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Siems Luckwaldt: First of all, please give us your name and what you do.
Dan Bjerg: My name is Dan. Dan and I’m working in _____ (0:07) karma developer.
What is that? You got to explain that.
Yeah. It’s kind of a spacey title.
Sitting in a corner all day, ummm…something like that?
I was initially hired to develop all the sport product you have in _____ (0:22) so you get some kind of direction to it. So let’s say we have this _____ (0:27) our policy called Company Karma. And _____ (0:29) can be _____ (0:31) through our back bones so to say, both internally to create a culture, saying okay we want a karma culture.
But also because we want to change _____ (0:42) projects that when you do that. So I work really closely with the partners and sponsorships in Afghanistan and _____ (0:53).
From top level, which are their national teams, to the grass root level sort of to build for _____ (1:00) football clubs, all in which we sponsor or partner with to try to you know to show that sport can be a vessel for social change.
And _____(1:10) you’re organizing the diplomats, right?
With the _____ ?
Yeah. That was last year. I might be doing the same this year. And again this is to collect influential people _____ (1:21).
How does that work? I mean who’s playing against whom? What’s behind the term _____ (1:27)?
Last year, it was actually top diplomats all from UN, a few politicians, US based politicians and then NGOs actually.
And this year it will be a mix between _____ (1:40) moon and some of the diplomats. Sean Parker from Napster.
Are they any good? I mean how was it last year?
_____ (1:49) moon played right and left field in last year, and he wasn’t that good. But there was actually some _____ (1:57).
It’s more the spirit than the actual performance on the field.
It’s the spirit yeah. Yeah and for the diplomats it’s also just you know a get together. It’s really informal. So for them it’s just you know.
It’s nice to meet each other outside you know. They don’t wear any tie …
Right. Right. Right. Right.
… or something. They can just have a nice day. So it’s also just an event for them so to say, where we have the possibility to explain what they’re doing around the world.
Now the term karma developer, company karma, that sounds a little out there, a little esoteric even.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
What drew you to take this role? I mean are you a spiritual guy? Because you have to have some kind of connection right? This is not something you do you know just on an _____ (2:44) and then it’s working? You have to have a stronger connection than that.
Yeah. Yes and no, I would say because there isn’t any religion in this.
It’s just every action has a consequence and if you write a good action _____ (2:57) action or good deed back to you.
And that’s the main core and the philosophy.
But my background is in _____ (3:06), history of ideas.
So of course I have some kind of knowledge within philosophy and stuff. But I focus a lot of you know bringing it down to understandable level instead of you know having this esoteric ______ (3:20).
So that’s what we want to do with this _____ (3:23).
And you’ve done all sorts of things over the last couple of years, many of whom we saw yesterday and looking back through _____ (3:37) history. What could be next? What are you looking for? I mean, you have partnerships already, but there’s always probably the next big thing right? What are you currently working on, and what are you looking for?
I think what we’re looking for right now is _____ (3:54) have what we want so to say.
We have _____ (3:58) in Afghanistan. And instead of just you know moving out and doing something else, I think it would go deep. We will start _____ (4:06), and can you imagine the change we make? The next big question for us is, how should we use this
commercially? Is it something that we will have in all our magazines and communication, or is it actual … you mentioned yourself, is it too esoteric? Can we make a connection between those? That will be the next big step so to say.
Do you have the company benefit a little more from what you do?
Yeah. That will be the next big thing we need to discuss because of course we’re doing this also for you guys to tell a good story, but we want to do this by heart. We are passionate about this, and should it be something that we do by sheer choice? Or should we combine it even more with our communication? That will be the next thing.
With that said, I also want to have _____ (4:53) in the local sphere.
That means Denmark or that means at least Europe, or?
The _____ (5:00) festival, where we actually have five asylums interested in Denmark where we practice female asylum seekers in football and _____ (5:11) in music. So they have their own team song so to say. They can show it at the _____ (5:18) festival. That’s the first thing we have done in Denmark.
_____(5:24) also in Germany and in France to see if …
Any ideas for Germany already?
We have been talking a lot about having this same concept that we have in _____ (5:34).
In Germany, and we’re looking into how we can scale that down, scale it to Germany to have practice for a female asylum seekers in Germany.
What are they seeking asylum for? Domestic violence or refugees?
Refugees. Okay. Okay.
Another thing is I also talk to the Afghan _____ (5:57) in Germany. They have actually the football federation in Afghanistan. They have hard finding good football players in the country. That’s one of the reasons why we actually partner with the football league, to nurture talent.
But in Germany every year Afghans living in Europe, they’re going to Germany to play football.
Oh I didn’t know that.
And then the football federation actually scalp players.
So we’re talking to …
To bring back to their home country in a way.
So we are actually also figuring out if we can do something there, but that’s still Afghans living in Germany and other native German persons.
But I figure that’s probably a tricky balance right? Because on the one hand you’re a for profit company, and there are definitely critics who say, you know this is something nice to have. This is, as you said, something for marketing or press purposes, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I would say. But on the other hand, there are so many new things that come in. I mean you manufacture in China and Vietnam mainly. You know Apple had many problems. I mean, it never ends right? You want to give back and you want to be politically correct and ecologically correct. That’s fair trade. How do you keep focused on the product? Because this is the main drive of _____ (7:27) is right?
If the product doesn’t sell, there’s nothing to give back. And that’s such a tricky concept.
That you’re handling pretty well, I would say right now. But it’s probably getting even trickier.
And I totally agree. That was also mentioned before that we will try to see how we can combine it even better. I think they realize a big communication task there. Because I think it could be done. It’s just shortly _____ (7:56) and so to say. Here in Denmark we had a test trial so to say where if you bought a football in specific shops around Denmark, we say okay one for one. So if you buy one, we will give one to them.
It’s like with the _____ (8:11) shoes, right?
Yeah. Yeah. One to one.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Did that go well?
It go pretty well. Yeah. I think we sent 5,500 hundred footballs.
Oh wow. That was pretty good.
I don’t know if you’ve seen our new app.
We made a football game app.
Where you score goals in the different _____ (8:30) on different turfs that we sponsor around the world. So you can play at _____ (8:34) Stadium.
That’s my home town. Hamburg.
Yes. And you can play in _____ (8:39). You can play in _____ (8:40) and you know.
Against other players?
No it’s more like you have a ball and then you spike it into the goal.
Oh okay. Okay.
And if you get enough _____ (8:50) trophies, we will send a football to _____ (8:53) in your name.
Oh right, right, right, right.
So you get to have a ball where you can see your name and …
Okay. Like keeping score on who sent the most balls so to speak.
So that’s not combination but close, but it’s still…
It’s like _____ (9:04) at the level. Yeah, okay.
Yeah. Social gaming so to say. But after that social responsibility.
So what you will see from us in the next years is, we will try to find the right angle to do this. I don’t think we have found the right recipe yet. But I am surely confident that we will find one, because this is what we want to do.
It shouldn’t be something _____ (9:29) only. This _____ (9:31) of the company and you saw it yesterday. This is something that everybody really feels strong for.
Yeah. It was an amazing atmosphere of you know doing stuff together and all the people.
_____ (9:45) on the show area there. Finally, one question that interests me is, you personally. What do you do? Because that’s probably infectious right? Handling all the stuff and the company. What do you do on a personal level to give back?
In the company …
Or even outside the company.
Let’s say in the company I think we … I’m trying just to be a friendly person, and go and actually tell the stories of what you’re going to do around the world. It sounds pretty simple, but it’s actually the main thing. And instead of saying, okay I work for _____ (10:25) and I earn money. Actually I want my colleagues to say, I work for _____ (10:29), and I’m changing the world through it. So that’s really a personal task for me. Because I think we have a strong culture already, and if we can get people realizing that then every _____ (10:42) we sell, actually have some kind of effect in the long run because we’re doing it for _____ (10:48) personal aim so to say. Yeah, and for personal I have been a lot in Africa and _____ (10:55) and that’s one of my heartfelt passion projects because it’s a poor country but the love for football is so immense. So yeah I really hope that we can see within the next few years that the big reach we have right now in the country actually can manifest both the people getting better educational system.
But also perhaps that we will create a really fearful football team, a national football team. I think we’ve already seen that. We can’t say it’s our …
No, but I mean it’s a win-win.
I mean everyone pitches in so to speak.
Yeah. Yeah. So that will be also a personal interest of mine.
Are you a football player yourself?
No. No, I actually have a … I was 16 and I got a knee injury.
I actually can’t run anymore.
Oh okay. Oh that’s pretty bad.
You’ve got so many opportunities to play, right?
You could even kick it _____ (11:53) moon.
Dan thank you so much for taking the time.
Mehr über Dan Bjerg auf seiner Website.