Head of Program Artur Kamberg on this year's program highlights, freelance life and Tartu vs Tallinn

You may know Artur Kamberg as a radio voice, podcast and event host but did you know he is also the Head of Program of sTARTUp Day 2022? Let’s get to know him a little bit better as well as sneak a peek into this year’s program which will be unveiled in a few weeks. We’ll also weigh in on the perennial question of Tallinn vs Tartu as well as learn a trick that helps to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities.

This interview was written by Kadri Martin, a member of the sTARTUp Day PR & Marketing team

What brought you to curate the sTARTUp Day program?

It all started when in 2017 sTARTUp Day allowed ‘random’ people on the stage as part of their speaking contest, and I had the tremendous joy and privilege of being selected. That was my first point of contact with sTARTUp Day and I realized I wanted to be more involved.

But life took me on a different path and I started doing radio shows and podcasts. However, in 2020, the sTARTUp Day team invited me to host their podcast. It was such an interesting offer - I knew from the start that they were my people and that it's an awesome team working on something really cool.

This persistence paid off when Triin Kask, the former sTARTUp Day Head of Program, asked me that since I was already inviting people to share their thoughts on the podcast, why not invite them to do that on the stage. So that’s how I landed the role of the Head of Program and I'm very happy about it!

What did you do before joining the sTARTUp Day team? For example, five years ago?

I was a Youtuber, I made videos and radio shows and translated promotional texts into Estonian for Garnier and other major brands. Basically, I was doing a lot of interesting media-related gigs while still living at home. If I had been told that I was going to be the Head of Program for Startup Day in five years, I would have said, “What? How?” From the start to this point, everything has happened pretty quickly and I’m truly excited about this year’s program.

What did you like the most about the freelancing period?

I liked what I still enjoy today - the freedom to create and take responsibility for that. As a freelancer, you are constantly given problems to solve, while not being part of any team or work tradition. You just have to solve problems on your own and if you can solve them everyone will be happy. You can decide at what pace you do your work: at night, day, morning, evening, one way or another, it doesn't matter. This was the part that was hugely liberating.

What I missed, though, as a freelancer was a team because the freelance lifestyle was extremely lonely.

Currently, at sTARTUp Day, I have a tight team that moves toward a common goal, thanks to the team leader Mart Lättekivi. What is the same is the responsibility - or more exactly, I still have the freedom to create but it comes with great responsibility. At the same time, I have a really nice and supportive team to work with or the best of both worlds, really.

What has been the greatest victory along your journey?

I think it is going to happen this summer and will be this year’s sTARTUp Day program, which is already very, very cool and almost finalized. I think this will be my greatest achievement. So far, one moment when I was very proud of myself was when I interviewed Eva Esse and she told me that I had been one of her best interview experiences - that my level of preparation and homework was rare these days. Hearing those words from Eeva Esse - a true master of our craft - was such a ‘wow’ moment.

What can we expect from this year's sTARTUp Day program?

I think 'world-class speakers' is a phrase that everyone uses these days, but with Paul Misener, VP of Communications at Amazon joining our speaker list, it's no longer a buzzword. We really have world-class speakers. For example, Eduardo Dominguez Puerta, CCO at one of the world's leading manufacturers of flying cars, Vertical Aerospace.

In short, we have top industry experts as speakers. But we also cover a very broad range of topics. 

For example, the first festival day highlights the latest scientific and technological advances from food technology to transport to Smart City solutions. The second festival day is focused on inspiration. Also, for the first time, this year there is a session on mental health and psychology, where we discuss very candidly not only the business but also the individuals behind the business and how to take care of those people.

What would you highlight in this year’s program?

It's like asking your parents to pick their favorite child. In fact, there is something in all sessions that I certainly would not want to miss.  In my opinion, that’s also a testament to the fact that you can come to this year's sTARTUp Day from almost any sector and find top insights and speakers aligned with your interests.

 I really can't choose - it's impossible to say I like one child more than another. However, I am very excited about the session on mental health. In cooperation with Kadri Haljas, a mental health innovation leader in Estonia, we have developed a truly practical mental health session where we will be discussing the mental health industry and its bottlenecks.

You grew up in Tallinn and now live in Tartu. What do you like about Tartu?

This is a very interesting topic that I have discussed with a lot of people. One thing that I noticed right away is that in Tallinn, you close the door behind you and you are suddenly on the street. You have to look over your shoulder. You have to observe how you're dressed. You have to present yourself to the others. Tallinn has more of a business mindset. It may not be my kind of environment, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong environment for everyone.

In Tallinn, there’s more of trying to fit into one mold. In Tartu, every person is how they truly are inside. Here you close the door and you still feel at home. You are hanging out by the river and you are still at home. Or you’re chilling somewhere on Toomemäe and it still feels like home, like you can be yourself. People are noticeably more themselves - they are not trying to fit in or follow someone else.  Everyone can be themselves because the environment supports it.  Personally, I am fascinated by the authenticity of people and the free atmosphere in Tartu.

What is the one quote that has stuck with you and made you live by it?

This is the very first quote I somehow remembered, and for a good reason. It’s the quote from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: "The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."

The second half of the quote explains that there is nothing objective in the world, so to speak. The worst workday could be compared to the day you lost a friend, for example.

There’s nothing objective, everything is hidden behind the meaning we attribute to things.

Do we say ‘an error’ or ‘feedback’? Do we say ‘I got hurt’ or ‘I got a lesson’?

The first part of the quote says, "The universe is change." In other words, this aspect adds flexibility. If we consider something to be right today, it clearly does not mean that we have to consider it right tomorrow, which in turn does not mean that we are quitters. As human beings, we are constantly evolving and growing.

What new beliefs or habits have improved your life the most in the last five years?

I don't know who came up with the idea, but often what we need the most is what we fear the most. So I have developed a nagging inner voice for occasions when I encounter a challenge and realize that this is my thing, this would be important for my self-development - like for example, managing sTARTUp Day program. But when it is also terrifying and my first reaction is to say “no”, thinking about all the things that might go wrong.

The inner voice reminds me that if I say “no” right now, it will keep haunting me at night, it will tell me, ‘You should have done it, you should have done it.’ So, it's a decision to always listen to that voice. When I recognize I'm afraid to do something, I just have to do it. I think it has helped me to say "yes" to many important opportunities, regardless of my fears.

We will be unveiling the full sTARTUp Day program in the coming weeks - as well as some very sweet and special offers! Stay tuned to our news by signing up for our newsletter!

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