Kiev, Uman and Odessa – March 2019

During March of 2019 I had my first trip to Ukraine. I landed Kiev and Boryspil Airport. Surprisingly, I found that there is about 2 euro train connection to the city center. Train is small, but enough.

Kiova center

There is a lot to see in Kiev from museums to monuments and of course shopping. Found a shopping paradise called Gulliver which is similar to Finnish company Stockmann or French Galeries Lafayette Hausmann.

I continued by trip towards Odessa by staying one night in Uman. Uman is rather small city but managed to find a new color, baby blue, to my collection of churches.

Uman blue chrurch

Continued after one night from Uman to Odessa. Odessa is old city with lots of things to see and do.

Odessa Green Building

And most importantly it is also so called friend city of Oulu where I was born. Within city there are lots of old buildings (Opera below), museums and of course shopping possibilities.

Odessa Opera Teather

Odessa old2

I also managed to find two new colors for my church collection. Yellow one might be from Kiev.

Odessa light green church

Yellow church

Opposite to a nice Italian restaurant called Tavernetta I found this street art / car. Headlights facing Tavernetta so owners have done their marketing correctly 🙂

Odessa street art

Even tough there are pictures of old churches I rarely go inside one, rather I would go to fortress like one below called Akkerman fortress.This fortress is about 1h40 min drive from Odessa. If you drive like locals maybe 1h10 min 🙂

Akkerman fortress

Picture is from inside fortress facing the ruins of old buildings.  Here you can find the most common pictures of the old fortress – Discover Ukraine.

Visit to Perth, Penang and Ho Chi Minh

From November 21st to December 13th 2018 I had a visiting professor period at the Edith Cowan University, Perth Australia. I was teaching a class of Global Marketing in the Digital World. On the last day of lectures students also presented their case studies which they have been working on for the two weeks. One of the groups focused their case on Cadbury Chocolate. Below a picture of me with Cadbury Freddo mascots and some of the students

Teaching at ECU 12 12

Besides, teaching I also gave invited guest lecture for the faculty on the topic of using live cases for teaching, industry collaboration and research. Also managed to take this nice picture outside my hotel but never had a change to have a swim.

Perth in between teaching

After Perth I had layover in Singapore and interviewed a doctoral student candidate and continued to Malaysia, Penang by bus and ferry 🙂

Ferry to Penang.jpg

Enjoyed lots of cafe latte and street art in Penang.

Penang street art

Before I started my teaching in Perth I manged to have a holiday in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh. Below a picture from the Reunification palace

Ho Chi Minh Reunification palace

Usually, I try to spot some unique buildings and this Pink Church caught my eye.

H C M red

Views from the 265 meters tall Biteco Financial Tower.

H c m from Tower

Besides the city life I also enjoyed the Mekong river with one day river cruise. Before jumping to boat spotted this Buddha statue.

Mekong river cruise

I think I have visited Perth close to 10 times and it always feels like second home. It was my first time in Vietnam and people were really friendly and always smiling. Penang was full of street art and it was fun to watch tourist from tour boats and elsewhere running from one piece of street art to the next – Gotta Cath ´Em all.

Holiday trip to Malta

Before my teaching in the University of Bergamo I decided that after teaching I will have a holiday in Malta, Valletta, European Capital of Culture. I had flights from Helsinki to Istanbul and then to Malta with Turkish Airlines. Service was really good and transfers easy. Holiday week started on November 7th and ended 14th.

For the first day I visited the capital area namely Valletta. Here is night time picture from the seaside when approaching Valletta from the Gzira.


There is plenty to do for those who like history, culture and knights. Besides culture I also managed to spend time walking around the Gzira area opposite to Valletta.


The port is really busy with both military ships as well as commercial cruise ships and other ships. Different types of tours that take you to the nearby islands are hugely popular and hence there is something for the next time as well.

Visiting professor trip to Italy, Bergamo October 22 to November 5

I had pleasure to be invited as a visiting professor to University of Bergamo by Associate Professor Daniela Andreini. My visit lasted from October 22 to November of 5th. During that time I was teaching Marketing Management at the Knowledge and Marketing Management program. Over the course students reflected on Marketing Management challenges and opportunities in different home countries of the 11 groups of 6 or so students. Our lectures during the weeks focused on traditional marketing management issues but also the core processes of marketing (Srivastava et al. 1999) i.e. Customer Relationship Management (we called it Customer Experience Management), Product Development Management (we called it Innovation) and Supply Chain Management. During the first week there was also students graduation parties.


During the first week we had the traditional dinner at the Citta Alta. Below is a picture from the  city of Bergamo towards the Citta Alta, which is now Unesco heritage site.

Citta Alta

Between lectures I had also pleasure of having tours around Bergamo. About a decade ago we were visiting Milan and I remember that we took a train to Lake Come and toured a lake. Now I took a car from Bergamo and besides having lunch at the Lake Come I also toured around the lake a bit. Below a picture of Villa Olmo from the opposite side of the lake.


In addition to Lake Como I visited the  Lake Carda. Now I also know where the Finnish whooper swans go before the harsh before winter.


This time I did not manage to visit Venice but as we visited that 4-5 years ago it did not matter instead I took the motorway to Verona which is new place for me. Verona has similar Amphitheatre but smaller compared to The Colosseum in Rome.


During the second week I had about 50 minutes train ride to Milano and toured the city for a day. As we have visited Milan several times I tried to fine new places such as this gate – Porta Ticinese.


We had preliminary talks to visit Bergamo again and now in my list is also the Bergamasque Alps and the coastal city of Bari.


Rimini-Bologna-San Marino

During summer holiday in Italy between July 18-25 I had please of vising Rimini, Bologna and San Marino. Rimini is famous for the long beach they have and I have to admit it is really beautiful and lots of families around Europe and elsewhere get together  there during each summer. If you also like history old town has some real Roman history like the Arch of Augustus.


It used to be more decorative but wars and wearing and tearing has influenced the arch.

I have been planning to go to Pisa and see the leaning tower of Pisa but I have not yet managed that due to various reasons. Well I  was surprised in our day trip to Bologna.

In addition to witnessing the leaning tower of Bologna I visited the old town areas and the university campus (those who have studied at university in Europe know that we have a Bologna agreement or Bologna Process so I was curious to see were this was agreed).



When your trip was closing to an end we had another day trip near and in San Marino.

San Marino.JPG


Visiting San Leo and San Marino. Half day was not enough to full capture the beauty of San Marino as there is a lot of elevation, parking is a bit difficult and the crowds as well. Overall, really lovely experience. And rent a car to see all the lovely places. Nothing to be afraid of. Better roads than in Finland 🙂


Singapore-Perth-Kuala Lumpur

Early April 2018 I was visiting my colleagues a the Edith Cowan University in Perth. We had really nice discussions about AACSB-accreditation and more broadly on research. With my colleagues we also advanced one of our research project on the Twitter use in the industrial markets. As I have visited Perth close to 10 times now I did not take any photographs.

This picture is from Singapore as many will notice. It is from the Marina Bay area. I enjoyed the cleanliness and modern architecture.


Enjoyed also a half night in club Zouk which is ranked as one of the best in Asia and. Zedd had a gig there and played his hits including Clarity.

From the Singapore I took a luxury bus to Kuala Lumpur and back. Buses are actually really nice if you have new and bigger ones. I was in one seat (with massage etc functions) at the front with 3-4 meters to a next person.  Air-conditioned, toilet and of course meal and hot drinks included. Below the necessary picture from KL. In both cities I enjoyed the parks, old towns, China towns and other attractions.



Trip to South of Spain and France (March 15-22)

I landed first Barcelona and started to drive to Pyrenees and Andorra. Roads are in good condition and and there was only a bit of snow under some scattered trees. While reaching higher altitude and Andorra la Vella I noticed that there is still lots of downhill skiers including snowboarders having fun. Some of the highest peaks are at 3400 meters while this one in the picture is closer to 2900 meters or so.


As Andorra is famous for shopping (taxes lower than in rest of the Europe) I managed to buy Channel Sport perfume with 43€ (in Finnish airport it was 56€ or so). Well, if you calculate all the costs of the trip saving is not much. E.g. one toll road of 150km or so will cost the price difference 🙂

Next day I was driving from the Andorra to Narbonne are realized that roads are in excellent condition with 3 lanes. Of course there are some slow parts when still in the mountain area but after that it is actually fast drive. Crossing the border from Andorra to France was easy. Customs pulled over and wanted to know if there is alcohol and tobacco in my car as those are cheap. Well none of those this time. Later arriving to Finland I saw that in Carcassone there was a terrorist attack which is one of the cities on the route from Andorra to Narbonne. As my plan was to stay over night in Martiques (actually in Fos-sur-Mer) I continued my journey after a quick lunch in Narbonne. Fos-sur-Mer is one the big ports and I was able watch lots of ships moving to and from harbor.

My trip continued next day to Antibes which is close to Nice, Monaco and Cannes. Antibes has port for big ships and actually the harbor and the surroundings are full of different types of services for these ships and of course you can buy one as well. Same is true fro Nice and Cannes. This picture is from Antibes.


I was staying three days in the Antibes and besides enjoying that I had day trips to nearby areas. Cannes, Nice and Monaco. This view is familiar to most visiting Cannes.


While going to Nice and Monaco it was raining so no nice pics from that day. I can say that Monaco was a bit of disappointment due to the elevation (build on hillside).

Drive from Antibes to Barcelona (Sitges) was the longest drive. Compared to driving in Finland, during winter (icy roads) with one lane to each direction and having 80km/h speed limit, it was still easier than driving from Helsinki to Oulu. 3-4 lanes and 130km/h,  I was faster than expected in Sitges (one of the beach areas near Barcelona). Below is beachfront church.

Barcelona Sitges

Overall, it was relaxing trip as most of the driving was relatively easy and scenery is different from the flattish Finland.  I had my Finnish GPS with the European country maps. It seems that some of the maps were old as I did manage to drive around the bay area of Etang de Berre near Martigues instead of driving directly to Martigues.

Research trip to down under Melbourne (Nov 27th – Dec 15th)

We had annual Australian and New Zealand marketing academy (ANZMAC) conference in Melbourne, hosted by RMIT university, famous for Wau architecture. During the days from Dec 4th to 6th I had enormous pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic academics. As both both business to business marketing / industrial marketing and digital marketing tracks had lots of pertinent presentations I had to hop on and off between the two tracks.


Just prior to the conference and after I was also visiting the University of Melbourne, marketing group. Dr. Ilkka Ojansivu gave us tour around the campus. I presented my famous digital marketing framework.


Facuylty of design has lovely building, mixing new and old.

University House


We had lunch at the University House, professors only, others with guests 🙂 which  is situated at the  top of Professor’s Walk. Really enjoyable place and behind the building is lovely terrace area. Average age well… was quite high. After lunch we headed to suburb of Fitzroy which is similar area to Kallio in Finland.

Fitzroy is lively place with lots of restaurants, coffee places and pubs with stunningly beautiful views of CBD of Melbourne.




I also had pleasure of visiting St. Kilda beach as well as the Shrine of remembrance.

Shrine of remembrance.

It was my fourth or fifth trip to Melbourne, first one in 2002, and you always find some new stuff which is exiting.


Visiting Seinäjoki, Turku and Mikkeli

I had pleasure of visiting the Ruralia-Institute of in Seinäjoki. In addition to visiting the Institute I also had half-day seminar – coaching of the Atria employees and trainees on managing digital marketing. Roughly 10 people participated the coaching and I was lucky to have really great group of enthusiastic people. Number of the students had insightful questions and it is visible that they are experts on the topics related to Atria. Day ended a bit too soon but it was fun.

During the same week on Wednesday 8.11.2017 and 10.11.2017 in Turku and Mikkeli. Both events were organized Aalto University Pro FEC program and overall theme was Digital Marketing. Altogether 30-40 managers participated the events. In all of the events we covered basics of digital marketing but also social media, digital marketing and digital analytics.

First national TV-interview on the game industry :)

Yesterday was preparing my lecture and speeches for next week’s executive education events. As I started my preparation I was halfway through my work when mobile phone rang around 1pm.

It was business reported from YLE our national broadcasting company equivalent to BBC in the UK. He asked if I could give my views on the current state and future of the game industry in Finland on live national TV on 6pm news and if I could come to studios around 5pm. I agreed to do the interview.

One of the reasons to discuss this topic is that on 1.1.2017 Finnish tax official’s release information on previous fiscal year. It means in practice that individual’s tax information is public for anyone to examine and of course on the official tax day – media goes “crazy”.  For example in the South Africa SARS doesn’t release tax information – well this is actually really rare case, kind of Finnish oddity. As it was predicted there were several individuals from the Finnish game companies e.g. Supercell on the top – yearning millions of euros.  Well they have deserved the money and are doing good unlike some other tax payers or should we said those who avoid taxes.

Later, the business reporter from YLE called again and wanted to do quick interview later during the day for 4 pm national radio news of YLE. I agreed to do the interview. As I was wrapping up my day around 3pm to prepare for the TV-interview and I was driving to home the reporter called when I was driving the car and I performed the radio interview while driving in the Finnish rush hour (read nothing like traffic on Delhi or LA). It was fun and thankfully we have nowadays hands-fee mobile phones.

Few minutes after I arrived to my house, prepared some notes and of I went to the national broadcasting company YLE studio. I had two of the themes given beforehand and rest of the 3-4 were invented on the go just before the show.  Overall, it was fun but to some extent nerve-racking situation but I survived.  Below is the TV clip, only in Finnish sorry =) , interview starts 4.28 or so. I tried to focus on the game industry as broadly as possible and not to talk about my Clash of Clans, Battle Bay or Hill Climb Racing scores or strategies employed 😉


Main point is that game industry is growing in Finland and doing great although it relies still on only hand full of companies doing great but in the future I hope that number of companies excelling at the highest level would be mushrooming and current ones could balance their product portfolio.