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Amor Vincit Omnia or: Connections between Worker Leadership, Success and Happiness

A couple of days before meeting with an interior designer to decide what Vincit’s office should look like, Kuitunen accidentally came across the film Sin City. He then decided that the office would be called “Vincity” and that the style of Frank Miller’s neo-noir world would provide the inspiration for its interior design. We decided to go for the same style with this photo.
A couple of days before meeting with an interior designer to decide what Vincit’s office should look like, Kuitunen accidentally came across the film Sin City. He then decided that the office would be called “Vincity” and that the style of Frank Miller’s neo-noir world would provide the inspiration for its interior design. We decided to go for the same style with this photo.

Industrial PRIME | March 10, 2015

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Amor Vincit Omnia or: Connections between Worker Leadership, Success and Happiness

Industrial PRIME | March 10, 2015

In February 2015, software development company Vincit was awarded the “Great Place to Work” prize, handed out annually for the best workplace in Finland. It was Vincit’s second win of the said award in a row, and only one among the many prizes awarded to the acclaimed company in recognition of its recent achievements.

 

In order to learn more about Vincit’s success, Industrial PRIME meets with CEO Mikko Kuitunen at the company’s head office in Tampere, Finland.

Kuitunen co-founded the company with Pekka Virtanen in 2007. Their founding philosophy was simple, yet ambitious. They wanted to create an organization that offers expertise of the highest quality. Vincit was to become a company whose client everyone would want to be and whom the competitors would try to mimic.

At the core of this philosophy, Vincit placed the worker.

“It was clear from the very beginning,” Kuitunen explains, “that our workers would be happy to come to work on a Monday morning. It is our goal that our workers, alongside our clients, will be happier tomorrow than they are today. We simply want to be a good employer.”

And a good employer Vincit is.

 

 

“Sometimes you need to be ready to work like a motherf***er in order to get to that next level.”

 

 

What Vincit offers is a fun working environment and a job that gives the employee more than what it takes from them. At the same time, however, Vincit expects its staff to be extremely motivated and willing to make sacrifices when needed.

“Sometimes you need to be ready to work like a motherf***er in order to get to that next level,” Kuitunen elaborates. “Personally, I believe that loving what you do while at the same time getting that sense of achievement through extremely hard work – it’s the key to happiness.”

In that case, the company is quite aptly named. The Latin verb form vincit stands for ‘conquering’ and can be found in well-known phrases such as amor vincit omnia, meaning ‘love conquers all’, and labor omnia vincit that refers to the belief that through hard work, anything can be achieved and any obstacles can be overcome.

 

Brutal Line of Business

At Vincit, then, success is gained through a combination of hard work and love for what you do. This is crucial in a line of business where competition is particularly fierce.

Kuitunen says that 2007 was an interesting time for establishing an IT company. At the time in Finland, around 11% of new companies founded were IT service providers. Following the success of Nokia, the recent years had witnessed a tremendous growth in the sector. Competition, therefore, was going to be brutal.

“I can’t say exactly how many of those companies founded in 2007 are still doing business,” Kuitunen says, “but the global economic slowdown that began a year or so later struck the sector pretty hard.”

Having succeeded in “conquering” the challenges brought by the economic crisis, Vincit remains standing.

Hard work and love for what you do have surely played their role in this battle of the fittest, but another driving force behind Vincit’s success is its bold attitude. Vincit is never afraid of challenges, and it is constantly seeking new ways in which to excel.

IT business is developing at a fast pace, and this pace is not expected to slow down any time soon. However, when asked what the business of Vincit might look like in ten years’ time, Kuitunen confesses that they are very likely to be doing a lot of the same things they are doing today.

“If you compare IT business with other fields of industry, it is quite special because we are constantly working within this 20-year timeframe,” Kuitunen reckons. “On one side of the scale, there is all this advanced technology that is dying because the world would need another ten years in order to be ready for it. Then on the other side there is all this stuff that already has one of its legs in the grave, so to speak.”

“The former is something we must keep developing in order to keep up with the competition. The latter, in spite of being pretty much outdated, is what is actually used by the majority of our clients.”

 

 

“We want to try out several new things and then let evolution drop the ones that are not working out. This is the only way to keep up with the times and stay on top.”

 

 

Fail Fast and Stay on Top

Kuitunen sees Industrial Internet, or the Internet of Things, as one interesting phenomenon that will make an enormous difference in the near future. He believes it is going to bring with it new kinds of services that we never could have envisaged.

“It is up to the service providers to learn how to understand such new trends,” he explains. “You must have your own vision. Then you must find your niche among all these new opportunities. Otherwise, you’ll get trampled.”

“We at Vincit believe in the “fail fast” philosophy. We want to try out several new things and then let evolution drop the ones that are not working out. This is the only way to keep up with the times and stay on top.”

Fail fast? Sounds like the talk of a Silicon Valley startup.

Indeed. Kuitunen finds Silicon Valley startups to be among the most exciting and inspiring partners imaginable.

“These are the people who are going to come up with the new Facebooks, the new Twitters, and the new Googles,” Kuitunen enthuses. “It’s pretty amazing how these guys work down there. The funding and the ambition that is in there, the extent to which they are willing to commit themselves. It is a level of its own. Working with such companies would be very interesting. It would also help us grow and develop, both as a company and as individuals.”

Vincit provides services for a wide range of clients from small startups all the way up to large multinational corporations such as General Electric. Apart from its native Finland, Vincit has clients in the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, and Sweden. Is Vincit planning to expand even further?

“We are certainly taking our first Bambiesque steps into that territory,” Kuitunen admits. “Every region has their own service providers. These people are able to offer certain benefits to their clients, such as flexibility, quick reaction to problems, perhaps also better understanding of their clients’ needs.”

“But the good thing about this line of business is that there are no logistic costs! That said, it would certainly be interesting to see whether we are able to challenge some of these players on the international field as well.”

Sounds promising. It looks like the success of Vincit is bound to continue. This is heartening news – after all, the growth of Vincit will mean that more people will be happy to get out of their warm beds on a Monday morning.

 

Text and image by Industrial PRIME

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e-mail: contact(at)industrialprime.com

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