General Manager of VDAV
Rhett is the General Manager (Geschäftsführer) of VDAV, which is the Verband Deutscher Auskunfts- und Verzeichnismedien e.V., a non-profit association supporting local search and media in Germany. Rhett has over 25 years of experience in the branch. He specializes in legislation that impacts companies in local search and media at both the German and EU level.
Q. Is there anything you have done every day, or do you have a routine that you do daily since the pandemic?
Mostly, it’s the same. I try to wake up healthy and solve a little problem everyday. I think it’s important to do something to help someone and that’s a procedure I try to do every day. I do not solve a work problem from our industry, maybe a little one at home or something like that.
Q. Is there something new you have started or is there something that you miss the most since the pandemic began?
Since this pandemic has started I think all of us miss the personal contact. I think we learned how important our conferences are for us. The video conferences are very helpful, but the real personal contact is missing. To look each other in the eye, to interact with a real person is very important. I think that’s what I miss the most. Meeting friends spontaneously, planning things or going to dinner spontaneously.
Q. So before the pandemic or even now, is there something that people don’t know about you, like hobbies or interests?
I’m a child of the seventies so for some time, when I was 15 to 20, I started to like cars. I am a car guy, you can see models behind me. It started because on the way to my school I passed every day two of the most famous racing teams that were based in my hometown. Sometimes I came late to school because I had to stop and look at what was going on there. It was a good kind of virus.
No one in my family was connected to cars, but I really started to like it and also car-racing. I have some friends that own old racing cars, he is in the racing car business, and I like that business a lot. I help research the history of a racing car and help people to know how much a car is worth. There have been lots of situations over the past 20 or 30 years where people had fake cars, but I know the history and the difference. There was a big case in Germany around fake racing cars.
I have helped friends in the US who collect cars, because they do not know the EU or German Market. A lot of nights I also use the internet to research and find old photos. It is quite interesting, kind of a crazy hobby but fun.
Q. What is one of your favorite cars?
Yeah, it’s here in the background, you can see the model.
It’s a Porsche Carrera RSR 3.0. It is a race car from the mid-seventies, and this is also the car I saw on my way to school every day.
Q. Do you have a memorable experience with cars?
The environment is different today, but I had some interesting experiences. I was at Nürburgring when Niki Lauda had his accident and the night before we ate right next to him. Today you cannot even get close to the Formula One drivers, those days are over.
Q. What was your first job coming out at school or coming out of university or even as a kid?
My first real job was unloading paper. I had to unload trucks with toilet paper. Friends of my parents had a paper grocery, and one Monday, they called me and asked to help them. So that was it. I would be really popular now because the Germans in times of pandemics buy lots of toilet paper!
Q. Do you have a favourite comfort food?
My favorite food is bread or potato dumplings. My grandmother used to make them, and she was a fantastic cook. My wife is also a fantastic cook. When I was 10 or 12 I would visit my grandmother and she made these hand-made dumplings.
I also have a favorite meal called “Wickelklösse” (kind of rolled dough dumplings) . It’s a very, very simple meal, but it’s one of my real favorites. I only eat it once or twice a year because it is hard to make. I also like Italian food but mostly simple meals.
Q. What message would you like to give to Siinda partners and members?
We need to watch the telecommunication laws in Germany and in Europe. We have to focus on our traditional products. Especially in those days of pandemic, we can see that communication is very important, and we need good communication. The basics of communication are telephone directories, of course, in every format, especially digital. I think sometimes we concentrate too much on other products. We do things because others do them. Today with the EU and all the other governments putting a lot of pressure on Google, and all the other monopoly platforms, solutions, we have a new chance, and we should use it. I think we should really concentrate on our main positions and develop them, before we lose them.