Teemu Arina “hacked” himself back to health
For Teemu Arina, technology is an extension of his body. He, for example, recovered from a gastric ulcer by hacking. Writing and speaking keep him busy, but this serial tech entrepreneur has also developed a popular online tool for working life management.
Aged 31, Teemu Arina has been studying the human-machine interface from several angles for 15 years already. He was a 16-year-old high school student when he teamed up with a friend to create his first company, with a special permit required under Finnish law.
“We developed an online learning environment, the key idea of which was to support community learning,” Arina says. “We launched the service as an open source code and thus benefited from the input of a number of external developers.
“The service was translated into 15 languages and had several major clients around the world, such as the United States Armed Forces and the European Space Programme,” Arina continues.
All this was done from his bedroom in his parents’ house. Today, Arina runs two companies: the digital business accelerator Dicole and Meetin.gs, a company that develops a new kind of online tool for organising meetings.
Balancing one’s system
Despite his high level of enthusiasm and motivation, Arina reached his limit. There was too much to do and too little sleep. He was treated for what had been diagnosed as a stress-induced gastric ulcer, but his condition persisted until there was only one option left: he had to heal himself.
“I looked at myself as an intricate system, a sort of biological computer that can be reprogrammed,” Arina says. “I learned about nutrition, molecular biology and biochemistry, with the objective of regaining my health by ‘hacking’. On the basis of the information I gathered, I set a hypothesis: if I make these changes in my life, I’ll restore balance to my system.”
Arina drew on self-quantification tools which enabled him to get quick feedback on what he was doing and to set small daily targets in order to make the change happen.
Towards a better working life
Busy entrepreneurs still continue to be faced with time issues, but today, a variety of tools are available to improve performance. One of the concrete methods available is the Meetin.gs service, which is aimed at increasing the efficiency of meetings, and was the winner of the online application category at the The Next Web Europe Conference 2013.
“According to our estimates, we spend a quarter of the work week attending meetings,” Arina says. “And we spend a good proportion of the rest of the time preparing these meetings and performing the tasks related to them. Poorly prepared meetings take longer and people arrive late or are poorly briefed.”
“In our view, the issue is not the people, but the tools and the ways of doing things,” Arina continues. “Meetin.gs manages the entire life cycle of a meeting. It also works with people outside the company who do not have access to the same systems. Our service already has 30 000 users.”
The current technology is just a prelude. In a couple of decades, technology will be an invisible part of our daily life. When that time comes, Arina does not think, for example, that he will be carrying a phone in his pocket.
Text by: Sari Okko