A couple of weeks ago, Ruby Slipper Consultants were lucky enough to meet Starr Guzman of marksthespot. Responsible for organising amazing events such as TedXMelbourne and Kubik at upcoming Melbourne Music Week. Uh-huh. Serious creds for connecting with the stylish hipster, innovative entrepreneur group. We’re delighted to present Starr to you as this week’s Business Ninja. (L-R Kevin Karlberg, DJ JPS and Starr Guzman, Directors of marksthespot. Image courtesy Kate Seabrook)
1. Tell us about marksthespot. What makes it a unique business,setting you apart from competitors?
I guess for us it’s about always thinking outside of the square. We identify the marksthespot collaboration work as ‘creative idea engineering’ within the cultural management realm. We like to take the un-doable and find a way to do it and we get a kind of sick thrill from really pushing boundaries. I think the thing that sets us most apart from other businesses is that we don’t identify with a regular business ‘genre’ we don’t fall within the music industry, the touring industry or the culture/arts industry specifically – we tend to thrash away at these niches all at the same time – lots of fusion.
Kevin first brought it to my attention. And then he went on and on and on about it until be convinced me we should bring it to Australia. At first he was subtle, and then much like a sledgehammer. It wasn’t all that hard though, as soon as realised it was like a flashing disco dancefloor that gives you a big hug, I was totally there!
3. What are your maddest ‘ninja skillz’ in bringing together creatives and corporates a la Kubik and the City of Melbourne?
Being able to walk the fine line between totally eccentric and very business oriented. People expect the crazy, but not matched with old school business skills – we’ve managed to find a good balance and also bring something to the table that enhances the others abilities.
4. How did your lightbulb moment in creating marksthespot come about?
We’ve been bumping off each other about working together for over 15 years but it never happened, and then almost by magic there came a space in our careers where it was possible and we were both looking for something really exciting to sink our teeth into. It was one of those jump off the cliff and see if you can fly/ throw caution to the wind moments where we just thought – why not?
5. What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory is of afternoon sunshine and listening to music and with a family friends – I distantly remember one person’s voice and what they looked like – apparently it was someone who moved away overseas when i was around 8 months old. Kevin can’t remember anything before 8 years. I’m fascinated with the fact he can’t remember his earlier memories – I remember my entire childhood in it’s entirety!
6. What is your favourite sound?
I hate to say it but at the moment, the sound of my daughter whistling. She does it constantly as it’s a new skill. It drives me mental…but there’s so much satisfaction in each of her whistles that i can’t help but love it….
My top three recommendations are DJ Krush, In Light with The Raah Project and Espionage.
8. Who would you like to invite to dinner?
The Dalai Llama (just s I can give him a big hug – utterly selfish), Dean Martin (I understand it’s not possible) and Banksy (only so I know what he actually looks like)
9. Kubik will also be a French cafe by day. How did you come to discover Chez Dre? Why do you think Melbourne is in love with all things Frenchy chic at the moment?
Whats’s not to love? Amazing accents, unstoppable attitude and incredible pastries! I think the Melbourne ‘persona’ sees itself as somewhere between New York and Paris but currently with a blessed revival of parisan love. I know Steve and Andrea of Chez Dre through friends, when i finally made it down to the cafe, I encountered my first ever taste of a macaroon – it was such an incredible moment!
10. If Kubik were a woman, who would she be most like?
Hybrid between Bianca Jagger and Bjork