Holiday trip to Sarajevo, Podgorica and Dubrovnik

I had really relaxing holiday to Balkans. I landed Dubrovnik and took my rental car and drove through Balkans to Sarajevo. Sarajevo with its history and fame as little Jerusalem is place to visit for those looking for mix and match of history and modern (in the New Sarajevo).


I visited many of the castles and some of the pictures taken are from those strategic positions within the city. I enjoyed the 1h or so run in Sarajevo but warming for those who like to run, terrain is challenging up and down up and down you go 🙂


From Sarajevo I continued to Podgorica in Montenegro. Just before the border there were lots of places were you could go rafting.  Road conditions were ok until about 20-30 km before the border when almost all asphalt ended and the road narrowed to almost one car lane.



Podgorica is rather small city that is discovered in days but its surroundings with the mountains and monasteries have sights for extra days.

Scenery Podgorica

From Podgorica I continued to Dubrovnik. Well that was my plan in the morning when I left from the hotel room. The road that I took had a crew of workers widening the road that continued down the mountain so it took few hours more when the whole road was closed for 2 hours. Locals did not speak that much of English when were waiting in the queue but I understood that the other road to Dubrovnik was under maintenance as well so it was better to wait. This incident reminded me that it is always beneficial to have extra water and chocolate 🙂 in your car.


Dubrovnik out of all the cities visited was most commercialized and the hotel I stayed had Finnish tourist groups. Old city is the place to visit and narrow streets that go up and down within the city are nice exercise for you 🙂 Harbor is active within the old city and there are plenty of cruises to close-by islands.



Narrow streets

Around the Old city you can find Game of Thrones tours and T-shirts advertised. I wondered if Croatians like the show that much that they want to advertise it all over Old city. Later back in Finland I realized that the series is partly filmed there (Game of Thrones locations). 🙂 as you might have guessed I am not fan of that show.


EIT-digital seminar on social computing

On May 29th I was invited by Timo Nyberg from EIT digital to give talk on Social media in business for selected members of the Helsinki Bourse Club. Rather broad topic covered multiple selected issues from one of my social media slide decks (Slideshare link).  Social media has been widely applied in both B2C and B2B markets. Practical examples and digital analytics seemed to be very interesting for the audience. What was interesting that during the presentation we actually ended up discussing data science and data based management rather than social media, which was of course interesting for me too 🙂



Branding in the truck industry – product irreplaceability

Our 2016 research article “Brand and product attachment in an industrial context: The effects on brand loyalty” has been out via Industrial Marketing Management journal (IMM) for a year now and has been cited 15 times.

Together with my colleagues Dr. Giuseppe Pedeliento, Dr. Daniela Andreini and Dr. Mara Bergamaschi we focused our research efforts to truck purchasing and especially how owner-operators are purchasing heavy trucks and if attachment to trucks influences purchasing process. Survey research design, with 317 owner-operators of heavy  trucks, was adopted and process was led by Dr. Pedeliento and Andreini.

As a result we show that attachment to products also industrial markets is phenomenon that managers and scientist should be aware. We showed that product irreplaceability , i.e. feeling that e.g. Scania truck cannot be replaced by e.g. Volvo, was found to be a direct driver of brand loyalty. This research continues the attachment research and truck industry context that has been interest especially for Dr. Pedeliento since his Ph.D on the same topic.

Sharing Economy

I was privileged to share my ideas of digital transformation and sharing economy at the OP-Bitfactor joint seminar. We have witnessed a steady growth of sharing economy services / platforms emerging from the U.S. including  AirBnB and Uber. In Europe, sharing economy companies going global is rare phenomenon. Especially in Finland we have slowly started to launch some of the car sharing services like Share It Box Car. Still, these have not gained huge popularity. In Helsinki region, 30% or so of the youngsters don´t have a license to drive (Kaleva) so it is difficult to share a car. And in the less urbanized areas the car is usually around 11-years old (Trafi).

Below you will find link to my full presentation on digital transformation, which some will find familiar while latter part of the presentation focuses on the sharing economy.



Digital Transformation in the Food Industry

It has been long time since my last post. We have been busy with structural changes at the University of Helsinki. Additionally, I have been involved in running up an EU project with my colleagues from Aalto. Deadline for submission is next week. We have also received all of the over 40 submissions to our special issue “Dark side of social media” that we are editing for the Internet Research.

April 13th I had a presentation at out Viikki Food Science seminar. I presented my ideas on the Digital Transformation in the Food Industry. You can find the presentation from my Slideshare account. The key idea is that the three core process are transformed though digitalization. Digitalization or digitization is not specific to the food industry but all industries are impacted. Some more than the others. I have been teaching this at Helsinki School of Economics and other universities since 2009. It seems that the topic is becoming more popular. Soon I will hopefully post about our new publication that was accepted to Industrial Marketing Management.


December trip to Dubai

After teaching ended for this semester and before this weeks master and bachelor theses seminars continued this week I had time for quick holiday in Dubai. Some of you may notice from the picture the Atlantis, the Palm hotel that is located at the Palm Jumeirah.Where celebrities and those with money stay. I did not 🙂


Near to Jumeirah Palm is the Jumeirah Beach which is really nice beach but a bit windy when I visited. I had also time to visit The Dubai Mall  as well as Mall of the Emirates but nowadays the prices are close to European and Finnish levels so be prepared to pay when shopping European brands. So if you are into European design then McArthurGlen Designer Outlets are better option. I also spent time spotting all the big and important buildings including the skyscraper Burj Khalifa.  One week or so was enough for Dubai. Looking forward for the next adventures 🙂


December 7th the inaugural lecture at the University of Helsinki

Yesterday I had pleasure to give my inaugural lecture with 11 other new Professors at the University of Helsinki. My topic was Marketing in the digital world. I presented the Digital Transformation Framework that I use in my Digital Marketing class. It was followed by another speech on forests and climate change. After that we had a brief brake and I thank Minna Autio for taking this really nice picture.



Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Marketta Sipi on the left and head of our Department of Economics and Management Pekka Mäkinen on the right. In the picture middle is me with the white tie that is customary suite in academic events in Finland.  And I also received some flowers which actually look even better in vase than in the picture.

Thursday at #slush16

Thursday was as hectic as Wednesday and more than 17.000 people at best participated Slush. As always in big events toilets and restaurants were full of people and many people were saying that the event is getting too big for the venue. Well, there are bigger events and most of the queues were formed as people were waiting for free coffee, water, candy or ukuleles.

One of the speeches that I was waiting was the internet of things (IoT). Instead of deep discussion we had Elisa company presenting  winners of ElisaElisa Innovation Challenge 2016 highlights. 6 or so companies/ start-ups in two tracks namely smart home concept of Elisa and more B2B orientated IoT track presented their ideas while Elisa had selected the winners and best ones from about 100 concepts.


Smart home concept had smart butler service called Alfred, smart home security device by Minut and Lukoton smart locking company with remote door opening, controlling and close door opening wit your smart phone if your hands are full of e.g. groceries. Lukoton can be integrated with Elisa Vahti Live so you can see what happening inside your house.  Lukoton was awarded as the best smart come innovation.


For the IoT track they had three finalists MeOn, Spectral Engines and Taival by Emergence.


MeOn is doing monitoring of machines by vibration and machine learning algorithms. while Spectral Engines identifies the fibers and other materials from spectrum of light. MeOn can be used in any machines to predict breakdown and possible failures and have really easy installation while Spectrum can be used e.g. food production – internet of farming.


Taival by Emergence provides location based services to locate e.g. company movable assets and in Finland they have piloted to identify the movement and locations of buoys – ocean markers for boats and cruise ships. Ocean freight or land cargo can also be located and managed. What is different is that batter life is 10 times better, it is 10 times cheaper and it is provided as SaaS if I recall correctly.  The winner team Taival by Emergence celebrating their victory. Congratulations to all teams and winners as well.

Besides, IoT and smart home there were plenty of presentations on games, branding and machine learning. Over the course of #slush16 I can say that I learned a lot of practical issues, how to pitch and how to present interestingly – really simple issues and most importantly I had good ideas for research or call for papers that would be of interest to some of the academic journal.  Slush was great experience.

#slush16 Wednesday 30.11.2016

Visually the Slush event is appealing to younger or hipster generation with deep base sounds, lively colors in their lightning and of course  in black or dark background. Most of the stages and areas are covered with foggy atmosphere to highlight the  perhaps to some extent mystic experience, similar to Tomorrowland or similar events. Below some vibes from the Wednesday.


Those who are into mobile games and Clash of Clans or Hay Day might recognize the guy from this picture CEO Ilkka Paanenen from Supercell. He was in Slush fireplace discussion giving his views on some of the failures and what he has learnt from those at Sumea and Supercell. Others at the fireplace discussion highlighted the fact that failing cheaply and fast is always on option but many entrepreneurs hate failing.


It was pleasure to notice that Nokia Ozo and Nokia Ozolive were utilized in the Slush event.


And below a picture of Ozolive, i.e. wide angle view of the live talks during the Slush event.


In addition to technology focused companies I also noticed that many food industry companies were presented at the Slush. I enjoyed my liquid smoothie lunch bought from Ambronite shop.


After and during the lunch at the Engine Room  I was inspired by the presentation of Twodads Finnish based company who focus on wholesome and natural food for kids. In many families children are eating sugary juices and drinks in addition to other unhealthy eating habits which has lead to increased obesity among young and youngsters.

To summarize, the event was beneficial for me and many others of course downside is that there are a lot of people and lots of background noise but luckily the quite booths help you to have some minutes of freedom from the noise. And if you look at the world scale with events of 50.000 or so participants Slush is still okay. I met many of my colleagues from different universities but also those students and ex-students who now work in different industries, or have established companies or who are even speaking at the Slush after founding a successful company. Good luck to you all, you have earned that with your hard work. Tomorrow is a new day at Slush, lets see what happens tomorrow.

#slush16 side event – #slurps

November 30th I am participating the #slush16 and starting the journey with Slurps food innovation side event hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Anna-Leena Miettinen from the ministry open up the event. She was highlighting the fact that Finland needs more food innovations and focus international markets.


Her view was shared by the CEO of Foodora Ville Vasaramäki but he also explained how important it is to enter new markets with small teams and even fail fast rather than use too much resources and time to think about the internationalization. If the service or product is different and new then enter fast rather than wait and think too long. Big risks but also big rewards as he highlighted.

Founder of Ambronite (food of Gods) Simo Suoheimo (pic below) presented his views on food (healthy smoothie) product launch (so called lean launch). He was explaining how important it is to build movement around your product and company. By utilizing the positive movement   it creates also free publicity which sometimes leads to increased sales. They sold their first beta products at local food fair and after that created really basic landing pages to ask those who are interested in healthy eating to order their beta products. Many people from all over the world including U.S. pre-ordered products. In 12 months they were selling to 40 different countries.


Even though Suoheimo did not highlight the aspect of storytelling it links usually to monetization i.e. how we make money out of the story.

Esa Wrang (pic below) is responsible for food business at the Finpro with background at Finnish companies Raisio and Leaf. He presented the Food from Finland program in which idea is to help Finnish food companies to internationalize. Together with the Finnish food industry companies Finpro and the companies have jointly decided to which export countries they are focusing e.g. China, Korea and Japan.



To summarize, #slush16 side event #slurps show cased how small Finnish food companies have succeeded but how those could become even bigger in the future. All highlighted fast and lean launch into those countries that are attractive. And utilizing help of Finpro and similar agencies in Finland will many times help. Marketing activities in the digital environment will speed up the launch, internationalization and success of most of the Finnish food companies.