Finnish firm F-Secure is regularly seen in the headlines, with its security experts Mikko Hypponen and Sean Sullivan providing us with insights into the ever-changing threats facing us. However behind these expert commentators, F-Secure chief executive Christian Fredrikson has been subtly making moves to change the direction of the firm and the security industry as a whole. He has done this using his experience in the telecoms industry to ink deals with numerous big name network carriers like BT, TalkTalk, Orange, AT&T and Telefonica and grow the company's cloud portfolio since taking the reins in 2012.
Eager to get the inside story on Fredrikson, we put him in the V3 Hot Seat. Fredrikson's Hot Seat follows those of Hitachi Data Systems's vice president and general manager in the UK and Ireland, Stephen Ball and EMC vice president for UK and Ireland James Petter, as part of V3's weekly insight into the professional and personal preferences of the biggest names in the IT industry.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Fredrikson: Letting the world know that we are coming with new great products, such as Personal Cloud, where we are better than what is on the market with current legacy players. We are also known for our best protection, but we have moved to the cloud and offer the safest place for consumers to store, share and access their most precious digital content from anywhere and with any device.
What would be your dream job?
My current job is my dream job for sure. Otherwise it could have been great to be a professional sportsman.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I use a Nokia mobile phone and an iPad.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
There is not one person who is outstanding for me, maybe it is the Finnish heritage - where we believe that leaders typically are not as bad or as great as people think. I have had the great fortune of having a few excellent leaders work as my manager during my career and I have learned a lot first hand from them. In general I am impressed by leaders with great values, for showing courage to stand up for what they believe in, having accomplished impressive results against odds and stayed humble as people despite their success.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
Mobile networks, the internet and mobile gadgets have brought me unseen freedom in digital life and I have worked with these global trends all my career.
What was your first job?
My first part-time job was during my university years, when I worked as a youth leader. My first full-time job was as an IT software engineer in a Finnish company.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
It's a fast moving industry, which makes you challenge yourself every day. Also meeting talented people in this industry all the time is great.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
Cloud expansion is still going to breed new innovations over the coming years. Also consumerisation will change the way IT will be adopted and developed, for example Bring Your Own Device and Bring Your Own App. Overall digital technology will continue to change our society in many fundamental ways.
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
I like spending time with my family and doing sports.
What keeps you awake at night?
I usually sleep very well. If anything, it would be some big decision that I keep analysing in my head, things like new strategic options or innovative ideas that have come up during the day.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
I just finished reading two books in parallel. One was Markets and Democracy, from a Finnish writer. The other was a history novel: Emperor, Julius Caesar.
Who is your favourite band or musician?
Being a bit obvious here but I would go for my daughter. Otherwise I listen to all kinds of music - mixing it for variation, English pop, Finnish pop - or something new that my children are listening to.
Where's your favourite holiday destination?
My favorite and most peaceful destination is our summer cottage on an island close to Helsinki in the south of Finland.
Ereaders or real books?
I prefer to use ereaders.
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
I use Twitter: follow me at: @CFredrikson.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
I prefer The Rolling Stones
Gladiator for action and the Finnish comedy series of Turhapuro movies for laughs.
Windows or Mac OS?
What's holding back women from entering the IT profession?
Nothing should hold them back, that is for sure. I believe that so far there have been more males going for engineering careers and studies, which is seen in the industry. We have many women at F-Secure, also at our Labs and R&D. Diversity is important to drive innovation and thus, we want to have women in all functions.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
Getting IT tools and all kinds of new cool IT and mobile gadgets early into classes and telling stories about working in this industry. There is nothing scary about a career in IT and we see a lot of interest, but we should do a better job still to tell our great individual success stories for new students. We offer internships and collaborate with universities, it is essential for us to find new talent.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
Not really, in university I got interested in it and my first full-time job took me in that direction. After that I never looked back or wanted to work in any other industry than IT/Telecoms.
What websites do you have bookmarked at work?
F-Secure World Map or Radar (it is done by our company Labs), with all the latest threats shown live on the screen. Finnish and English/American newspapers. Twitter.
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