Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview 16: Megaklis Vintiadis-A true legend in the TV

This week in the DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN) Blog we do host Megaklis Vintiadis (MV), a person who spent all his life in the TV industry, a person who created his own legend. One of the most interesting interviews that may teach us loads of things, enjoy it.
DPN: Megakli your origin is from Egypt. What this country means for you?
MV: Egypt is my country. I was born there; I grew up and spent my best years of my life. I was raised in the hug of the river Nile. My life began from Egypt.
DPN: You are a true legend in the Greek TV. May you describe us in some words your story in the TV?
MV: Well, as soon as I left Egypt and moved to Greece I attend for three years the famous that time “Athens School of Arts” of D. Rondiri. Upon my graduation I was working as an actor in Greek Theater. In 1966 there were auditions for three plays. In “Lysistrati” of our ancient Greek  Aristofani , in “Andigoni” a musical play of the well known around the world composer Mikis Theodorakis  and a musical play of another famous composer Stavros Xarhakos called “Monastiraki”. I succeed to all of them, and here I am performing in major cities all around Australia and New Zeeland in the “Festival of Elizabethan Theater Trust of Australia” under the sponsorship of her Royal Highness Queen Mother of England. Then everything came upside down. I fall in love!  You think of a woman?  Unfortunately, I was in love with Television! Throughout our interviews in several TV I was fascinated with this world it was like a spell on me. I felt that television studios was my world, there I was belong. USA here I come!!! I studied in Boston and I worked there as a director, but life is unexpected and my return to Greece was beyond my will. Though I got lucky because Greek Television that time was an “infant” and as a good “father” I took care of this child during the adulthood and its successful life for me and for “her”.
DPN: A number of the today TV stars in the Greek TV owns their success to you. How is your relationship with those people now?
MV: The truth is that I was lucky enough and had the chance to work with the greatest names of Greek cinema. Actors as well as writers and my duty were to give opportunities to others and help them succeed. I have given my knowledge to young generation actors, presenters and anchormen, directors, who all of them have been and they are very successful as we speak. I am proud of them. Personally, I believe in people’s soul, education, respect and ethics. I did what I had to. If some of them appreciate my role in their life and respect it, I am happy. Others are trying to forget. It’s OK who says that life is fare. Although, I love each and every one of them and still I am watching through distance the progress of their carrier.
DPN: Unfortunately, Greece is facing really difficult times. What are the reasons in your opinion that led in this situation in your opinion?
MV: Greece had to know that some time the result would be this. Unfortunately from 1980 and onwards there have been lots and crucial mistakes from all Greek Politian’s. Shall I begin commenting on the Public Sector? Thousands of people were hired for a vote. Millions of Drachmas and Euros were come and go from one pocket to on ether, countless of economic scandals. Lack of public organization, beaurocracy, lack of public health, lack of public education I could write pages with the lack of.  All governments had one and only interest to get voted no matter the cost (short run and long run). Alas, all these have to stop one day. Nevertheless it’s not easy, I could say it’s very hard and it becomes harder while all these politicians who brought Greece in this situation as it today they became Greece saviors. I wish whenever Greece gets out of this crisis, Greeks take a good lesson and learn from their mistakes.
DPN: Who is the ultimate star in the Greek TV and why?
MV: I don’t think that there is ultimate star. In Greek society there’s not such a star system as we are all familiar to. There are many popular and successful personalities all well known artists some of them worldwide. I believe that, a star has a character, an attitude, strong beliefs, education, public recognition and a certain way of life style. If you want me to name someone as a star of today, I should say to you Lakis Lazopoulos. He is talented; he has the acceptance of the public and collects some of the criteria. He is very successful.
DPN: Recently you visited Dubai. What’s your experience from that city?
MV: Dubai is a city phenomenon; allow me to tell you that I could give the Dubai “city of the millennium”. Dubai proves that if a man has vision, ambition, and belief can create anything. My first visit in Dubai left me speechless and every time that I come is a new experience for me. I love Dubai.
DPN: You are a person who has travelled a lot. Share with us some of your travel experiences.
MV:  My life is traveling around the world. Recently, I realized that through my trips all these years I became the person who I am today. It fascinates me the fact that each country either in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and America has a story to tell. I enjoy learning each culture, habits and way of life, taste the food, feel the air, the smells because each and everyone has its beauties. Needless to tell you, that my favorite countries are those of the Middle East. It’s difficult to share experiences, because every traveler keeps in his hart what “feeds” his mind and soul.    
DPN: If your life was a movie what the title would be and which actor would be the protagonist?
MV:   “Good Night & Good Luck”   leading actor: Al Pacino
DPN: Share with us your future plans?
MV: It was my dream to create a friendly cozy restaurant bar where people will enjoy good food and good wine and spend their valuable time enjoying. Some day in the near future, I want to believe that it will come true. Meanwhile, I consume a lot of time in my wife’s yachting company which has to do with renovation and refitting of motor yachts. It’s a demanding, and very creative activity. 
DPN: Who is your favorite film director and why?
MV: Quentin Tarantino, simply because he is a “psycho”, inventive, and innovative. It takes a piece of “nothing” and he turns it to something.
DPN: Do you have a life philosophy?
MV: Whatever I do in my life “I do it my way”. It may sound selfish, but this is how I survived. It’s all upon survival, and lives a life that every single morning you say “this is a new bright day grab the opportunity and make it happen”. Life is too short. Size the day and live your life as worthy as could be.
DPN: What was the most difficult moment you faced in your business life and how did you manage it?
MV: Our life is a risky business. I take my chances and I move on learning from my mistakes, evaluating each and every moment. Difficult moments come and go all we need is the brain, and soul to overcome these obstacles. Media is a fast paced life fulls of “difficult moments” my belief is that when you have a strong “stomach” and common sense you do not step on the “mud”. 
DPN: Share with us a dream that never came true.
MV:  Once I would love to be a singer! But, when I heard my voice I decided to let others sing for me. I suppose that this dream will never come true. The only place that I sing is my bathroom sometimes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview 15: Thiago Fontes-Doing business in Latin America

This time in the DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN) Blog we do host Thiago Fontes (TF), a young entrepreneur from Brazil who is talking to us about his projects and how business opportunities in Brazil are. Is the future of business in that side of the world? Let’s find out together.

DPN: Thiago you are the Founder of KIOOS ( May you tell us some words about your project?

TF: Kioos is a relatively new project. Founded in March 2011, it provides strategic consultancy in the areas of interaction design and gamification to a variety of industries. Our goal is to create memorable digital experiences that drive engagement and motivation, always focusing on our clients’ KPIs

DPN: What is your vision for KIOOS?

TF: We are currently the only agency in Brazil, and even Latin America, with this focus. Our plan is to consolidate the industry by bringing better UX standards to the country

DPN: Apart from the KIOOS you have also found and the Rebel Hostel, may you let us know about those as well?

TF: is a crowdfunding platform focused on the cultural and creative industries. It is currently the second biggest in the country in term of project, volume of incentives and unique visitors. Rebel hostel was a fun project but unfortunately it has not gone further. It was aimed at a different segment of tourism in Rio de Janeiro, focusing on people who are not necessarily here for Samba, Football and Beach.

DPN: What is your opinion about doing business online?

TF: Online businesses are still a new terrain to me, even though I’m on my second project. Brazil is a great place for online businesses, especially those with social aspects. Unfortunatelly, there’s much to be done in the country in terms of legislation governing online businesses, but we’re getting there.

DPN: Esther Dyson a Swiss journalist stated that “the internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect”. Comment that to us.

TF: I agree to a large extent. In Brazil you can see that in regards to social networking. I believe the online behavior has accentuated the famous brazilian inclination towards socializing. However, I also few that it has given rise to new behaviors here. Politically, the role the internet has played in the organization of recent protests is a good example of articulation that would not have happened otherwise.

DPN: At the past you have worked also in a MN company. What are the main differences of working for such a giant as SONY in comparison with doing business by your own.

TF: I can honestly say that I still don’t know what exactly I did at Sony. It’s so easy to get lost in a myriad of numbers, positions, departments. You’re easily alienated from the process. It slows innovation and makes you react a lot more than you act. I prefer novelty, chaos and maneuverability.

DPN: Originally you are from Brazil. What your Brazil means for you?

TF: I was born 3 years before the end of the military dictatorship (which went from 64 to 85). It was an atmosphere of hope and the sense that brazil was “the country of the future”. The hope soon gave way to procrastination and that future never arrived. I feel like we’re taking that hope back. We’re still a long way to go in terms of an entrepreneur culture and infrastructure, but you can already taste the difference. I believe in a bright future ahead of us.

DPN: What business opportunities may Brazil offer to a young entrepreneur?

TF: Everything! Last week I had a meeting with an established entrepreneur and he said to me: “if you open a bakery in Rio, make good quality products and provide a great service, you can make a killing”. There’s so much to be created and even recreated! However, doing business here is still very different from doing business in America or Europe. You have to accept a high level of bureaucracy and the fact that people are more laid back (which I’m beginning to think it’s not such a bad thing)

DPN: Who is the person in your life that has inspired you most?

TF: I don’t think I have ever been inspired by great names. They all seem to distant. My father and grandfather (each in their own way) have inspired me greatly. 

DPN: You spent a number of your years in U.K. Share with us this experience.

TF: Like Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. I learned a lot about myself and adversity. There’s no better lesson than those you learn about yourself

DPN: You are a person who travelled a lot. Tell us some of your travel experiences.

TF: You think? :) I don’t know... Been around in Europe quite a lot (pretty much all of it, I think). America, a bit of South America. I don’t think I have learned anything from my travels. It has given me more questions than asnwers. The best part was fitting it all back in my daily life. There’s a quote by George Moore I really like: A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.

DPN: May you share with us some words of wisdom?

TF: I think one of the wisest things I ever heard is this: Do what you love. Everything else is secondary (thanks Mr Jobs!!)

DPN: If your life was a book what the title of it will be?

TF: “Not all those who wander are lost”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Interview 14: Kanat Kutluk-Turkish businessman shines in Dubai

Kanat Kutluk (KK) a really successful business man who is experiencing the life in Dubai, shares with us his story in this interview of Dubai Profile News (DPN) Blog. After managing 12 years a MN company for sure his words counts.

DPN: Kanat you are a successful professional working in ECOLAB in a high managerial position today, for more than 12 years. How is it to work in the same company for such a long time?

KK: It is something really pleasant. Nowadays, business environment networking is crucial both inside and outside of your company. The more time you spend in the same company and you work in different regions, the more you have the chance to get to know more colleagues and clients that enables your operation and strengthens your career. Of course, there are downsides of it as well.

DPN: You live the last years of your life in Dubai. What does this city means for you?

I spent almost 6 years of my life in Dubai with loads of traveling within Africa, Middle East and Subcontinent countries.  Dubai is my home and my family, the city where I always return. It is also the ‘City of Life’ like a recent Emirati film stated a real cross cultural hub.

DPN: Originally you are from Turkey. Tell us some things about your country.

KK: Like the rest of the population I feel very much connected to Turkey whether living abroad or in the country. I think Turkish Republic has achieved to establish a democratic state from the ashes of one of the major empire of its time. Even though that still we so struggle in ideologies from the past and future but for sure people are willing and are passionate to do their best for a better living and the future seems to be brighter. 

DPN: You are managing at the moment 65 countries under the umbrella of your company. How do you handle such a responsibility?

KK: Teamwork, delegation and trust. I work with a highly talented and committed team that makes things easier. Additionally I need coordination, collaboration and dedication. Today’s market is a war zone, and each additional asset on this battle zone is welcomed. Courage, leadership and strategy are also essential elements for the success.

DPN: In Dubai you are a resident of the Palm Jumeirah Island, the dream of many people. Share with us this unique living experience.

KK: In general Dubai is providing really high standards of living for its residents but living on the Palm Island, right on the sea is just fun, we are really enjoying it. However, after a while you are getting used of it and become a routine.

DPN: Due to your business responsibilities you need to travel really a lot. Let us know some of your more interesting trips around the world?

KK: Africa is far away one of the most interesting place you a person may travel. Nigeria is a country with huge potentials but at the same time with a number of difficulties. In one of my trips we headed straightaway from the airport straightaway to a public hospital for vaccination. Ethiopia hosts a really beautiful environment with very nice people but on the other hand you can see loads of poverty there. A really dangerous experience that I could share with you was a time that I was in Lahore, Pakistan, very close to the Liberty square, when some people started shooting the Sri Lankan cricket team convoy on the morning of 3rd march 2009. I also traveled to Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles for business, places which are more than pleasant. The more you travel the more you learn. I do enjoy it.

DPN: Take us through one of your latest projects.

KK: Makah Royal Clock Tower by Fairmont - Raffles Hotels is a giant Hotel project with almost 4000 rooms. It is a hotel which will set new standards in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia along with the new opening of the Ritz Carlton Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is like a film in fast forward, things change rapidly.

DPN: You are working for a MN company and you are the person who established the Dubai
office. How was that experience?

KK: To establish the Dubai office was a unique experience, I have done a lot of new things I wouldn’t normally do if I didn’t have this opportunity. Human Resources in Dubai is quite diversified, you need to build up the experience to be able to make the right selection. I have learned a lot and new skills through experience.

DPN: Apart from being a manager in your company you do need to “manage” also your family. What is the balance between a successful professional and his family?

As I do reach in a few years my 40s, I start reconciling business and family life and I am a stage comes that I shall spend more time and energy with my family. When I do say “energy” I mean that sometimes we are physically with our family but mentally not. And this is something that children may sense the difference. Also I have to say that we are a really good team with my wife as both of us we do work and we share responsibilities and try to take the best decisions and implement as much as we can. I do feel lucky.

 DPN: Who was the role model in your life?

KK: I guess many guys would give you the same answer; my father. His passion to do things in the best possible way always impressed me. Many skills of him as his hard work, the dedication, the commitment and his patience always inspired me.

DPN: If a young person would like to work in Dubai what would you advise?

KK: I would recommend to that person to be innovative as it is not easy nowadays to get a really good job. First of all he shall try to focus on the distinctive specialties he has to do his job compared to others so to differentiate. That shall be stated in the CV in a very clear way. First question to ask is “why to recruit myself for this job”.

DPN: How do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

KK: Either as the Company Director in a MN company or as a Company Owner of an International Trading company preferably based in Dubai.

DPN: Share with us some words of wisdom that you follow.

KK: Whatever you do in your life do it in the best possible way and work hard on yourself at the same time. The day you think I that you are done the day you start declining, it is a journey that never ends.

DPN: Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author said “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”. Comment that.

It is true that one can only reach success if he constantly seeks and works for it, you need to be ambitious to be able to get there. On the contrary, I must say I have recently started rediscovering the meanings of success and in parallel happiness. There might be some other ways to achieve that and those might be different than the ones we are thought. I think all depends on our choices about life.