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August 18, 2008

Modesty that can’t be beat – you’d never know we hit a milestone

ESPOO, Finland – I remember hearing how when Nokia was this small little phone manufacturer, the next milestone was to pass the one in front of us, in the market share rankings. But that was long ago, as we have had the largest market share of shipping mobile phones for some time.

Yet, while being the biggest is nice, everyone else is out to get you. The other hard part of not having a runner in front of you as a measure is that you need to come up with your own measures of how well you’re doing. One such measure was a milestone the company has been chasing for a long time, namely a 40% global market share.

In the last quarterly report, we hit a 40% global market share and you would never know. OK, so I do not recall if that was our first time over 40%. But the story still holds – we have passed the 40% global market share milestone we’d set so long ago and we didn’t even celebrate big-time.

Well, Finns are modest (I’m neither), so I am sure they think they celebrated. Also, the 2Q report always come out in the middle of Finnish summer holidays, so I am sure the Finnish management was celebrating in their own way. But you would expect some sort of blow-out party, or some sort of day off for everyone, or at least something more than the regular quarterly letter from the top management.

Or are we tired from trying to reach this goal and, with a weak, but satisfied smile, pat each other on the back and keep on going? Or is it that, with a modesty that can’t be beat, we look around the table, say “good job”, and then move on to the next big challenge?

There are enough big challenges to conquer and important milestones to pass. And each of us celebrate them in our own ways. In good Finnish fashion, we smile and move on to the next task.

Image from Jeff the Trojan

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