Last week I was able to sneak into a morning session arranged by the AmCham High Tech and Growth Entrepreneurship Committee at Aalto Venture Park. As an invited guest speaker Marko Ahtisaari presented the case of Dopplr as an example of challenges and opportunities Finnish start-ups can face. According to Marko, Dopplr’s concept and success as a service for smart international travellers is partly based on the built-in desire for humans as a species to travel. To my ears this statement sounds like a perfect example of a “Third Culture Kid”, “3CK” or “Global Nomad” mindset: a person, who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own integrates elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture. For a person like Marko, who was raised in three continents, one could easily imagine large and strong wings and roots that re-root themselves to new surroundings is more of a norm than exception.
Personally, I’m more inclined to say that by nature, instead of wanting to constantly be exposed to unfamiliar circumstances, people have a strong need to feel safe. This is accomplished by creating daily routines around livelihood, building a circle of trust through meaningful relationships and ensuring not only a sense of belonging but also of an opportunity to contribute to the community. After all, hasn’t reservation for things that are different, new and strange been an important mechanism to ensure the survival of our species?
Other components of successful entrepreneurship mentioned by Marko was serendipity, lucky coincidences, which usually takes place in the context of informal networking. Whenever going to a new place, the first thing one should do is to find out where people gather to eat. Now this is something I like: the satisfaction humans have experienced since the Stone Ages in gathering around a fireplace to share a meal is something I believe is embedded somewhere deep in our DNA.
At a first glance “organizing serendipity” is an oxymoron but in the light of the above comments, it actually isn’t. During the past three weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday morning the coffee room at Design Factory has been buzzing with people enjoying breakfast together. The €2 breakfast has been well received and even described as a “hotel-type breakfast” with porridge, buns, eggs and the lot. Breakfast at DFfany’s proves that “organizing serendipity” can be done: “organizing” simply means someone taking the responsibility of setting the table (ie. doing the groceries, making the coffee and baking the buns) and “serendipity” is guaranteed to follow.
To ride one wave of serendipity, join us for breakfast Tuesday and Thursday mornings 8-10 am at Design Factory (Betonimiehenkuja 5, Otaniemi)!
ps. you can find my definition for “ONNIVATION” in my previous blog posting “OIN and the Meaning of Life.