Robin Cox is the City Enthusiast Officer (CEO) of A City Made By People. After a career of working in advertising and marketing, Robin took the initiative to go his own path and pursue his love for cities and celebrating the liveability of cities and its people. Robin and A City Made By People have been much loved partners of Zoku Amsterdam since opening, hosting events and workshops at Zoku, with much more to come!
What brings you to Amsterdam?
I was raised in Munich as a Dutchie and moved back to Amsterdam after graduation in 2001. So it’s been a while! Maybe time to move?
What path has your career taken?
I started my career in Advertising, as a strategist, moving into Fashion after as a marketing professional, to being self-employed since 2010, helping start-ups, social ventures and building my own international network of citizens by starting A City Made by People. So celebrating my 10-year anniversary today!
I started A City Made By People with the main purpose of social context, which is sometimes forgotten about. When we travel or move to new places it’s social context that give us a sense of belonging, direction and acceptance. And that’s why I want to show the human side of cities and feature stories through our network of city enthusiasts. What once started as a meet & greet service between locals and travellers, turned out to be a platform to collaborate & celebrate liveability in cities worldwide, through creative programming (talks, workshops, experiences), projects and content (online + print).
What is your relationship with Zoku Amsterdam, and what are your thoughts?
Back in the early days, when Zoku launched, we started to collaborate together on event programming. Since 2017, we started hosting A City Made By People events, in the Communal Working area, which is a very cosy place to create a living room vibe for all our get-togethers. We renamed the series to Amsterdam Talks, but our mission is the same: to bring people together and celebrate livability in cities, through projects, content and events.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
For sure life-changing songs have been “Here comes the sun” by the Beatles and “Purple Rain” by Prince. Both remind me of making the most of now and keep me hopeful of what I dream of.
What is your top tip for being productive while working from home?
Take a walking break and completely focus on doing something else. I take my camera and take pictures, which gives me a reason and inspiration to connect with the world around me!
What’s your current/newly discovered go-to product, service or app you would recommend to others?
Very recently, we decided to host our event series online, called City Talks – an international live Q&A series where we invite speakers from various cities to share their projects. I discovered Streamyard, a broadcasting tool to host livestreams across various channels. It’s fun to use and makes me feel like I’m a television host. Who knows if this will lead into a new career path.
What is one piece of advice or tip in your field of work that you want to give to people?
One of my biggest learnings is around ‘commitment & ownership.’ It’s hard to work with people and to meet each other’s expectations, but when people can enjoy ownership over projects or activities, they’ll show commitment to any work that needs to be done.
How do you manage to keep up your mental health/wellbeing while working from home during these times?
That is a very good question – I don’t do any yoga or don’t use any apps, but exercising 4x a week helps me keep going and stay mentally fit. And my personal favorite quote “Let’s cross that bridge when we get there” reminds me to let go of things a bit and be less tensed around situations.
What is the most interesting/inspiring place you’ve been to or have visited and what was so special about it?
I’m a city enthusiast, so it would be weird to not mention a city or even cities. But there are cities like Lisbon, Madrid and Berlin that feed my creativity and fuel my inspiration every time I visit. That for me is the most precious thing I can take home, next to the 500+ pictures I take on every city trip.
Which book/product have you gifted the most?
I honestly never gift any books, but I got gifted one by a good friend, that you should def read: GRIP (in Dutch). It’s a time management book that helps you get around your time, less led through email, more focused on your agenda and actions. It helped me to get more out of my day and feel less chased!