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Trip Hawkins coming back to Finland to Speak at Arctic15: Exit Path

Trip Hawkins, the man known for his involvement in the early days of Apple and founder of EA and Digital Chocolate, will be back in Finland on the 27th of May at the Arctic15: Exit Path, where you’ll also have the chance to meet him one-on-one.

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But who is Trip Hawkins really, and how did he become a big name in the gaming industry? Without us having done a true speaker bio yet, a quick reminder of Hawkins’ history seems to be in order.

Hawkins, a Harvard University graduate who famously designed his major on Strategy and Applied Game Theory, found himself working for Apple Computers in 1972, under the leadership of Steve Jobs as around the 50th employee of Apple. The two shared a relationship throughout the four years Hawkins worked for Apple as their Director of Strategy and Marketing, as told in this Edge Online piece that gives some interesting insight into how Jobs works.

His positions in Apple ended in early ’82, as did his friendship with Jobs, after which Hawkins decided to go solo. Not wasting any time, he founded his own company, Electronic Arts in May 1982. EA would have many successful years under Hawkins’ leadership and the company would go on to become one of the worlds largest game studios. In 1991 Hawkins parted from EA in search for new ventures.

A decade of challenging years went by (3DO being one big setback) and in 2003 Hawkins founded a new company, Digital Chocolate. Around this time Hawkins and Finland truly crossed paths, which would eventually result in a set of collaboration and separation that would shape the world of mobile gaming as we know it.

As some of you may recall, Digital Chocolate acquired Finland based mobile game development company Sumea Interactive In 2004. The newly-acquired company would serve as Digital Chocolate’s head office in Europe, under the management of Ilkka Paananen – today the head of Supercell.

The new mergence was fruitful and would strengthen Digital Chocolate’s grip on the Facebook game industry at the time. It also provided the company with talented and dedicated developers. Hawkins is known to have said, “Digital Chocolate has 60% of its developers in Finland where the sun never sets in the summer and there is nothing to do outside in the winter, so we are very productive!”

Hawkins stepped down as CEO for Digital Chocolate in 2012. One year later, Ilkka Paananen’s mobile games company Supercell (which he had founded in 2011 after leaving Digital Chocolate) broke the jackpot and sold 51% of its equity for a whopping $1.5 billion. The same year Digital Chocolate sold its Barcelona branch to Ubisoft and closed its Helsinki office.

Today Hawkins is working with his new startup If You Can, which aims to foster social and emotional development (SEL) in children, teaching compassion and anti-bullying lessons.

On the 27th of May, you will have the chance to see Trip Hawkins, sharing his ideas on the Arctic15: Exit Path main stage. Hawkins will be receiving one on one meetings at the event, which, taking into account the mans more than colourful yet successful history, could be an opportunity to get some very valuable advice (and perhaps a unique chance to pitch him your next Digital Chocolate!).

Don’t miss the opportunity! Get yourself your very own tickets here.

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Raf is a tall, lanky Finn wandering in the UK academic landscapes. With an MA in Psychology (University of Aberdeen) he's taken his penchant for brain studies a step further by embarking on a MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. Long-time lurker and contributor at AS, always hungry for fresh story leads in Tech/Espionage/the Absurd.

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