Why is Norway the most developed country: First-person look at a business trip to Norway

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In October 2016, VironIT was presented in Norway. I acted on behalf of the company, having several meetings with interesting businessmen that shared their experience on ‘How they started the career’ and ‘What do they think about IT sector in general?’ Many of them were our direct clients – they had ordered development of their projects at VironIT.

IT in Norway is a good market, as roundly USD 50 BLN (13 % of GDP) are thrown to public tenders every year. Enormous sums of money are invested in IT particularly. By the way, Indian providers grew by 40% year to year in Norway. So, there is a huge potential for those who might come “at the right place and at the right time.” According to International Monetary Fund statistics, Norway has the 4th position in worldwide rate among countries by 2016 with the highest nominal GDP per capita. The index of Norway is 69 711 USD for 2016. In particular, GDP in 2015 was worth 386,58 BLN USD that almost amounts 0,62% of the world economy.

Bright digital to deal with Norway!

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Impressions on the way

It was a 5 days’ trip and not so convenient to travel from Minsk – no direct flights. So, I had to take a plane from Vilnius with a transfer via Riga. The plane took off at 10.40 a.m. from Lithuania and finally landed in Norway at 3 p.m. The airport impressed with a green wall, it seems like natural moss.

screenshot_2To get to Oslo, I took a FlyToGet train that costs roundly $20. Btw, Norway is quite expensive. Minimal price starts like from $4. Thereby, $4 for a cookie, $18 for a Margarita pizza in the airport, $18 for a fish dish at the restaurant (but as for Belarus, a salmon steak costs roundly $12, so it is pretty the same).

Oslo as capital has an average population, about 600 000 people, but, looking at its territory, it is rather small city. Trams and buses run very often, so it is easy to get wherever you want in the city. You feel that all you need is nearby you.

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Best cluster of CrowdFunding opportunities

The first place, I visited, was the meetup on CrowdFunding, co-hosted by Invesdor and Selmer. I suppose you know what CrowdFunding is. Have you ever heard of such names as Kickstarter, Indie Gogo, anything else? The meetup was about how to manage those backers who already operates in that area.

By the way, there are 4 types of CrowdFunding platforms:

Reward based – where backers just give away money to support the Idea they like. The platform takes a % of the amount.

Pre-order funding (KickStarter, IndieGogo, etc.) On those platforms, backers usually preorder the service or product they like (i.e. the project which seeks funding promises to deliver a product and sell to backers at a special discounted price).

Lending based – at these platforms projects get smth like a “crowd loan.”

Crowd Equity Funding – as the last one that means backers get a share in either the future or the existent company.

The main benefit (for those who want to run such platform) is: you can gather all those backers in affiliated companies. For instance, if you give away 20% of the enterprise, you can set up a company that will handle all those backers. That affiliated company will have a share in the Head company. Quite a nice approach!

Business-Friendly meetings

After listening to smart ideas of crowdfunding, I met Magnus, our customer and supervisor at Trelleborg – a huge company with 15000 workers. Trelleborg is our biggest client from Norway.

We had a talk about many challenges the customer faces day by day. For example, I realized the situation when a big company with a branched structure of departments and affiliates usually bumps into the problem of making a decision not centrally, but separately.  I.e. sometimes, the central office has problems with management of developed projects for business on department’s level, and, as a result, we have a knotty question how to support and maintain this.

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Blockchain, banks, and Nordea

The first company I met was a Nordea bank. This is the biggest bank in Norway, which employs 10000 people. They have a big building, smth like 8 floors.

I had a meeting with the Head of IT department. The company tends to invest into blockchain technology and is a member of R3 consortium (among 37 other banks).

I think it is quite early to adopt the technology, but, it is likely to start to look into it. In 5 years, the technology might get adopted, and those who won’t accept it can get off the board. So, Nordea has 8 people on Blockchain team.

For now, Blockchain is a “buzz” toy for most of them. As you know, Blockchain, to make it simple, is a distributed storage of transactions linked into a chain. Where each piece of chain contains, and hence, depends on the previous block of data and signed with a special key. All the nodes of that network hold the copy of all the transactions.  And this leads to low performance, like 5 transactions per second.

Therefore, blockchain is not a painkiller, but a headache. Nevertheless, 37 banks try to play with it. I’ve got rumors from our local IT community that Deutsche Banks was desperately trying to invest 5mln euros into blockchain. Just because someone at the top decided to do that 🙂

Bluetooth ideas by MeshNetwork

I also had a meeting with John, from MeshNetwork, they create hardware to run Bluetooth networks, which seem quite interesting for me. They have a big supply chain: China for chips, Pakistan for Hardware, India for C code and Lithuania for UI/backend work. So, the company has an idea to implement Bluetooth transmitters for navigation and offer them for companies having ships and involving in seafaring.

Breakthrough of DINAMO

The one interesting meeting I had was a digital agency – DINAMO with Khuram. He is an SEO-guru who makes an impression of a good specialist. I talked to him regarding SEO of our site. Khurram started an SEO company in 2014 that was acquired by Dinamo Performance in 2016. 

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DINAMO is a big digital agency, with 200 people approximately and a fancy office in the center of Oslo, close to Radisson Plaza hotel. The office has a nice terrace where they have summer parties, so I would like to visit the office in summer.

Rest time for a funny situation

After the meeting, I decided to go for sightseeing on the sea, to observe Norway fiords. As I was in a hurry, when I got to piece, I took the first ship, which was about to depart in 4 minutes. It turned out to be a public ferry, and not the sightseeing ship, so I just travel to some island and came back in 20 mins 🙂

The funny thing was when I approached a guy on a ship: – Where is the boat going? – You don’t know? Did you sit on a ship without thinking? – Yes! – Ok…. and he told me it was just a public transport.

I felt a bit disappointed, but as I had the next meeting soon, I thought it was fine. Alas, I haven’t seen fiords, Prekestolen or Kjerag.

Weather

And the air… Although, it was cold, but seemed like the air is drier than in Belarus, so the cold was felt nice.

I have a friend who moved to Tromso, which is in the Northen part of the country, I wonder how cold it is there. But he says it is nice. He has been in Tromso for 7 years and is going to live there and continue his education.

So, the whole impression of Norway: that’s a nice country. People are not in a hurry and feel relaxed. Everything is smooth, no rush in the air. Nice place to be on a business trip or even run a business there.

Alexey Grakov, co-owner of VironIT

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