Mikko Järvenpää is the COO of the Latvian startup Infogram, and founder and CEO of Vuact.
Matej Ftacnik is the CEO of iNOVA Sys and co-Founder of The Spot, in Bratislava, Slovakia. For the Culture Metrics story on his Stanford presentation please go here.
Culture Anecdote: Mikko is from Finland but he is the COO of a Latvian startup (Infogram).
"There are two very different cultures", said Mikko. "Often I say 'I'm from Finland' and people react with a big smile 'Oh, yes, I know, I went to Denmark once'. Nothing to do one with the other. It's as if someone tells me 'I'm from United States' and I would answer 'Oh, yes, I've been to Mexico once."
Many companies focus on their business model or product, without taking into consideration the ways in which cultural values influence decision making and choice. Let's take a quick look at the cultural differences between Latvia and the US. The one that seems to me important is the culture's orientation toward "being" or "doing".
The United States culture is focused on doing and achieving (index is 63). It is more concerned with performance, ambition and a need to excel. Individuals belonging to this culture like stuff that are big and fast (including food) and define success by how much they have achieved.
By contrast, Latvians are concerned more with quality of life. They strive for consensus and their definition of beauty is "small and slow". Intuition is important, and context plays a very important role in the way they communicate (implied communication).
This is just an example about how differences in cultural values may affect the way people think about entrepreneurship, business, and human interaction, including professional relationships.
Individual, group and team assessments can give accurate information about how to optimize professional relationships, UX, product and services marketing across cultures.
Bellow you have Mikko's slide presentation as well as a video of the entire event. Enjoy!