Meet the talent: Eerika Savolainen

Name: Eerika Savolainen

Age: 26

Place of residence: Helsinki

Position: CEO at Slush

Please describe a day in your life:

My days can look very different from each other. I usually like to wake up early and start my days with a few cups of coffee (I drink a lot of coffee) and reading the news. My work days are often a mix of internal and external meetings, few hours of deep work around some more strategic topic, and a bunch of things to be executed. In the evening I might relax by reading a book or going for a run.

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them.

Leading Slush is a full time job that I love, so currently I’m devoted in doing my job as well as I can. Slush is a company run by students and people early in their careers, and it acts as a springboard for our team members. My personal objective is to turn Slush into a company that operates, independent of the individuals running it, on standards and processes that rank on par with the best European startups of comparable size – so that any Slusher can move to their next adventures well equipped.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days? 

One can argue whether it’s a good or bad thing, but the power of big techs – and people leading them – is indisputable.

If you can pick one app/product/project existing now that you wish you were involved in, what would it be?

Flowrite, a Finnish startup building tool turning short instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages, is a company I’m curious about.

How do you see technology evolving in the next ten years? 

Time and again, important breakthroughs in science and technology have been preceded by decades of foundational work in the shadows. Often, critical advances in infrastructure allow for leaps far beyond their immediate domain. In ten years, I expect we start to see the outcomes of the work that is currently done in the infrastructural level – take quantum computing, web3, or brain-computer interfaces as an example.

What would you like the industry to look like in ten years?

At Slush, we are working towards a future, in which a diverse set of individuals from all walks of life build companies with an ambition to change the world beyond recognition. In ten years, I hope parts of this future have materialized.

What are the three characteristics you have that make you successful in tech?

I’m hard-working and quick to grasp new concepts. Additionally, I’m quite a bold dreamer. I think that helps.

What is the most difficult thing you had to deal with during your career?

Slush’s main product is an international event with thousands of visitors. Running a company like that (together with my colleagues) during the covid-19 pandemic has been the hardest thing I’ve encountered this far.

Eerika Savolainen

What is your greatest achievement up until today? 

Related to my previous answer, overcoming the covid-19 pandemic together with my team.

What do you wish yourself with respect to your career?

I hope to be able to spend my career doing difficult things with a group of brilliant and kind people.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Optimally, I would have found a company or joined one I’m extremely curious about.

What is your next goal? 

Ensure that Slush has a strong culture and high-quality products to continue advancing our mission – to help and create founders to change the world.

What tip do you have for people who want to start out in the tech world? 

Tech world can seem complex and hard to enter from the outside, but once you’re in, it’s actually quite the opposite. People are willing to share, give back and help each other. Take advantage of that!

If you could say something to your younger self what would it be?

Don’t bother to be afraid of people. Independent of their title or track record, they’re most often just like you – very normal people, in good and bad.

What do you think non-tech people around (family, friends) think you do? 

They might think I organise events. I personally think I practice entrepreneurship.

What is the invention of the century in your eyes? 

If with “century” we mean the past 100 years, I have to say the internet.

What can’t you do without? (app/product…) 

I prefer buying second hand, so I buy my clothes from Zadaa App, Vestiaire and Depop, and shop furniture from Franckly and Mjuk. So, second-hand online platforms.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

I’d go for a woman that has left her mark in the books of history (in any field), like Marie Curie, Anne Frank, or Kleopatra.

Where would you like to travel next? 

I work in startups but have never visited Silicon Valley. Although I believe many other cities all around the world have the potential to be equally influential in the ecosystem, I’d still like to visit SF.

If you were asked to stay on a deserted island for 6 months what 3 things would you take with you? 

Assuming I’m not allowed to choose a vehicle to travel home, I’d go for a good book, a trivia game, and a friend.

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you? 

Many. On a daily basis, I find motivation and inspiration from my colleagues. They’re a bunch of brilliant, curious, and kind people.

Last thing regarding which you told yourself “how come no one has ever thought of it”?

I’d love someone to crack how pharmaceuticals could be home delivered.

Last thing regarding which you told yourself “how come haven’t thought of it”?

My colleague suggested a smart way of running a workshop.

What is the greatest miss? (you thought it will never work but turned out to be a great success) 

I rarely think “this never works”, I rather like to think “let’s give it a go and see”. That’s when you know and don’t need to guess anymore.

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child? 

My dream job was to be a news anchor. I guess I was just generally curious about the world.

How did covid-19 change the way people view technological development?

Covid made us adapt to new ways of working almost overnight. I think that adaptability towards new technologies will not vanish with the pandemic.

Andriani has been working in Publishing Industry since 2010. She has worked in major Publishing Houses in UK and Greece, such as Cambridge University Press and ProQuest. She gained experience in different departments in Publishing, including editing, sales, marketing, research and book launch (event planning). She started as Social Media Manager in 4i magazine, but very quickly became the Editor in Chief. At the moment, she lives in Greece, where she is mentoring women with job and education matters; and she is the mother of 3 boys.