Stephen Elop – Nokia Lumia 928, future beautiful products, photography taking to higher and higher levels…we’re going to win!

| March 21, 2013 | 464 Replies



Very interesting interview with Stephen Elop, discussing a lot about his personal life, work challenges, work at Nokia, politics, sports, what drives and motivates him as CEO and personal interests (he’s a pilot).


Elop 5 kids

  • 21 year old studying engineering
  • 17 year old (Adopted daughter from China, when she was 9 months. Elop said they had a natural connection with China)
  • triplet 14 year old daughters

Travels a lot, since January 1st ( 2.5 months? When was this interview done?), travelled 200,000km. Being there brings so much more, connecting directly rather than over the phone. Elop wants to spent time with these people.

Wakes up 4am every morning, goes to sleep at 9-10.

Sleeps in on the weekend. Works very hard during the week but takes time to do things with family on the weekends (and other hobbys)

Sleeps on the plane as well. Seldom takes sleeping pills.

Interviewer says Elop has a lot of money, so he’s not doing all this work for money, asking is he competitive in showing that HE, Elop can do the Nokia job.

Elop says he took the opportunity to be part of Nokia, one of the greatest technology companies in the world of ALL time.There’s a very small number of companies that have that history, strength and future. As Nokia was headed through a difficult spot, it excited Elop as an opportunity to help lead the ocmpany through those challenges. It is a competition and ‘we’ want to win. How do we deal with the problems we have, how do we beat the competition? He derives a lot of energy from that, he loves to get up in the morning and encourage and motivate people.

Interviewer mentions Nokia’s stock worth which has been going down during Elop’s tenure (and before). He gives some analogy about being a hockey coach and how much time he’d have to which, Elop (also a hockey fan) ribbed back and asks how long since Jokerit last win the championship. The interviewer thought it was 2-3 years ago but Elop reminds him it was actually 10 years ago which backfires on the interviewer. Elop is told well it can’t be like that, the stockholders won’t wait 10 years.

Elop says that the challenges facing Nokia were many years in the making, accumulated difficulties that need to be addressed. What needs to be looked at now is how is the new strategy going, how are the new Lumias going? e.g. a couple of quarters Nokia sold just under 3m, in the most recent quarter reported, Nokia sold over 4 million. He can’t say how this quarter’s going but we’ll be announcing that in a few weeks. 

Interviewer asks him if it’s good or bad, Elop says he can’t say because he can’t provide forward looking guidance. But what he will say is that people seeing Lumia are very excited, they’re very pleased with those, the feedback being very positive. Nokia has no doubt that today Nokia’s making the best products they’ve ever made with these Lumia products. The success of Nokia and Elop’s contribution to Nokia will be judged by the success of progress and continued progress made at Nokia.

Interviewer asks how long does Elop think he has time at Nokia? Elop says he has time to show that progress.

Next, the interviewer asks what happened to Nokia when the iPhone came even though Nokia made the smartphone. Nokia was sleeping.

Elop says that Nokia was at its peak. In business there’s a pattern when companies get to that position of strength when they’re the absolute leader that they may be in a situation where you’re not thinking about how the world may change underneath you how someone will do something dramatically different, which is what Apple did, disrupting the market in a massive way. For companies generating money in a different way, change is different. When Elop came, he said that Nokia has to change and change quickly as they’re already years behind.

Nokia’s been sleeping too long, they thought they didn’t need to change, says the interviewer. They win then they think they’re so good and they don’t change their team and they go down (another sport analogy).

Elop says that at Nokia, they’re in a challenger mindset with three things to talk about. We need to be accountable, acknowledge mistakes. Urgency, moving a lot faster than ever before. Third, empathy to listen, doing a much better job at listening to customers. What do they want today?

Random ad break. OOH, Finnish TV ads 😀

Now, on Nokia paying 1.3B in taxes now not paying much.

Elop says he believes Finland is important for Nokia and Nokia is important for Finland. It’s a very complementary partnership. Finland is where Nokia’s home is, this is where Nokia’s values have been established, where the biggest pool of engineering talent has come from to help make these great products. Nokia has such a long and integrated history with Finland so it’s very powerful and he’s very, very proud of Finland being Nokia’s home. “This is where we belong. It ripples through the company no matter where we are in the world  We are a FINNISH company.  Also I think we are good for Finland, even though going through difficult times we can help new entrepreneurs, start new companies, generate new revenue and profits within the company which can lead to expanding jobs. The relationship between Nokia and Finland is a very powerful one and a very supportive one in both directions. It’s difficult times and there can be difficult conversations but boy do we have the support the people of Finland.

Q: How competitive is Finland? What should the government do?

E: First, Finland as a country is in a remarkably strong position right now. The credit rating in the context of the rest of Europe (due to a lot of hard work) but also if you look at the situation within the state, whether it’s education, healthcare, training and employment development, Finland is amongst the leaders in the entire world in how these things are done. I come from Canada where a lot of the same values are in place. You know what, people should have healthcare, they should have a great education and if you do those things then ultimately the country is more competitive.

Q: The same thing can happen with Finland as what happened with Nokia if we don’t change all the time. We can go down. What should we change?

E: What we constantly have to look for which was in Nokia’s success is how do we take things that the country is strong at and make it more visible around the world. The world is now a very small place and companies in Finland can do very well around the world, how does the government help those companies. I was pleased at the number of government reps were travelling through china to share Finland’s values and let the world know what Finland and Finland’s business are capable off.

Q: What about taxes? What about the people that work here, Are the salaries too high in Finland?

E: I think the salaries are competitive with obvious taxation and so forth. As I engage in these conversations, same in Canada, people want to pay less taxes but at the same time ask, How’s the education, How’s the healthcare? They’re pretty darn good so that’s the right balance.

Q: So you think the Canadian and Finnish models are good models?

E: It’s a very good model.

Q: How many phones do you have right now?

E: Right now I have six (and laughs).


Q: I saw a picture in yesterday’s newspaper, the Lumia 928. What kind of phone is that?

E: I don’t know because we haven’t announced the Lumia 928 (laughs more)

Q: OF course you know. When are you announcing that?

When are you announcing that?

E: As of today…

Q: Answer the question, when are you announcing that

E: Well I’m making an announcment right here on you’re show because we’re introducing the 620. It’s coming to Finland, it’s a beautiful device that is making its appearance in Finland as this show airs, but as for future products…

Q: 928, when is it coming out. (LOLOL, I love this guy!)

E: I’ll say a couple of things about future products

Q: I can do one thing (noooo you interrupted him :/ You broke through and stopped) I have iPhone

E: Oh, how embarrasing

Q: I have an iPhone but I don’t want to have an iPhone. I want to have a Nokia phone

E: <Elop takes the phone and places it away on a table and giggles> it’s gone

Q: I want to have a Nokia phone because I believe in you and I believe in Nokia and I want to have the Lumia 928. When do I get it.

E: Let me tell you what we’re doing in the future

Q: Tell me before that when do


E: I will not answer sorry, I can’t answer those questions. But what I can say is..

q: <pointing to his iPhone> you will change that to a Nokia phone?

E: Oh I will change that to a Nokia phone. Don’t worry. But what I can say is just a couple of weeks ago at MWC, we introduced a number of new products. People said ‘wow you have a whole portfolio of beautiful products.’ What  we are also saying though is that there is so much good work ahead. I mean some of the beautiful phones still ahead we’re so excited about. What you’re seeing, so much about the improvements at Nokia is we may have a full portfolio of beautiful products but because the engineering teams in Tamperreella, Salossa, Oulossa, San Diego, in Beijing, all these places, they are working so much more effectively producing such better products. You’ll see so much more ahead so we’re very excited about what you will see in those products, there’s certain things that make Nokia products stand out. Beautiful design is one example. Great photography is another, so you’re going to see those things exaggerated and taken to higher and higher levels as we go further.

Q: You need to sell a lot more phones. The smartphone, is that an image thing because you’re selling a lot of cheap phones. You have to  succeed in that to keep the image of Nokia otherwise you probably skip that and only sell cheaper ones because you’re better in those


E: I think what you’re saying is, for example if I take this device <920, in red>  this is the Lumia 920, this is our flagship device and you’re exactly right. Our flagship devices, people have to say, “Wow, that’s better than that iPhone we just tossed away, that’s better than that Samsung device, it’s better in these areas. You need that Flagship because it creates that Halo effect over everything we do (DARN RIGHT IT DOES!) So when we go all the way down, I take out this device for example,

Q: That looks like a Children’s phone

E: This is the Nokia 105, we’ll sell millions of these over its lifetime. It’s sold for 15 euros, mostly in emerging markets. But also if you need that second phone, just to slip into your purse for a party or a glove box of your car, this device lasts more than 30 days on 1 charge of battery. The ability to sell these is definitely influenced by the aspirational quality of those (920)

Q: But you have to succeed in those (smartphones)

E: We think it’s important to succeed there, absolutely.

Q: How do you do it because now you’re selling like a couple of million phones and iPhone and Samsung is selling 20-30 million. You said in Dagens Industri that you will go past them…

E: Uhuh…

Q: …Are you saying it because you are CEO, why do you think that you are going past them? I don’t believe yet that will happen. I want to believe it


E: Good. Well the reason we believe that is we believe we can effectively compete with those other products by emphasizing the consumer experiences, the capabilities of these devices that are better than anything else. So with the 920 when we introduced that and said, ‘boy you can take pictures in a dark room, you can see and use the bright display under the bright Finnish sunlight that we’ve been enjoying over the past few days, I can control the screen with my glove on, and on and on and on’ if we focus on that great innovation, that Nokia is so good at and if we get that into our products then we will improve it. Now we’re starting with a brand new set of products, we’re starting with low numbers but I like that Q4 was more than Q3 and I want to keep growing that and taking that to a higher and higher amount (Is he still indicating that Q1 will be even better than Q4?)

Q: That’s a tough job in front of you. Do you sometimes think, why the hell did I take this Nokia job?

E: No. Because..

Q: You must..

E: No. No no no. Here’s why:

Q: Some morning when you wake up and you have slept four hours you must think you could be in Canada watching skiing with your family

E: Here’s why: There’s some of us, some people in the world, I sense you’re one of those people, you’re fundamentally competitive, you’re motivated by challenges, part of what motivates me as wellis when you spend time with the people of Nokia, the Nokians all over the world, they’ve been through some difficult times through the past years, right now because they know about our current products, of course  they know about the new products that are coming, 

Q: You know but you can’t talk

E: Exactly. What we see, and this is so powerful. You get so much strength from this is the employees of Nokia, are feeling stronger, prouder, more motivated today than they have and we measure this every 90 days, we ask them questions about this, and they’re telling us, ‘boy this is so much better and we’re going in the right direction’ and that gets you up in the morning

Q: Harkimo, he never finished a single handed race. You don’t want to go to Canada now and say this is Stephen Elop, he never succeeded in bringing up Nokia. Is that the reason?

E; No. The reason is because I love what I do, and because we’re going to win. You have to have confidence in that and we drive towards that.

Q: You don’t want to be a loser, you wanna be a winner.

E: Do you wanna be a loser?

Q: No

E: I wanna be a winner.

Q: So that’s what’s gonna happen.

E: I hope your team does well

Q: Do you do anything for fitness, you need to do something when you work so much?

E: You noticed I mentioned Dr (something. Perhaps the same one that told him about getting 8 hours of sleep is recommended) because when you’re in this type of race and it’s a long race. You have to worry about sleeping, eating better, exercise and so forth, one of the things I’ve been doing for the first time is Nordic walking with the sticks and everything, getting out there and making sure I get more exercise and look after those things because you have to.

Q: When you’re at home, which team do you watch in Ice hockey?

E: Vancouver Canucks, I watch the Cunucks

Q: Have you been in any games this year?

E: I have not been to any NHL games but I have been here at Hartwall Arena recently for (something) Lukko which is good news for the game that’s coming up. I haven’t got to any NHL games yet, as you know the season started late. I grew up in Canada and of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs were all of our heroes but they’ve been trying since 1967 to win that Stanley Cup so I’ve sort of given up on them.

Q: Why did you change to Vancouver? Usually people don’t change.

E: That’s right. Normally people pick a team and stay with it. What I actually enjoy is when you’re rooting for the local team, your nearby community and so forth because we’re on the west coast, you actually can get more engaged, it’s easier to follow the local commentary so I just kind of enjoy rooting for local team (link this to his work life if you can :p)

Q: What other hobbies do you have?

E: So my other principle hobby is that I’m a pilot, I fly small planes and I love to do that. There’s two types of pilots, those that like to soar with the birds. But flying is also a technical aspect, e.g. if youre flying in bad weather with cloud and rain, you have to be extremely skilled and focus in what you’re doing or you could have a very bad accident. So what I find is when I’m flying, practicing coming in in bad weather, my mind is completely clear of everything else. I have no time then to think about Nokia, or how many phones I have, or hockey or family. All I have time to do is to focus on safely landing the plane. And I find that very good to clear your mind every now and then.

Q: last question for you,

E: Please

q: Does an engineer know enough about marketing to get Nokia up (Hurray, marketing talk 😀 MY FAV :P)

E: Well, an engineer knows a lot about what it takes to meet the needs of a customer, and to make sure that those are well served but at the same time I have a team of people that I work very well with at Nokia. And so there are specialists in marketing (really? Really? ) in consumer surveys and all of those things that help us to bring that picture together and I’m proud to be working with a very strong team at Nokia.

Q: I hope you succeed

E: Thank you very much


Q: Good luck Stephen

E: And we’ll replace that iPhone for you

Q: Thanks!


Cheers Benz, keke12 and everyone for the tip! Sorry it took longer than expected to write up!



Category: Nokia

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]