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The story of Nokia

Nokia Mobile – We Were Connecting People
Regissør: Arto Koskinen

The fact that Nokia entrepreneurs today work on laundries or hoops around the unemployed in Salo is, to say the least, startling.


Oh, how annoyed and depressed I get when I'm having a lovely dinner, and the kids play games on their iPhones and the cohabitant browses their headlines. Rarely does he take the time to read an article in its entirety; There is so much else that needs to be checked first – weather, mailer, Facebook, messages, and weather again. Maybe an update has come? Maybe it'll be sunny anyway? For the last ten years, I have wondered what a devil it was to invent this item, which costs several thousand dollars, takes up so much space in our lives and which everyone feels is a necessity of life.

Once upon a time. Nokia Mobile – We Were Connecting People is a fascinating documentary that tells the story of a small, innocent radio electronics company named Nokia, which started out far in the Finnish forests. They wrote history when they made their first "communicator", or mobile, which it was called here. They believed that this could be of interest to a tenth of the population. When the sale picked up, one of the developers said, "We have no idea what monster we've released!"

Equal community was the foundation of Nokia's success – everyone was paid equally, everyone participated when they found the Nokia slogan.

The film does not go into the debate about how mobile influences our society. It tells – in a standard documentary language with many interesting archive clips from the 90s – how a small, Finnish company in the village of Salo over 14 years grows to become the leading mobile producer in the world.

Connecting Nokia People. "We should have taken out a patent on the work environment we created," says the former boss seriously. The egalitarian community was the cornerstone of Nokia's success. Everyone was paid equally, so wage rivalry did not exist. Competition between the employees consisted of coming up with the best projects, ideas and stories, and in this way they managed to maintain the inspiration in the developer group. When they had to find a slogan for Nokia, they set up a box in the corridor and asked employees to submit suggestions. A technician named Ove came up with the phrase "Nokia – connecting people", but he himself preferred "Connecting Nokia People", because he felt that it was the work team that was "connected". The ideas for many of the technical innovations that were created were hatched during the coffee breaks. "When we had a problem, we went to the sauna on the top floor." From here they had a view of the forest, a great environment far away from the office space, a place where ideas could flow freely.

Over and out. Some believe the success attracted the very ambitious, so that the company grew too fast and made the good environment disappear. They were afraid of losing their position in the market, and they made bad choices – as when the unknown Johannes Väänänen arrived 15 years ago with a prototype of his new invention, the mobile "MyOrigo" (later called "MyDevice"). It had an on-screen keyboard, touchscreen, swipe, games, calendar, camera, web – yes, everything we expect from a phone today. Nokia rejected the prototype after just two minutes: "A gimmick!" This was the beginning of the end for the successful business.

A fatal bad choice was Nokia's no to what would be the first iPhone.

Johannes Väänänen went bankrupt with his MyDevice, and Steve Jobs bought his patents at a reasonable price. Two years later, Jobs launched the first iPhone. The rest is history.

Margareta Hruza
Margareta Hruza
Hruza is a Czech / Norwegian filmmaker and regular critic of Ny Tid.

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