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Showing posts from 2015

Helping organizations perform

During my career I have helped many organizations to improve their performance. Mostly in product development, but also in service provision and occasionally also in sales. I have worked with big companies like MicroLink, Elion, TeliaSonera, Eesti Telekom and others, but also with small startups. Currently I am implementing Lean Startup methodology and thinking in Sonera in Finland.

Now if there is one thing I would like to point out in improving performance it is that there is no one thing that makes it happen. There is no ONE tool, method or process to boost organization's performance. No one silverbullet. Naturally there are good methods and tools like:
- Getting customer insight with www.recommy.com
- Lean Startup for product development

- Coaching, Time management training
- Process management, etc.
But each one of them itself does not make it. You also need to work with people getting along, economical constraints, mindsets and traditions that have produced un-effective proc…

Huge remote working test in Finland

The Finnish trade unions organized a huge remote working test today. In order to really test the limits the office workers were forced to work from home by totally shutting down public transport in Helsinki. Even some kindergartens were closed to test how working from home can be arranged with children jumping around. The ones opting out of the test could do so only by losing their days salary.
The results showed a huge success! Video- and telemeetings went up, traffic went down. There were virtually no trafficjams and all the work got down. The environmental impact was huge as the nation used substantially less electricity and gas.
As a result of the success the Finnish government is planning to launch a program to promote teleworking and move people away from Helsinki to towns were they actually could afford their own home.

How to succeed in the sharing economy

Fastcompany published a very good article how the sharing economy, that everybody believed in five years ago, has pretty much died. With the notable exeptions of AirBNB, Uber and the likes, that is unfortunately true. The businesses that enable you to lend your powerdrill to your neighbours have not been successful. However, we should not yet bury the idea of the sharing economy! As if we analyse the success and failure of the businesses there are some clear differentiators that make the businesses fly. I would list here three of the most important ones:

The more expensive the shared item is, the better. Appartments (AirBNB, Booking.com) and cars (Uber, Autolevi) are good segments. Powerdrills costing 30 euros are not good for sharing. Essentially the cost and hassle of renting should be marginal compared to the cost of the item.

Renting out the item should be sensible as a business and attractive for small investors. People do not want strangers to use (and break) their own stuff, driv…

Starting as a product development consultant

From the first of September 2015 I will be working as a full-time consultant offering my services in product development of ICT. My primary focus are cloud services, but also other IT and telecom services. I am based in Tallinn, but I offer my services regionally in the Nordic and Baltic area. You are most welcome to contact me if you see my experience fitting your needs or you would like to co-operate. Here is a post about my experience and what I offer.

My contacts are:
mart.ridala@pilveraal.ee
+3725134833

What does "No jobs" actually mean

There is a lot of talk - especially in Finland - about unemployment and what to do about it. Based on my experience of working in Finland, Sweden and Estonia I think I can make some comparisons and comments about it.

Firstly it is important to understand that "no jobs" does not mean that the need for work has dissappeared. No! What "no jobs" means is that there is a mismatch between what organizations (and their customers) are willing to pay for a certain task to be done and what the unemployed people need/want for it.
 For example I would be happy to hire someone to take care of all the upgrading and fixing of the technology I have at home, but I am only willing to pay a few tens of euros for that, whereas a skilled IT professional would cost 200-300 hundred/euros a month.
 Another more relevant example is a recent event where a big IT service provider closed its customer support unit in Finland and then hired tens of finnish speaking support agents in Tallinn.
 I…

Gmail and Google Calendar

If you use Gmail then by default you also get Google Calendar. If you then book a hotel from Booking.com or a place to stay from Airbnb or the airline reservation system Amadeus sends you a confirmation of your flight tickets then these stay-s and flights are automatically inserted into your Google Calendar. This is quite convenient - you don't need to insert them manually. But.....

...but this also means that Google reads through all your e-mails, analyzes them and creates a database of all your travelling plans. So not only does Google know where you are - it also knows where you will be! Who knows what else the automatic e-mail parsing software detects, maps and registers?

The value of The Brand

A T-shirt is produced in China, a multi-national fashion brand prints a logo on it and buys it for 2 euros. The shirt is shipped and put on sale in a fashion boutique in Stockholm, Berlin, Paris or Milan. A Chinese tourist buys the shirt that is now called Gant, Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren for 30 euros. Who are the winners and who are the losers in this model?

Google Analytics IQ

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I managed to pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam. If you need help in measuring and improving your websites commercial performance just ask me!

The startup investment boom

Lately there have been many positive news about investments coming to Estonian startups. For example $1,2M in VitalFields and $1,8M in Monese. This is very good for the Baltic-Nordic and European and especially for the Estonian startup scene. With the interest rates at 0 and the stock and real estate markets already overvalued the world changing startups are indeed a viable option for investing.

However I would still urge to keep the feet on the ground and get more focus on real business like revenue, paying customers, net profit and dividends. Think about the following questions:

- Why does getting an investment make such big news whereas getting a bankloan does not? After all an investor expects 1000% return (a bank 10-16%/year).
- Why is offering a free socialnetwork service to million users seen as good business whereas giving out free apples on the street to million bypassers seems a very stupid idea? After all apples do grow on the trees also for free.
- If three people have wor…

Places to find ICT specialists and to find work for ICT specialists

A few months ago a Swedish ICT consultancy marketplace opened its new service at www.resrc.se. Mainly it has jobs for consultants living or at least speaking swedish (or danish or finnish), but you can probably find also work if you are fluent in english there.

For the Estonian market I started a LinkedIN group here. So if you are an ICT specialist or need one then you are most welcome to check it out. Here is also a link to Work in Estonia IT jobs page.

Please write in comments if you know other websites or places for the Nordic and Baltic ICT consultancy market!

Wrong focus in the startup buzz

Following the startup buzz - the news, the mentorship programs, the blogs - one easily gets the impression that the most important things for a startup are pitching, finding capital and creating an exit strategy. Well, in my experience this is wrong and perhaps one of the reason for over-emphasizing these topics is the hunt for news.
 The event of getting funded is usually presented as a huge success story in the press. It is rarely mentioned that the investors do want their money (x20) back, the sooner the better and it is the startup who has to deliver that. Getting funded is rarely presented as giving 3 drops of blood to the VC, but in a way it is so.
 Similarly controversial is the buzz around Exits. The Exits do make good news as someone makes millions with them. At the same time the news do not mention that for a successful exit the company needs to maximise the income from customers (short termp profits prevale), minimize personell costs (keep only the employees needed for day …

Suomi nousuun!

(This post is meant as a motivational to Finnish politicians.)

I have visited Finland for a couple of times in the last weeks and talked to finns living both in Finland and Estonia. For some reason there is a note of depression whenever the topic of Finnish economy comes up. Government deciding nothing for 5 years and Russian sanctions tend to come up. It is far from the optimistic bostadsbubbla that one sees in Sweden. The most amazing was a story of a Finnish IT startup with only finnish employees and customers that had just moved to ....Tallinn, because of the energy they feel in Tallinn.

So what might be the reason for this? One might guess that taxes are one, but actually it is not only that. It is the bureaucracy, non-business related costs, insurances and all type of licenses and rules. Let me shock the finnish business community with the following prices and facts about Estonia:
- Accounting services cost 50-70 eur/month for a small company and that includes making the annual …

My Services

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Connecting business and technology to develop and grow new services.

Success in the ICT business happens when good business ideas are realized with good technology and people are led to make it happen. This is where I have a lot of experience and I offer my knowledge as a service.

I am based in Tallinn, Estonia, but I work regionally with projects in the Baltic and Nordic region.


My experience in Business:

I am a co-founder in www.recommy.com and know how tough business and sales actually is. I definitely know a lot of things that do not work.I have analyzed numerous business cases in TeliaSonera, Elion, MicroLink and Estonian Telekom.I have developed and sold ICT services to big corporate customers and to TeliaSonera daughter companies from Denmark, Sweden and Finland to Nepal.I have turned bankrupt or non-growing activities into successI have a cum laude MBA degreeI am a member in the Estonian Business Angel Network (EstBAN)My experience in Leadership and People: I have worked as a man…