My afternoon at Nokia Headquarters in Espoo, Finland

Oh how sweet it was; 1200 word essay after the break.

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You step inside the fortress and all you see are pillars of glass and steel. The lines are straighter than the Norseman swords that were used to take control of the land more than one millennia ago. The forest scent is a subtle reminder that this company evolved from being a producer of pulp to a master of telecommunications. When you step inside the fortress you realize that you alone can’t change the world, but that together the collective knowledge thriving on this campus can create magic. This is what it felt like to take that first step into Nokia House, Espoo, Finland.

The buildings are no more than 10 stories tall, but they look regal standing in the middle of a forest facing a river that separates Helsinki and the town of Espoo. You can come to Nokia house via all three forms of transportation: drive up to the entrance and walk into the lobby, fly in and land on the helipad or tie your boat to the pier that touches the calm water. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.

Everyone carries an ID badge with some sort of RFID technology embedded that grants access to virtually every room behind a door. From the south entrance I began waiting for my contact, Arto, to arrive. In the mean time I stood by the larger than life glass windows that slanted towards you and watched as the heavy rain was falling from the sky above to the garden below it. White flowers were on the frosted glass table tops in the lobby which provided great contrast with the black solid rock floor. The scale of everything made Nokia HQ in Texas feel like a boutique in a small town.

Arto shortly arrived thereafter with two more gentlemen, Juho and Anssi, they were all a part of the N series team. Anssi looked remarkably familiar and he confirmed my suspicions when he recognized me from this year’s CES in Las Vegas. We took a hard left and walked straight into the Nokia Store. You can’t purchase mobile phones in this little room, but just about any article of clothing with the exception of underwear could be found stamped with the Nokia logo.

It was lunch time so off we headed to the cafeteria. The main course: steak with a side of grilled onions and mushrooms. As we were attempting to locate a table I took a quick survey of everyone’s mobile phone and the majority of the employees were packing a Nokia N95. I spotted one or two E series devices, a shame since they are my favorite, but I was told that more than half the employees were on holiday. I’ll have to retake this survey some other time. Discussion quickly began after we were seated about Nokia’s presence on the web, brand recognition and how effectively social media is being put to good use.

Many names of bloggers I knew rolled off their tongues with little difficulty and that put a smile on my face since I can easily now confirm: Nokia is listening to you, keep writing, ranting and whatever it is you’re currently doing. After a full meal it was time to see the rest of the campus and this is where the rest of the shock and awe took place.

In the basement Nokia has its own postal service, complete with a unique zip code. Nokia House is not just a series of buildings; it is effectively a city of engineers, marketers, designers and more all breathing life into a company that is loved and renowned throughout the world. Leaving the cafeteria there was an empty wall of squares, renovation was taking place but I was told this is where a museum of Nokia product is out for display. It would have been nice to see the evolution from the Cityman all the way to the N95, but it wasn’t a letdown because the next thing Arto did was point to Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo’s office on the 4th floor. That is where all the C-Level executives get their work done and then they have the option of relaxing on the 5th floor which has saunas. Back on the ground for a moment, there is a room where one can go to and have whatever Nokia (released or unreleased) device they own flashed with any firmware version (public or internal) they wanted; more on this later.

While on our way to get some coffee Anssi was talking about his new found love: Forza 2 for the XBOX 360. This sparked a conversation about the infamous Nordschleife and to my surprise Juho told me he went their recently with his father, in a Porsche GT3. He offered to show me a video of a lap he and his dad have done and I simply could not refuse. I’ve lost track of how many lap videos on the Nürburgring I watched, not to mention Gran Turismo’s 24 hour endurance mode which has developed muscles in my hand I never knew existed. Earlier this week Kimi Raikkonen, a Finnish Formula 1 driver, won at Silverstone and they were obviously proud of him.

Taking the elevator to the top floor, 7 I believe, we could see the Nokia house in its entirety. Even though the weather was poor you couldn’t help but fall in love with the scenery. They tell me that the summer dawns make the campus look even more beautiful and you especially enjoy it from one of the many small islands that where surrounding us; I’ll have to stop by again in a few weeks. After a breath of fresh air we headed down to the 6th floor, into a meeting room that was more like a lounge area and officially began talking about what exactly I was doing in Finland and where I want the Nokia brand to be. That is private, but let it be known that I’ll be giving a presentation about the same topics we discussed on the 17th to a few people and I’m hoping that some good will come out of it. I’ve been in Finland for less than a week and already people are taking the time to listen to me, it is surreal.

Once that is done we start heading back down to the lobby where the taxi dropped me off a few hours ago and make a quick pit stop back to that firmware flashing room. I was handed a Nokia N95 with the latest and greatest AGPS enabled firmware update and at that point I was simply speechless. Nothing could make this day better; that is until Anssi offered to give me a tour of Helsinki in his Mini Cooper S!
I remember when the Mini Cooper came out, I loved it, but when I sat in the first generation model I felt quite constrained spacially. Oh how they’ve changed, there is plenty of room inside the new Mini and the sport seats in the S package do a great job at hugging your body. We did a lap around the city, I was mentally jotting places to visit when the weather clears up and finally he dropped me off at the train station.

Back to Tampere I went, after a day I will surely never forget.

I took a camera and forgot I even had it, the first few pictures are mine and the rest are from this website:

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  • t3styler

    lucky git

  • James Whatley

    And well-deserved too..

  • Tom

    seriously lucky guy! and great article :)

  • JaXX

    :-)

  • Jonathan Greene

    “Many names of bloggers I knew rolled off their tongues with little difficulty and that put a smile on my face since I can easily now confirm: Nokia is listening to you, keep writing, ranting and whatever it is you’re currently doing”

    Excellent report and great to hear they are listening… I’d like to see them enter the conversation a bit more if possible!

    Have fun and enjoy the N95!

  • Darla

    Stefan I am sooooo happy for you!!!! I know it was like a dream come true for you and I’m so glad that you finally made it!

    Anssi and Arto are great guys!!! Lol, Anssi is da man!!!

    All techie stuff aside… I can tell by your words that you were amazed and thrilled to be there. Congrats!

  • James @ The Creative Life Blog

    I can only echo Darla’s words . . . I’m really, really happy for you. And what a great report you’ve given us too! Thank you.

    When you see those guys again, please be sure to thank them from me for the amazing products they keep coming up with. They’re not just the pride of Finland, but the pride of the phone industry.

  • geekonimus

    Well my friend… its great to see you taking control of your life in such deliberate fashion.

    Make Texas proud! Although, I personally am moving from Houston to Boston this summer…

    btw, as you step into waters of greater deeper challenges, I have one suggestion: Invest in a full length mirror to put in your bedroom, or any place OTHER than the bathroom. These self-shot videos and pics of you in the bathroom won’t do your serious dedication any justice ;)

  • pseudofinn

    What an amazing experience that must have been. I’m simply thrilled for you. I wish you the best with everything over there.

    Enjoy the N95!

  • Ricky Cadden

    8 months is all it took, dude. Congrats. Like Darla said on her site, I’m jealous, but in a good way.

  • JonnyBruha

    Good for you, Stefan. This trip has been epic since the moment I watched your video after arriving in Finland. I can’t wait to read the rest of what comes out of that country with you in it. Thank you for taking a Nokia fan’s dream and turning it into a reality. :grin:

  • Zainuddin Zafar

    Wow. congratulations. I am myself ofcourse a huge Nokia fan and like the others said, i’m jealous but in a good way. I wanted the same thing with myself but i am pursuing an undergraduate degree in another field not related to electronics or telecommunications in anyway. I blogged for sometime a few years ago on a blog i made, but stopped because i couldn’t update it. Recently WOM world sent me an N95 for trialling for two weeks and it is the best thing that has happend to me, i can’t imagine how great it would be to be a Nokia employee. Fantastic man, you really pushed the limits and got yourself what you must have always wanted. All i could have ever wanted is just a Nokia device to test , one of the latest ones and i might be doing that. but enough about me, congratulations man. Really.

  • Alex Yust

    The tour sounds great. I’m also in Helsinki and am looking forward to seeing the Nokia store today. I’ve never seen a flagship store as I’m from LA, and Nokia for the time being is ignoring us here on the West Coast.
    Enjoy your N95.

  • Stefan Constantinescu

    Thank you everyone!

  • Dimilaz

    Your dream came true! It only shows that Nokia is watching and listening to you. Congrats. Great story!

  • Alexandr3

    Well you are to me the best blogger arund mixing infos with suggestions. That’s what I would like to do someday.
    I’m just a nobody, but you did my dream trip and inspired me that if you could do it, then maybe I/we can too. The sky is the limit right, and in a connected world, Portugal, USA and Finland are just around the corner.

    I work in the Merketing business and once I went to Nokia Portugal to give them my CV, and just by entering the door my legs shaked. I can only imagine what you felt when you reached Nokia Headquarters..

    Keep it up.

    Congratulations.

    BR
    Alexandr3

  • Abhishta Paranjpe

    Congrats! Stefan. That was just amazing. Best of luck. I look forward to reading the article about you being accepted into Nokia! :smile:

  • Mark

    Im glad you got to see the HQ! Im from Finland and drive pass the Nokia buildings in Keilaniemi.

    But did’t you weas a suit for the meating? Im just wondering begause you have so casual clothes in the pic.

    Ps. I miss ring-nokia. :(

  • smashpOp

    omg they even gave you a new N95? they must have loads of them chucked in a store room somewhere in the building. ahaha

    lucky you!!!

  • Roland Tanglao

    and so it continues!
    amazing reporting, keep following your heart!

  • HarlemBrown

    Well done by you Stefan! I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I’m especially you got to see just how cool the Finns are, despite how some folks think they’re cold and reserved. Once you get to know them, you quickly find a very passionate people

    Irony of ironies, I was also in Tampere last week. My wife is Finnish and we went to visit some of her relatives. I wanted SO much to make it to the town of Nokia as well as one of their plants; however, we hung out with her family instead. It was GREAT being with them (schnapps, drinking songs, flame-broiled wild salmon), but not making it to any of the Nokia spots was pretty tough. Luckily, I live in Stockholm and should (God willing!) have the chance to visit later.

    Again, good for you! ;)

  • Thomson

    Cool you did it :cool: Congratulations,Im have been outside headquarter in Espoo Helsinki but dident go inside :oops: Maybee next time i visit Finland :smile:

  • John Mc

    I totaly missed this post. Great that your are enjoying ur stay in Finland i for sure have had a blast there(I’m a 1/2 Fin). Btw if I may ask why are you staying in Tampere? I heard that Helsinki has a population of a 1 million people now :!: :smile:

  • Jari

    “The lines are straighter than the Norseman swords that were used to take control of the land more than one millennia ago.”

    That might make for good prose, but its not accurate.

    Our country was not taken control of by “norseman”. We Finns are native here for thousands of years. Only Russia and to a lesser extent, Sweden, have controlled the government for a few centuries. More than 90% here are Finns.

  • Stefan Constantinescu

    You’re right, but I couldn’t help incorporate the tales my father told me as a child about the northern europeans.

    I always wanted to become a Berserker after hearing about them.

    Thanks for setting the history straight!

  • Varun

    Awesome Stefan.. I am a nokia fan myself..Dream of being in Finland one day.

    All the best!

  • Simo

    Can I have the full address of Nokia Finland HQ

    Thanks

  • SANJEEV SHAH

    01.12.2007

    NOKIA AND RELIANCE CHAIRMAN

    SUB:- PLEASE STOP SELLING THIS CHEAP PRODUCTS IT JUST RUINED RELIANCE NAME AND TRUST

    Dear Sirs / Madams

    It is with deep anguish that I am writing to you about a new NOKIA mobile Phone which I purchased in March 07 from your authorized Nokia mobile centre –

    NOKIA PRIORITY DEALER // SOLUTIONS

    MUMBAI – GHATKOPAR [EAT], MUMBAI 400 077.

    INVOLVE NO: – 15687 DT: – 11/03/2007

    This model NOKIA- 6275 (CDMA) Costed me about Rs. 12875-00 but I have

    ended up paying a very high price in buying Your this set as it has totally disturbed my peace of mind and my work and that cost alone will run in few lacks of Rs. (Scan copy of bill attached)

    Next day of purchase the Charger stopped working. I was given replacement by the same store but new charger also stopped working after 3 months as it was a cheap or a duplicate (from your own Nokia Priority Centre) The charger is not original as these remarks given by your NOKIA CARE CENTRE – VCARE SERVICES – GHATKOPAR [E], MUMBAI -77 SO again gone to the dealer form where the phone was purchased and he says the original Charger is not good so take this another charger and not ready to replace it with the new box Pack charger.

    After few days the back camera Cover chipped off making me pay another few hundreds. I had paid Rs. 850=00 just for that parts and also told that this is Original Part but not getting from company but from the other sources so Pay in cash and no bill will be given for that. (Scan copy attaches)

    After that the problem not stopped and Network failure occurred and I was asked to give the cell for repair which lasted for 15 days. When sent for repair all the data stored in the phone memory was wiped out which I had to fill again (362Entry and 697 phones Numbers 165 mailing address, 322 E-mails). All stored SMS, CALENDAR NOTE AND OTHER IMPORTANT STORED MAILS. (SCAN COPY ATTACHED)

    During this repair I had to move out of Mumbai so FORCEFULLY I purchased a replacement cell (costing another 1750 Rs) AND USING THAT PHONE TILL 04/11/2007. (LG HAND SET SCAN COPY ATTACHED)

    I GOT THE REPAIR CELL BACK ON 04 / 11/ 2007 BUT NEXT DAY I HAD MADE A COMPLAINT IN VERBAL FOR

    ……………………….

    When I am talking on cell it just hangs up giving a wrong impression to the Caller on the other side that I have hung up on his face!! This has Costed me a lot of trouble.

    Again to-day the network trouble has started and your CENTRE has asked me again to deposit my cell for a further 15 days!!! So work done wasn’t proper and giving trouble to Customers and you People dump only a Bad and Restored products to India if the same situations was in US OR EUROPE then you must have realize the problem faced by you as Legal terms are very clear there to Protect customers.

    AGAIN WIPING OUT THE MEMORY AND MORE WORK FOR ME.
    I am surprised that a company of your reputation in the market is giving this type of CHEAP product and I am informing CONSUMER GUIDANCE SOCIETY SO ALSO TELEPHONE REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA ABOUT MY COMPLAINT.
    I am also taking up this matter with Reliance and Media to ensure that such defective goods are not DUMPED in Indian Market and Indian public is fooled by such a reputed M N C!!!!

    Looking forward to hear from you

    Sanjeev Shah

    CC – Reliance Chairman to stop selling these Cheap Nokia products

  • CASELLI QUIRINO

    I left my Nokia cell.phone, for repair, on Dec.19,2007 to NOKIA POINT Via degli Artisti 45-50132 Firenze,Italy) – Nr.”accettazione” 23071 – Product reference
    6267 355539011304639.
    I then asked three times by email the estimate of repair, but no answer. Today I finalli was able to call them on the phone and they said they had no time for even checking my request since they are too busy and the Christmas period , which ended January 7, has been more or less a holiday time… Do you believe this office should better sell spaghetti instead than dealing with Nokia products?
    Rgds.
    Q.Caselli

  • andy

    I agree with Sanjeev Shah’s opinion. Stop selling this rubbish. I live in Spain and bought a NOKIA 1650 24-01-2008 at spanish movistar distributor. On 16-04-2008 took it for repair to the distributor: suddenly no battery. They tell me it received a shock! I had it in my pocket and 10 minutes ago it was working. So they do not want to cover this incidence. Do you think people enjoy breaking their phones to have a free one?
    Maybe you should look to the Spanish branch, the distributors (Movistar et alia) and the repair shops!. Otherwise it may be qualified as monkey business!
    Yours faithfully.

  • Supar Phokachaipat

    To Whom it may concern:

    How do I contact to have a plant tour at Nokia?

    Supar

    • orlando

      hola que tal pudistes ingresar a la fabrica nokia me interesaria conocerla yo tambiem. si sabes algo no dudes en escribirme …. un saludo

      hello that such pudistes enter the factory nokia Also do I know I’m interested. if you know anything please write me …. greetings

  • miss Evelyn

    Dear sir,

    We want to have a direct contact with the operations department to discuss issues concerning your product and services.

    Thank You

  • Muhammad Azmat Khan

    Nokia is off course a pioneer one company introducing hitech cell at affordable range according to dynamic era of day to day rapidly growing developments of modern sciences of information technology and machanics. any way more refinements are required both in area of software as well as hardware with in affordable range of cost and usebality.

  • Wilson John Haire

    Anybody have an email address for Nokia? I want to contact them directly about my new 5230 phone. I pressed the notification of Emails button by mistake. Now I am being notified about emails including junk mail. Nokia says it is only a Trial which is free but how long does the trial run. It is costing me money. My provider Vodafone is using me like a cash machine and taking 50p each time for something I can get on my computer for free. I think Nokia is a corporate-fascist organisation which is impossible to contact.

  • mariam

    wow..it..wud.b.like.a.dream.come.true.for.me…
    i.hope.to.work.for.nokia.later.in.life..
    great.article.i.must.say!!:)

  • mariam

    wow..its.like.a.dream.come.true.for.me..
    i.hope.to.work.for.nokia.later.in.life..
    great.article.i.must.say!!:)

  • Zeeshan

    I had been to Nokia House this June 2010 as part of the Millennium Youth Camp 2010. It was really amazing. We also got access to the VIP lounge, saw the mobile gallery there. Was really a once in a lifetime experience!

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