Meet Oliver Köllner: The Friendsmeister

 

Hi Oliver, how are you today? What’s a typical day like for the person known as Boracay’s resident boozemeister? I’m good as always though I wouldn’t consider myself a boozemeister since our concept is not about drinking but making friends. – So I’d be a friendsmeister, haha!

My usual day starts in the morning with me planning my day, spending 30-60 minutes on reading and applying a book about business management or positive psychology then working on all projects that need creative thought and conceptualizing new concepts before any interruptions and meetings catch my attention. By 12:30PM, I’ll head to the office to have lunch and check and answer my emails. From 1:00-9:00PM, I am usually in meetings with all department heads, project managers, operation managers, and at times new meetings for new partnership opportunities, after which at about 9PM I take dinner and a short rest before stopping by the PubCrawl to make sure everyone is happy and has already made a ton of new friends.

Where are you originally from? How does life back home compare to your life on the island? I’m originally from Germany. Life back home is less distracting and the environment is less tempting. People are more predictable and schedules are more fixed. While I miss it at times, I would clearly say that I feel more home and comfortable on the island by now. I like to be spontaneous at times and having had challenges with being punctual, I’d say the island life is more forgiving. However if you lack discipline the island life will destroy any ambitions you had.

How long have you been living in Boracay for? How has the island changed over the years? In September I’ll be celebrating my 3rd anniversary on the island. I think what has changed is that more new, young, and ambitious business people enter the market that forget that most business owners were and still are friends before they started for some appearing to be competing businesses. While opportunities are attracting new players to enter I hope this collaborative business spirit won’t get lost.

What inspired you to create Boracay PubCrawl? How did you begin? The main idea before coming to the Philippines was to create a business in which I could incorporate research findings of positive psychology, aka what makes people happier, which fascinated me already for a long time.

Then when I somehow ended in Boracay I was reminded of a flaw in night life that always disturbed me: People go out to meet new people but the way night life is set up, it’s not really easy to meet new people if you are a bit shy. Secondly I felt there is no product or service that you could avail if you plan to make new friends.

So I ended up using the basic concept of a pub crawl in solving and incorporating the above mentioned points we lead to what we now call: Boracay PubCrawl.

Luckily by the time I came up with the concept I had the support of some local entrepreneurs who helped me and adopted me like a little brother ever since.

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How has it evolved since the inception? What are the major challenges and lessons you have learned since then? Answering this question alone I could fill books already and have my own TV show. It feels like I have almost made every single mistake there is but if that were true I wouldn’t have any mistake left to make which I disproof on a daily basis.

What I can say is that many of the lessons I learnt, I have read about before yet still had to live through them to learn them. Knowing what you should do is not enough. Sometimes you need suffer through the consequences to gain the strength to avoid these pains next time. Intellect is not enough.

One lesson I learned is that if making money is your goal, you will fail. Too often you will get to the point where it doesn’t make sense to continue for the money. If creating friendships hadn’t been my goal, I would have stopped a long time ago.

One major challenge we always had and will always have to attract and keep exceptional talents. I firmly believe that the key to success in this business is to have amazing team members and a long waiting list of people that would like to be part of the team.

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