This week in the Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we chat with some of Berlin’s best CEOs, we spoke to Thorsten Luettger of Musicplayr about avoiding the countryside and Japanese eating culture.
SILICON ALLEE: If you weren’t the CEO of a startup, what would you be doing?
THORSTEN LUETTGER: For me being a CEO is not about telling someone what to do or leading a company in the first place. It’s a nice thing to shape a company but it’s really about building a product, building something beautiful that you can see and feel, creating things. So if I weren’t a CEO, I would be a freelancer. I would just build beautiful consumer Internet stuff: that’s something that would make me happy. That’s my hobby, that’s what I really love to do.
SA: What do you like about Berlin?
TL: This is rather easy. What I like about Berlin is the mash up of East and West. Where else do you have this in the world, that you’ve got this chance of rebuilding or reshaping a city from 20 years ago? This open space we had and that we still have gives room for a lot of creativity and from my point of view, Berlin is one of the leading metropoles in the world. I think this is a big chance, and a big fortune for Berlin. It’s about this creativity stuff: you have crazy events, you have crazy parties, you have huge opportunities. It’s just awesome.
SA: East or West Berlin?
TL: It depends what you want to do. For me it’s the combination of both. There are wonderful parts in the West and there are wonderful parts in the East, but to be honest without the East, Berlin wouldn’t be what it is today. It’s not like it’s only the East; if I’m going out, it’s mainly in the East but if I’m going for sports or for recreational stuff, I’ll go to the West. I need both.
SA: When you leave Berlin, where do you like to go?
TL: I like South America a lot, Sydney, and Barcelona. Some things in common for those areas is that you have good weather and you have beaches and the sea: this is something that I really like. Even though it’s far away, I would like to spend time there. In Germany it depends what you want to do. From an architectural or historical point of view Dresden is wonderful, it’s the most beautiful German city. I love Cologne, I like Hamburg a lot and even Frankfurt. As you can see I’m more a city guy, not so much into the countryside.
SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
TL: Two things: sports and going out with friends. I work a lot, of course, and I always try to squeeze my sport in because I think sport is not only fitness – it makes you a happier person because it gives you a channel to relieve stress and resets your mind a little bit. Going out is still something that I really enjoy. For me it’s connected to listening to a certain type of music and combining this with friends. Doing sports with friends is wonderful as well. I love doing boot camp style workouts and I’ve just started parkour.
SA: What’s your favourite cafe, bar and restaurant here in Berlin?
TL: I’m really into Japanese food. It’s the number one food in the world because it’s so delicious and healthy.One place I really like is Sasaya at Helmholzplatz. You can sit on the floor like you do in classic Japanese restaurants. I was in Japan ten years ago and I really like the eating culture: everything’s really well prepared with a lot of love and devotion. Bars for me are just a starting point where I meet friends so we just pick one, it’s not so important. Going to clubs is something which matters to me: the Panorama Bar, the Berghain, I think Ritter Butzke is quite cool and of course Kater Holzig. Those are places that I really enjoy. Cafes are where I usually meet up with someone, so it should have the benefit of being in the middle of A and B, and if you need to work they have wifi everywhere.
SA: If you could employ anyone, who would you employ?
TL: That’s a very difficult question: I’ve thought about that before. I would hire Oliver Samwer for his executional excellence and his laser focus.
SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?
TL: If I knew where the Internet would be in ten years, then everything would be perfect, right? To be honest, no one knows. Everyone who is in the industry knows there are certain trends: all this mobile stuff and the cloud and all those things. The border between humans themselves and the connection to the Internet will diminish; it will be integrated in your life. You have these smart things which have this connection to the Internet already, and I think this will grow evermore. I honestly believe no one knows, and we have some guesses of what we could work on, where we could focus on.