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Jelena Djokovic #Podcast Interview with Igor Beuker

December 8, 2019


Hello. Igor. Beuker Yes. Weird name huh Well, it’s not. It’s acutually yours, so it’s whatever you want it to be Nobody can pronounce it Well, thank you for being our guest at the Orginal Conversations I am really grateful that we’ve spent a few hours together talking about life and all the message we to send across through our platforms I wanted to ask you a little bit about your start in life. What made you who you are today? Okay. That’s a tough one .. from the start. I think it’s very important Which you mostly discover later in life I didn’t know at that moment I had a pretty rough start. I come from a divorced family I did’t have a nice youth or upbringing. More than really poor. And, I think that my grandparents threw my their lifeline when I was 12 So I started to live with my grandparents old school people with a lot of norms and ethics Beautiful people and I can say that they saved my life. So to be very bold If it wasn’t for them I would not have been sitting here, I think You consider yourself an old soul, old school? Uh yeah. Talk to my children They call me dinosaur. But, I grabbed all thye opportunities that I got from them And it shaped really who I am That is what I know now of course. I am 48 Uh I was kicked out of professional football and already expelled from college So I was basically 24 That was in The Netherlands? Yeah. I played in Switzerland I was a very good football player But.. What happened? I think due to my youth my mentality was not okay enough. If a trainer said: If you don’t do this, and this and this… I would say: Huh what?! So you have a very rebellious nature? Uh you can say that When I get older, I get more mature Now I have children, I’m more responsible But I’m a rebel at heart, yes. Were you a team player? Yes, I was the captain of the team way back. Bacuse my mentality Curiosity Helped me a lot in life And my sports driven mentality I have a mentality I think you are ware what it means sometimes. You live with a pro I can train 100 hours a week Go into a training camp I have the dedication to leave everything behind if I really want to achieve something. How old were you when that happened? When I was kicked out of football? Yes. I think 23, 24 And I was nothing. I was broken. It was my dream, my passion. It was my income. It was my everything. Well like every 23 year old they feel like they’ve reached the stars until you take the carpet out of their Yeah and to be honest there was no much carpet left me Because I had no education, because I was the guy that said I’m going to be a professional – well I was – a professional player So your dreams were completely falling apart and then No education. Why no edcuation? Well because I was a professional football player. So I thought school? I’m going to be top of the world football player I will make so much money… I don’t need school anyway. So, what did you do? Yeah, go back to the drawing board. And I thought: What now? And most football players that have failed in early life They don’t end up well The stardom and richdom I lost everything. Even my identity I fell in love with marketing And the Internet That basically gave me second chance, opportunity For which I was really grateful and that became a new passion in my life And I owe a lot to my idea that the Internet was going to revolutionize the world. People say: Oh you’re an idiot. It’s a trend, a hype. It will go away again. I knew for sure this was going to shake up the world. So, you started working for somebody? Yeah of course. I started to work for You either go into gambling if you’re an ex-professional football player. Or you go into into marketing. I ended up in sports marketing. Fell in love with marketing I studied my ass off… I learned 4, 5, 6, 7 hours a day. I loved it. But that’s like your own education? Rather than the formal one? You didn’t go back to school? Yeah also. At night. I went working full time for a big listed company. I studied marketing, the traditional old school marketing Not very useful in my life I have to say It’s useful as a basis, but the world changed. What did you build from that base then What was the experience you gained? Working for that listed company? What is the name of that company? I first studied working for Scoot The competition of the Yellow Pages and Google. A very advanced company So they were really looking for people that had a vision on the future Not so much skills, because nobody had the Internet skills at that moment It was new to everybody in the world So you start with equal odds I think. and I worked 10 years as a Chief Marketing Officer for big listed companies, so I really… When did you become Chief Marketing Officer I think when I was 28 or 29. That’s quite early. Yeah that’s very early. Well done. Yeah I don’t know. I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t like the corporate world that much. It was all very traditional. Advertising, TV-driven. And there was this weird guy running around who said: the Internet is more important It can build our brand We can build communities We can build loyalty We can tailor content and personalize it. They thought: What an idiot, we just do TV commercials. What is this guy about? Well back at the day I can imagine, it was quite futuristic thinking? Cause Internet Just started back then, right? Yeah, it was just there. And I had a very I was responsible at a Swedish Finnish company A huge firm at that moment called Telia-Sonera They gave me the Chief Marketing Officer role Very early I was very grateful But I also said to the board – I still had a pro mentality – You either kicked me out… if I fail If I don’t make my results They said why, we’ve just hired you I said I’d like to be very clear I will do this for 2 years, this is what I’d like to achieve, with the budget that we have But we are going to make this a whole new ballgame. So, how did you, from the boy of broken dreams basically at the age of 23 get to the Chief Marketing Officer role knowing exactly what you want? Yeah. What was in between that shaped you so much? Pfoe I think, even prior to that I think sports, and my grandparents. My grandparents, my grandma for example. What kind of relationship you had with them? What were the lessons you learned from them? The most important lessons were ethics That’s why I feel terrible now what I see in the world We’ll get to that later I think… A winner is a dreamer who never quits My grandma always said: Igor, don’t complain. Start doing it and be a good man. but if you really want it Don’t talk about it. Just do it. And, losers have excuses. She always said: blablaba You talk a lot, now get back to work. You want to achieve something? Do it. So that really shaped Were they helping you to question things? Because the old school is usually ‘do as you’re told’, right? Pfff difficult, because I was 12, 14, 15, I was in puberty. I was like every kid at that age difficult. I was a hooligan already… And then these old school people were telling me stuff…. But I respected them a lot I asked a few things That really is important for the rest of my life The power of Media and ethics of people. You’ve mentioned once that actually they showed you the old newspapers You can share that story with us? Of course. my grandparents had a bunch of newspapers somewhere stored really save and if I came near to it, they said: “No, no, you dont understand that yet” Curious as I am I asked: What is it? I want to know It’s the newspaper that your granddad and I, my grandmother, we brought it around in World War II against the Germans. It was an illegal newspaper I still read that newspaper today in Amsterdam it’s still a local newspaper which still exists so for me that’s very special. And I asked them: What did you do? Why did you bring around that newspaper You could get killed on the spot! Why would you do that? So they taught me about their ethics, and right and wrong and that people should stand up if something is going on, like, in that time the War or Hitler. And 2, I said How did he get so many people mobilized to fight a war? My grandparents explained me the power of media, and propaganda. So from that moment I think, I was 7, 8, 9 10 years old. I listened to the story But I think it shaped me for life. So, ethics Subconsciously at first and it kind of kicked in later…? Yeah! Also the power of media also the responsibility that comes with media and propaganda. Which you now still of course see in the world of today. Is today, the power being abused? Yes it is. Misused? Yeay, not only today. It has been abused since the Printing Press, I think. Since we have powerful Mass Media always oppressors, or people, have been trying to use the media to influence peoples’ brains that’s why I’m so skeptic about media, journmalism, because I see the role and the responsibility differently of course And maybe, also the way of how education will help people to think through what they read and think for themselves. That to me really important. What are the good examples today? That you find, cause I know you criticize a lot of what’s happening? I’d like to know what are the good examples? well one of my drivers, I think, is that I didn’t plan to become an independent writer or speaker was never part of the plan. I didn’t want to be on stage. I hated speaking. Well, you are very good at it. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because I have a mission or a purpose. And on stage, is like a fish in the water a warm tropical sea. It’s like walking towards my purpose. That is to inspire people that we can really use technology to build a greater, better cleaner Planet. I really really really believe that. So, that’s why I love to be on stage! I really believe that I speak about a lot of topics Everywhere around the world, marketing innovation But if you’d ask me what get’s you up at night is that we can cure diseases, we can still change the environment with technology we can enhance education I think that technology is really … So your message is like the power of collective, rather than the power of one Yeah. That’s why I sometimes They ask me sometimes about my political opinions and that’s what I’m willing to say about for example Trump, I don’t like the way – as a role model – I won’t even talk about politics.. I think I believe in the power of Nelson Mandela I believe in the power Malala Yousafzai. Great leaders that are willing to die for their cause. They are for me, Super role models for our children. Authentic, and real and truth, with a good cause and yeah, I think that are very important things, and in politics also the tone of voice is important And I think that sometimes people do tend to forget that. What it’s all about. Really this life, How are we becoming better, and happier? And I think that technology can help us with that. And take electrical cars, take saving the planet. Entrepreneurship versus corporations? What do you vote for? Haha, yeah, well, of course entrepreneurship. All my talks are around Mad Men vs Math Men Tell me more about it…. I’ve been in the corporate world for so long, 25 years, I call it corporate bullshit Pardon my language Yeah of course, I will try to explain that more nicely… I have worked with…well It has a history. I’ve been in big corporations myself as a Chief Marketing Officer Can you just name the corporations you worked for? Scoot, TeliaSonera and Telefonica O2. So big big big brands. I was 38 when Sir Martin Sorrell knocked on our door the CEO and founder of WPP GroupM the biggest media, advertising communications platform on the Planet I said yes, and I learned a lot from him. I saw many big brands from the inside, even bigger global brands from the inside So when you worked for him, did you ddi you like work one-on-one with him? Often, yeah. Of course he’s to busy to be dedicated to someone. But still, if he takes time to… He is a very smart guy. He is the Ad Man on the planet. He built that network by himself in 33 years time, to the biggest platform on the planet So he is a superb entrepreneur who was recently, 6 months ago, kicked out by the shareholders, out of his own network, which I found horrible and disgusting, but What does that tell you? Well, that money rules the world, People, planet, profit? Sometimes it’s profit, planet, people. The good thing though is… We could see it it in many companies it’s like that, I mean even Steve Jobs was kicked out. Yeah, that’s basically the same. The cooler thing, why Sir Martin Sorrell is in a way cooler than Steve Jobs He is 73 now. it happened 6 months ago, he is such a super entrepreneur. so powerful and driven that instead of going on a pension and a long, well-deserved holiday he went into the market – he is Sir Martin Sorrell – so his name is also Royal now, and he raised $500 million more and he started S4, a new network, and he acquired a Dutch company for $300 million Media Monks, so this guy is 73 and he starts a new WPP. But you would never go that route, you would never work for a corporation anymore, right? Mmmmm. In a corporation, let me rephrase it. Mmm No. No. I try to help them, but the question you asked was why would you choose entrepreneurial above corporations? Yes. I’ve seen a lot of big brands, really big big powerful brands, crumble, fall down, go bankrupt, and a lot of people say yeah, Digital Transformation and this and that…. No. It’s arrogance, laziness, and and.. Big is only good when big is smart! And I’ve met so many big brands… that are completely Big is only good when big is smart? Otherwise it’s slow fat and lazy.. and arrgogant. That’s a tweetable moment! You think so?? Completely! I see a lot of brands that are just arrogant. they say Airbnb is nothing, it’s unprofessionalism, and Google and Facebook äh who cares”. Jeff Bezos is an idiot. No. There’s something going on in the world and the big corporations for 60 years, Mad Men, have become very successful solely relying on Advertising. which is now becoming a dangerous addiction. You cannot become a big company in the new world with only advertising. Simply doesn’t work. People don’t believe you anymore. Because they can tune out? They don’t have to listen anymore like before? Yeah also. But they don’t believe it anymore, because we have been lying for too long. And if advertising was of course, I call it lipstick on a pig. You can have a beautiful nice little pig, you can schmuck it up with lipstick and a dress, it’s still a pig. And that’s what people know And with social media, it’s power to the people So if you have a little local restaurant here in Belgrade and it’s nice people will tell each other, go there! the service is nice, the food is great, So the word-of-mouth is more powerful than any other tool? Now with social media? Yes! It’s the biggest, the amplification and the power of that. If you have, let’s say a restaurant with 44 two-star reviews because the food sucks and the service is shitty, people will say to you: Noo man, I saw the commercial, and the campaign, it’s a nice restaurant, and if you then go to the Internet and see the reviews, you will never go there! So, advertising no longer is, the powerful thing for any brand. But isn’t that misused? Because now, you can buy, as a competitor, you can buy that, you can send people to put down your reviews? It’s very tricky now. Uh yeah, especailly To know what’s honest. Yeah, yeah. Well the president of the US is lying a lot. So if that is the role model for the world… Uh fake it till you make it…. Mark Zuckerberg is lying all the time but he says sorry. 8 times. He steals and cheats and takes your data, and he sells it to political leaders that are pretty shady, or dictators and than he says sorry. And we say okay, and we are all still on Facebook So, I don’t know who’s crazy I think I am. But yeah, what you are mentioning is of course referring to the ‘social influencers’ People who have ….. Yeah we had a nice chat about that People who have never achieved – some are very nice and cool, and they make funky content that the TV Networks should have done way back, of course I was there, part of the Mad Men at Cannes where the big TV Networks and the big Ad agency’s CEO’s said: Igor you’re crazy. YouTube videos? Cat videos? No man that’s just a hype. Nooo that’s new consumers who are NOT couch potatoes, willing to sit and to listen to your bullshit programs but yeah they were sort of in control It was controlled media. And now, the Internet, is an uncontrolled medium where everybody can have a voice. The difficulty though is, in a world of influencers, that there’s also people that have a very nice or good looking body, and a nice bikini and they go on Instagram and they earn a lot of likes and now they are influencers, and now the big brands are throwing money at them. Advertising 2.0 Again addicted to advertising. we are buying and bribing for likes. There is another trend that I have noticed, it’s like been very sarcastic or ironic. You know and tweeting or sending messages that are funny… or… that are mocking people? Yeah. That’s also a very big hit. And they are somehow unknown people that are influencers the accounts have like huge following? I make a few, I distinct. I had a social media agency. I sold it in 2008. I still worked for it for a few more years I was done with it. Because of the things that you are also explaining. Big brands, Coca-Cola: We are bigger than Pepsi Mine is bigger than yours?! Wow, how cool. We have more fans than you.. Wow. I look at Key Opinion Leaders Do the people really have a track record? Are they trustworthy? Have they achieved anything? If it’s a nice looking boy or girl… I can see they’re fit or an athlete doesn’t make him very influential yet. They have a lot of ‘fans. If I would run around naked in Belgrade, I would have a lot of fans and followers too. Does it make me…. You’re very confident haha No no, I mean, becuase look at that idiot! Does it make me an influencer? No, not really. I influence nobody. But I have a lot of fans and followers. So who are influencers today then? What is that term standing for? I think influencer in the name It derives from the 1760’s Where the Wedgwood Porcelain Company did their first brand celebrity endorsement campaigns. Later of course it became the athletes, and then in the 1960’s Television came So the television people became famous, Now we have Kim Kardashian and other people, Kylie Jenner But you’ve noticed and we’ve talked about it actually also in sports, but in terms of the family Kardashian, they actually build their businesses based on ‘being famous’ just being famous. How do they call them? They are famous for being famous, or..? Yeah yeah they are. She (Kim) made $45 million last year with her online store. Her husband Kanye is shouting to 50 million people that Trump is the greatest President ever. So, I hope he’s not that influential. But…. I happen to know a Chinese girl, she’s 23 she made $46 million last year in being a social influencer or with her webshop. Now the thing is… I hope people will understand that, you probably will…. Not everybody that plays Tennis is a Novak Djokovic, Not everybody that plays football like me, I wanted to be a Cristiano Ronaldo, but I was not. And I think people should realize, also my children, I tell them: Not everybody can be Kylie Jenner or Kim Kardashian. I know you all want it to be… But try to focus on another career as well. So, try to be authentic, rather than….? Yeah but also my grandparents always told me: Igor, your football career is very nice. But newsflash? If you break your knee tomorrow… it’s over! So what will you do then? Next… What’s your plan B?? Yeah, and nobody has a plan B that is really, only solely focused at becoming the next influencer. And for me, I have the power to be disliked. I don’t want that many followers. It’s nice…. If people want me for who I am but I think Nelson Mandela was a great leader, did he have a lot of social followers? No. Towards the end of life, yes. Yeah of course. Still. And Malala has a huge following. But because she is Malala because she has a purpose. And because she was willing to give her life But maybe that’s the message that people follow, that they connect with… the purpose Having a strong purpose is what people drives towards you. I wish that was the case. For a lot of people in social media, influencers, and all the brands jumping on the bandwagon showing money and “do you have a huge following”? Can you promote my brand? That’s mostly girls and boys with a good looking body in a bikini on Instagram. Not people with a purpose, willing to save lives. So people don’t really know what a purpose means rather than…. No. Okay. Most are too young to know, I think. If you’re 14 years old… But they are served through the Internet and the power of social media a lot of power. You become millionaire at 21… Today with the technology and innovations Yeah but that’s only 3 influencers we know Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and the Chinese girl. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all other 6 billion people on this planet will become influencers. Reality check. You know it’s interesting that you say that because I have had an experience just a few months ago, where I just didn’t know how the people lived today, because of the social media, but for instance the YouTube has huge power and people are actually renting fake houses and apartments so they can act out, their stories, so they can still have a different life, Fake it till you make it?! Fake it till you make it. So you … would assume that we is that the right path, to go? Like for instance, how do entrepreneurs share their message? That’s a good one…. and become powerful? With the tools they have? I think we… talked about it before, a little. I don’t have the wisdom, I’m not judgemental I am sometimes, but I think, somebody higher up here is the one that should judge us. You’re opinioned. Yes, very opinioned. But I don’t know if that opinion – yeah I have an opinion – My son, 17 years old, recently said dad, you are this old school dinosaur You were raised by your grandparents, and you still believe in this world that that is becoming authentic, and for real, but newsflash dad? You’re the dinosaur, Donald Trump is the President of the US We have influencers there is fake news, maybe this is the new world? I don’t want to believe it, but he could be right. You know, I’m listening to you… I know you said that but you know the dinosaurs today are actually crocodiles and little reptiles and they trandformed into something that’s going to survive. They might be small but there are many of them. And if they unite, they would do many powerful things. So, that’s maybe why you made the community, LaComunidad. Yeah yeah. That’s why you believe in communities? Yeah also. I believe in long-term. I believe in the long-term power of purpose that people are really rooted. Because I see a lot of bloggers and influencers That are already at home with a burn-out. Because if they don’t have enough likes they will probably leave it, and it’s not really rooted. If you have a cause, and I think that the new entrepreneurs the people that are leading the new world, even changing all our political, financial, economical, and educational systems are the top entrepreneurs, the Bill Gates the Elon Musks, the people with a radical vision the power to execute and only one thing People. Planet. Profit. I really believe that Elon Musk is here, that he really wants to change the course of the world. He was the first one that ever started to talk about uhm…. Universal Basic Income UBI I never heard that in Politics before He says that poverty should be gone within 5 years, and he said: Together we can make that happen. So, I believe in your Novak Foundation, Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation These are top serial entrepreneurs, and people with a heart, soul, and purpose. And, my role in that, is that I want to activate and inspire as many crocodiles as we can, to take back the world. And a world that is a more beautiful and a better place. And where can people find you? Where can they connect with you? Well, I wouldn’t suggest that they connect with me, Hahaha The digital and social media channels… What are the social channels that you use? Your website? Oh man, I hate social media haha Why it’s your job? My job is to tell stories. And I don’t care about the channels, No joking, I love social media.. of course in a way. but it’s because of what we see around us Sometimes it even makes me nosy My website? igorbeuker.com I have a pretty okay Twitter following @igorbeuker so yeah but I also have the power to be disliked I dare to say it how it is I am an independent I will never win a popularity contest probably, but I don’t give a shit. What did Jeff Bezos say about your tactics? Oh well, I think he is the most brilliant entrepreneur on this planet and maybe injustice is what I got from my grandparents financial analysts and journalists have been bashing Jeff Bezos in the media for 20 years. Really offensive, he’s an idiot, the company is not profitable enough, Jeff Bezos is a radical visionary He’s the smartest man on the whole planet And He’s kicking ass in almost every industry And yeah, What did you learn from him? Pfoe… uh. Persistence. The most beautiful quote I’ve ever heard from him and that’s really also my backbone, I think. “Often times invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood.” My story is about the impact of the Foruth Industrial Revolution Until I sold my first businesses, you know what people said? His radical vision, he is an idiot… so the line between having a vision, and being a complete and utter idiot, is really really thin. And you got to dare?! To go that line. Dare to be different, that’s why I loved your conference. and that’s why I think that a lot of people that are listening: Believe in yourself! They will call you all kind of names. People will try to slow you down. And stop you down. Always think about Jeff Bezos. Long-term willingness to be misunderstood. And if there’s one thing that you want to be remembered for what would that be? Well, I have my reviews in that way I care for social media How other people view my vision is that you that we really should start Stop pointing at politics, and stop pointing at anyone else, We have social media and instead of trending Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, we should use it as a collaborative ecosystem, and make this world a better place. Crowdfunding, help each other build communities Really do it. Change the world. What is the best campaign, lately that you have witnessed? Uhg. That’s a controversial one of course. But I’m a rebel. I really wrote a lot about the Nike #Kaepernick campaign. and a lot of people were judgemental and they said “Boycott Nike.” And “Nike threw a boomerang.” Nike this, and Nike that I think, Nike is a brand with a heart and a soul. That they really stand for something. And the campaign, or the campaign… the gesture they made maybe, they gave them an alltime high the Nike stock, is the highest in the last 53 years, so I believe in brands that really wanna do good change the world Make it cleaner Make it a better place I think a lot of brands that really stand for something People. Planet. Profit, Not only Profit. That they’re gonna be big. Really big. Do you want to name a few that…? Yeah I think there’s a lot of ones… For me very important, Tesla, Elon Musk, it changed the whole industry. A very old, traditional car industry that said: No, it will last… For 20, 30 more years I think Elon Musk, ans Tesla gave us all the idea that a new brand that hardly existed Nobody knew it It’s impossible in branding and marketing what he achieved In hardly 10 years time, He changed the opinion of the world, he shook up the car market the car industry Do you know that my dog is named Tesla? No?! From Nikola Tesla, from the airport? Exactly! Yeah? He is the son of ours. Is he a clever dog? Absolutely. And crazy like electricity. Haha Nice Well thank you very much for today’s conversation I wish I had more time with you But they are waving at me… Oh they are? Yes. So thank you. A pleasure to be here. Thank you very much for the invitation I really enjoyed this trip! And please do look for Igor and listen to his bold talk Thank you.

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