The power of familiarity – day one at Slush

Anu Ylänen • Quality Woman / Senior QA Specialist

Yesterday was my first day at Slush 2013. It was a great day, I must say. Lots of fuzz and buzz going on everywhere, thousands of interesting paths to take and bridges to cross. I did not have big plans for the day, so I decided to go with the flow and hang around at the awesome Futurice Cafe hosted by Freese Coffee Co as much as possible.

Filtering out all the noise around oneself is quite a challenge. I tried to concentrate on few main topics only. On the first day of Slush I followed the media and journalism theme. I had briefly heard about the Uutisraivaaja innovation contest before, but the finalists weren’t  familiar to me. I was very impressed when the four finalists – Long Play, Nearhood, OnDisplay and PalloPostia – were presenting their projects to the Slush audience. Such interesting ideas and innovation! Something that really hit me, though, was one phrase by Lari Lohikoski, Managing Director of Nearhood: "Hyperlocal is the new global".

Local has the power of familiarity. The things I see and the places I visit have a special meaning to me. Nearhood has understood that power. Their application is a channel to publish local news, stories, events – by the locals for the locals. So far six neighbourhoods in Helsinki are represented. One of them is Lauttasaari, very familiar place to me because that’s where our Futurice headquarters are located. Browsing through the content I instantly picked up some topics meaningful to me: Voipojat is a lunchroom, that has a great startup feeling and atmosphere and is appreciated by many of us at Futurice – and not only when we're hungry and need a decent meal. They even baked some buttereyed buns for us to share at Futurice Cafe. I also spotted Oranssitori, a flea market nearby the office, and suddenly I felt all warm and nice inside.

I think the Nearhood platform helps Helsinki citizens to come closer to each other, which is the direction this city has been taking for quite some time already. The target group of the service is not the usual social media heavy users, but instead tries to reach also those who are not so active in FB, Twitter and other such channels. Thumbs up for that!

Congratulations also to Long Play for winning the Uutisraivaaja contest!

Check out some photos from Slush day one. I’m very much looking forward to the second day.

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