FACC INTERVIEW: TAK NORRIS FROM GOSLEEP PODS: “FINNISH PEOPLE ARE RESERVED YET INNOVATIVE”
Tak Norris, VP of the Finnish enterprise GoSleep, provides Sleeping Pods that are used in airports and other public spaces. Originally from New York, Norris moved to Finland after living and working in Tokyo for 20 years. “In 2011 there was the big earthquake in Japan. My Finnish wife and I had this kind of a ‘fight or flight’ moment. Given both the natural and unnatural disaster which had occurred, we chose to flee, so I ended up in Finland and eventually hit it off with GoSleep”, Norris says. FACC interviewed Norris while he was visiting New York. We talked about the legal environment in the US and the importance of sleep for New Yorkers.
What are you doing in New York? Exploring opportunities. We want to start operations of GoSleep in both East Coast and West Coast. We need partners – companies and individuals – who are interested in taking this to the next level.
What’s the biggest challenge in bringing business to the U.S.? It’s the legal. If you have a Pod here and someone sits down in it and for instance hurts themselves, you could get a lawsuit. In the U.S. we have to navigate challenges that never existed before in our business. America is a litigious society and you need to have protection.
How do New York and Finland differ from each other? New York is more fast-paced and it has this in-your-face type of attitude. Finnish people are more reserved but highly innovative and diligent.
Do people behave differently in airports on different continents? Whether you are American, European or Asian, you need to sleep and rest. At every airport I have visited, regardless of culture, I have seen people sleeping on benches or floors. When people are tired, they are going to grab anywhere to sleep, and GoSleeps provides them a solution for both privacy and comfort.
Do New Yorkers have time to sleep? They better make time for that. It is scientifically proven that sleep depravation will lead to all sorts of physical and mental ailments. Many famous people swear by taking a nap, it makes them more productive.
What is the best part of doing business in NYC? As the phrase says: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Here you have top quality people, firms with loads of creativity, energy and innovation buzzing around. It’s a great place to start.
How do you see the future of GoSleep? It’s going to take over the world. We want to be in all the main airports and other public places such as hospitals, commercial spaces and co-working hubs. You can find GoSleep Sleeping Pods at airports in Helsinki, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Tokyo and Tallin. Read more here.