Danny Mekić was the moderator of the ‘Butterfly in the boxing ring’ meeting on Saturday, 1st of November, organised by the Dutch Topsport Community (Top Sports Community, TC for short) in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. In the well-know hotel Huis ter Duin, some twenty guests got together to talk about young, new companies challenging the establishment. “That subject came up all the time, but the real recurring theme was rather that people need to reinvent themselves,” Mekić says.
Danny Mekić (aged only 28) was already founding his first company at the age of 15. He now works with his company NewTeam as a multidisciplinary expert advising non-profit organisations, educational institutions, governments and commercial organisations. On top of his regular activities, he also regularly appears in the media. Still, ‘Butterfly in the boxing ring’ wasn’t business as usual to this Amsterdam resident. “I’m always on the lookout myself for inspiration and new challenges. But I also really enjoyed the personal stories and the open, intimate atmosphere inside that boxing ring.”
“We started out by making introductions, letting everyone tell the rest what they were working on. We basically ended up devoting the entire meeting to that. Partly because the group could connect so quickly, all differences in age and function disappeared and there was no hierarchy. Everyone responded to each other and got each other thinking. People really listened to each other, gave each other feedback, exchanged tips and advice and shared experiences. It really was a very special meeting and I think everyone who was there took something away from it to their business or private lives.”
“One thing we concluded in Noordwijk is that we really live in a different age now. The old is being replaced by the new. And if it’s not us doing so, other people in the organisation or startups will. We all need to reinvent ourselves so we can think about what the organisations we work for will look like in a few years. It’s exactly the higher-ups in large organisations, the ones with big decision-making responsibilities, who don’t have or don’t get enough space to find inspiration and reinvent themselves.”
“We’re sent off into the world with a diploma at younger and younger ages, and we need to put our knowledge to use for longer and longer, while technological developments mean the world is changing more and more rapidly. But we don’t have any answer yet to the question of how we can regularly update ourselves. We may be made for adaptation – that’s what evolution is about – but only at a slow pace. And the world around us is changing so rapidly now that we can barely keep up with it all. Change has ended up leading us, and we need to learn how to deal with that. That was also a central theme in Noordwijk, although most of us had a positive outlook on it. That’s important in difficult times, but you can also promote that by gathering positive, inspiring people around you.”
“Just having a moment to think about yourself, your job and your life; that’s essentially what came about during ‘Butterfly in the boxing ring’. I can imagine that anyone would sometimes feel like they’re all on their own, but this discussion showed there are so many like-minded people,” says Mekić, who was prevented from playing sports himself for a while due to a congenitally oversized heart. “Fortunately it’s okay again now. I wasn’t a member of any association, but I used to go for a swim often. I’ve been working out again for a few weeks now, doing mostly cardio. The nice thing about sports is that it lets you put your body and mind into a state where the rest of the world disappears for a moment.”
Danny Mekić was declared the most successful young entrepreneur of the Netherlands in 2009. Besides running his companies, he’s a teacher at vocational and scientific universities, a mediator, a boardroom consultant, an investor, a jurist, a regular guest on the radio and on TV and a popular public speaker. His endeavours brought him to over 12 different countries over the past year. Danny Mekić also writes columns and opinion pieces for various media. Following a request by the radio programme Tros in Bedrijf, in September 2013 he wrote a column on the hierarchical crisis. That column was what made Pieter van den Hoogenband decide to invite Mekić to the Topsport Community’s meetings.