How I got from Croatia to Brooklyn

I like stories. The real ones. My story began in Rijeka, an industrial city very much known for it’s musical influence. It is on the coast of a beautiful little country called Croatia.

At the time I was a little boy, Croatia was a part of communist country that was much bigger and more powerful — Yugoslavia. But — I was raised in a artistic and entrepreneurial family that has never fit into that kind of society.

I was inspired by innovation and computers. I was making video games with my friends when we were kids where I was also competing on the tech contests. People said I have a bright future. Other people told me that I should stop dreaming. I did not care for other people. Then the war came. All the other people were talking about it and it was on the TV constantly. For me and my friends it did not matter at all. We continued to play video games and were trying to build some.

In the high-school I started with some new interests. I joined a rock band and have been playing soccer for the local club at the same time. Also, I really loved watching movies and was imagining travelling to distant lands and making documentaries about them since my uncle was doing that already.

The Internet was growing bigger so it looked like all of my interests will be there.

About 20 years later — I guess those interest didn’t change a lot.

As a student I worked for Croatian Academic Research Network and went to America to gain international work experience. That was 2003. Since I understood I have many interests that I will need to manage I had my master in business in my hometown and moved to Zagreb to pursue a career in tech and advertising where I have met some cool guys where we talked about starting a music company.

It all looked fun and creative but we could not make any money. So I was building music startup and I needed a job, too. I started as the first new media executive in Croatian subsidiary of Havas at 2006. They loved my passion and I had an ambition to build the first digital ad agency in Croatia. I understood digital advertising is going to explode so I met a guy who was also talking about that and he invited me to join and open that kind of agency within another major advertising agency — Omnicom (more known as BBDO) in Zagreb. That was 2007.

We built it and in the first year that agency won a bunch of prestigious awards working for top brands. I really wanted to continue building so I went back to my media outlet to keep pushing and make it no.1 music outlet in the market. Nowadays, that is the biggest music outlet in the region which I still run as a partnership with one of the original cofounders—

The company is focused in music but it has several branches, the most important is branded content and production with where I keep those creative juices flowing. We had a lot of fun projects like:

  • an award-winning blog that was published anonymously
  • a successful TV show about music festivals (started with zero TV experience)
  • and a viral campaign with secret music gig with rock stars during the commercial flight
Making of “Vatra na 10.000 metara”

While working in content — I invested in two venues that were basically the core of music culture in my hometown. One was sold couple of years ago and the other one is one the most popular bars in the city.

Still, my biggest passion stays in innovation, tech, media and music so we are currently building entertainment booking marketplace Booker Garden

while working on the music-inspired campaigns with companies like HBO, Molson Coors, Heineken, Red Bull, Croatia Airlines and Croatian National Tourist Office.

The country is small and ambition is big so the call of nature lead me to Berlin and then to the United States, again.

I have just moved to Brooklyn and am very excited to be here preparing the next ventures. I would love to hear from all the people that share the interest or are curious.