Finland boasts a population of just 5.4 million and it doesn't need to be said Finland's gaming startups have had a remarkable ride on top of the mobile gaming charts. Checking today, Rovio's Angry Birds Star Wars II is the top grossing paid app, and Supercell's Clash of Clans and Hay Day are in the second and fourth position on the top grossing charts, despite both launching over a year ago.
The Finnish gaming industry was built on the backs of what The Economist called Finland's "autistic creatives." But to continue to grow, the industry can't wait for more programming talent to come out of Finland's universities. Instead, it will be a matter of pulling in outside talent.
For all the glamor and noble intentions attributed to start-ups, working at an early-stage technology start-up isn’t fundamentally dissimilar from working at an established technology company. Products are built, released, iterated upon based on customer feedback, and the cycle is repeated. And while I don’t think I’d ever want to trade in jeans and a t-shirt for slacks and a button-down, I know I could probably get a job at GeneriCorp, the company that makes automated accounting process optimization software for mid-sized wastewater treatment plants, and not feel totally out of place.
One key distinction does exist between life at an early-stage technology start-up and at an established technology company, though: diversity of workload. The idea is that, rather than specializing, employees at start-ups are given the latitude to engage in a diverse range of activities, all of which contribute to product development.
Editorial note: This is a guest post by Andor Jakab from Hungary. In fact, this is a cross post from his blog. The post outlines well many of the challenges early stage entrepreneurs face. Even though things aren't quite as bad here in the Nordics and Baltics, it's good to understand the realities. Towards the end, we also talked to Jakab about the recent laws and changes in the country regarding its future. It's a chilling read and a reminder to us all.
I could hire 12 people with €760 net salary, but I don't. I tell you why. You could work for my service provider company in a nice office. It's not telemarketing, it's not a scam. You would do serious work that requires high skills, 8 hours daily, only weekdays. I would employ you legally, I would pay your taxes and social security. I could give such a job to a dozen people, but I will not, and here I explain why.
The Internet Agency Valve has been all quiet about its plans, but there is something going on about its operations abroad. The agency is a famous flash house in Finland, that has hogged numerous awards from many different competitions. It seems like they have something going on in the US at the moment, more specifically San Francisco.
Valve is recruiting game developers and game designers with the work being located either in Helsinki, Finland or San Francisco, US. A guess is that they are looking towards some sort of Flash based social game as they emphasize the need for "good up-to-date understanding of social networks and web-trends".
I've heard from an industry insider that the person pulling together team is a former Sulake employee. Sulake is the house behind the world famous Habbo Hotel. An educated guess is that Valve is planning something similar, with a different target market perhaps?