04 Feb 2020
Twenty years back, on this day, I went outside India for the first time, landed in Helsinki, Finland. The year 2000. A fantastic start to my career. Worked for a Finnish company; we were building CMS (content management) products, targeted for the Scandinavian market.
This company Terranova in Finland, had a JV with Sonata Software India, and the plan was to develop CMS. That was the first time when I was part of a team navigating product dev, and I was just an engineer in a group of 8 people. I met some fantastic product managers, managers, team members, and the CEO.
In the Year 2000, I traveled to ~10 countries in the EU and was the best year of my life. My father & mother continues to say that no job can replace this offer that you had got from Sonata to work with this Finland company.
It was amazing to see kids in 8 to 10 years having a mobile. Unbelievable, Nokia. A friend working there had also invited so that I could trip to the Nokia office.
We used to travel from Helsinki to Tallinn (Capital of Estonia) as the beer was damn cheap in Tallinn, and that was a fav pastime for Finnish to just ferry to Tallinn during the weekends.On one of the trips, I had traveled to the Tallinn IT corridor, which was so small; I couldn’t have imagined that a few years from then, there will be companies like Skype, TransferWise, and more.
On another trip from Helsinki to London during 2000, I had visited the old Wembley stadium, which is replaced with a new one, and coincidentally, I lived in Wembley park when I again landed in 2003 for my ~10 yrs life in London.
In Helsinki, I met some fantastic friends (Indians running ISCKON temple, Indians now Finnish citizens, Friends-Friends in TCS), and more.
The CMS product we were developing went through several hassles and couldn’t get great repose during the first year. During that time, I was sensing product is the way, and had got a call from a small startup (7 people) in Bangalore. I picked this job and shifted to Bangalore, landed in the startup. The fun part is I had not got the job offer in my hand, but that didn’t stop me from trusting the company and my ability to build a career. I had chosen to be with a startup.
Trip to Finland feels like a destiny call. I cherish those memories.