Local entrepreneur Petar Savic talks to some of the start-ups and small businesses in Primrose Hill. This month he meets Simon Squibb.
You spent 20 years in China and 20 years in England. Why have you decided to come back to this area?
I grew up in and around Cambridge and worked a little bit in London before jetting off to Hong Kong when I was 23 years old. Once I arrived in Asia I felt I had woken up to the real world and its opportunities, so I started building companies in Asia. Then a few years ago one of my companies, an agency called Fluid, was bought by PWC. In many ways it was a trigger to suddenly feeling very homesick. I was having so much fun in Asia, but the sale of my company came at about the same time as the Brexit referendum result. I was shocked by the result and felt I had lost touch with my home. I felt compelled to come back and help somehow. I thought about getting into politics, but when I arrived back I realised how toxic it had all become. So instead I decided just to help founders and focus on grassroots support for those who wanted to innovate and make the UK a better place. London has a lot of very smart people living here and I felt I could help my country by helping these people succeed.
Where does your desire to help other founders come from?
I left school at 15 and was also kicked out of home by my mum at the same time. I was thrown into a situation where I had to survive, and my escape to a better life was to become an entrepreneur. I then spent the next seven years making every mistake there is: wrong hires, wrong partners, the list goes on. So now, when I reflect on all the knowledge I have gained by starting 17 companies myself, in a way I want to go back to my 15-year-old self and help; hand over all the knowledge so that this 15-year-old can struggle less. In reality, most of the people I help are much older than 15 years old, but that’s where my passion for helping innovators comes from.
2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, according to the Chinese zodiac. What does this mean for a business?
Metal Rats are unique. They have one special power that everyone can also leverage in the year of the Metal Rat, and that is being able to turn unlucky events to good fortune.
You recently launched a podcast where you share entrepreneurs’ stories. What is the concept behind it, and where can people listen to the podcast?
I felt that 2020 (which I take as having a vision) and it being the year of the Metal Rat meant that it was a good year to try something new. So I decided to launch The Good Luck Club podcast, to try to give insights into what makes people succeed or fail.
I have a theory that luck plays a huge part in every story of success or failure. I myself attribute my success more to luck than skill. Yet people don’t talk much about luck, maybe because it can detract from our hard work or genius as successful people. I decided to explore this and see if by listening to people’s stories around this subject we could help others be lucky, get lucky and learn to be like the metal rat and even see the benefit of bad luck.
The Good Luck Club is available on YouTube and SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts