It’s not easy to arrange an appointment with Danny Mekić (1987). Not that he doesn’t want to see you; on the contrary, because he has the energy of ten people. But his agenda is just always packed and that’s why he has to choose carefully. This Amsterdam entrepreneur works among other things as a corporate consultant on various subjects, but also often appears on TV and the radio to share his insights on the online landscape and the ever more popular social media Facebook and Twitter. “What it says on my business card? That depends on which one you mean.” Danny laughs when he says it, but you can tell he’s rather proud of it.
Danny is an Amsterdam guy, born and bred. He grew up in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. His mother was chronically ill and his father, who is originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina, had to work more and harder in order to support the family. “I learned to take care of myself as a child. To recognise the opportunities that cross your path, but also to know your own limits. That’s the only way to build up self esteem and to go further in life.” As early as at the age of twelve, Danny jumps off the deep end and becomes an intern at internet service provider Het Net (now part of KPN). “I was immensely fascinated by the internet and wanted to know exactly how it all worked. So I offered to become a volunteer. I think that time was the most awesome internet era ever. The 24-hours-a-day live streaming of the first Big Brother, for example. It was a super exciting time and I’m glad to have been a part of it.”
Danny was so enchanted by the magic of the world wide web that he soon started his own company. The energy he got from that was so addictive that he quit high school to concentrate on his company. Two years later he still ended up back in school, when he took up studying jurisprudence. “My parents initially thought it was terrible that I was dropping out of school. I noticed that the thought of school cost me too much energy, and that’s why I quit when I was sixteen. I then resolved only ever to do things that give me energy. Money never really was much of an incentive to become an entrepreneur. If you look up ‘money’ in the dictionary, you’ll see the words ‘a medium of exchange’. And in fact that should be ‘a limited medium of exchange’, because money can’t buy you energy, knowledge or development. You can only experience those things yourself.”
Accordingly, Danny doesn’t care much about material possessions. “In Amsterdam, I use a bicycle that was given to me by the son of a bicycle shopkeeper after I helped their company with their online presence. This bicycle is hand-made and there’s no other bike like it. That meant a lot to me when I got it. Something like that means more to me than buying an expensive car myself. A friend, who once lost all her luggage while travelling, taught me not to value material things too much. My piano is actually the only possession I couldn’t do without.”
Danny now has two successful companies, but his social life continues to play an important part in filling his weekly schedule. “There are moments when I just turn off the phone. I used to work until there was no more work left. But of course, that never happened. Now I just schedule time to have fun with my friends or to go visit my relatives. I also often help young entrepreneurs in my spare time. Just because I like helping people. So I guess I’m still a bit that volunteer I used to be, just more of a 2.0 version, haha.”
This interview was conducted by John den Braber for the magazine BART that BNN made for its members.