Marko Ahtisaari

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Marko Ahtisaari by Joi Ito

Marko Ahtisaari (born 1969[1] in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish technology entrepreneur and musician. Ahtisaari has been CEO and co-founder of two technology companies: Dopplr (acquired by Nokia in 2009)[2] and Sync Project (acquired by Bose in 2018).[3] After the acquisition of Dopplr, Ahtisaari was executive vice president of Design at Nokia[4] and later a Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab.[5] He is a composer, bassist and singer in the band Construction.[6]

Early life[edit]

Marko Ahtisaari is the son of Martti Ahtisaari, a former UN diplomat and President of Finland, and Eeva Ahtisaari, the former First Lady of Finland. He attended Columbia University where he studied philosophy, economics and music.[7]


Ahtisaari's business career started at a new media company Satama Interactive in 1998. In 2002 Ahtisaari left the company to join its biggest client, Nokia. He was appointed Director of Design strategy in 2005. In 2006 he left Nokia and joined his former boss, Nokia CEO Pekka Ala-Pietilä to start an advertisement-supported mobile network Blyk.[8][9] In 2007 Ahtisaari became the founding investor and CEO of online business travel startup Dopplr,[10][11] which was acquired by Nokia in 2009.[12] Between February 2009 September 2013 Ahtisaari was Head of Product Design at Nokia.[13][14] In January 2012 he was appointed as a member of the Nokia leadership team.[15] Ahtisaari announced his resignation from Nokia when Microsoft acquired Nokia's devices business in September 2013.[16]

Ahtisaari is co-editor with Laura Houseley of Out of the Blue: The Essence and Ambition of Finnish Design (Gestalten 2014) a survey of Finnish Design.[17] Ahtisaari and Finnish entrepreneur and journalist Jaakko Tapaninen co-authored the book 10x Finland (Teos 2015) for the Finnish-speaking audience on the impact of digitalisation on a country like Finland. The book is based on original interviews with international persons of interest in technology and media including Joi Ito, Stefana Broadbent, Tyler Brule, dana boyd, Joshua Cooper Ramo, and Brett Easton Ellis. In its review the Finnish National daily Helsingin Sanomat called 10x Finland "one of the most interesting books written in Finnish on the effects of digitalisation."[18] Ahtisaari contributed the essay "Intelligent Travel" to the Freesouls project.[19]


Ahtisaari studied music theory and violin at Helsinki Conservatory and then violin and composition at Columbia University. He gigged as a bass player in New York and recorded with Michael Leonhart and Blake Morgan among other local artists. In an interview on the Tim Ferriss Show entrepreneur and musician Derek Sivers founder of CD Baby said that Marko “was technically the guy that gave me the idea for CD Baby” after a show they had played in New York.

Ahtisaari's band Skizm - together with percussionist Mauro Refosco, trumpetist Michael Leonhart, bassist Dan Cooper, singer Carolyn Kelley, and drummer Tobias Gebb - received a NARAS Grammy Showcase Award for new artists.[20] Skizm played on the New York club scene including The Knitting Factory and Irving Plaza.


  1. ^ "f-secure board profile page". 
  2. ^ "Nokia maps a path to Dopplr's door". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  3. ^ "Sync Project Joins Bose". Sync Project. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  4. ^ "Nokia's Visionary Wants to Out-Design Apple". Wired. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Announcing the Director's Fellows Second Cohort". Medium. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  6. ^ "The Final Nail in Nokia's Coffin". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Nokia's Visionary Wants to Out-Design Apple". Wired. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  8. ^ Press - Conversations
  9. ^ ""Nokia's Pekka Ala-Pietilä and Ahtisaari started an operator" Nokian Pekka Ala-Pietilä ja Ahtisaari perustivat operaattorin". Digitoday. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  10. ^ "Dopplr Receives Funding from Premier International Team: Varsavsky, Ito, Hoffman and Klein invest in online social-travel service". 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  11. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (2007-07-30). "". Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  12. ^ Nokia acquires Doppler - Brand Republic September 24th 2009
  13. ^ Interview with Marko Ahtisaari in the Good Design Awards book 2013
  14. ^ DGAP-UK-Regulatory: Nokia outlines new strategy, introduces new leadership, operational structure - TMC News February 2011
  15. ^ Nokia appoints Marko Ahtisaari to Nokia Leadership Team - Nokia Press Release January 26th 2012
  16. ^ Top designer to leave the company - All Things Digital 3.9.2013
  17. ^ "Designing Finnishness for Out of the Blue". City of Sound. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  18. ^ "Näin digiaika murentaa demokratiaa". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 2018-04-13. 
  19. ^ Intelligent Travel, Marko Ahtisaari
  20. ^ "Doors of Perception 7 on Flow". 2003-03-31. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 

External links[edit]