This blog is by Barry French, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nokia.
May 12, 2015 is a remarkable anniversary, marking the date when our company has been in existence for 150 years. That’s 54,786 days, if anyone is counting – and there are few companies in the world today which have stood the test of time in the way Nokia has.
A few of those days have been considerably tougher than others, but let’s not forget that we owe our existence to Finnish mining pioneer Fredrik Idestam, who founded the original company on this day in 1865. He worked hard, building something extraordinary from humble beginnings, with the spotlight turning on him a mere two years later, after winning a bronze medal at the 1867 Paris World’s Fair.
There’s no doubt the history of Nokia is rich and varied; it is a story of boom and bust, of transition and growth. It is a story of innovation and change, of seizing opportunities before the competition, driven by a desire to succeed, albeit with a determined and down to earth mentality.
Today, we can share a collective pride in Nokia, both reflecting on the past, and looking forward with excitement to the future. We have the Alcatel-Lucent deal ahead of us, and we are standing at the edge of the programmable world, a totally new era in technology.
This era will bring its own challenges, and sometimes the pace of change can seem overwhelming, but it is nothing compared to what was happening 150 years ago. Back then, the world was a tumultuous place, but it is worth noting that Nokia shares its birthday with many other legendary figures and institutions:
* Writer Rudyard Kipling and poet W.B. Yeats were born in 1865, along with King George the Fifth of England.
* Closer to our hearts here in Finland, the great composer Jean Sibelius and artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela were born a century and a half ago.
* The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street in New York City, but importantly, the world of modern telecommunications was brought into existence.
* And not long after Samuel Morse started a telegraph service in the United States, in 1865, twenty nations gathered in Paris to sign an international framework and form what was known as the International Telegraph Union. Nowadays it is called the ITU, which has grown to become an intergovernmental public-private partnership, within the United Nations, and fundamental to our industry.
We have come a long, long way since then, and now the task falls to all of us to carry the torch high, and write the next chapter in our history. As we focus on the human possibilities of technology, we share the same ideals which have served Nokia over the years, working together with our partners, our customers, and across our businesses, to create human technology that helps people thrive.
At times, some of what we do seems magical, some of what we do is logical, and some of what we do is down to sheer hard work. And that reminds me of another milestone to be celebrated which we share – that of Lewis Carroll’s children’s novel, Alice in Wonderland, which was published for the first time 150 years ago. Reflecting on what Nokia means to us, I could say that “we are all mad here,” but I think it is more appropriate to take a line from the opening chapter of the book, as we look ahead to the future:
“For, you see, so many out-of-the- way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible…”
There are exciting times ahead and I think that’s the attitude we need, as we preserve the legacy of this extraordinary company, and build an even stronger one in the years to come.
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