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All Points North #38: Top 5 reasons Finland loves lists with Peter Vesterbacka and Frank Martela

An ex-Angry Birds marketing guru and a rising philosophy researcher discuss why Finland seems to be obsessed with its rankings in international comparisons.

Audio: Yle News

Former Angry Birds kingpin Peter Vesterbacka and Aalto University 'meaning of life' researcher Frank Martela joined APN to discuss how Finland leverages its top ratings in different global comparisons. In the last few years, Finland has been ranked among the world's finest in the areas of education, livability, lack of corruption, and health care, for example.

The country and its businesses have naturally used the good press to prop up "Brand Finland" in the global market, but our podcast considers if the self-promotion has perhaps gone too far. Philosopher Martela said that he feels as if the opposite is true: when Finland hears that it has been ranked highly in the world in some area - happiness being the prime example, the knee-jerk reaction among Finns is to suspect that someone somewhere has made a calculation error.

Serial entrepreneur Vesterbacka said that complacency is always a danger once good results come pouring in, adding that he feels as if neighbouring Estonia now has more energy and will to innovate than Finland. Both guests agreed that Denmark, Norway and Sweden have built more successful brands on the world stage.

Vesterbacka concluded the conversation by saying that Finns need to ditch their collective "useless modesty" about their services and products, if the country hopes to improve its brand. Martela replied that he believes a transformation is imminent, as younger generations in Finland are already much more adept at marketing their wares and presenting a self-confident face to the world.

Cartoons and the frigid cold interested our readers

Next, APN took a quick look back at the most engaging news stories from the past week. First up, readers really seemed to enjoy our report on a new Moominvalley series. With a 20-million-euro budget for the first production season, it's been billed as the most expensive TV show Finland has ever had a hand in producing.

Another popular story told of a blood-curdling temperature of -38.7 degrees Celsius recorded last Sunday morning in Sodankylä, up in the north of Finland. A similar story about the danger of power outages caused by the very low temperatures also gained interest.

If you have any questions, or would like to share something on your mind, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter account, or at

The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed.

This week's podcast episode was presented by Mark Odom and Denise Wall. Our reporter this week was Zena Iovino. Pamela Kaskinen produced the show and the sound engineer was Joonatan Kotila.

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