I worked for Nokia between 1998-2013 in different roles in the networks business. It was a transformational learning experience, like a second business university after the first one. There were so many things I was able to experience but perhaps the most significant was observing how Nokia approached the emerging markets: with respect.
The idea that you could make good money by selling to poor people in emerging markets while not ripping them off but actually improving their lives was a crucially important motivator for me. Even though I wasn’t personally involved in that business, I was really proud of Nokia doing this when no-one else among the big players in the sector was.
Even in general, I have always liked the fact that the telecommunications sector is improving people’s lives by enabling material flows to be substituted by information flows, by making everything more efficient and real-time, and by allowing people to work flexibly from anywhere – even from home – which is helping to cut emissions and further sustainable society. Mobile communications are also, overall, shifting the balance of power towards the people and enabling grass-roots democracy, despite some questionable practices that have emerged in some countries.
The truly wonderful thing is that while doing all this, Nokia was proving that capitalism itself works, and can be a power for good. Nokia certainly was (and is) a power for good. Maybe this is one of the reasons why so many employees, former and present, experience such a passionate feeling of love towards the company?