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Oldies Goldies, events and Finland's horribly high government expenses

I recently blogged about upcoming events here. It turns out that they had to move the 6.10.2010 event to a future date (perhaps in early 2011), so that'll have to wait.

Last week I was a speaker and a panelist at the www.veemaisin.fi event. Here's a finnish language story and wrap up about the event. One direct quote from it: "”Tilastokeskus ei ole suostunut julkaisemaan tämän hetken tilannetta. Suomessa on ylisuuri julkinen sektori ja alaspäin syöksyvän spiraalien kierre, kun sen pitäisi olla toisin päin”, jyrähti Tikka ja sai lähes täydeltä salilta spontaanit aplodit."" I am talking about public spending (and its ratio to GDP) and the fact that the Finnish statistics bureau currently refuses to report the situation. The latest statistic we have on the topic is this one from 2008. The EU statistics bureau (Eurostat) luckily has the 2009 figures behind this link. The 2010 figures are estimated to be even worse. According to Eurostat the only EU country spending even more (in relation to their GDP) than Finland is Denmark. When our GDP is growing slower than our government expenses are; you can guess what happens? This is a particular problem for Finland who has "corporative-conservative" societal structures, making change very slow and preserving the Status Quo one of the top priorities of the government. In another words = are going for broke. Full speed. Greek style. At least there is a very significant risk of this happening.

I would have the solutions to our situation and it is rather frustrating to see our impotent politicians unable to make decisions and act.

However often when I mention this topic to people they come up with the counterargument: money isn't really money, so taking in more debt and going for broke is only an illusion. Naturally, in a twisted way, they are right: the Euro as a currency is not real money at all and only represents a faith based currency of no intrinsic value. Also people often argue that if Finland doesn't soil the value of the Euro to the ground, the Greeks and others alike will do it anyways. These are fair arguments. They are also problems government has created for us. Why are we looking towards the government for solutions to the kind of problems they have created in the first place?

Ok, enough of that. If you would like to see a change in reckless government spending and expansion there are a few things you can do: openly oppose it and talk about it frequently. Let your opinion be heard. Vote for people who do so also, and encourage others to do so as well.

Then way back to an oldie but goldie:

Remember this old talk from almost a year ago?:

Taneli Tikka talking about entrepreneurship 15.12.2009 from Taneli Tikka on Vimeo.

It's me and Petri Niemi (Capman) discussing with Mauri Pekkarinen (minister of the economy) about startup finance, entrepreneurship and creating a competitive environment for growth.

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Upcoming events and other happenings

Here's a short list of upcoming evens you can find me in.

First of all the event I blogged about previously in here, got moved to a new date; 4th of Novermber 2010. So far we have managed to secure some amazing speakers; Andreas Ehn (Spotify, Stardoll, currently at his new stealth startup), Timo Soininen (Sulake), and Andreas von Koskull (Mr. Goodliving, Sauma). The event will be at Korjaamo in Helsinki. You can sign up through this link here. The event is part of the IBP programme and is financed by the EU through ESR.

20.9.2010 I will be on the FInnish Internet Forum, at the parliament building, speaking for a brief while and then as a panel member. This event is also streamed to the interwebz so you can watch it from your own couch.

30.9.2010 I will be a speaker and a panelist at an event called "Vuoden Veemäisin Yrittäjätapahtuma", part II. Finnish language program only, click the link for details and signup. Other speakers will be the country manager of Microsoft Finland, Google Finland's head of industry Ari Ojansivu, and sales director Kimmo Laaksonen from Elisa. The topic is a really juicy interesting one: Ethics and morality.

5.10.2010 WIll be speaking in Tampere at the local entrepreneurship association's event. About social media and digital marketing. Other speakers from various companies.

6.10.2010 I'll be at MindTrek in Tampere, and also running a full day "IBP Camp" training session at Demola. Details are here. I'll be co-running it together with Prof (emer) Reijo Luostarinen, for a full 8 hours straight. It's likely to be in finnish, but if some english-only participants sign up, then the language will switch. The topic is really interesting: how to design your company's strategy and operations for success? How's all that done? What to consider? etc.

7.10.2010 I'll be at MindTrek proper; as a one of the panelists/judges for the MindTrek launchpad.

8.10.2010 There's a Noridc Open event in Tallin, Estonia. I'll be speaking in the afternoon programme and as a panelist later on.

12.10.2010 I'll be speaking at HMEA's Entrepreneur Tuesday event. In Espoo.

13.10.2010 There's an IBP pitching clinic for internationally aspiring companies; to pitch and win a 18K EUR funding package and close up support for the UK market. Details and signup are here. Other pitching panelists include Mr. Steve Smith from Software City, UK, and Mikko-Jussi Suonenlahti from Veraventure.

14.10.2010 There's an entrepreneur event for women in Joensuu, organized by Nordea Bank. I'll be one of the keynote speakers. Will probably be there with Google's country manager, Anni.

21.10.2010 Itella is organizing an e-commerce event in Helsinki. I'll be the main outside key note speaker there. This is an invite-only event I think.. (ask me if you think you could benefit from an invite).

2.11.2010 e-learning centre of Finland is organizing an event in Vanajanlinna. I'll be the key note speakers for the day there. Programme & signup here.

4.11.2010 is the first mentioned event with very good key note speakers - be there!

12.11.2010 I'll be briefly introducing a topic for discussion at Tieke's breakfast event.

18.11.2010 Marketing Talks -event by Metropolia polytechnic. I'll be speaking to students about tech entrepreneurship.

... hmm that's quite a few events and such for this fall. Be in touch if I can help you with any info regarding any of the events. Hope to see you in some of them!

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Full day event coming up - let's jointly envision the contents of it!

I am organizing a 1 day event together with Accelerando, as part of the IBP project for all companies in digital businesses.

It will take place on the 23rd of September 2010 (thursday). Somewhere in Helsinki.

The event is targeted for growth companies who are perhaps already international, or currently seeking to get there. Some are startups, some are more than 10 year old established companies that seek to enter new markets and expand their business. There's a whole big list of companies that have claimed to belong to this group, here.

There's a questionnaire up behind this link. I urge you to take it (just a few questions, very quick) - its purpose is to help us plan the best kind of event for you. Possibly getting in international speakers etc, tailoring the program to your most urgent business needs.

I invite you to participate now! Go through the questionnaire and contribute your ideas, views and hot topics. The budget for this is humble, but there's still tons of options to get things organized; so feel free to aim big and really "vent" what you would like to see & hear about the most.

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Spring outings & thoughts on pitching and presenting

It certainly has been a busy 2010 so far. Two startups I have worked with closed their financing rounds recently. Seems like 2010 has a lot more optimism and positive energy packed into it! There's event talk of some juicy IPO prospects this year.. if only..

The end of 2009 also saw me getting placed to the Vigo Programme steering group (led by Risto Siilasmaa). I am hoping to contribute in the renewal and reinventing of startup and growth company funding in Finland. The programme certainly has some good and ambitious goals, and plenty of work ahead of it.

My last blog entry was about a TV chat (again, sorry, they keep wanting me back, and I keep going.. ) That's now Online here behind this link. Big thanks to Vesa Palmu for that!

This spring I'll be "outing" quite a bit. I'm going to be out there to present about various topics and have sparring sessions with startups etc. Here's a list of upcoming events where I'll be around:

Jan 22 - Talking about social media at a SAP event
Jan 26 - Talking about social media at an MTL event
Jan 27 - Coaching and sparring startups in Hämeenlinna
Feb 3 - Coaching and sparring startups in Kouvula
Feb 4 - Speaking at a Nixu event
Feb 9-10 - Sparring startups in Tampere
Feb 16 Sparring startups in Vaasa
Feb 25 - Speaking about social media at TAMK event in Tampere
Mar 3 - Speaking about social media at a Nordea event in Turku
Mar 11 - Speaking about social media in Tampere at an entrepreneur event
Mar 18 - Speaking at a Microsoft event
Mar 23 - Speaking (or lecturing?) at TKK school in Otaniemi
Mar 25 - Panelist in an event of Innovation Journalism
May 5 - Speaking about social media in Tampere at a TAKK event

Btw the "coaching and sparring startups" events are FREE for companies to attend and all the places are not booked yet. Sign up from here.

Why do I get around that much and take on speaking assignments? There are a few reasons why I do it;

1) I meet interesting people and expand my network. This happens almost every time, always a big plus. After presenting people usually want to talk to me, that is, if they haven't boo'ed me off stage..

2) an entrepreneur needs to be a decent presenter. This helps hone the skill and keep a good touch to it. If you haven't presented in a while, you kind of loose touch. Getting out there and just doing it is good practice and comes in as a valuable competence when presenting your new startup to audiences - not to mention investors.

3) Hopefully I also have something useful to say - and it would be actually beneficial for people to attend a talk, listen and have a chat. This is a way to keep that in check and get feedback - if people hate it, they will say it.

.. There isn't that kind of money in speaking gigs that it would be financially very smart to do this as a job. If you plan on maximizing the money alone, my advice for you would be; focus on building up the value of your company and forget a hobby like this one ;-)

However, we all know that Finns especially need the practice when it comes to pitching and presenting. I am no exception there. Go for the opportunities to pitch & present and practice, practice, practice.. If you plan on being a successful entrepreneur you will need the skill in so many encounters along the way. Even consider taking one of those PR training courses where they video your presentation and force you to watch it. I have one two of those: highly useful and always humbling..

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