Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Catching Up With Samuli Pesu
Design My Business
Business, Music, and the Business of Music
Something Old, Something New
Places That Arenâ€™t Really There
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” –Frank Herbert
Our story, the story of IBID, will stop here. I will abstain from terming this the end, as cooperation between the Degree Programme in International Business (IB) and the Degree Programme and Design will continue at Karelia University of Applied Sciences. This edition of IBID, our beloved annual newsletter, will however be the last. For six years alumni and current students have provided insight into the two fields and especially the programmes, which developed a cooperation unique in Finland and worth writing about. Beyond this, Design students have contributed immeasurable creativity and diversity to the layouts of each page of each edition. The look of IBID has driven me as the editor-in-chief to provide and proofread content worthy of such visual brilliance. I believe all the contributing writers, designers, and most notably our design editor, Martha Balerina, have combined for six chapters of brilliance. In the future, Karelia University of Applied Sciences will continue to publish an English language newsletter. The IB Programme will move to the Centre for Business and Engineering, and the future (and still eponymous) newsletter will cover the happenings there. It is comforting to know it will still be in good hands: the layouts will again be provided by our Design students. This ultimate edition covers yet again some brilliant minds and careers taking off. We will stop the story with some words and images from our final layout designer, the talented Ms. Karolyn Escalante Salminen. As with all previous contributors, I extend my sincere gratitude to those that have made this edition of IBID possible.
Adam P. Lerch
Adam Lerch, IBID editor-in-chief
Catching up with
Samuli Pesu It has been a tradition in IBID to interview IB alumni. This has been a feature of every edition. This time around, we turn our attention to the east, where IB graduate Samuli Pesu (2006) currently resides and works.
“I started learning Russian at IB and developed my skills while studying in St. Petersburg.”
What is your current job? Currently I am working as a Vice President Head of Marketing for Awara Group, a leading management consulting and business administration service provider in Russia and the Ukraine. We help major international companies to enter and develop their business activities and presence in Russia. Awara Group employs some 160 professionals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tver, Yekaterinburg, Kyiv and Helsinki. I am stationed in our Moscow office, but frequently travel and visit our other offices. My main focus is planning and executing marketing for all Awara Group companies; I manage our marketing services business unit (Awara Marketing), which focuses on market research services. I also develop business with potential customers as well as key account management duties with existing customers. Could you describe the path you have been on since graduating from IB? During my studies back in 2006, I completed a fourmonth specialization period on Russian business in St. Petersburg. Already upon my return to Finland I realized that I wanted to get back to Russia for work. After my graduation in the end of 2006 I decided that I will find work in Russia. After 2-3 months of contacting various companies, I was hired by my current employer to start working as a key account manager at Awara Group’s St. Petersburg office. This was at the beginning of 2007, when the company had some 30 employees and offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. After a couple of years I was promoted to the position of Vice President and transferred to the headquarters in Moscow. Soon after that I established a new marketing business unit inside Awara Group, which is today serving major international companies with marketing solutions.
Please comment on your Russian language skills. I started learning Russian at IB and developed my skills while studying in St. Petersburg. When I moved to work in Russia I could communicate and understand basic things. This was enough for work and private life to start with. During my working life my Russian skills have further developed to a level that I can freely express myself and understand nearly everything. Could you picture yourself in Russia while you were studying at IB? Yes I could. My aim during my studies was to get a good job in Russia. Firstly, Russia is the largest country in the world, has a population of about 140 million people whose purchasing power is growing fast, and the whole Russian economy is developing much faster than countries in the EU and the US. Secondly, I realized that I could proceed much faster in my career in Russia than in Finland, as companies are also growing much faster and hence offering more possibilities. An example is that when I started working for Awara Group, the company had some 30 employees and offices in 2 cities. Now Awara Group has more than 160 employees with offices in 6 cities in 3 different countries. What does it take for someone from outside of Russia to make it in the Russian business world / working life? You have to work hard, as the business day is traditionally much longer than in the EU. I usually start working around 9 a.m. and finish the “office” day after 7 p.m. After this I go about 3 times per week to different networking seminars and events to meet with potential customers and important key accounts. A major part of the business, at least the new business contacts, is made at these events. Secondly, you have to be open-minded and be able to take stress. Things might change from the best to the worst day ever in a fraction of a second. Things sometimes also take time; it’s the Russian bureaucracy. You have to remember to stay cool. What people say and do is not always the same. This means that you need to be sure others understand what you really mean and also keep control of project proceedings, that agreed tasks are fulfilled and the deadlines are met. Finally, be prepared for anything, it’s Russia. What surprises does Russian culture present? I would say that working and living in Russia is exciting, as each day something unexpected happens (either positive or negative). Change in Russia is fast, and one has to be able to make rapid decisions on the spot. Russian culture is surprising me daily by its greatness in different forms. When I decided to find work in Russia, it was due to career possibilities, but also because I fell in love with Russian culture (history, ballets etc.) and most importantly with the people, who in general are very warm and hospitable (and highly educated).
“... working and living in Russia is exciting, as each day something unexpected happens...”
Business Text by Larissa Koptseva, Nina Salmi, and Adam Lerch
The need for design thinking in business has become more and more apparent over time, to the point that the strategy of any effective business must incorporate some vital design elements. It is nowadays often designers themselves who are pitching to CEOs, â€œas a resource to help with a broad array of issues that affect strategy and organization - creating new brands, defining customer experiences, understanding user needs, changing business practicesâ€? (Bruce Nussbaum 2004- Redesigning American Business). One could therefore readily concede that the following are both becoming less debatable: the designer must possess business know-how and a business is better off with some degree of design thinking implementation. How this may play out in theory versus what happens in practice is a key point to look at. We can imagine a pleasant scenario in which design thinking and designers are valued in a business, but just as easily, we can picture valuing the former while stepping over the latter. First year design student, Larissa Koptseva, addresses this possibility:
The Co-design Circle
CU ST OM ER Bu s
Cr ea ti
v it y
Larissa Koptseva: One businessman decided to start his own company. He knew that a name and logo for a company both play an important role in attracting customers and making profits, so he hired a designer to do this work. As he was mean and wanted to save money, he turned to a novice and unknown designer. The businessman did not give clear instructions of what to do, but nonetheless mentioned: "I do not know what I exactly want, you are the specialist in this sphere, so do something that I will like and be profitable for my company!" It was one of the first projects for the young designer, so he gladly took up this offer and prepared several layouts of ideas before the set deadline. To the designer’s utter surprise the businessman was very dissatisfied with the work; he criticized all the options, and above all refused to pay for it. He nonetheless took the layouts. The designer was shocked when one day he saw an advertisement of a new company with the logo that he had made for the businessman. Seeking justice he went to the court to defend his rights. As expected, the court ruled in favor of the young designer and bound the businessman to pay the designer money not only for the work but also as compensation for the caused damages. Thus, by trying to save money, the selfish businessman paid far more. How should such a scenario play out so that ethics are not breached and professionalism is upheld? Departing Design student Nina Salmi addressed this issue in her bachelor’s thesis, published in the spring of 2013. The following is taken directly from her work and concentrates on the area of co-design (Nina’s entire thesis is available at: https://publications.theseus.fi/xmlui/handle/10024/54001.) Nina Salmi: Co-design links design, innovation, business and user interaction; the result is creative solutions, which give companies advantage on the markets. The business field concentrates on the customers, keeping the solutions profitable. Innovative solutions can be part of the ideation process, detailed design stage, modelling, marketing solutions etc. It can be part of each step that must be taken before launching the product/service on the market. The designer’s world circles around creativity, innovation and open-minded ideation. The designer takes advantage of using user research and user information as part of the background knowledge. The amount of information gathered from the user knowledge can give an extraordinary advantage. When there is the courage to think outside of the box, innovative ideation is possible.
Business, Music and
the Business of Music
In both the IB and Design Programmes, several of our students are actively involved in their own start-up projects and firms (not to mention those employed elsewhere) during their studies. It is not every day that a student has begun a business already before beginning their studies at Karelia UAS. IBID turns its attention to the second year student, David Williams, who is also an entrepreneur and, yes, a musician, to find out a possible recipe for success in establishing a business in Finland. David, who originally hails from the United States, additionally comments on his work as the front man for the Joensuu funk-hop-rock band, Million Marks. In addition to all of this are the duties of parenthoodsome work with a local American football team, and a start-up idea involving BBQ in Finland. In some gap of what is surely a brimming schedule, David was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions.
â€œAt that point I came to the realization that... I needed to start my own company. It was the best thing that happened to me.â€?
Tell us about how you got the idea to start up your company. When I moved to Finland I had taken a job as a Public Relations Coordinator at a global software company located in Joensuu, but unfortunately was I laid off about six months into my contract due to company financial issues. Within a couple of weeks I began working as a freelance English teacher for the two largest language companies in Finland, and within a few months I was getting asked to do work for other companies as well. At that point I came to the realization that in order for me to do contract work outside of those two language companies I needed to start my own company. It was the best thing that happened to me. Once I created and registe ed DJW Consulting, work started coming in from everywhere. It is actually a bit funny because I had never really marketed myself or my company, but word of mouth travels fast in a city like Joensuu, and I began to receive emails and phone calls asking me to do tons of different things like translations and writing services for websites or company literature, English voice-overs for promotional videos, proofreading etc. To make a long story short, I created my company initially so I could have a way to bill for some services I was asked to perform, but then it just kind of took off on its own and became a real thing as the work continued to roll in.Â
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting up a business in Finland? I have actually been asked by many of my peers at Karelia UAS about starting a business in Finland, and I think my answers often surprise people. When people ask me about starting a company I tell them to just go and do it. It is cheap, it is easy to do and there is a ton of help available in this community if you get lost or have questions. Last year a guy I know asked me a bunch of complicated questions about billing and receiving and what he needed to do, and I gave him a very simple answer. At the end of the day business is simple here. Eventually he understood, went forward and did well. My advice is simple: Just do it. Don't wait. Don't spend money you don't need to. Start your business now, with minimal costs so you can become profitable immediately or as soon as possible. And please, please, don't overthink it; just use some good old fashioned common sense. You originally come from the US. Do you have any comments comparing and contrasting the US and Finnish business cultures/ culture in general? I think that the business cultures in the US and Finland are not so drastically different. I think companies and individuals in both countries have similar goals of success, and I think there are small cultural details in business that only make certain parts different. For example, I believe that the sales culture, style and technique in Eastern Finland are vastly different than in Florida, where I am from. I find that back home we have excellent sales skills and are able to become like our customers to set them at ease, like a chameleon, making them more comfortable and more likely to purchase something. We set the sales atmosphere better by manipulating the situation through different predetermined notions of what our prospective customer will want and need. We are confident and comfortable with the ebb and flow of a sales meeting, which in my opinion, allows us to better understand and engage the customer. In my experience, sales meetings in Joensuu tend to be much more frigid and awkward sometimes. Sales people don't typically use such a social approach when meeting with a prospective customer, but rather use a more straight forward, no nonsense style. The reality is that this works here. As I said, I think business is not very different in the US or Finland, but I think styles are. It is fair to say that business is similar, but cultures can make the differences. Tell us something about the band. We have been playing together for three years and have toured in Russia twice. The band was started when I met the guitar player Santeri Endman while I was taking guitar lessons from him. After two lessons we agreed I couldn't play the guitar very well, but I had a 20 year singing background, so we decided he would play the guitar and I would sing. In our first rehearsal together I made the joke that we would make a million Finnish marks one day, and from then on we became known as Million Marks. After our first acoustic show at the Hippa Festival here in
“When people ask me about starting a company I tell them to just go and do it.”
Joensuu in 2010 we decided to become a full band. We then sought out a bass player, a drummer and a piano player. We recorded our first EP "Complex Simplicity" with Pilfink Records last year. We just wrapped up our "Complex Simplicity Tour" here in Finland, where we played 10 cities throughout the late fall and early winter of 2012. Lastly, we are currently in the studio working on pre-production for the full album that will be released this coming summer.
“... the daily interaction with different people with different personalities in different industries is very stimulating to me...”
What have you learned about the business of the music industry in Finland when working to promote your band? Honestly, the toughest lesson I have had to learn about the music business in Finland is that you must be connected to people in the industry through friendships. In Finland, and especially Eastern Finland, there is a "buddy" system. Fortunately, we have been able to use some existing relationships and create some new ones that have helped us get some shows booked, gain radio play for our EP and generate media coverage. We still have a long way to go, and it is difficult sometimes. The reality is that this "buddy" system in Eastern Finland is really detrimental to musical growth here. Of course this is just my opinion. It is also worth noting that labels still expect you to do almost all of the ground work in Finland. Indie labels here will record and produce you, but bands must still work to do the bulk of their own booking and marketing. Even in our case I have had to really put myself in the driver's seat to get things done. I had to hire a designer to create our logos, posters and album artwork. Of course the label paid for these, but I still had to physically go out and find the right person to work with, give her direction, approve or disapprove of the different proofs and set production deadlines. Can you describe any ways where you have combined the theoretical knowledge you have gained at your studies at Karelia UAS and real life? To my surprise I actually have learned quite a few techniques that have helped me target our market better. Through some of my marketing courses I have picked up better methods of determining our target audience and how to better utilize our marketing budget to actually reach the people we are trying to connect with. I think this has been very beneficial specifically in our internet marketing. I have begun to better understand how difficult internet marketing can be, and how easy it is to actually waste money on ineffective campaigns that don't generate any return. Even now, as we begin a new round of internet marketing for our EP, I find myself referencing notes from Iouri (Kotorov’s) marketing course so I don't make those classic marketing mistakes.
Compare and contrast the challenges and rewards of the work you do with the band and the work you do for your company. When I think about the differences of working with my band and working with my company the rewards immediately come to mind. With my company, the rewards are measured by being able to put food on the table for my family and provide a nice home and a stable lifestyle for my daughter so she can grow and develop. Of course I do enjoy what I do and I also see the relationships with my clients as a huge reward. I have been fortunate to meet some really amazing people. I am a social guy, so the daily interaction with different people with different personalities in different industries is very stimulating to me and brings a lot of joy.Â Working with my band pays huge dividends that are measured completely differently. I often think of myself as two different people: David Williams the businessman, and D-Willy the crazy, funny social specialist. I am laughing as I write this, haha. Anyway, when I work to promote my band it really doesn't feel like work, even though it takes a lot of time and effort. I am a musician who loves to make music, and I truly put my emotions and soul on display through my music. I really want people to feel that. So, when I do the work to get shows, to promote our EP or perform live, I really feel the reward instead of seeing it. I know that sounds a bit whimsical or philosophical, but it is true. My company provides me with tangible rewards, and my music provides me immeasurable intangible rewards. Both are great, but very different.
Something Old, Something New Within the realm of photography enthusiasts is a dedicated niche whose residents crave a more authentic physical manipulation of the camera than what technological advances have bestowed upon us. Third year Design student Vladimir Markov shared a pleasant example with some thoughts and images of his Snima Iris project camera.
“... I have also been able to try cameras from prey much any brand. My conclusion is that image quality, in general, is not the issue nowadays. ”
Snima Iris began as a personal project in which Vladimir started with an idea to see how many analog controls could be implemented in a relatively small enthusiast-level mirror-less camera, without creating an ergonomic nightmare. Vladimir believes that with the advent of digital cameras, we have lost analog controls, which he terms “beloved”, for the cheap and easy to implement menu delving alternative. Muscle memory has been replaced by an attention-grabbing screen, and it seems we don’t know what to do anymore if challenged with dials and knobs that require physical manipulation. “I have been using a Powershot G10 for the last four years and, thanks to my many photography-oriented friends, I have also been able to try cameras from pretty much any brand. My conclusion is that image quality, in general, is not the issue nowadays. Even small compacts, with their relatively tiny sensors, can deliver great images in good lighting. What I am not satisfied with is handling.” Vladimir notes the process of photography is to him as important as the final outcome; in this case, he longs for a small sized camera with solid controls. “I decided to try and design it, just for fun; what you see here is my personal vision. During the design process, two similarly focused cameras appeared - the Sony NEX-7 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I consider them as validations of my efforts. Snima Iris is not intended to be a production model, although with a few minor changes it could be manufactured today. It is a concept and its purpose is to generate valuable feedback, but also to explore my personal vision and research of the camera industry.”
“I decided to try and design it, just for fun...”
Snima Iris (Back)
Snima Iris (Screen)
“...what you see here is my personal vision”
Snima Iris (Side)
Arenâ€™t Really There
Text by Karolyn Escalante Salminen
It is well known that in order to develop any kind of design, the process must start with finding or creating a concept. Most of the time, this is the most difficult phase of the entire process. Once you find yourself with a solid concept, everything else starts flowing... chromatic range, typography, rhythm, visual weight, style... When I state â€œit starts flowingâ€?, I am not implying that it gets easier by any means. Most of the times it gets harder, and, even sometimes, boring once you have been working on the same project for some time. Nevertheless, it is always about being patient and working hard while remaining consistent. I have been working on this edition of IBID for several months. When I was first asked to develop this project, I felt proud and enthusiastic. I also felt like it was going to involve tons of time and most probably I would begin to regret accepting it. However, to my surprise, this is one of the projects I have enjoyed the most during the last couple of years. I do not regret a single hour spent working on this magazine.
Karolyn Escalante Salminen
As you may have noticed, the graphical style of this magazine is based on cartography. Why maps? I felt it could emphasize the multicultural side of Karelia UAS. Students and staff from several countries create an interesting, a very special study environment. The general concept of the magazine was suggested by Adam Lerch, and I found it very interesting from the very first meeting. I decided not to use the well-known image of a world map as it would have been a bit boring for me. Instead, I decided to create maps of the imaginary. In this way, the reader can visualize different unreal places and create his/her own geographical meaning. It would not have been possible to develop this magazine design without the help of Martha Balerina, who provided me with advice and guidance through the whole process. I would like to thank both Adam and Martha for the opportunity and the advice during the development of this project. I hope you all like the result and enjoy the journey!
Centre for Business and Engineering Karjalankatu 3 FI-80200 JOENSUU, FINLAND business (at)karelia.fi
Centre for Creative Industries - Sirkkala Campus Sirkkalantie 12A FI-80100 JOENSUU, FINLAND luovatalous(at)karelia.fi