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Naked truth about Finnish business strategy

Fabulous article here from USA Today on sauna parties and Finnish corporate culture.  The writer relates his experiences first hand, but I have a heard a great story, second hand, about a Dutch friend who was at Nokia’s headquarters in Finland for some high level negotiations.  After hashing out some details, he was invited by the top brass to sauna.  I think this is an excellent business technique.   Here’s the article. or the gist of it:

Naked truth on Finnish business strategy: Start with sauna

“WASHINGTON — I am naked with Linus Torvalds’ father.

I had come to the Finnish Embassy to meet Linus, perhaps the world’s most famous Finn and the progenitor of the Linux computer operating system.

This little party here, co-hosted by Wired magazine, is partly to show off Finnish technology but is largely for Linus, because he’s on the cover of Wired‘s November issue.

I was looking forward to talking to him about Linux’s growing success, the SCO lawsuit that threatens it, and how a country with 5 million citizens, who live in the same neighborhood as Santa’s workshop, has managed to become a tech powerhouse.

But Linus couldn’t be here. Had to go to a wedding or something. So I have to make do with the father of the father of Linux. His name is Nils Torvalds, and in Finland, he’s a well-known TV reporter, now assigned to cover Washington. Kind of a Nordic Sam Donaldson.

And he’s in the sauna.

In fact, the first thing I learn from Nils is that the sauna is part of Finland’s competitive advantage — one reason, for instance, that Nokia dominates in cell phones. Most Finnish companies, even small businesses, have a sauna on the premises, he says.

The Finnish Parliament has a sauna. Nokia has a sauna in its headquarters. Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila built one of the world’s largest saunas at his summer home.”

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