Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

A Finn who wants to see the world

Juha-Matti coaching a young entrepreneur sitting at a table

If someone would ask you, "who are you?", what would you answer? What would be the most defining things that make you you?

I have been seeking an answer for that question for the past 7 years. Luckily, it's a question to which you don't have to come up with an answer. It's a question to which the answer will be found by looking back to the things you spend most time on. But it's also a question that will never have its final answer – it's always gonna be changing.

I'm interested in philosophy, fairness and equality. I'm also passionate about reading, watching sports, playing video games, posting meme-y gifs, and seeing the world. I hate doing the dishes or filing expense reports.

When I was younger, I was a shy boy who spent most of his times alone: reading books, doing things with his computer or playing with LEGOs. As I grew up, in my mid-twenties, I become much more social and I started building communities and volunteer-based teams and started to care about creating things for others. Luckily, reading, computers and LEGOs all have been wildly helpful in that process.

I get very excited about things and I'm a starter. I don't have patience for grinding or maintaining something for decades. I start something, see if it works and then either stop or give it to someone else to continue.

Past years I've been suffering from panic disorder which keeps me from flying. It sucks but luckily Europe is mostly land and I love trains. I hope that one day I'll be able to fly back to California or see Australia and Japan.

I love to write about technology and communities and share the knowledge I have gained throughout my projects. I teach in various programming communities, coach young entrepreneurs in startup communities and aim to publish all my work with either open source or creative commons license so that as many people as possible can enjoy them.

I'm also a minimalist. Few years ago I heavily downsized what I owned and in 2018, I spent five months without an apartment, with my belongings in a backpack living in friends' apartments as they were traveling. And I loved it!

The Books

Photo of Kindle on grass

When I was young, I used to read — a lot. I still do but the extensive reading during my childhood is what made me a story-loving adult. The Moomins, Marvel and DC Comics, and Uppo-Nalle were some of my favorites. As I grew older, I got into scifi and fantasy by some fantastic authors like Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and I was part of the lucky generation who faced the horrors of teenage life together with J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter.

More recently, I've read a lot of non-fiction and I've gathered a list of books and articles I recommend when people ask for recommendations. I'm also in Goodreads.


Startup / Entrepreneurship / Business / Tech

Life and Stuff

The Talks

A video camera viewfinder with a man speaking to camera

Inspiring stuff