The Third Degree: Simon Fabich of Monoqi

By David Knight |

This week in The Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we take the time to get to know Berlin’s brightest CEOs, we spoke to Simon Fabich of Monoqi about ancient Chinese culture and growing up in the American Sector.

SILICON ALLEE: If you weren’t the CEO of a startup, what would you be doing?

SIMON FABICH: Before I did anything in the business world I was studying sinology, which is the study of Chinese culture, in Beijing and Shanghai. I also studied business in Singapore, and worked and lived in Vietnam, so Asia is where my fascination lies. I would probably do something bringing Asian and European culture and business together. Maybe something like supporting Asian companies to enter the European market and vice versa.

SA: What made you interested in Asia?

SF: It was a childhood fascination. I was always fascinated by the terracotta warriors in the beginning and  then the culture, the history. It’s more the historical China that really fascinated me than the contemporary, at least in terms of culture. Now of course it’s also the economic and political development which excites me a lot.

SA: What do you like about Berlin?

SF: Ich bin ein Berliner, actually. I love the diversity. When I was growing up in South West Berlin, in the American sector, it was already incredible to have such an international environment. I really loved this in my childhood. Then seeing East and West merge and become one city with totally different areas. If you move from one district to the other, from west to east, there’s such big diversity and different facets of the city and I love that. Plus, it’s supposed to be the city with the most trees in the world, which makes it very green, very friendly, very open. It’s a city that’s close to nature and there are not very many of those.

SA: East or West Berlin?

SF: West during the daytime, East in the nighttime. I live in the East now but I grew up in the West. Emotionally I’m more attached to the West, but it’s more exciting and more vibrant in the East. Both have benefits.

SA: When you leave Berlin, where do you go?

SF: If I have time on the weekends I usually go to a farmhouse with friends an hour away from Berlin. We drink nice wine, have barbeques and spend the weekend there. I also really like going to the Baltic Sea. I recently started sailing there, which is beautiful and calming. It’s a great experience and you can do it over the weekend, which is great.

SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

SF: On the rare occasions that I’m not working, I like to hang out with my friends. We usually hang out, drink some wine and cook together. I also love sports, especially team sports like beach volleyball or basketball. I love to see the sun as well – if the sun is shining, I’ll try to consume as much as possible. We have beautiful places here in Berlin; I love to go to the lakes and forests in West Berlin. My favourite lake is Grunewaldsee where I love to just walk around and free my mind. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy in your spare time.

SA: What is your favourite café, bar and restaurant here in Berlin?

SF: That’s a mean question for someone who works so much! There’s a new restaurant that I like quite a lot, an Asian restaurant called Long March Canteen in Kreuzberg. It’s got good food and great interior design. I also love to go to places where I can have a good steak and a drink, like The Bird or Fleischerei. I don’t really go to bars, I’m not really a bar guy, never was. My favourite café is the Monoqi kitchen (laughs).

SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?

SF: In this fast-paced world we are in right now it’s hard to even predict two years. What I hope will happen is that it won’t be interfering too much with real life; that it runs parallel to life and doesn’t suck people away too much from the real world. I think that would be rather unhealthy for humanity. But I would not dare to consider what it would be like in ten years.