Nokia People

Connecting Humanity

Bhamini: Why Nokia has a special place in my heart and what it is that is so hard to find outside of the Nokia environment.

I remember when Nokia phones were number one and the advent of those polyphonic ringtones. People used to play their newest ringtone to each other at Nokia parties and the latest ‘not yet released to public’ phone was a hot topic and TRUE tester of those devices were a subject of envy. I once brought an outsider into a Nokia party and she thought we were all mad. She could not find anything to contribute to the conversation. So, there was a particular kind of person that was suited to Nokia, you either loved it or you hated it.

Somehow those of us who were in, just loved the bleeding-edge tech and being part of it, reading stuff in the news that we were working on. Nokia recognised the importance of diversity and bringing together different ideas. There was no strict rule of etiquette or formality. As someone said in a post, you could just talk to Jorma (Ollila) or send him an e-mail. If you had an idea or opinion you were able to voice it. There were often programs to share personal innovations at a global level and even incentives for creating . I always felt that I had the possiblity to define my areas of responsibility, I could widen my role if I just wanted to.

It was a challenging and truly global environment with opportunities to travel at every level. Borders and boundaries did not seem to exist. Collaboration was not an issue it was just what Nokia did as it effortlessly embraced electronic meetings, shared calendars and voice/video conferencing. It was normal to have a person in the bath robe barely awake, and someone ready for bed in the evening in a phone conference. We laughed about it and relished it.

We all grew as fast as the technology changed. You had to keep up with it, as that pace of change was mirrored in the constantly changing organisation. Nokia defined a lot of the things in my life. My marriage, my house and my children. I will never forget that I was totally dumbfounded after I returned to work after my maternity leave only to realise that I had painted my kids room in the NSN colours!!! I still think of it as ‘my’ company and I am happy whenever they win a deal with a UK operator. And I hope we will see real Nokia phones in the stores again, would definitely buy one!

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7 Comments

  1. Terence

    Nice piece. As an ex-Nokian, everything you said here resonates. Hard to find another company like Nokia 😉

    • bhamini

      Hi Terence, thanks for reading. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the explosion of Verena’ s Facebook page and that not only can I openly share my feelings about the great company that I worked for but even better, I’ve found that so many others feel so similarly!

  2. Kari Vainio

    Hello Bhamini,
    I really share many of these sentiments, but I just could not formulate them so well, so thank you for sharing this! I have worked with many other companies ever since, mainly as a consultant, but so far I have not seen anything like the Nokia I used to know.

    • Bhamini

      Hei Kari! Nokia is still connecting people 🙂 Nokia was always light years ahead. The rest of the world will catch up some day. 27k+ people and growing.

  3. Franck

    So true Bhamini. The most global, open and human professional environment I have known, with very solid roots into the nature through its Finland base. How a pleasure it was to work there. Can you believe that so many former employees are grateful to a company that failed? That says it all!

    • Bhamini

      Hi! Nokia ia not dead yet. The finnish people and the finnish way were certainly its bedrock. The spirit lives on and has brought us all back together 🙂

  4. G Sriram

    Hi Bhamini
    You have brought on in Black & white , what all Ex Nokians think & relish every day .
    Being one of them from India and having been part of the team that built the NSN plant at chennai I’m still proud to say I’m an Ex Nokian.
    My current organisation also has a similar culture

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