Jukka Vesala is a B2B trainer, entrepreneur and a junior football coach. As a result of SHIFT 2016, Vesala signed up two new clients for his B2B Sales Specialist Company Evium. This year, he returns to SHIFT. The biggest attraction, he says, is the relaxed atmosphere, the many possibilities for a new event management software company and of course, the Kakola Afterparty. During the interview, Vesala told us what he sees off his two of his interests, junior football players and enterprises have in common, as well as what are his tips for younger business generation and why he’d like to be Gandalf one day.

Tell us about your experience at last year’s SHIFT.

”It all started when my business partner threw me the idea to go to SHIFT 2016. ‘Why not?’, I thought. I saw there were plenty of enterprises whose needs might be within the sphere of my know-how. ”

”During the event itself I got to know companies by wandering around, stopping people and asking them to tell me about themselves. These seemed like the very beginning for future cooperation, and in fact I got two new clients for Evium from SHIFT 2016. Let me tell about one of them.

On the 3rd floor in the Castle, I met Juha Oja. His innovation for a mobile application that would work as a lunch stamp card was in its starting phase. We agreed that we’d see later on the day and see if I could help out in any way. Now, almost a year later, the company Restaurant is set to launch its site on the 15th of May.”

”Another beginning was Tapahtumakone Oy, an event management software company). I am now in its board as one of its founding members. This project started through the contacts at SHIFT, we all happened to be sitting around at the same coffee table.”

What about SHIFT 2017?

”Following last year’s positive experience, in SHIFT 2017 it’s a clear case for me, I would attend as a representative of Tapahtumakone Oy, and as myself of course. I would say that one of the things that keeps me going to SHIFT is that you can come as you are. It’s a brilliant venue for relaxed encounters: a freely formed business tangle. You have something in your bag and see what sort of matchmaking will take place. A bit different than sending a ‘shall we be friends’ message in LinkedIn.”

“Let’s not forget the Kakola party, as well. I am looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces in the same place at the same time, and to have some small talk about how we are doing in our lives and so on.”

What do you find most interesting about being a trainer?

”My motivation for trainer’s work stems from personal irritation. I want to prove how misleading the phrases ‘Finns cannot sell’ or ‘B2B sales will die’ can be. Also, one of the many perks of this work is that I can draft a schedule of my own.”

According to you, do junior football players and enterprises have anything in common?

”Companies are, at their best, well-spirited teams that want to win – just like football teams. Juniors play voluntarily and don’t yet understand football. I need to talk to children so that they understand what I’m saying. That’s what I need to do with the companies as well. The challenge with enterprises is that some of them don’t work from their free will and some are not motivated. I need to find out how to motivate them, what they have done earlier and what they are able to do. My task is to help companies fare better, not tell them ‘do this’.”

What’s your standpoint towards the theme of the SHIFT 2017, the AI?

”Artificial Intelligence enables huge leaps in the economy of production, especially in problem solving. Just imagine, you can already print concrete elements! Soon, you could print yourself a mobile phone, too. We are already seeds of cyborgs, as everyone has a mobile phone in their hands. We shouldn’t be scared, but instead embrace the change. However, many are still scared. Thinking what this will do to the already big gap between populations – they get wider? We will be half cyborgs here and then there’s Africa?”

What are the trainer’s tips for the younger business generation?

”I would say that if there’s no first option available, take the next best thing. Understand the value in specialization. Learn to be better in what you are good at and what you like. Another thing is the network. It’s the safety net in the worklife.

But the most important one is life itself. Happy life doesn’t take place by just working. Think what makes you happy. What do you have to do, concretely, to get there? Better yet, you can make a list of steps and then take them one by one.”

”My personal SHIFT happened around five years ago when I decided to be honest to myself and start to pursue what I really like in life. Before that I hadn’t thought about what would really make me happy. Nowadays, when I explain that I just really want to be happy, I know that many think I’m out of my mind.”

Finally, to get some insight into you as a person: which superhero would you be?

”I wouldn’t be any of the superheroes. If I must choose one hero, I would like to be Gandalf. He is wise, righteous, one of the good guys, and has an almost eternal life. He gets to see a lot.”

Photo: Roope Lehmuslehto/ Betta Digital Oy