To celebrate the anniversary of PSOAS, we are collecting stories from our current and former tenants. Read Mikko’s story and tell us your own story here. A 100 euro gift card to Verkkokauppa.com will be drawn among the respondents.
Mikko Perälä, who describes himself as an enterprising young man, currently sits on the boards of several technology companies he has founded and runs the popular School of Gaming. Perälä was in full swing as early as the beginning of the 21st century, when PSOAS’s legendary POK, the Pohjankaleva tower building in Alppila, was the mother ship for the fuss.
Perälä’s title is currently Reksi (Finnish for headmaster), although the serial entrepreneur has no degree in education. Launched in the spring of 2020, the School of Gaming is the man’s latest takeover, offering children Minecraft afternoon classes online. In these classes children learn through computer games.
“We have 500-600 customers a month. Both children and parents like it very much. Game-based learning is the thing today, and digital youth work is my thing. I am a social entrepreneur, at the same time I try to do something positive for society.”
Prior to the School of Gaming, Perälä has been founding sports clubs and technology companies for more than twenty years.
“I think I have employed a thousand people in the process. Now, I’m trying to learn to let go, even though I’m still sitting on the boards of many companies.”
Raking to the beat of M.A. Numminen and YUP, a top DJ throwing a gig in his old shared apartment
The years 2000-2004 Perälä lived in the legendary Pohjankaleva building of PSOAS. The community spirit was already blossoming in the house, but with the undertakings of Perälä and his 6 roommates, the going did not slow down, quite the opposite.
“Cell housing was not regarded highly at the time, but for us it was heaven. Working with a like-minded group, we were guaranteed to get more out of our study time. The common hustle and bustle brought along even those who would not otherwise have come out of their booths. Our shared apartment was no place of transit, but a home full of life!”
Perälä and the partners came up with the idea of organizing some entertainment for the housing foundation’s spring rake work.
“We had, among others, M.A. Numminen and Jarkko Martikainen’s YUP playing a gig. At the end quite a few people from the surrounding area gathered to our events. One time we invited Jori Hulkkonen, a DJ who had already performed to tens of thousands of people, to play a gig in his former shared apartment. He gladly came, and praised the experience as a memorable one!”
The members of the community were also gathered together by the Marissi bar located on the ground floor of the house. The bar was run by Anita who also acted as a mother figure for young people and was involved in organizing activities.
“There we organized the popular POK jams several times a year. Anita launched a POK beer for the events, including a small margin for us. At least the Radiopuhelimet, a popular Finnish band at the time, played in the jams.”
The storage room turned into a speakeasy, sex video festivals were halted
One of Perälä’s and partners’ projects was cleaning the housing company’s warehouse premises. A lot junk Junk had accumulated from the tenants of the 80s and 90s, and even a homeless person had lived there for a while.
“We cleaned up the junk and set up a speakeasy called Urkki in the storage after the former Finnish president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen after whom the building itself was also named. For the beer we sold we added hardly any profit. With tips and occasional income, we bought a TV and a smoke machine for the club room. The fire department was alerted in vain a few times, by the smoke which rose effectively from the basement all the way to the 8th floor.”
During the cleaning, a bag full of adult entertainment videos aimed at sexual minorities was also found in the basement.
-“We were very excited. We had previously organized very interdisciplinary lectures in our club room, and now we asked SETA (the Finnish association for sexual equality) to join. We wanted to host full video festivals, printed posters and distributed them at the university. But this idea didn’t quite reach the finish line at the end.”
A small-scale uproar arose, and eventually the enthusiastic festival organizers were banned by PSOAS to use their facilities for the film art festivals.
A nursing home for former bachelors?
In Pohjankaleva, where only shared housing was available, there were hardly any female tenants. The bachelor group of Perälä and his roommates formed an even tighter crew, printed t-shirts for themselves and founded an association of “eternal bachelors”.
“A lifelong friendship was born in Pohjankaleva. We still have our own Facebook group where we reminisce about those golden times. No one lives in the house anymore but we have planned to buy the house for ourselves as a nursing home someday!”
● Reksi, School of Gaming (2020–)
● Founder, Board Member: Player Accelerator, JS Hercules, Codemate, CubiCasa, Njetworking
● PSOAS years: 2000-2004
● PSOAS Match location: Pohjankaleva 7-person shared apartment, Tirolintie, Alppila https://www.psoas.fi/kohteet/pohjankaleva/