An interview with Filip Matous
Moving home is never an easy thing, especially if it is a different city, even more so if it is a different country. However some people even move from one continent to another. Such was the case with Filip Matous whom I spoke to earlier this month for an interview. Filip left his home city of Vancouver in Canada on the banks of the Pacific to move to one of Europe’s biggest and busiest cities, and one of the world’s great international cities, London.
Since that move he has co-founded the London Blog club which now holds monthly meetings including talks by highly successful industry experts such as Sanjay Shelat as well as having around 400 bloggers. Our interview took place in St Pancras station which is part of Kings Cross and St Pancras train station and is part of the Europe wide, and international rail network system, visitors to Paris or Amsterdam who wish to go there by train need to take trains from this station. Filip had been busy packing in those past few days and getting ready for trips which would see him go to Tanzania in East Africa, Canada and the USA so in the midst of both of our busy schedules we decided this was the most convenient location. I found it difficult to find him at first since Kings Cross and St Pancras Station truly is such a big place but he asked me to meet him under the giant Olympic circles at St Pancras station. London is host to the Olympics next year which will see millions of tourists coming and billions of television viewers with, their eyes on the city.
St Pancras Station, London.
Filip insisted on paying for our coffee which I thought was very generous of him as I felt it should have been me as he had agreed to give the interview. We discussed a number of personal things not related to the interview and then we started the interview in ernest. One thing which particulary stroke me about Filip, quite different to others I have met who may not have even accomplished half of the things he has, is his modesty and what I would say might be a certain aversion to being promoted as being “successful”. This for instance came out when I asked him, what advice would you have for others on how to be successful, to which Filip calmly replied “I am not successful, I can’t tell people how to be successful, but I can tell people how to be sufficient”, which he then elaborated upon. He spoke about time management and told me how in the past he would work more hours for the same, if not less amount of money whereas now he works twenty hours a week and devotes another twenty hours to philosophy which is his passion. For Filip is not just a young Canadian working in London, he is the creator of the London Philosophy Club which he runs. Though I did not mention it to Filip this was in my eyes a remarkable achievement, to go to another country and in a comparatively short space of time establish and run an organisation, and not just any organisation but one which involves something as intellectually rigorous and demanding as philosophy. Filip continued to speak about moving to another country and being sufficient in a practical manner and said that in November 2008 he decided to leave Vancouver and go to London. He was young and wanted to develop his experience abroad. Three months later he arrived in Britain, in his words “going to a place where you don’t know a single person”. His advice for being sufficient included “live within your minimums…figure out your minimum cash needs…when I first came I could get by on £900 a month. I knew whatever I was doing I needed £900 a month. Have some money in reserve as a buffer that why you do not act out of desperation, or make decisions in haste”. Filip told me what he felt was the importance of good decision making. “It’s cheesy, but for example look at Paulho Coelho’s “The Alchemist”. If you put your effort in, opportunities will come. Decide between opportunities. Making the right decisions comes with experience. Lately I have made some good decisions”. On previous occasions Filip told me how in the beginning it had not been easy and he had to work hard for comparatively little and gain experience but now with the expertise he has accumulated in his subject specialism of digital strategy he is able to work with some high level people.
Filip delivering a presentation.
I asked him about the London Blog Club which he started only last year. “I needed to know more bloggers. I figured there’d be other people. A couple of us got together..first one was in the evening and was free. We have since had nicer venues and it is slowly growing…with a community of few hundred bloggers.”
What I found interesting in my opinion was the contrast between being involved in something as state of the art and at the forefront of modern business such as blogging and digital strategy and something existing since antiquity as philosophy. E-commerce can attract people who are very tech savvy and commercial minded, whilst some, though definitely not all, of those involved in philosophy are very cerebral. Filip said his love for philosophy was nothing to do with money, “It’s my passion”. He felt there was no fundamental difference. “Philosophy is an idea, blogging is story telling, ideas”, in other words blogging is merely a medium and philosophy is a message.
Though Filip is a very humble and down to earth person, I personally feel he has accomplished some impressive things such as moving to another country and now working with some important companies and clients. It is clear he eschews any notion that he is some sort of role model or a “success guru” from his manner, but I do feel that there are valuable things that can be learnt from him and which he can share with us. He can be quite serious at times and is working very hard, however I have generally found him very affable and pleasant.
Filip on the left at a blogging event.
Filip interviewing Jemima Gibbons for “Enviable workplace”, a blog which features experts talk about how to improve workplaces.
Our interview ended and I walked with him to the underground where we then went separate ways. The following day he was scheduled to go to Tanzania on a work trip, in which he did however expect to enjoy himself and see some of the country. He will be in North America for the next few months and then return to London.
The website of the London Blog Club is: www.londonblogclub.com
The London Philosophy club’s site is: www.londonphilosophyclub.com
– Jahan Choudhry