I was born in 1975 in Porvoo Finland. I attended the world reknown Näsin Ala-aste until 4th Grade, when my father took up a job offer in Saudi Arabia, where I spent 2 wonderful years at Jubail Academy. I was introduced to kids from all over the world, with mostly American teachers, and skateboarding.
In 1988 our family moved to Brussels, where I remain to this day. I had the fortune of going to the International School Of Brussels, getting fully immersed in the international bubble. Like a proper teenager, I played guitar in bands and spent most of my free time skateboarding with locals. I wrestled and played American Football against US military base high schools scattered around Europe. Our team won the European Football championships in 1993.
At ISB I made a core group of friends who I still speak to regularly, but more importantly I met Melissa Beltgens to whom 25 years later I'm happily married to with 2 kids.
To retain my Finnish passport, I went back to Finland for a 9 month military service. This, was a highly decorated affair. After rising through the ranks, working high responsibility positions including Dentists Assistant and night receptionist at a hospital, I returned to Brussels, a mean lean killing machine :D
At this point I was far more interested in nightlife than real life, and nightlife in Belgium was good. Venues like Fuse, Vaudeville, Fool Moon, Whos Whos Land etc. etc. hosted big name DJs nearly every weekend. But I needed to study something, and found Le 75 through a recommendation.
...to be continued
The first internet bubble was in full swing as I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from "Le 75" in Brussels in 1999. I solicited every web related company/agency I could find on altavista and the yellow pages. This landed me a job as a webdesigner for the now defunct online store : mistersuper.com . It was a cool job, we had a copy of Macromedia Flash 3, and I quickly learned the ropes through US flash forums. Before long Flash 4 was released and I found myself spending less time designing, fixated on actionscript and it's seemingly endless animation possibilities.
I was approached by Sony Europe in 2000, where I joined SonyNetServices, their internal web agency based in Saltzburg with a branch at the Brussels offices. Within a year of joining I was a full time actionscript developer, collaborating with designers. At Sony I worked on product comparison apps, product showcases, games, banners, a nasty XSLT based content management system, wap and iMode mobile phone content etc.
Sony restructured in 2004, firing 16,0000 personnel globally. Sony Net Services Brussels was shut down, but I stayed on for a year working on an internal project, something along the lines of "elf yourself" or an early snapchat. This project was eventually axed, and I decided it was time to leave mega corp.
With SonyNetServices out of the picture, a local agency called Nascom had found a foot in the door at Sony. I met the team, liked what I saw and joined. This was a great company, 15 guys all hands on, a startup mentality, everyone motivated and producing high quality results. At this moment in time, flash dominated the web and Nascom was one of the players in Belgium. We produced viral games, experience sites, video was starting to kick in and things were looking up!
Adobe bought the Macromedia Flash platform, and released Flex2 in 2006. With ActionScript3, companies and developers were able to build maintainable, large scale front end applications. Frameworks like Cairngorm, Fames, PureMVC, SpringActionScript, Swiz and Robotlegs were popping up left right and center. 3D content was also gaining momentum with frameworks like Papervision3D and Away3D. Live messaging, pixel level manipulation, programming with sound etc. etc. gave a vast toolbox to create with. These were the glory days of Flash, I attended and spoke frequently at enthusiastic conferences around Europe. It seemed like nothing would stop the train. Although "Flash Killlers" had been touted since day 1, in 2007 Apple released the iPhone, which eventually turned out to do the job, but that's another story.
Unfortunately Nascom didn't last very long. Business saw money in the group, and in a space of 2 years the company grew from 20 to 75 employees, quickly killing off the vibe by separating key players and adding layers of management between them. Although I was leading a team of 6 flash developers, by 2010 it was time for something new.
...to be continued
I'm happiest and most productive when focusing on an encapsulated task or a problem which requires a creative solution, preferably visual in nature. A custom menu, a text effect, a particle system, a game mechanic. Here's a short list of what I imagine would be dream jobs for me: