technology to me. And nerdy things can be quite cool. How about iPhone or Jolla which are basically piece of hardware and software?

Building a prototype or demo is much easier and faster if you or your team can do it yourself. Having a technology or visual demo is very useful for pitching for possible partners and funders. This leads to communications and money. What could be more important?

There needs to be no language barriers between techies and non-techies. Designing or building anything will become much faster and easier. And believe me, with lot less frustration on both sides. In addition, there is outsourcing and the difficulty of defining what you want. Do you think you’re able to estimate if you’re getting value for your money or no? Perhaps little knowledge on development wouldn’t hurt.

One of the biggest potential for business will be the Internet of Things (IoT). In brief, devices or embedded hardware can be connected to the Internet and share data. It enables all kinds of magic from industry and home automation to added value to basically anything and completely new services. Just imagine motion sensors in your house turning lights on and off based on your movement to save energy. And while you are away, based on your smart phone’s GPS, the same sensors would turn into a burglar alarm which automatically informs the local police in case of intruder. Companies which have nothing to do with technology are trying hard to get their share. Understanding IoT or any other future potential will become more and more connected with technology. Of course there are services and products for non-technical contexts but in the end they all require building blocks which are related to that.

However, founding a startup is not rocket science (unless you’re founding a rocket company) and you don’t need to be all programmers. But you need to be able to understand and support them. There is no try at that.