See you at Slush — The best conference named after the the dirty mix of half melted ice products.

The weather in Helsinki sucks balls in November, but that’s not a big. It’s a feature!

The Finns are setting the stage for an indoor event where the warmth and action inside contrasts the wet, windy, and frigid suicide weather outside. Before you get to the fundraising, trudge through the slush.

The Finnish startup PR machine is in full swing. Ira Kalb penned a rah-rah piece for the Huffington Post gushing about ‘the place for tech startups in 2017,’ claiming the entire year for tiny Helsinki. Well, if you get knighted by the Finnish Government, you gotta believe in the product.

To be sure, Slush is impressive and has become a true global event. When 17.500 innovators and hangers on get together, it’s going to be interesting.

But there is something funny about the tech scene in Helsinki. To bring you up to date, Nokia exited the mobile phone business in 2013 and dumped thousands of staff and the best left the country. What’s left is the slush.

I know that’s not fair. Finland has world famous young companies. Helsinki of course is the home of Broster, Norsepower, and Drockbuzzy, only one of which is real. If you want to know which, you have to find someone from Finland and ask them.

So, I live in Amsterdam (Full disclosure: I once thought I was being knighted by the Dutch government, but I learned it was a hobo peeing on my shoulder). Let me play out this Finish logic in a local example.

When Uber set up it’s International headquarters and local operations in Amsterdam, it displaced many existing taxi drivers who were pushed out. I didn’t see the ex-drivers spearhead a new innovative culture and make Amsterdam a new hotbed of driver innovation.

When the Heineken delivery horses were replaced by trucks, they just retired. They didn’t start a platform for horse-sharing or Horse as a Service (HaaS). Maybe take boasts like these with a grain of salt.

Anyway, good luck Finland. Celebrate the Sisu, the stoic determination, guts, resilience and ability to overcome adversity that the Finns are known for. Enjoy the slush.

Slush 2017. www.slush.org  For startups & tech talent investors, executives and media. November 30 – December 1, Messukeskus, Helsinki. 


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