Joining NOKIA


“With the combined strengths of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, we are an innovation leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Together, we have the capabilities and global scale to meet the extraordinary demands and opportunities of a world where everyone and everything are increasingly connected. We’re creating a new type of network that’s intelligent, efficient, and secure, and advancing the technologies that tap its power through smart devices and sensors.”

“Our business has evolved to adapt to a changing world for 150 years, but what we stand for remains true. Our vision is to expand the human possibilities of the connected world. We continue to reimagine how technology blends into our lives, working for us, discreetly yet magically in the background.”

Nokia.


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Source: Nokia Networks on Facebook.


I spent the first half of the week in the Silicon Valley and I am now back in Chicago. That means switching from 70°F to bone chilling 10°F. In Celsius that is going from 20°C to -10°C give or take. We are gearing up for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona… back to enjoying a warm climate in just a few days.

Thanks for the emails and messages enquiring about how things are going at work and if anything changed with the turn of the year. The MWC project I have been working on since last summer has undergone a series of internal reviews and keeps sailing through. I cannot discuss much more about it yet. What’s worth sharing is that I’m teaming up with one of the best teams in the industry at the Cloud Innovation Center. Stay tuned.

Nokia now owns 91% of Alcatel-Lucent. This time last month we celebrated our first day of combined operations. I recently learned that 99% of us did not carry a Nokia badge three years ago. So, we all talk about what the “new” Nokia is set to accomplish and how to best pave the path forward. We refer to either “former Nokia” or “former Alcatel-Lucent” when looking at last year’s projects and achievements. Everyone projects a renewed sense of pride for very good reasons.

Alcatel-Lucent’s most recent report was released just yesterday. We delivered on our turnaround plan: free cash flow of €660M in 2015 while showing 39.4% gross margin in Q4. That report also highlights significant software sales and the fact that next generation technologies grew to account for 77% of revenues last year. Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent delivered €12.5B and €14.2B in annual revenue respectively. By the way, this is not a blog about finance and investment, therefore, I need to refer you to Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent websites for that kind of insight.


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Source: The Nokia-Ericsson Two-Step by Leial Abboud at BloombergGadfly.


My new Nokia I.D. shows the very same picture that was taken for my badge at Lucent way back. So, I couldn’t help smiling. Einstein was known to say that “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once”  and my next immediate thought was that 18 years had passed by between the two badges.

Prior to joining Lucent I was in Chicago for my MBA in International Marketing and Finance. I enrolled in the program as a Be Brilliant Scholar, a competitive grant sponsored by Honeywell Europe. My professor of economics arranged a one of a kind internship with a leading multinational brand in the packaged foods industry. That came across as an opportunity I should be grateful for and feel very fortunate about, which I sincerely acknowledged.

However, my focus was on the high tech sector. His patience was tested in what turned out to be a passionate discussion. At an alumni reunion, he shared that the internship conversation made him think about what Steve Jobs told John Scully on “selling sugar water vs. changing the world”… though bearing in mind any significant differences of course : )


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I ended up with a dream internship at Lucent’s Microelectronics Group in New Jersey reporting to the Director of Global Operations, a newly created position. The two of us got that organization started and things went well from the get go. My internship was not only extended, but before completing my master’s degree I was approached with two job equally good offers. Lucent was recent AT&T spinoff and home of Bell Labs, the legendary research facility boasting 7 Nobel Prizes.

“LU” had become the mostly widely held stock in the U.S. The company employed 120,000+ people worldwide as far as I recall (peaking at 160,000+ some time later) and was listed as one of the best companies to work for. Those days, Microsoft released Windows 98, Google was founded in Menlo Park, NASA’s Clementine probe found water in the Moon’s polar craters, the Eurozone fixed currency rates and little known Bear Grylls scaled Mount Everest.


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Bell System, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia… just one of the evolution branches.


Joining Lucent as a transnational employee got me connected to the Global Leadership Program and I started work with a new Global Strategy Team. This one was set up as an in-house consulting group. I led projects in several countries reporting to regional senior executives on an assignment basis. That was a great experience, which was followed by a position as a product line manager for software back in Chicago. Naperville’s fast growing campus was home base for 12,000+ of us at that time.

imageNavigating the telecom industry bubble and its collapse became a source of new opportunities. My product management responsibilities grew to involve a wider portfolio and work on licensing deals and service agreements with strategic partners shaping a ecosystem in the field of Intelligent Networks. Alcatel and Lucent merged late in 2006.

Some sources credit Plato with stating that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Overcoming a rollercoaster of successive “bull and bear” markets let to a string of thriving emerging technology projects with Bell Labs, authoring new patents, M&A activities and, eventually, heading the Ideation, Incubation and Demo team as a senior manger. More recently, I zeroed in on cloud computing as a marketing director and developed the Lean Ops program jointly with Ted East and Phil Tilley.

Ten years after ALU came to existence, Nokia purchases the company in an all stock deal. I need to get a new running t-shirt : )

 


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“The Lucent name is now gone. The Alcatel name is now gone.  But at our core we are still working on changing how we communicate and connect.  We are still innovating.  We will still work tireless around the globe to change lives.   What we were before has left its mark on everything we will become.”Au Revoir Alcatel, Farewell Lucent – and Hello Nokia” by Wendy Zajack.


See you at MWC’s Nokia booth (Hall 3, Stands 3B10-3D10) in a couple of weeks.  

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