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  • Can I show you my fancy bag of phones?

  • Yes.

  • I think I've got some good stuff for us. All Nokias.

  • Wanna celebrate the Finnish pride. I got some classics here.

  • That looks familiar.

  • Yeah, we've got a few of these. And then I thought you might like this one. This is like...

  • Maybe if you...

  • Frisbee style. Yeah. Yeah.

  • Do you want to go sorta, you know, almost underarm like that? Or this is just pure overarm?

  • I don't know. I think I will go overarm, because I'm used to that one.

  • Yeah.

  • I'm looking forward to you embarrassing me.

  • All right. Here goes nothing.

  • Oh, holy shit.

  • Little glide.

  • Yeah. Whoa.

  • It is said - not by me, but by their Nordic neighbors - that Finnish people are weirdos.

  • Oh!

  • Their language is basically Elvish.

  • [speaking Finnish]

  • [speaking Finnish]

  • They're aloof and do not engage with strangers or conduct small talk.

  • Their hobbies include competitions such as wife carrying, air guitar playing,

  • and obviously cell phone throwing.

  • And yet, here I am on a cool Helsinki morning,

  • hanging out with Finland's future Olympic javelin thrower, Lassie Etelatalo.

  • All right, you pick.

  • I like this one because I had also one when I was younger.

  • All I had to do to make this happen was slide right into his DMs and promise to bring some old Nokias.

  • It turns out that the Finns are, in fact, very hospitable, and that their cell phones are sturdy...

  • Oh, I think that one broke.

  • ...until they are not.

  • Is there a metaphor in all this?

  • Something bigger being said about Finland's nosedive into a technology apocalypse,

  • and subsequent rise as a vibrant, inventive force in the technology industry?

  • I'm not sure, but I'm gonna go with yes, and try to prove it to you with what comes next.

  • We all know the idea of a company town.

  • But here in Finland, something really unusual happened: it became more of a company nation.

  • During the early to mid 2000s, Finland's economy boomed, driven almost entirely by Nokia.

  • In its heyday. Nokia accounted for 40 percent of all mobile phones sold,

  • and one out of every two smartphones sold.

  • Then in 2007, something terrible happened to Finland: Apple released the iPhone.

  • I've come here to Helsinki to find out what happened in the aftermath of Nokia's decline, and what startups have risen to take its place.

  • For starters, I'll need a primer on the decline and fall of Nokia.

  • And as luck would have it, this long-haired gentleman, David Cord, wrote a book by that very title.

  • He also happens to be an American, but nobody's perfect.

  • You know, when I was researching this episode or just telling people what we were going to do,

  • especially some of the younger people had already, they were like, was Nokia that big of a deal,

  • because I remember them being the kings of the mobile industry.

  • Well Nokia was huge in Finland. They were integrated in everything in the Finnish culture.

  • Finns were very proud of what Nokia did. It was our success. It was Finland's success.

  • Nokia started way back in 1865 as a paper products company. Plush toilet paper was its first hit.

  • It got into boots, tires, cables, all kinds of stuff, and then began making cell phones,

  • first for this cool guy in the 60s, and then for all of us.

  • Can you hear me now? The new iPhone is cool and all.

  • Life was grand for Nokia, and for Finland.

  • From these glorious headquarters by the Baltic, Nokia poured money into the Finnish social system.

  • And then this raging capitalist named Steve Jobs came along and ruined everything.

  • Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.

  • And here it is.

  • The iPhone was crazy, right, because I remember in this like ridiculously quick period of time,

  • it's not like the company was wiped off the face of the earth, but I mean, it just lost the phone industry.

  • When Nokia started to stumble and started to fail, many people took that very personally.

  • It was a Finnish failure.

  • There were thousands of people who were unemployed - the factory workers, the software developers.

  • In its moment of greatest desperation, Nokia's phone division suffered that greatest of dishonors:

  • getting sold to Microsoft.

  • Yeah, it was tough. There's a town called Nokia in Finland, which actually the company was named for,

  • and the day the announcement broke, a vandal went and changed the town sign to Microsoft.

  • People were upset that we used to be on the top of the world, and now it's all gone.

  • Nokia, of course, still exists and makes things,

  • namely telecommunications and data infrastructure gear.

  • But where the company used to employ 35,000 people in Finland, it now only employs 3500.

  • Gonna pour one out for the Nokes.

  • After Nokia, everyone was always talking about, what's the next Nokia?

  • What is the next big company that will be able to go international and have such a big impact on Finland?

  • And many people at the time thought maybe that was Rovio.

  • Rovio created Angry Birds, one of the first gaming megahits of the iPhone age.

  • But while they had a few hot years, it soon became clear that Nokia-level success was not in the cards.

  • Eventually we came to decide, that's not going to happen again. We need to be more diverse.

  • Instead of having one gigantic company, we need to have a ten good, profitable, mid-sized companies.

  • The birds may not have replaced the Nokes, but they did kick off a gaming boom in Finland,

  • one that came to be dominated by Supercell,

  • the maker of all your favorite games and the master of your time.

  • Supercell has only 300 or so employees, but it raked in about 1.6 billion dollars last year.

  • One hundred million people play its games every day,

  • some of them spending thousands of dollars to upgrade their compounds and farms.

  • And all of this winning happens in a strictly shoes-off workplace,

  • a common trope among Finnish startups that Supercell claims to have invented

  • Ilkka here, the CEO, is beloved by his countrymen for creating Finland's biggest post-Nokia success story.

  • I'm here to find out how he did it, and hopefully score some free upgrades in Clash of Clans.

  • You know, for my kids.

  • When you guys started Supercell, what were you trying to do, maybe, in the gaming industry that was different?

  • You know, it seemed to us that most games companies were organized very like, in a very traditional way.

  • Basically, they had this hierarchy, and the underlying assumption is that the leadership knows best what to do.

  • But in games business, I feel that it actually is the game developers who are, obviously they're closest to the games.

  • They know best what type of games the company should do.

  • So therefore, we had this idea that, what if you would like flip this traditional model, like,

  • you know, the game developers would own the vision of what type of games they would do.

  • This strategy has made Supercell one of the most coveted places for game developers to land a job.

  • Like Seth here, a game engineer on Clash Royale who moved all the way from San Francisco.

  • I'd always been aware of Supercell, and I'd always kind of looked up to them as an ideal place to work on mobile games.

  • Do you think you're going to stay here for a long time?

  • I bought a flat this week. That's a real, put that on camera.

  • Other Supercell imports, like Brice, who hails from France, bring new characters to life with their fancy pens.

  • They fight among each other to get their characters onto the most prized real estate: the game startup screen.

  • The loading screen, is that like the, uh, that's the prize. That's the best spot to be?

  • The masterpiece!

  • Of course, there's just one problem with putting the creatives in charge: crazy-ass perfectionism.

  • The way this philosophy has translated is that you guys are very careful about what you actually release

  • and that you cancel games all the time. How many have you killed over the last nine years? Is it dozens, or...

  • It's probably dozens.

  • I think there's some story that you're on a plane and in the time that you're flying across,

  • some game that you were pretty happy about got whacked.

  • Yeah, it was actually one of my favorite games I've ever done.

  • I used to play it a lot, for example, with my kids, and I really, really loved that game.

  • And then I just heard the team had got together, I guess in a typical Finnish way, in a sauna,

  • and that they had had a show of hands. That, you know, who believes that this is the best game that they can make?

  • And, you know, I don't think that many hands went up. And then they decided that if that's the case, then we should just kill it.

  • How did you explain that to your kids?

  • Oh, you know, it was tough.

  • Were they like, come on, Dad, you run this thing?

  • Well you know, that's the... sometimes I call myself, like, the least least powerful CEO.

  • My goal is that teams make, you know, most, if not all of all of the decisions,

  • which of course, means that I make very little or no decisions.

  • I won't say that Supercell's games are exactly good for you.

  • But I will say that these fine people seem to be having a good time making them,

  • and bringing ungodly piles of cash to their homeland in the process.

  • And you're telling me you cannot get my son jewels?

  • No.

  • Now go outside and play.

  • To see what's next for the Finnish tech scene, I scooted right into a former hospital,

  • which has been turned into a startup incubator called Maria 01.

  • This place has it all:

  • gurneys, more gurneys, tunnels full of startup refuse,

  • wheelchairs hanging from the ceiling,

  • and a cemetery right outside where venture capital goes to die.

  • This hospital was founded in like 1890s, and then we took over, ah, 2016.

  • So currently we serve over 130 startup companies. It's the largest startup campus in the Nordics.

  • The startups here make all types of things, from games to corporate software.

  • But the freshest startup in Maria 01 is certainly Naava, which produces a high tech version of a green wall.

  • I'm told this is like breathing in 1000 trees at once.

  • All around the world, we see these plant walls, but this was the first one I've ever,

  • that I've ever run into that had a lot of built in technology into it as well.

  • Yeah. So instead of a plant being just a decorative part of that, we have removed altogether the soil from the system.

  • Almost all of the air purification in plants happens in the roots on microbes, not in the leaves as people think.

  • OK.

  • And if the plant is growing in soil, the air is not touching the microbes.

  • We got rid of the soil from the system. And then on top of the product, there are fans.

  • So it biofiltrates the air 24/7 in your room. And this makes the air purification of plants efficiency over a hundred times more more efficient.

  • And we're talking about you've sold like hundreds, thousands?

  • Yeah. So Naava is the biggest green wall company in the world. We have about 3000 units in our customers' place right now.

  • Our kind of bigger vision is, how can we help a billion people to enjoy nature

  • and breathe forest-grade air in the built environment every day.

  • Now that we've learned that the shock paddles have been applied and Finland's tech scene has come back to life,

  • I would like to show you just how much better Finns are as humans than the rest of us.

  • Next on Hello World: sizzling fake meat, planet-friendly straws that actually work,

  • and the Finnish Walter White.

  • Well, this is pretty legal.

  • OK.

Can I show you my fancy bag of phones?

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フィンランドがiPhoneからどうやって生き延びたか (How Finland Survived The iPhone)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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