In the first episode of the second season of LEAP Podcast, we get to hear an inspirational story from Joakim Isoaho. Joakim currently works as a Customer Success Lead at Matchmade in Los Angeles. Matchmade is a Finnish company shaping the future of influencer marketing with a platform that enables brands to engage in influencer marketing in a more efficient and transparent way. So let’s hear about how Joakim ended up working with Matchmade in LA…
Taking The Leap to Los Angeles
Originally from Helsinki, Joakim graduated with a BSc in Economics from Aalto University. During his studies, he became familiar with Startuplifers while spending time hanging out in the Startup Sauna co-working space.
According to Joakim, he had always been eager to work internationally:
“I’ve always had an international outlook, and have always wanted to work abroad.” Specifically, he had dreamt of working in California at some point: “I had visited California a couple of times, and each time was quite magical.”
In early 2020, Joakim took the leap and joined Matchmade in Los Angeles through Startuplifers. However, only few weeks into his new job, things changed quickly. At the time he arrived in Los Angeles, there were some rumours about a virus in Asia. He was lucky to be able meet his new team in person during his first weeks at Matchmade, however, things escalated quickly and the company shifted to fully remote work as the pandemic took over globally.
Working With a Global Team Between Two Continents
Fast forward one year and remote work has become the new normal. Just like any international company, Matchmade was forced to adapt to remote practices while coordinating with an international team located in different continents. And of course, that can be tricky sometimes.
So how has the shift to remote work been for Joakim? According to him, working from home has its pros and cons: “The time difference certainly has an impact. It’s a double edged sword” he says, “As I have to communicate with our team in Europe, it means that sometimes I have to be up as early as 6 am to attend a meeting (when it’s late afternoon in Berlin or Helsinki)”. He admits that the early mornings and juggling different time zones can be tough, but on the other hand, it allows his work schedule to be more flexible: “You can for instance, go and enjoy something outdoors during the day and continue work in the evening.”
Life in LA During Covid
So how would you describe your new home in LA?
“It’s an interesting place. I actually live in Culver City which is its own city with its own mayor surrounded by the greater LA area.” According to Joakim, the city of LA is huge and is often referred to as “sprawl” designed for cars while public transport can be unreliable. But the city is working on the problem by planning to improve its transportation network among many other investments in preparation for the 2028 Olympic Games. For now, Joakim relies on Uber and his electric skateboard to take him places.
What is also interesting is that Los Angeles is seeing a big shift in companies moving to the area from startup hubs across the country including the Bay Area. According to Joakim, while the city is known for being the entertainment capital and home to social media giants like Snapchat and TikTok, the city is beginning to attract many startups beyond the entertainment industry.
How about everyday life in LA during the pandemic? What do you do in your spare time?
“I sadly had to abandon my bouldering and gym due to Covid, but I have tried new things like mountain biking and outdoor climbing. I also enjoyed the nightlife culture but covid wiped that out.”
Is Remote Work Here to Stay?
As companies have shifted to remote working during the past year, some would say that there is no going back to the old habits. According to Joakim “remote work is definitely here to stay”. For many industries, remote work is a no brainer. Most employees prefer working remotely to working in the office, while employers can reduce costs by shifting to remote practices especially in places like San Francisco, where recruitment costs are extremely high.
Tune in Now to Hear The Whole Story