Colja Dams: The Drive to Innovate Live Marketing

Skift Meetings Podcast - Colja Dams

Skift Take

Delve into the visionary mind of Colja Dams, CEO of VOK DAMS, as he unpacks the transformative intersection of technological innovation, sustainability, and the enduring magic of live events destined to thrive in a post-pandemic world hungry for authentic connections.

Colja Dams, the CEO of global event management agency VOK DAMS, wants to stay at the forefront of the industry’s evolution, particularly in technology and sustainability. Dams leads the company after entering event management due to his father’s pioneering role. He believes the agency’s innovative spirit has propelled them through decades of change.

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AI has the potential to transform every facet of event planning, from language services to creative design. Dams is closely following the profound impacts of technological advancements on events. “You can go from simple mood boards to creating stock pictures the exact way you like them. It is amazing what you can do there, but it takes some time until you get into it,” he said. He is deeply impressed by AI’s power to customize and streamline the creative process, making it both accessible and highly personal.

Sustainability and Innovation Go Hand in Hand

Dams identified sustainability and digital transformation as the pivotal challenges shaping the future of event management. The company’s pioneering efforts in sustainability include the early development of a carbon footprint calculator for events. Recently, the company was ISO 20121 certified and is already reaping the benefits of this sustainable event management certification. As event supply chains come under greater scrutiny, he welcomes the opportunity to take a more sustainable approach.

Dams believes in taking a forward-thinking approach that blends technological innovation with a commitment to the environment. “The challenge of the future is to see where the new technologies help us to create even more sustainability. These are the two major streams that we allocate manpower to work on and to find new solutions for the future.”

In-Person Events Are the Antidote to Digital Saturation

Despite the digital surge, Dams firmly believes in the timeless allure of live events. Citing humanity’s inherent “campfire gene,” he sees live events confirming their role as the pinnacle of authentic communication. “Live events will always be there and become even more important,” he said. Dams shares a staunch confidence in the industry’s resilience and the unique value of in-person experiences.

Dams sees a bustling marketplace and anticipates a revival of live events driven by social media saturation. This, he suggests, will drive a renewed desire for real-world interactions and community-building that only live events can fulfill. Furthermore, this positions them as a vital avenue for authentic connection in an increasingly digital world.


Miguel Neves: Hello, everybody. Welcome to this episode of the Skift Meetings podcast. Today, I am delighted to have with me the CEO of VOK DAMS, Colja Dams. Colja, welcome to the show.

Colja Dams: Thank you very much for having me.

MN: Colja, we’ve known each other for a few years, but like with every guest, I’d love to start with your introduction. Tell us a little about your world and how you started in events. You have a unique journey, so I’d love to hear it from your perspective.

CD: I was basically born into this industry because my father started the agency for events at a time when there was no real name for events or events management. I was basically brought up in an events agency. I spent my entire childhood joining my father to attend events, trade shows, and stuff. So it basically came naturally that after going to university, I started joining the agency. That was 27 years ago.

MN: Your father, if I’m not mistaken, came from a photography business, and the agency grew out of that. Could you take us through the evolution of the agency? What it looked like when you came in, and what it looks like today?

CD: My father, like you said, came from photography. He started out doing multi-vision shows together with Kodak from the U.S. He started a technology soft edging slides, Kodak slides, into extremely large pictures. In the 70s, if you wanted to put something on a big screen, you could only do 35 millimeters film. Now, producing films was extensively expensive and took lots of time. So therefore this was a solution to basically combine lots of slides into one enormous image. This is what my father started doing. This is why I spent lots of time cleaning little slides and putting them in Kodak carousels at this time.

Then, after we produced the content a lot of times then, it started out that we were being asked if we could you take care of the rest as well like the hotel the venues the transport and getting the guests there and everything. This is how this industry came alive. This is also so the 70s and it was mainly trade shows. We were also the first company to introduce VCR videos into events which sounds totally weird today that you would show people just videotapes on little monitors and building video walls with these monitors. So this is basically where we started out.

MN: That’s fascinating because we look at projection mapping and technologies like that today. It seems so natural to have these arrays of projectors and do all these things. But to think about how much of a manual process this was and how detailed you had to be to do this 40 years ago. It’s really impressive.

CD: We started working in the corporate sector, mainly for pharmaceuticals industries or insurance [companies] and banks that had to gather lots of internal people to drive sales or get them on the point for new products. Then, in the late 80s, it started out with really big productions in the corporate world. The first big car launches and business became more and more international. So we started opening our first office in the U.S. in the 90s. Then we went to China in 200? I don’t even recall, but it is very early in the game, and this has been extremely helpful for us so that we are catering to our clients worldwide.

MN: what does a typical VOK DAMS client look like? I believe there’s some automotive and maybe some technology, so are there big German companies that you tend to work with?

CD: We work for big multinational companies, some of them headquartered here in Germany, some of them headquartered somewhere else in the world. The normal project clients approach us for turnkey solutions for bringing the entire event live. Still, sometimes clients approach us just for single services like guest management, creative services, or hybrid services at certain parts. Usually, the clients come with a communication challenge and ask us if we can help bring this up on the stage somewhere in the world.

MN: When you speak to people that don’t know the industry, so let’s say childhood friends, or I don’t know friends of family, how do you explain what you do?

CD: It’s funny that you asked because when I was a kid, I was always trying to explain in school that my father was doing direct communication to define target groups because there was no name for it at this time. But now it’s pretty easy, I’m telling everyone or my kids tell at school that their dad and their mom is an event manager. Then everyone gets a picture. Usually, the image is a bit more into the festival parties or concerts part, but then we’ll track this back to the corporate world.

MN: Not bad, though, right? It’s a little misleading, but it’s still better than explaining everything from scratch. When you put a VOK DAMS event against a competitor event, let’s say, or someone else doing an event, what’s the magic? What makes a VOK DAMS event different in your mind?

CD: This is a good question. Of course, I don’t get to see too many competitors’ events, so that I couldn’t judge. How we approach events is to ask the client and us some basic questions. The basic question we start with is: What should your guests be doing? And what are they doing differently after they attend the event? This usually starts a conversation about the ultimate goal of creating this event. Then, we usually ask a follow-up question: Why don’t your guests do this right now without the event? To make sure what kind of obstacles are there and to discuss openly if the event can solve the client’s challenge.

MN: Interesting. So, you try to focus on the leverage that the event has to make that change. And do you use any specific methodology or any systems in-house? Or do you use other methods to get there?

CD: We created our own methodology on ROI. And this really helps. It’s one of the way to data-driven event management. But we do believe it’s extremely simple if you start with these two leading questions. So why do you invite people to join the event? So, what is the core reason behind it? And that gets lots of clients thinking. Then, let’s see how this could be achieved differently.

Just an example I just ran into the other week. We had a client approach us. And he was looking forward to bringing all his salespeople from all over the world together to their anniversary, their 100 years anniversary to London. And now our question was, so what is the real goal? So, what do you like these independent sales agents to do differently afterward? The client thought a bit about it and said, I want them to take our product and go out there and feature our product more than the competitor’s products that lots of these independent sales agents also have in their portfolio. And so we ticked off this box and then went right into it, asking continuous questions. So why aren’t they doing it right now? And then the meeting stopped. And the client said, “we don’t really know.”

So then, we’d love to do this big event, a couple of hundred people coming to London, but let’s look into this first. And we have a sister company that is just focusing on consulting and say, okay, why don’t we send them in and interview a group of your independent sales agents and find out what’s happening? So, the client agreed to it.

After three months, we found out they do not sell their products of our client before other products or feature some of the competitor’s products first because the competitors provide sales collaterals in their local languages. So now our client only had English and Chinese for the sales collaterals, but not other local languages like Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and other languages. And then we told the client, okay, so now we found one of the reasons why, and this is not the event is not going to solve this. So why don’t you invest? Take an AI translation and translate all your collaterals into the local languages.

The COO just sent me a letter and thanked me that even though we were planning this anniversary event, we ended up doing it on a different scale. Still, we solved the sales issue that they had from a totally different perspective before going into the event.

MN: This is a fascinating example. I think that brings out that power. Okay. Of events, but also the power of asking why and determining the objectives before you start to plan an event. And just out of curiosity, at the events, you said it ran differently, but at the events, did you have translation and localization because of these findings that you were able to get?

CD: So what we did was approach everyone in their local languages, and we had AI translation for everyone on site into, I think, 27 different languages.

MN: So I wanted to ask about this client relationship. Obviously, what we hear is that some lead times are quite short at the moment, and budgets are under a lot of pressure. And so I’m sure about negotiations with clients. I don’t know if you can share if they’re different or similar than they were pre-pandemic. And I wanted to ask you this question: When do you say no to clients? What is it that makes you say, I’m sorry, but we can’t do an event? Or are there any situations where you have to say something like that?

CD: Yes, we run into these situations quite often as of the moment right now. We do get lots of RFPs and we only have limited capacity. So, right now, we usually don’t pitch. So clients pick and choose their agency, maybe do a quick beauty contest and then go with the agency of choice. And, like you mentioned, the short lead-up times lead to situations.

We just had a call from a client who wants to bring together three and a half thousand people before Christmas, and I just don’t have the capacity to do that. Even if I would have the capacity going into finding venues still available would be a nightmare, and then we tell the client that is not possible, we cannot do this.

A lot of clients also approach us sometimes and say, okay, we do have to do a bidding process for this project. Then we say, okay, because you are a valued client, I would get the capacity for the project, but I cannot spend capacity right now, and I don’t have on pitching processes. And then a lot of times the client said, okay, then we can’t work together. But then they come back two weeks later after they find out that this is the situation in the market and that they won’t find someone and then they award the project as a single sourcing. So we do see this quite often happening right now.

MN: And this is all a relatively new occurrence. Is it a compressed market, you’re very busy and a post-pandemic marketplace?

CD: yeah, I believe we are still in the post-pandemic market. So the market, there are studies that show that 75% of all agencies are gone over the pandemic. Then, after the pandemic, there is a drive for live events. So people want to do more live events, while the single client will do less events than they did pre-COVID. But they’re spending more time on the events they’re doing. And that is hitting a smaller agency market. And that just comes to the situation where there are lots more RFPs out there, then we can take on capacity-wise.

MN: Okay, sort of a good problem to have, not a great problem to have. But obviously, if you could pick and choose your clients, that’s always a good place to be. So I was at the IMEX America event a month ago, let’s say now. And everything I heard from exhibitors on the show floor was incredibly positive. Hotels are being booked up. Destinations were looking really good for the next few years. And it’s exciting, the energy around it, it’s great.

But I also see uncertainty in the markets. I see corporations tightening their budgets. You just told me there are fewer agencies in the market. And I’m thinking, is there is this going to plateau? What’s what? Where do you see the next year or the next two or three years? Because I feel like this can’t keep growing forever, right? People can’t keep booking events certainly for the next few years forever. Do you see there being a downturn eventually? Or how do you see this playing out?

CD: I believe what’s going to happen is that there will be more players in the market. So after more players enter the market, of course, it will relax a bit. But I believe that after the post-pandemic run for live events, we are about to have the next run into live events around the corner. This is due to AI because AI helps me to produce content that is almost effortless and budgetless. And I do need this because the newest figures say that we’re spending an average of 0.4 seconds on the video on TikTok. So, in these 0.4 seconds, you can imagine how many videos you go through content-wise and TikTok. Now, the former social media has become entertainment. So, people usually do not produce their own content; they are just consuming.

Now we have all this bunch of AI stuff, we have social media, and this will create live events in the future to be what social media used to be about. So getting people together and meeting. Therefore, we believe that because it’s the only true means of communication, the only authentic means of communication is live, we are hitting another run into live events while we are going more digital at the same time. So, I have an extremely positive outlook for the future.

MN: Very interesting. So, suppose I can summarize what you’re saying. In that case, the extra focus on social media and that sort of entertainment and over-saturation of social media will actually mean people look at events for community and for information where they used to do that through social media. Obviously, that means more business, but does that also mean new audiences potentially in this area where they use social media for those things?

CD: Absolutely. The pandemic showed us and all the studies being published before the pandemic, we always thought people decide to go to an event or decide an event was worth going there because of the amazing content, the great venues, the amazing food and stuff. No. People decide depending on serendipity, a word I actually didn’t know existed before the pandemic, so people want to meet other people and meeting other people also people from the brand and meeting them and taking out of this more coincidental encounter something new, something that transforms them personally. And I believe this is the magic that we have to look into, and this is how we also have to create low-threshold opportunities to really get together people and this also pays into communities and all the opportunities that come up with this.

MN: You’ve always been very interested in technology, and I believe you also have an AI division now in Barcelona, your AI studio. Tell us a little bit about how you see technology because I know there are a number of agencies and destinations that shied away from technology, particularly during the pandemic, but you didn’t. You’ve always been very engaged with technology. Where did that start,, and how did it develop?

CD: It’s a bit because I’m a geek, and I love new technologies and playing around with it, and especially if you’re working on high-profile projects, you need to make sure that whatever you’re using there has been tested and an agile approach is they’re extremely helpful. So we basically put together a sandbox team and gathered everyone who was skilled and wanted to work on this part. For some reason, they didn’t choose Wuppertal, Germany, but preferred to go to Barcelona instead. And this is where we put everyone together because there are so many developments. If you just take it from the graphical design momentum, you used to have 2D designers and 3D designers. And now you have AI designers who are creating pictures and cinematic photographs just by putting in text. And these are amazing capabilities there that will be the future in lots of parts.

MN: So, could you take me through an example? Because I mean, I’ve experimented with Midjourney and other image creators. How are you using this for your work?

CD: AI has so many fields you can go into. We just, languages is one opportunity. Sustainability brings it together in these parts. For example, 85% of the carbon footprint of an event is usually travel from the guests to the event and back. Now, the obvious solution is choosing the most optimized destination. And that’s where the destination, where the venue is, where everyone goes to. Therefore, we developed an AI technology as an API to Google Maps that when you just load up the 5,000 attendees, it gives you what the most optimized point on sustainable travel to and from the event would be. And so you have a basis for your decision.

But the entire process from Chat GPT. Helping you in project management phases, creating a whole new workflow for visualization. You can go from simple mood boards to creating stock pictures the exact way you like them. It is amazing what you can do there. But it takes some time until you get into it. And there are so many moments like being on a call right now. I could have the. AI focus my eyes on the camera all the time and make it a lot more engaging than me just speaking in these parts.

And I have lots of friends who keep asking me what is but how could I use AI? There is one very simple thing after you started doing this at home. If you have little kids, my recommendation start with Midjourney or take Dall-E or any other. Program text to picture program and pick a free one and start doing coloring pages for your kids. I’m doing this with my little daughter, and she just tells me she wants a ferry there, a mermaid, and a bus, and a castle, and a submarine. Then you just put this in and you create a coloring picture exactly up to the needs of the kid, and this is amazing. After you experience with this, seeing the potential that comes out of it.

MN: I’ve been experimenting with quite a few of the image generation and even the video text to video. I think it is really fascinating as the next level. But how are your clients receiving this because I’m assuming that you’re using it at different stages of the projects to visualize to create the graphics etc. Do they know it’s AI? Do they question it? How is that interaction?

CD: We are very transparent about it, so for example, we just launched an AI hotline for an event because the client it’s an event happening in a few weeks and with 7,000 people and the hotline is an AI hotline where you just dial up and then a virtual character says, “Hi I’m Chrissy, your event hotline. Ask me what’s going on.” Whatever question you like, we can cover 95% of all the questions on this hotline and it’s not this boring, “if you want to do this, press one or two,” or whatever. It really works, and it saves so much time that clients love it.

Also, for simple things like having the first draft for a save-the-date, you just load up the last ten save-the-dates and you get a pre-written document that makes it a lot faster to go into that and change it instead of starting out from scratch so I believe ai and together with our clients makes it more productive faster and more creative and by the end of the day it makes it more fun because ai is usually. Killing the processes that are extremely time-consuming and not much fun, and therefore, I do believe that AI will come into every part of the workflow of an event manager in the future.

MN: I tend to agree. Going back to your point about not bidding for projects, do you see an AI doing your bids for you?

CD: there are actually some cool tools, like Tome AI, that prepares the entire PowerPoint for you. But in the situation we are having as of now, I don’t see this really happening. But we do of course, the AI needs to get their knowledge from somewhere so that, like Chat GPT basically corrals the web, and this is the body of knowledge that it’s referring to bring something together.

So what we see in the future is we need to create an AI that is the event guest. And I believe we will be seeing a lot more robots in the audience in the future, monitoring what is happening up on stage. But what is also happening around us and how people are feeling, what their emotions are and how to create them. I believe we will be learning a lot more about how to create events that are truly engaging and get people to do whatever our task was for them to do after the event.

MN: What about the metaverse? Are you a believer, or do you think it’s something that’s not really going to work for events?

CD: I’m a true believer of the metaverse and I’m absolutely positive the metaverse is going to be the future of hybrid events. And no matter if we call it metaverse or spatial computing or AR, VR, XR or whatever, we are still missing a certain technology trigger because the glasses right now are still a bit brick-like you put in front of your face. And if you have a brick in front of your face, that is a bit of a problem.

But, with Apple’s Vision Pro coming out next year, I’m absolutely believing that they will change the industry. They brought us the smartphone and the watch. And if you think about it, the smartwatch also evolved in these parts. And as of now, I’m not using the iPhone number one anymore. It became a lot more slicker and better. And I believe, at a certain point, we will have prescription lenses on normal glasses that help you experience the real world and the virtual world at the same time. And this will create the true hybrid events that we are looking for.

MN: So you’re suggesting the experience would be more of an augmented reality but very engaged with the events, programming, and everything. The networking around you will be more of an augmentation to what you’re experiencing rather than an escape, is what I’m saying.

CD: Absolutely. I believe it is only the solution to bringing it together into a live setting where people can attend virtually as well. This will close the gap between digital and live events. It will never get as good as a true live event. This is why all of your listeners are definitely in the right industry because, due to the campfire gene, life events will always be the master discipline. And, like in the beginning of mankind, we were all drawn to the campfire. And this campfire gene is in all of us. So I believe that if you don’t do that in your life, simply accept it because it’s just exactly live events will always be there and become even more important.

MN: We mentioned your Barcelona design studio. And I know that in the VOK DAMS group, you actually have a number of different companies, right? How many in total do you have at the moment?

CD: 16.

MN: I believe, at least with Mr. Wolf consulting, it’s a pilot project in a way where you partner, and it’s a separate company, and you’re a part owner of the company. Is that how you run all of them, or is that a specific situation there?

CD: We do have a partner setup. And usually, people we are working together, if they want to become self-employed, then we open up a company together, if we have a working business model. I’m not sure if you know where Mr. Wolf comes from. Pulp fiction. At some point, when they had an unfortunate accident, you may remember, they called up Mr. Wolf to fix it. And he answered the call with, like, I’m 40 minutes away. I’ll be there in 20.

This is a mission-driven marketing consultancy, very much based on live experiences. This is because we’ve had the experience that a lot of our clients do need consulting services. Sometimes, it makes more sense to have a different entity take care of the consulting services than the event production. And this is why we separated this, which used to be a former in-house unit, and made an entire team out of it. They have their own offices in Berlin.

Our AI studio in Barcelona just opened a few weeks ago. We do have 42 INCENTIVE, a company mainly based on travel incentive programs. And 42 base comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You can tell that I’ve been reading some nerdy stuff when I was little, but this is where the 42 name comes from. And then we have a few other companies that like ce&co, which is basically on 3D creation and on event creation, very much focusing.

MN: In total you have about 300 people that work under you. Is that number accurate?

CD: yeah.

MN: Is this kind of structure almost a prerequisite for having a big company but being able to sleep at night?

CD: I like the agile approach. When I joined 27 years ago, I was the youngest in the company, and therefore, at this time, I called it decentralized context management. And then, we just started out opening different offices in China, the U.S., the Middle East, and other parts of the world. We basically started doing stuff together with an amazing team. And if we have team members who have an idea and want to create a company out of it, then we usually do this.

MN: I love the entrepreneurial spirit there when you’re welcome to work with other people who have created their own entities. I think that’s really welcoming. But tell me a little bit about China. I think you’re going to celebrate your 20th anniversary. I think I saw a post about that recently. You were there very early. I’m sure that’s gone through lots of different developments. Could you take us through a little bit of that journey and what it looks like today?

CD: We were actually one of the or the first Western agency in China. And right after the… Basically, it also happened with a client. More and more clients asked us to help with projects in China, mainly automotive industry. And… So our team then stayed in China for one project and then another project. And after a while, we had a team in China staying for four months at a time, so we figured, let’s do… Let’s start out there.

We started out with a joint venture in the beginning, but then experienced for our mainly western customers. It was more important. And… To have a purely Western agency at this time. But then in the last 20 years, it changed that we have mainly a completely Chinese team now. And we’re working for more and more Chinese brands in China or for Chinese brands entering the European or the American markets. So the market totally changed. But I’m a huge fan of China. And it’s an amazing market. Now it’s become also a place to get clients, not just deliver events for Western clients.

MN: I also read recently that you got your iso 20121 sustainability certification, right? And you mentioned this before. This is quite an important thing for you.

CD: Especially in the European Union, we have the same supply chain you did. And there’s a new diligence act coming where every company has to fulfill certain [criteria] or has to make sure that their supply chain is sustainable. How do you do this to make sure that your supply chain is sustainable if you are sourcing large events? Therefore, the iso 20121 is extremely helpful because it’s an international standard for sustainable event management and gives the client peace of mind that they can tick the box. That their agency, along with all the third parties, is fulfilling what they are requested to fulfill in the supply chain due diligence.

MN: I think you’re getting ahead of the curve there when it comes to sustainability. So very commendable. So, one of the things I wanted to ask you about. I want to talk a bit about industry challenges and big-picture challenges. If you had to pick a big challenge that’s coming up ahead that you’re getting ready for, that you’re preparing at a high level, would that be sustainability? Or are there other challenges that you’re focused on right now?

CD: I believe there are two challenges. One is sustainability, for sure. And the other one is the digital transformation. And both challenges. I’m never going to peak. We started out with sustainability 20 years ago. We created the first CO2 footprint calculator online where you could roughly calculate the CO2 footprint of your event. So, therefore, these both also go hand in hand. And this is, I believe, the challenge of the future to see where the new technologies help us to be creating even more sustainability. These are the two major streams that we allocate manpower to work on and to find new solutions for the future.

MN: I find it interesting that you combine those two and that you see those as part of the same issue or complementary issues. What about things that you’d like to see changed in the industry? I asked this question with a little bit of a joke, but if you had a magic wand. And if you could wave your magic wand and something would just change, maybe a system, a process or anything that you see as a barrier in the industry, what would you change? What would your wish be?

CD: this is an interesting question. I’m pretty happy with the industry and how it’s running this part. I also like the transparency and the teamwork we are having with lots of other partners, from third-party suppliers to even competitor agencies. And I believe this is what totally changed. So my wish already came true during the pandemic. It moved us all closer together. Every single day I do get a call from a former competitor or someone who says, I’m doing something in China. Can we work together? And this is going extremely well right now. So we are working together on eye level or sometimes even as a subcontractor for other agencies. That would have never happened before. So I honestly have to say my wish has already come true.

MN: What about the future of events? We’ve touched on this a little bit. But do you think that events will look very different in, let’s say, five years’ time?

CD: I believe that events will change. And right. Now, with the post-pandemic situation, we still have the issue that everyone inside a company wants to put their content out there. And therefore, a lot of times, events are packed with content and people are not given the opportunity to really have these serendipity moments. But I do believe we will come into a new feeling that. Having. Time at an event is a luxury, and this is a luxury that i, as a brand inviting guests to my event, am willing to give. And therefore, I do believe that we do see events in the future where we get the frame, but which are not packed with content but are really giving the opportunity to have these serendipity moments. And I believe this is going to be the major change we are going to see in the future.

MN: Do you have a vision for what that looks like? Is that like an unconference situation where people are given more choices? Is it more about giving people free time? How does that play out in your mind?

CD: I believe it’s all of the above. So there will be moments where you love to attend some session where you just sit down and relax and watch what’s happening there. It will go to an extent to a corporate festival. It will go to an event. Feeling where you just pick and choose your content but it will also be that having a conversation will not be just in the coffee break or that we are creating coffee breaks that really give me an opportunity to talk to other people than just to get my caffeine intake taken care of. so really maximizing those moments to get those moments of serendipity or to generate moments of serendipity

MN: The last question I have for you is really about the future generations or the future talent in the industry, right? I think there’s, I don’t know if you’re sensing this, but there’s a bit of a gap. It’s hard to attract young people into the industry, so it’s a two-part question. Any advice on how to attract people but also any advice to young people who are interested in the industry and who are interested in the industry and who are people who are interested in the industry want to grow their career and build their reputation.

CD: Right now, this gap is in every industry, no matter where you go. My tip is what we can also do as an agency. We are trying to speak at universities are supporting young people with internships and their first steps or also taking part in an interview for their bachelor or master theses and like this, and I believe that the magic we are all feeling if you convey this and again just it to students or people of every age then we will have no problem in gathering enough people being born into this industry.

MN: I love that idea of people being bored into it, and when people are in the industry, let’s say young people professionals, what’s your advice for them to develop their career to look to the future and aim high?

CD: Get into the industry as fast as possible. You also don’t just go to university or to college, school or whatever and focus just on the learning layer. Get into it hands-on because this is where the magic is happening. And we do have programs where students can work part-time and enjoy working in the agency even during their studies. And most of these people, this is actually where our management team, most of them started out working at an agency and quite a few of them started out working at VOK DAMS even while they were going to university. They were just going to university before looking for their first job and then you get the touch and feel and you also do see if this is right for you, and then this is the best decision you can take.

MN: You can see the progression or how they’ve progressed and where they got in their career. So I think that’s an excellent example. Colja, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I hope the listeners also enjoyed the conversation. I want to ask you the last question that I ask all our guests, which is, could you recommend somebody else who we should interview on the podcast?

CD: First of all, I thank you very much for having me here. Well, and I have to compliment you. This is by far the best well-prepared podcast I’ve been on for from you asking the question. So thank you very much. Thank you. Coming up with this question, whom would I recommend? I would go for Joe Pine. Pine and Gilmore. Many of you will remember Joe. He wrote the book The Experience Economy 20 some years back. He hit on even in this book that the next big thing after the Experience Economy is going to be the Transformation Economy. And this is exactly what we are in right now. And if you manage to get a hold of him, this would be a podcast I’m looking very much forward to.

MN: excellent. We’ll look into it. S few people have recommended Joe Pine, so I will look and try to get him on the podcast. I’ve read the book, and I am a fan of his work, so it would be great to have a conversation with him and explore those themes and what he’s working on now because I’m sure he’s got some new ideas as well.