Ville Tolvanen // November 05 2018

Biggest challenge of my life

Leading Digitalist has been and is by far the biggest professional challenge of my life. Together we are building a web consultant of the new generation. And we are doing this by corporate aqcuisitions, customer outsourcing and by combining our know-how, products and teams that work seamlessly together. 

Taking on a challenge like this comes from passion to build something new. In some ways I feel like managing a transforming company and this change is the biggest challenge of my life. At least that’s how it feels like in everyday life. 

There are many growth stories. What makes our challenge something more and a bigger task than just growing a company? 

We are pioneers, we are visionaries. We combine marketing, technology and design in such ways that are new for many and traditionally these different layers are kept in their different units at the client organisations. It is challenging to create lasting customerships and profitable growth if the customers crumble the markets by purchasing from separate silos. Our answer to this is bringing our customers agile and efficient teams, in which the competences are balanced according to every unique situation and mission. 

We are international. Digitalist separates itself from competitors by having a wide network in seven Studios in five countries. It is a great opportunity and Digitalist is one of the biggest Finnish quickly growing companies in the west coast of US, and in our size range we are exceptionally international. I believe we have specialists from 30 countries at the moment. We aim to find similarly international clients and work with them in an agile manner. 

We grow exponentially. Digitalist is growing and the profitability is getting better. Growing brings nonrecurring costs and a constant change brings significant internal costs as we implement new things and work together. Growing is expensive. We are creating EX=CX -model of thinking, where employee experience and the client are brought closer and closer to each other. Glass box branding provides an opportunity to work in a completely open and transparent way. 

We are a small listed company. Our costs are exceptionally high, and these costs come from managing a listed compnay. Being publicly listed helps us in acquisitions and gives us visibility, but on the other hand it reminds us constantly about being in the red. If we weren’t listed, costs of a startup such as WOLT for. example, would be regarded. As completely normal. 

Merging together different cultures takes its time. Digitalist has grown swiftly via mergers and acquisitions. The Digitalist of today comes from multitude of different companies with long histories and different backgrounds. Co-creating and building processes that help co-creation challenges us in everyday life to communicate, commit and take the staff into all decision making in an exceptional way. Internal development has its price too. We aim to have our partners, clients and employees create together. Culture is not a separate part within Digitalist, but we see it more as a movement of co-creation. 

Luckily the owner is committed to see this change through, otherwise it would be almost impossible to endure this circus.It brings courage and motivation to have someone understand the vision and believe in it. And if you think about it, Digityalist today is very different than for example a year ago. We constantly win new remarkable international client accounts, create bigger projects and focus what we do even more.  

Behind this success is of course the most remarkable asset, people who know what they are doing. We have a huge group of know-how, top experts. Constantly new professionals become part of this movement and this challenge. I have asked many times at Digitalist, if we could spend our best years of our careers working together. At the very least we will have a memorable journey and experience together, that I can promise. 

Will I succeed at the biggest challenge of my life? I don’t know yet, and quite often I find myself asking that question of myself. I have at times caught myself wondering if I am the right person for the job and what someone else could do better. Running a listed company isn’t the most stable thing in the world, as I am constantly confronted by the board, the clients and publicly.

Maybe in stead of frame of this job, the content of what we do, our mission to create from ideas to life and the possibility to create a real international professional network, is a challenge that overcomes myself and the pressure by things, phenomena and operators around me. 

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