Antti Vilpponen became UpCloud’s CEO in 2014. Since then, the company has successfully grown from a start-up to the European leader in providing high-performance cloud hosting. How does Antti see the company and its users nowadays, and what makes him happy at work?
What makes UpCloud stand out from the others?
At UpCloud, we focus on a couple of things that we believe aren’t well served in the marketplace. The core of all our products is a high performance, followed by reliability. We do everything in a very reliable and redundant manner. We also focus carefully on the users, whether on the technical support or personal support on the sales side. And finally, we do all of this at an affordable price so that you can spend your business’s resources on other essential things.
How strong is the brand ˈFinlandˈ in the field of technology?
Finland might not be too well known worldwide. Still, we are the home of Nokia mobile phones and Linux, the most common operating system on the Internet nowadays. We Finns don’t make too much noise about what we’ve accomplished. We keep our heads down in the long winters, which enables us to focus on work. But I would definitely say that we punch above our weight when it comes to the technology field.
What kind of users benefit the most from UpCloud services?
Our users range from individual developers to enterprises, but we focus on small and medium-sized companies that run online businesses globally. They operate mainly in the industries such as Software-as-a-Service, eCommerce and managed service providers. We try to be a trusted partner for their cloud infrastructure needs, be it simple hosting or more demanding high-performance workloads.
How do the users differ globally?
All our users have a business to run, but they differ dramatically from a cultural perspective. That’s why we have offices in different parts of the world to understand those differences and cater to our users in a way that they want to conduct business. We want to take the extra step in working with our users on their terms while offering excellent performance and reliability.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the cloud field?
One of the biggest challenges is the potentially harmful way the industry focuses on a few larger providers. That’s why UpCloud is very focused on open-source technology with no lockups. Therefore, the users are free to move about. On the opportunity side, the industry itself is enormous, and it is exciting to cooperate with our users in defining how they run their infrastructure globally.
How did UpCloud change since you’ve joined as the CEO, and what do you consider your most significant achievement?
I joined UpCloud quite a few years ago, and the change has been phenomenal. We’ve been able to attract a lot more people and work with many users. We can achieve more things in less time, which makes the whole work a lot more rewarding. The biggest achievement would probably be related to the culture of the company. I’m quite proud that we have a culture where transparency and psychological safety thrive. People can be ambitious, fail, and learn from it. They are not held back by those failures.
How does UpCloud support people in their development?
We have many people staring in different teams from where you would find them today. For example, people who had started in the Support team have moved to Sales and work with some of our biggest customers. Other people are more inclined to the technical path, so they go to the Operations team and work on one of our data centre sites or with code and automation.
What makes you happy at work?
I’ve always considered myself an entrepreneur to a degree. What really drives me is the freedom to design my day and go after the goals I want to achieve. With a big team around, going after those goals is rewarding and challenging at the same time. It’s the combination of rewards and challenges that keeps me going.
What are the three characteristics that you value the most in your colleagues?
I could easily come up with many more, but the most important would be empathy, respect and ambition.
How does your typical day at UpCloud look like?
Usually, I start my day between 8 and 10 am. I also try to finish it at a reasonable time, which means at 6 pm at the latest. Most of my day I spend talking and communicating with people, be it managers, team leads, or employees. I make sure that everybody knows as much as they need and want. My virtual door is always ˈopenˈ even as we work remotely. On the other hand, it is very important to me that I have time to spend with my family, and I get my regular eight hours of sleep.
What would you say to people who consider applying for UpCloud?
We want to create an environment where people can thrive, go after their ambitions and find a place where they can grow. If you’re a person with big ambition who wants to work in a product-oriented business, and technology is your thing, UpCloud is a great company to look into.
Would you like to join our team? See our open positions.