Kai Suteja. Thanks to his skills in digital marketing and love for techno music, in just over two years and he has become the king of Bali with Gypsy Land techno festival. Gaining more and more traction every festival, Kai has captivated the attention of over 100,000 followers on his social media platforms with his witty attitude, bizarre sense of fashion and now his events. Characterised with a strong sense ambition, it’s refreshing to see someone standing out from the crowd in a world dominated by followers.
ICON caught up with the entrepreneur to talk on the notion of success, life lessons and his hotly-anticipated Gypsy Land festival.
ICON: Considering your background, from a mining engineer, influencer, creative director, and now festival king of Bali, what are the strongest skills that have made you successful? Why are you so good at it?
Kai Suteja: “Engineering – learning how to effectively research, analyse and problem solve. Also, project management and proposals. Film Making – coming up with ideas, looking at the feasibility of those ideas and then re-scaling said ideas so that content can be created. Film making has definitely helped me understand budgeting and how to be realistic.
Influencer – marketing [and] finding out what an audience engages with the most and then re-adjusting content to target those emotions. You’re basically a walking advertisement.
It’s important to note I’m not excellent at any of these applied fields, I’m mediocre at best. I graduated with a credit, haven’t written a feature film and I am not Kylie Jenner. Success comes down to capital, connections and creativity – luckily for me I was able to secure all these three C’s through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events.”
ICON: What is success to you ? Where will you be in 10 years?
KS: “It’s somewhat true that I’d measure success as net worth, which isn’t uncommon among many but I’d also say it’s a sense of being recognised as someone at the top of their field. For me something as trivial as a wikipedia page would be a small milestone in success.
My definition of success stems from the fact that I’m young, ambitious and career driven, it’s quite possible it significantly changes in ten years to getting married, starting a family and being a great Dad. We measure our success on what’s important to us now, but that is all subject to change the more we experience life.”
ICON: What is your biggest fear?
KS: “Not meeting the expectations of others. It’s funny because the expectations of myself are incredibly high and are almost never met… but this doesn’t scare me because I know how high I’ve set the bar. What really scares me is not meeting the expectations of others because I consider their expectations to be the lowest standard set. I’m not afraid of failure, I’m afraid of disappointment.”
ICON: What are the biggest lessons you have learned in this process?
KS: “People suck. I wished people would just be realistic and not jerk themselves off and set unachievable deliverables. I’d rather you tell me you can’t do something than say you can and it turns out you can’t… If you had told me from the beginning, we could have re-adjusted the brief such that the deliverables could have been met.”
ICON: What do you want “Gypsyland” to become? What’s the dream?
KS: “This year we did 7,000 [guests] over two days but the dream is to break 40,000 guests. In a world full of despair, Gypsy Land is an oasis for travellers, the few days of the year when the only thing on your mind is a smile.
ICON: You are having the first hip-hop gig in August titled “Rapture”. Are we expecting a ‘shock factor’ or you are hitting it from a different angle?
KS: “I don’t think people understand how difficult it is to bring hip hop artists to Bali. They’re mostly based out of LA which is around 30 hours of travelling. Why would you travel for two days if you can walk across the street and do a club show for the same amount of money? The logistics of the Visa application is also intense; making sure they hold a valid passport with at least six months and no criminal charges … Also the additional costs for flights and accommodation for their whole entourage ends up blowing out the budget. We’re one the first to bring big name acts to Bali and for good reason, it’s difficult. We’re all about the wow factor, we’ve built a cult following on selling an experience not a line-up. Rapture is different in the sense that it sells both.”