Some thoughts on Nokia World

Nokia World 2010

Here we are nearly a full week on from all the fun of the fair that was Nokia World 2010 and there is still so much kicking around in my head.

Many internet peeps have already written up their thoughts so far (some were there, some weren’t), all giving their opinions on what was and was not a success for the Finnish giants this time ’round. On top of this, a couple of them have even called me out asking for what I thought about this year’s Nokia World. Well, I’ll tell you…

Before I go on, this post is here – on my personal blog – for a reason. The following thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer, clients or blogging pals – past, present or future.

First and foremost I think the event as a whole was broadly positive and I’ll get to the main thinking behind this shortly but first, some background.

Believe it or not, this was in fact my first Nokia World and I really, thoroughly enjoyed it. On the first day I sat through the first set of keynotes and was thoroughly impressed by both Niklas Savander AND the departing Anssi Vanjoki. The former proving to be both witty and charming while the latter gave a barnstorming presentation worthy of any outgoing EVP.

After that, I was working.

My agency, 1000heads, runs Nokia’s global community programme WOMWorld/Nokia and as such (amongst other things at least) facilitates a large part of Nokia’s blogger engagements all around the world. The WW/N team were on the ground making sure our guys were happy while I kept an eye on the overall feeling within (and without) the group. All in all, the outlook was positive.

Later on in the day, when Nokia decided to give away nearly 1000 brand new Nokia N8s to the assembled developer community, all of us shared an equal level of surprise but also happiness. Of course we were gutted we didn’t ALL get one (not all of us made the first developer keynote where the gifting took place), but knowing that the ones that did get given away went to developers? None of us complained.

“Nokia did a Google – at last” they said. They were right too.

But 1000 free phones does not a successful conference make. Onwards then, to the true source of my positivity –

The following day, when I sat down to record some thoughts with Dan McGrath from Nokia Conversations, I was honest – “Let’s face it,” I said “it could’ve been a LOT worse.” and I meant it. The CEO gone, the EVP of Mobile Solutions on his way out, no MeeGo announcements… Nokia World really could have been a mess.

But it wasn’t.

Being there, on the floor, meeting the workforce, feeling the vibe in the air… There were no crappy devices announced, no shoddy services, no great white hopes… They didn’t deliver their [insert name of device and add the word ‘killer’ to the end] sure, but they never said they would. What they did was make a very clear and very firm step forward. It may’ve been a small (near-baby) step forward, but nevertheless, a step in the RIGHT direction.

I didn’t see Stephen Elop make his special guest star appearance at the end of day two nor did I see any of the hoo-hah about the whole HTC v Nokia debacle. Nokia held an all agency briefing day on the afternoon of day two which I left feeling not only super fired up about the future of my favourite Finnish phone manufacturer but also just so INSPIRED. OPK and Anssi V aren’t the only changes Nokia have made internally, there’s been a lot of restructuring below too and amongst the newcomers there is a real sense of change AND – more importantly – determination.

I have a different view to most, this I know. I have the privilege of working close with those that matter and also get to see that little bit further down the road (albeit under strict NDA – so don’t even think about asking), so trust me when I say; there really are great things ahead.

James Whatley – Sept 20th, 2010

Appendix –

  1. Twitter won’t hold them for long but, while you have the chance, go read Jonathan MacDonald’s tweets from September 15th. He gave a fantastic talk at one point during day two’s all agency session and managed to live-tweet the rest of the day’s presentations.
  2. This is the podcast I gave with the Nokia Conversations guys. It’s only seven minutes long and well worth a listen for Rafe Blandford’s and Matt Miller’s contributions alone.

Finally, if you’ve made it this far, please do leave a comment. Even if to say hi.
It’s not often I unload like this and any and all thoughts are appreciated.