For many years, Dan has been known in Romania as the Country Manager of a famous online platform for food ordering. After making sure Foodpanda was running smoothly without him, he has taken on a new challenge in Berlin. Five years later, I have found a successful manager, happy with his life in Germany and letting everyone know how beautiful Romania is!
Name: Dan Macarie
Abroad since: July 2012
Living in: Berlin, Germany
Current position & company: Head of Support at Nosto Solutions
TGR: Dan, tell me more about Nosto - it sounds both interesting and innovative...
DM: Nosto provides online stores with personalization across multiple channels. We are offering On-site personalized recommendations based on individual customer behaviour, behavioural pop-ups, Facebook and Instagram Ads, triggered emails and email widgets. It's a Finnish company, founded in Helsinki in 2011. Since then, we managed to open offices in 5 capitals on 2 continents: Helsinki, Berlin, New York, London and Stockholm.
In one word, Nosto helps to make online shopping experience more enjoyable and relevant.
So basically you can boost sales for any e-commerce platform. How do they actually improve interactions with their customers after implementing Nosto?
Let's take a look at what Amazon is doing. You click on a product and instantaneously you receive product recommendations based on the product you're viewing. This is the feature that we make available for every single store out there. And not only that. Online stores can attract new customers using our Facebook Ads feature (btw, we are an official Facebook marketing partner) and Instagram. Also, they can retarget recurring visitors with products that there were showing buying interest for.
Ok, and your role as Head of Support is...?
I am currently managing the fabulous support team here in Berlin, that takes care of all the inbound inquiries regarding general product usage and implementation.
Can you tell me something only you can do in the Berlin office?
This is a bit funny, it is hard to name a thing that I can do best. Since I joined Nosto, almost 3 years ago, I have been doing 4 different roles. I did Operations, HR, Product and now Support. I want to believe that the support role I am doing the best, but that's not my thing to assess.
Is it more motivating for you then, let's say, the GM position in Romania for a successful online food ordering platform?
I cannot compare the two because there are very different. Foodpanda was "my baby", I grew it from zero and it will always have a special place for me. I learned a lot of things, that I couldn't even dream to learn at that point. I've met a lot of people from different business areas, which made me understand how it is to work with different people from different social levels.
I've decided to move to Berlin when the business just started to flourish. But I had a very good reason: I wanted to move with my girlfriend, who recently became my wife.
A decision you don't regret I suppose...
Regret?? I am LOVING it! Berlin is the place to be (no comment about the winter season ). I like that you don't really need German - I am trying to learn it though. In the metro or bus, you hear only English. It's such an international city, due to being the startup hub of Europe, the Silicon Valley... Everybody is trying to get a piece of it.
I don't really have much free time , but when I have, I am usually with my wife and my incredibly cute dog Tito. He needs long walks after all, right?
Every now and then, I go out for some beers or playing football with my colleagues. Not to mention that I am a big Premier League fan, so I am struggling to see a game or Arsenal every now and then
Do Germans easily accept expats in their lives or do you feel closer to other foreigners?
I cannot generalize, but in my case it was easy-peasy. I was warmly welcomed everywhere I worked, plus I have several German friends that I am meeting frequently. There were never problems because I am Romanian. Of course, the small jokes are there, but never offensive. People say that Germans are cold, strict. I say that it depends on which ones you're hanging with.
Looking at the fact that in Nosto we are 27 different nationalities, I am always in contact with multi-culturalism, so most of my acquaintances are non-german.
What are your current thoughts on Romania?
I miss it, of course. It's my home-land, it's where I was born and where I lived for more than 22 years. Bucharest is the place where I feel like the fish in the water, and I don't think this will never change. I am reading Romanian online newspapers at least twice a day, so I am still quite connected to what is happening back home.
How often do you travel to Romania?
Not as much as I would like to. This year I've been home 3 times, but only Friday-Sunday. I am trying to go at least 3-4 times a year, but time doesn't allow me to spend more time there.
What do you mostly miss?
How much time do you have? It's a long list of things that I miss. I miss spending time with my family. I miss giving a call to my friends that I grew up with and 30 min later to be with them somewhere in the city. Unfortunately this doesn't happen anymore, since we are spread all over the world. I miss a really good pizza in Regie. I miss "mama-food", sarmale, Dristor Kebab, a good Ursus, a long weekend in Vama Veche. This only happens now sporadically...
Do you see yourself living again here?
At the moment No. I don't say No for the future, but not the near one. Maybe when I will be 50, but for now this thought is far away from me. As soon as the system, the healthcare, the work environment, the mentality will change, then I might consider returning. For now, my wife, my home, my dog, my job are here, and I am living it to the max.
OK, but you still have nice things to tell a foreign friend, don't you?
I have a lot of friends here that travelled to Romania during their vacations. I actually have a saved email that I send to them. I tell them to visit the Old center in Bucharest, to eat at "La calinescu", to have a walk on Calea Victoriei and to visit the Parlament building. I tell them about Dracula's Castle, Vama Veche, Transfagarasan, Danube Delta.
Unfortunately we, as a nation, don't promote these how we should and we don't make the most out of them. Everyone knows about Ceausescu and Hagi, but nobody knows about Sapanta Cemetery, Sighisoara or the Muddy Volcanos. I am trying to summarize these always and when they come back, all my friends are amazed about how beautiful Romania really is.
Well, The Golden Romania is exactly for that... Let's tell them more often how beautiful Romania is! Now, for the ending: what is your biggest dream?
To travel the world. I had a friend who just quit his job and left alone in the world. In December. He is out there for the last 7 months and I am sure he is happy. I would like to do the same, but for now I am focusing to do my best in my job. Maybe that time will come one day. I wish to eat all the local foods and to drink all the local beers that exist...
The Golden Romania
All the interviews in this section, gathered in one place!
Razvan Mihai Oancea - the Regional Manager in the sewing industry whose transformation process has only started after 40, when he has moved to Hong Kong
Andrei Golesteanu - the experienced HR Manager who's in the position to develop US professionals
Radu Topliceanu, one of the top Romanian banking professionals worldwide!
Johann Stan, the Romanian who's in the position to approve a patent for any European innovation!
Andrei Lascu, the Country Manager of 750 IT Professionals in Indonesia
Mirel Baila, the first Romanian Abroad who has shared his amazing story to this platform!