Mikael Kopteff from Reaktor – a Finnish Creative Technology House in NYC

Please introduce yourself. 

Hi, I am Mikael Kopteff and I’ve been working for Reaktor for six years now.  For the last year I have been the CTO of their New York Office. Before that I did a lot of things related to programming, recruitment and general consulting.

Reaktor is a creative technology house.   Our focus is in taking on extremely difficult projects and creating exceptional products and services for our clients. What it usually means is that we create software that our clients don’t have the expertise or the time or the resources to create otherwise without us.

And we have clients in all types of industries like finance, retail, media, communications, airlines and the like.

We have offices in New York, Helsinki, Toyko and we have about 350 people.  One of the more interesting things is that we are what you might call a flat hierarchy or low hierarchy, so we don’t have a strict hierarchy in how our company works.

Is there one part of the business that you would highlight or focus on the most or just in general?

For me personally, I am quite focused on the media industry, so I work with several different media companies within Finland as well as in the US. In the US we work for companies such as HBO for instance.

What is very interesting and hot in the industry right now that’s cool is that we have created inflight entertainment systems – basically inflight services and things related to that – and that has been something that is on the rise. We do have several different smaller things we do, like we have a space program for instance.

How do you like it in New York compared to Helsinki? Are there any pros and cons to it being here vs being abroad?

Helsinki, I lived there most of my life. I lived in Australia for a while too. But Helsinki is very much a calm and mellow place, and since I lived there most of my life I know how everything works.

It’s very calm compared to New York. In New York there is always something going on; there are loads of restaurants and loads to do. The energy level is higher in New York and everyone is always going and doing something. So that is one of the key differences for me.

For pros and cons, sometimes in the wintertime in Helsinki there is not that much to do, especially in the city center.  People typically hibernate in the winter in Helsinki whilst in New York, even though it’s winter or even a blizzard a couple of days ago here, things are still going on. People are still doing loads of stuff. So there is always something to do in New York.

How do you think the Finnish Mentality gets along with the New York American Way and how the business world is different? Is it different in your mind?

The fundamentals are pretty much the same. I would say here,since New York is so busybusy, people are very meat and potatoes.  They might have 30 seconds of small talk, and then they get down to business.Whilst in Helsinki there is a certain type of small talk culture nowadays, but it’s more slow paced.

One thing that’s sort of in the New York business culture is that people tend to switch around meetings all the time, and “I am sorry I did this to you”, or “we switched around this time for discussion.”

That happens very often to me in New York where people will change times of meetings and discussions and so forth several times, and that is something I’ve found is quite different.

In Helsinki, if you book, you know three weeks in advance and nobody confirms it. Here, if you book something one week in advance, people confirm it on the same day because people expect that it might be changed.There is a problem with time management.

The fundamentals of business are pretty much the same.  People want to do business and we discuss similar things as back in Helsinki.

What is the best and worst thing about New York for you and what is a typical day and weekend like for you?

A “typical” day is always hard because I do a lot of things here in New York such as recruitment and meeting with potential clients and existing clients.

So a typical day would be that I would come to work, I might have internal meetings first, and those are very casual because we just talk about some pressing issues. I might have a meeting with a potential client. I might spend half the day at one of our current client’s offices to go through some of the things that they are doing.

I would say there is one interview here or there, like with a couple of potential clients per week, and then plan a lot of stuff with marketing.It’s sort of like we are the landing team here and a CTO title is kind of ambiguous here.  Basically anything that is needed I might step in with, sometimes to where I am boxing shelves and I am putting them together or sometimes we are discussing something very important with senior VPs or I am trying to find some screws for a loose shelf, so it can be anything.

What is the essence of the current city to you and what do you want your friends to absolutely see or feel in your current city vs. your home country?

So one thing that is kind of interesting is I don’t have many friends visiting me here. Helsinki has good restaurants, but New York has a lot of really good restaurants and especially the variety is very good, and I take my friends to many different types of restaurants.

I really like Broadway and have been a couple of times and they have always been nice experiences.

One thing I do go to is surfing in New York, and that a lot of people can’t comprehend.

Today is Tuesday, so yesterday I woke up really early and went to a public beach before work and then I came to work a bit late and you know, it’s a bit snowy and quite cold. When my brother was here I took him to the beach.  People don’t associate New York with the beach.

What do you miss from your country regarding heritage, food, culture, movies etc.?

My ancestry is not purely Finnish. I have relatives around Europe.  Obviously I do miss my family a lot. My mom lives in Helsinki still, so I miss her and of course my friends.

I have made some new friends here. It is always nice to meet new people and create new contacts, but of course the social network that I used to have is very different now.

I would say the people.  Not so much single places or things that I used to do, but rather the people. Those are the things that I miss.

Before you moved here what did you think about life in New York before you moved? Where there any misconceptions that turned out to be wrong or right for you here?

I did make a lot of business trips before I moved here. So when we opened the office in New York a bit more than a year ago, I was back and forth and had been traveling a year before then, and we started having business here and now have an office here. So I did familiarize myself with New York and I had been here on vacation once also.

Living in New York, this is a difficult question. Obviously in the beginning it was a bit tricky and I was surprised that New York had that much bureaucracy – not too bad but just some things are a bit tricky to navigate, but I guess that’s common for all countries. When you have to open a bank account, or to get a flat.

Would you ever consider moving back there even if part time or full time back to Helsinki?

Well, yes that’s probably in the plans at some point and I don’t even know when or where, it’s kind of open. I am here for now and I will be here until I know the business is stable enough and I am just going to take it one day at a time rather than trying to make plans long term.

So what has been the worst cultural or social issue to deal with in New York for you?

People are a bit different in New York than in Helsinki. Helsinki people tend to be quieter.  Compared to an average Finn –  if there is one – I would be quite loud and talkative. However, in NY I actually mix in quite well.

Some people would say that New Yorkers can be quite rude. I really  haven’t experienced New Yorkers being rude. New Yorkers are a bit thick skinned and there are tons of different types of people.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us that you haven’t already talked about?

In New York there are definitely loads of things to do and loads of fun things to do, so living here it’s not boring ever. There is always something to do every single day of the week.

If I don’t want to go home and see a jazz gig or see something in the theater or anything, there is always something interesting.

Connect with Mikael and Reaktor:

Our company twitter handle is: @reaktornow

My twitter handle is: @mikukopter

Our instagram is: reaktornow

My instagram handle is: @mikukopter

Our website is www.reaktor.com

Facebook is wearereaktor

New York – Mar 29 2016

Photos credit Mike Bas and Organizer Alexandra Spirer

Join EuroCircle’s Spring Rooftop Party at this midtown hotspot!

NO COVER with online RSVP by 5 pm on March 29!

The drink special will be $10 Absolut drinks. Food is available for purchase.

Attire: Spring Chic
If you show up in a spring outfit, you’ll look even more fabulous!
Let’s celebrate the the start of Spring at this great rooftop!

There will be great music playing throughout the night!


Jelena Ignjic, Serbia
Harriet Kulmala, Finland
Boriana Pavlova, Bulgaria
Sherry Kumar, Serbia
Ivan Shumkov, Bulgaria, Italy & Spain

Join us – and bring a friend/s the more the merrier!!


Alexandra and EuroCircle New York Team

Check out the our May 19th Yacht Party

Atlanta – Mar 02 2016

Hello everyone:
Please join us for our March get-together which will take place next Wednesday, (March 2nd) at WHISKY MISTRESS located in Buckhead.
We will have complimentary appetizers and valet parking is $5.00 unless you decide to park off property.
We will also have live music which will start around 9:00pm.
Please RSVP for this event and let’s try to top the great turn out we had from our last gathering at Le Meridien Hotel in Dunwoody. Please feel free to invite your international & like-minded friends so we can keep growing our EuroCircle Group in Atlanta.
See you Wednesday, March 2nd (start time 7:30pm until)
EuroCircle Atlanta


Austin – Feb 27 2016

Please join Agnieszka from Poland for a 2.5 hr hike on Saturday, Feb 27, 2016 at 10AM @ Barton Creek Greenbelt /Scottish Woods Trail Entrance.

For driving direction  please click here:


Please park your car along Scottish Woods and meet at the entrance on Camp Craft Rd.

Good shoes and plenty of water will be helpful


Agnieszka (her cell# will be in the RSVP page when you login in)


More about the Greenbelt:

Located off of Highway 360, The Greenbelt serves as a popular attraction for both visitors and Austin locals. It has explorative trails and numerous swimming holes for the warmer months. With multiple different routes and trailhead access points, the Greenbelt is a trail runner’s dream. For runners – many of them –  their favorite trailhead is The Scottish Woods trail,  which is a less crowded access point.

The trailhead starts off rocky with a decent decline known as “The Hill of Life”. From there, it’s a smoother ride and offers many different trails comprised of several obstacles. The main access is off of 3755 B Capital Highway 360 and another popular one is Spyglass (West). Hit up this spot for the perfect combination of hiking and breakfast tacos from the nearby Taco Deli. For runners, with varied terrain and multiple trails, this is a great place to challenge yourself while still enjoying Austin’s serenity.

Distance: 7.9 mile stretch (main trail)
Terrain: Loose rock, dirt, gravel, limestone
Pro tip: Stop at the iconic Sculpture Falls on the way back to cool off (only about 1 mile from The Scottish Woods Trailhead).

Sculpture Falls Hike at Barton Creek is a 5 mile out and back trail located near Austin, TX that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Austin – Mar 06 2016

We decided to meet at the Bonneville for our monthly event.

Bonneville is Classic New American Bistro, offering a variety of dining options that change according to the seasonality of ingredients and the whims of the chefs.
Both owners are classically trained in French technique but their style draws on influences from across the globe, focusing on the quality, accessibility and availability of ingredients to drive the menu.
The Bonneville is a bright, open and inviting spot in downtown with a lively bar, wonderfully friendly service, and cozy corners…..a casual, comfortable place to grab a quick bite or linger over dinner.

We will have an extended Happy Hour specials.

Come join us for a drink, conversation, catch up with an old friend or meet new one from around the world.

Looking forward seeing you all on March 6th.

PS. Parking is free on Sundays!

Dinner reservations 512.428.4643

eTramping – Meet Agness and Cez With Passion for Travelling

Some people know how to live their life the way they really want to. Mark Twain once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Meet these two young people from Poland who live their life differently – I loved reading about them (the photos are from Myanmar, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur)

1) Please introduce yourself.

We are Agness and Cez – two friends who have known each other for 7 years and been travelling together for 5 years. Both born and raised in Poland, we never returned to our home country after leaving it at the age of 18 (we lived in the UK for few years first). Small tip from us: never go travelling because you will not go back home promptly, it’s so addictive!

Moreover, we are travel freaks and blogging passionates but you can obviously tell that if you visit Etramping – a travel site where all our secret budget travel tips and hacks are regularly posted. Moreover, we help others discover other cultures, like living and teaching English in China.

We are both independent, creative and above all adventurous. Always stick together and try to make the best out of this life not to be eaten by daily routine.

2) How did you end up in your current cities of all places?

I (Agness) simply fell in love with Amsterdam after visiting the city few times. It’s calm, it’s inspiring, it’s cheerful and creative. I love cycling and sipping on a coffee in cozy and hipster cafeterias so this city seemed to be a perfect match.

Cez is currently living in Dongguan (China) where he teaches English and travels around the country. He loves Chinese cuisine, the language he’s been learning few years now and teaching – good reasons to stay there, right?

3) What is the best and worst about your current city for you…what is a typical day and weekend?

I wish Amsterdam could be less touristic. I often struggle with cycling through Amsterdam Centraal or Dam Square in the afternoon because there are way too many people there. On the other hand, tourists make this city much more interesting and diverse and I like such cultural diversity.

Cez says that he has been so long in Dongguan that he feels a bit like a local. The food is amazing, but the best and most important are the people around. A typical day starts with teaching in a kindergarten, followed by a gym session. Weekends are usually spent in the bar or KTV (a place where groups of friends can rent a room to sing together).

4) How do you find the lifestyle in your cities compared to your hometown in Poland?

We both try to maintain a healthy lifestyle so no matter where we are, we keep ourselves active and busy with different activities and projects. Just to point out few differences, houses in Amsterdam are really cool – often crooked and very narrow. Food is all about sandwich spreads, cheese and more cheese.

The lifestyle in China is incomparable to the life in Europe. You’d have to visit for a bit to get the idea of how different things are: from the food and the way to eat it, through social interactions, to even toilets (basically holes in the floor).

5) How do you make your living now – and how would you like to develop that career?

I’m working full-time at Poki – a cross platform game developer where I’m developing myself as a marketeer, whereas Cez is teaching English in Dongguan part-time. Apart from that we are also generating some income from Etramping and it helps cover our travel expenses. Among other things, Etramping now offera cheap flights, cheap hotels and even travel insurance.

Right now our biggest project is ESL job board for China where travellers from around the world can find a great opportunity of well-paid job combined with a cultural experience.

6) Do you see the differences between nationalities easily – yours vs. Americans vs. other Europeans?

Definitely. Poles are more competitive and complain a lot about everything, starting from their current jobs, financial situations to relationship statuses and politics. On the other hand though, we’re very hard-working people who you can rely on and work with smoothly. We drink vodka much more and have more hangovers – but that seems so obvious!

7) What do you absolutely miss from your country/elsewhere heritage (food, culture, movies etc) …or elsewhere?

Although I miss my mom and my best friends the most, I can’t forget about mentioning Polish cuisine here that I have a very good relationship with. I’m a typical foodie who likes to dig into fatty dishes prepared by my grandmother in a very traditional way. Just to name few of my favourite: chicken soup filled with fresh veggies and served with long thick homemade pasta, Hunter’s strew made from shreds sauerkraut, cabbage and dried mushrooms and of course Polish dumpling called pierogi filled with meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms, seasonal fruits (I love strawberry and blueberry ones) and cottage cheese and boiled potatoes.

8) Workwise – how do you see Dutch/Chinese being different from your countrymen– also culturally, what stands out in your chosen profession?

Flexibility at work is something that is very rare in Poland.

You have to strictly follow certain working hours, typically 9-5, and being late is seen as something bad. Our current jobs allow us to be very flexible thus we can develop our careers as marketeers and teachers while exploring the world and writing about it.

9) Knowing more about life and having lived with your decisions for a while (like work) – would you still choose to be there and why? Why not..

We don’t regret things and never make ourselves do something we don’t like or enjoy.

Every decision that is made, whether it’s about blogging, travelling, career or relationships, is based on what we want, desire and aim for. Thus we’re happy and fulfilled people who would not change a thing!

10) What should everyone know and understand about Poland and its culture?

Poland is a very traditional and religious country where food and family play an important role. Our culture is closely connected with its intricate thousand-year history. We are also very patriotic, hospital and sociable. Come to Poland and you will be warmly welcomed with vodka, good fat food and plenty of Poles willing to share interesting stories with you!

11) What cafes or restaurants do you recommend to tourists to go to in “CURRENT CITY” and why? Or to do something else.

My favourite cafeteria is called Bagels & Beans where the best healthy lunches are served and coffee tastes like heaven. I also enjoy SLA restaurant with salads and homemade soups and often visit Lite Dark for powerful smoothies. All places can be found here.

Cez lives in Dalang district of Dongguan and he strongly recommends Shangralila restaurant. There are 3 branches in that district alone, while there was only one when he came to Dalang first time 4 years ago. It says something about the taste of the food!

12) What would be your ideal life – with no monetary issues to make it happen!

If we could we would be on the road all the time going from one city to another, talking to locals, taking pictures and blogging about it. This planet has so much to offer for budget travel freaks as us!

13) Would you move back to Poland full-time – yes or no (why and why not)?

Not at the moment. We enjoy our lives in such creative and inspiring countries like the Netherlands and China. We spent over 17 years in Poland so let us see what other countries have to offer!

How to connect with you two:


Website: http://etramping.com/

Twitter: Agness https://twitter.com/Agnesstramp ; Cez https://twitter.com/cezkrol/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/runagnessrun/ and https://www.instagram.com/etramping/


Iowa – the place for now for Elsa

When people ask me why of all the places on the earth I ended up in Iowa, I like to say that it’s a good question. Because that is more than true. And every good question comes with a complicated answer. Or maybe without an answer at all.

Little bit of an introduction would be good before I get any further. My name is Elsa (aka Snow Queen) and I come from Finland. I’m working as an au pair in Iowa, USA. And for them who doesn’t know au pair is like a nanny who lives as a family member in a host family and takes care of their kids and light housework. This is a one year program here in the States and for me almost six months have passed, six more to go.

Last spring I passed my matriculation exams and graduated from high school. A next step in my plans was – honestly, I as usual didn’t have one. Continuing studies right away somewhere didn’t really feel like an inspiring option so didn’t just staying at home either.

One Saturday morning I happened to do daydream surfing in the Internet. Going through some options for my future life – in my home country, abroad, shorter and longer taking programs. Everything. And boom, there it was. Become an au pair and start living your American dream. Working as an au pair had been a thought in my mind at some point, but what I’d been thinking was mostly like maybe a couple of months in Europe or so. Despite that and the fact that actually United States had never been any kind of dream of mine, it took me around 20 minutes to decide and send the very first application.

I must have been out of my mind.

In a sudden I were picturing myself living one entire year of my life under the eternal sun of California. In a sudden I were sure about something that just found its way into my mind. All happened so fast. I started a process of filling paperwork, collecting references and trying to find a host family. All the confidence inside of me was strong. It kept on saying this opportunity is for me.

Of course not everything turned out like I planned. Not everything was easy. I didn’t end up moving to California or even somewhere that I knew to exist. Actually first I didn’t even come to Iowa. My home for the first four months was in Montana. I were little worried and skeptical before arriving there. A small city in the middle of mountains and wilderness wasn’t exactly like what I’d pictured. But oh, how much I ended up loving that place!

My time in Montana taught me a lot.

Stepping out of my comfort zone made me to learn so much about myself. It made me to go out and take risks. It made me to make amazing new friends. It made me to make mistakes and take responsibility. But most of all it made me stronger. Facing unfamiliar situations can be hard, but after all I can proudly say that I survived. And I will survive in the future as well.

Changes, they really were to come. Unlike the plan in the first place it was my time to begin a new adventure in an other placement. Again I needed to let a lottery to be in charge. The result was as surprising as last time. The result was Iowa, the state of cornfields and nothing really special besides that. Big breath in and out. Let’s give it a change. Let’s keep my head up and mind open.

Iowa has been my home since the New Year’s Eve.

At the same time it is not too different to home in Finland or the one in Montana. It’s not a place of my dreams, but it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be exactly the right place for me right now. It wasn’t an accident to happen to get placed in Montana. While living those months there I got as confident as I were when I first decided to apply to the program. Even though it sometimes was nothing but struggling I had always strongly in my mind that this is where I’m supposed to be. I’m sure it’s not going to differ in Iowa.

So, back to the beginning.

Why Iowa? The answer is that I don’t know exactly.

Not yet. But I don’t even need to. I can keep on living day by day, trusting that this is the place to be for now. I can stay positive and see what is to come next.

Connect with Elsa Makela:

Website: http://elsanneli.blogspot.com

Elsa @ Facebook

San Francisco – Feb 12 2016


GET YOUR TICKET HERE – type in EuroCircle for $5 discount!!

Fall out of love and fall in to fun at the 7th annual Anti-V party February 12 starting at 8PM at the University Club featuring in-demand San Francisco’s DJ Elvi (Distrikt). Specialty drinks, down and dirty beats – this is one Anti-Valentine’s party you won’t want to miss.

The Irresistable Anti-Valentine’s Soiree #7 program:
• Private event exclusive to 150 trendy guests
• Members only venue: University Club of San Francisco
• DJ Elvi (Distrikt) on the decks
• Glam photo-shoot

• Art Exhibit by Mariya Milovidova
• Strawberries & Chocolates
• Breathtaking views of San Francisco
• Fun evening by the fireplace
• VIP Tickets with a welcome glass of champagne available

Dress Code:
• Gents: Smart & Suave (Suits / Blazers / Smart Jeans / Shoes)
• Ladies: Glamorous & Sophisticated (Dresses/ Evening Wear)
• Strictly No Trainers and T-Shirts
• Theme: Mask of your choice OR Chic Librarian Outfit

The University Club is letting us use the Library Room, so don’t be surprised if you sneak a kiss in the stacks. Dress as a chic librarian (you decide if it’s naughty or nice) and enjoy a night of reckless flirting. Tickets are on sale now, hurry, like puppy love, they just won’t last.

New York – Feb 28 2016

Photos credit: Theresa Buell and EuroCircle NY Organizer Alexandra Spirer

Join EuroCircle for our Annual Oscar Party at this new hotspot Ainsworth Midtown where we will watch the Oscars on TVs in their private back room.

We will start the evening off watching the Red Carpet arrivals starting at 6pm and then watch the Oscars Live!

Dress Code: Dress to Impress

Great drink specials all night just for our group when you say EuroCircle and check in with host stand to get a bracelet for the specials!

Tap beer: $6
House wines: $10
House vodka martini $10

Food will be available for purchase throughout the night!

We will have Oscar Ballots for you to track your favorites throughout the evening! Who do you think will win this year?

Feel free to bring friends the more the merrier!

We look forward to seeing you for a great night out in celebration the Oscars!


Frank Breuer, Germany
Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team


New York – Feb 11 2016

Photos Credits: EuroCircle Organizer Alexandra Spirer and Salvator Fabbri

This is a ticketed event!

To make this event even more special, it will be sponsored by Star Vodka, Eurocircle, Tease Tea and DEG Production.

There will be a one hour OPEN BAR from 7:30pm to 8:30pm sponsored by Star Vodka.

On Thursday February 11th 2016, starting at 7:00pm, join the Rising Stars of NYC Runway Show presented by Prive Group to benefit the non-profit of The Woman and Fashion Film-fest. The Women & Fashion Filmfest is a partner of Maritage international as well as the United Nations Film Festival. It will be an exclusive occasion for NYC’s finest to build support by gathering and indulging in an illustrious runway fashion event.

The MC for the evening will be Charles Ferri from Esquire Network’s Lucky Bastards.

The Gala will feature an array of up and coming NYC designers, where they will present their most current collection to make this evening unforgettable. Post show, dance the night away to the sounds of DJ Derek Love.

A special event on February 16th hosted by Miss World America

More info and tickets: http://www.eurocircle.com/euro/new-york-february-16/


Alexandra and the EuroCircle New York Team


If you have FRIENDS who are European/Europhiles and not members yet at the website www.EuroCircle.com, but are at Facebook (and Twitter or LinkedIn), tell them to take the following steps:
1. Login at FB
2. Head over to EuroCircle.com to SIGN UP (REGISTER) – and choose to use Sign in with Facebook at REGISTER page
3. The site will grab their name and photo from Facebook(name can be edited if you wish)
4. It will ask them what is their EuroCircle City (New York in this case) and From what country they are from..

Now you can login with your Facebook account AND sign up for events (and see who else has signed up)

EXISTING EuroCircle members – try login with your FB account as well, works for sure if you use the same email on both sites,