The French singer will invite artists who have shaped his musical identity to perform at London's Southbank Centre from 9-18 June next year
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IQ learns how the football-loving former punk came to co-head one of Europe’s biggest promoter groups and festival organisers
By Gordon Masson on 03 Oct 2023
Having made a name for himself at a renowned music magazine, Stephan Thanscheidt was head-hunted to join burgeoning promoter FKP Scorpio. Now, 15 years later, he co-heads one of Europe’s biggest promoter groups and festival organisers, having become a much-respected industry leader in the process. Gordon Masson learns more about the football-loving former punk’s journey…
Growing up midway between Düsseldorf and Germany’s border with the Netherlands, music was always in the air for young Stephan Thanscheidt, as his mother played both clarinet and saxophone in a local orchestra.
Any notion of teenage Stephan taking up a woodwind instrument was out of the question, however. “I was a punk playing in punk bands,” he says. “I started with guitar, but I also played bass guitar when the other guitarists were better than me, which was quite often the case. And I was also singing, which is something I absolutely cannot do, but for the early-to mid-90s punk bands, it was good enough.”
Performing in those bands – “There were quite a few of them” – took Thanscheidt around venues in his native Mönchengladbach, as well as regular slots in the likes of Krefeld, Aachen, Düsseldorf, Cologne and other nearby cities. A flame had been ignited, and his natural curiosity found him wanting to discover more about the mechanics of the live music business.
“At some point, I started booking my own band,” he says. “But this was in the days where there were no mobiles or the Internet or email. I’d use the old, green rotary phone in my parents’ living room, and I’d just call up venues and bars and stuff, as well as some school and university places. And then I also started doing the same thing for the bands of my friends.
“At the same time, I’d started working in youth centres. We had two great ones in Mönchengladbach, and I did everything there – I was mixing bands, I did the lights for bands, I was the promoter – I did 1,000 different things. And from that I also started promoting parties and presenting local bands. It was like six Deutsche Mark [roughly €3] entrance fee: we’d have a band playing, and then a DJ party where I also was sometimes the DJ.”
“There was a big music scene in Münster and a number of university organisations, while a few of the German punk, rock, and indie bands came from there”
Learning the ropes through his own initiative, things moved up a gear when Thanscheidt left home for university in Münster. “I studied political science, social science, and German literature and language. And there, the music stuff all became a bit more professional.”
He explains, “There was a big music scene in Münster and a number of university organisations, while a few of the German punk, rock, and indie bands came from there. And there was one of Germany’s biggest independent record shops, which also had a small label called Green Hell. So, in Münster, everything started to point the way for me.”
Developing his entrepreneurial skills, Thanscheidt stepped up his promoting activities, which in turn introduced him to a fellow music-obsessed student, Matthias Arends. “It was around 1999, in my second year in Münster. Matthias was working for Visions magazine, one of the most influential music magazines of that time, and really important before the Internet age.”
Thanscheidt’s enthusiasm and obvious love for music paid off, and with the backing of Arends, within six months he had landed an internship at Visions. “I was part of the festival crew,” he says. “They were visiting all the festivals, like [Rock am] Ring and [Rock im] Park and Hurricane Southside and Highfield and Bizarre Festival – all those kinds of events throughout Germany at that time.”
His abilities got him noticed, and in 2000, he began an internship at Vision’s headquarters in Dortmund. “I was working alongside some other people who are still well-known in the industry today,” he tells IQ. “And after three years, in 2003, I took over the team lead for marketing for the independent record companies and the promoters. And that’s the reason I’ve known all the German promoters for 20-25 years now, because I was partnering with them all presenting tours. But I was also promoting because we had an event department, which I ran for many years.”
“It’s a special skill to be able to book the right acts and programme music at a festival – and to do it well – but I knew he could do it”
He continues, “We were promoting Visions parties and Visions events all over Germany. We did a crazy amount of tours and shows. And that’s the reason why I’ve worked so long with so many promoters because I met them really early – also with some agents like Tobbe Lorentz and others whom I’ve worked with from the very start.”
Signs of the zodiac
Making a name for himself in Germany’s live music business, Thanscheidt’s efforts were not going unnoticed. In 2008, he received a call from FKP Scorpio founder Folkert Koopmans, requesting a meeting at the company HQ in Hamburg, although he was at pains not to reveal what the purpose of the meeting would be.
“Visions was our media partner at Hurricane Southside, so I knew Stephan well, and he was always a good person to work with,” Koopmans tells IQ. “It’s a special skill to be able to book the right acts and programme music at a festival – and to do it well – but I knew he could do it, and I thought he would be a good person to have at FKP Scorpio.”
But the meeting almost never happened.
“I had to cancel three times,” recalls Thanscheidt. “I got really sick, and it was at the same time as the swine flu. I didn’t have that, but I was still pretty ill. So, it took us forever to schedule and reschedule.
“When I eventually did travel to Hamburg, in late 2008, I miscalculated my journey, because I got to the street where FKP’s offices are, but I didn’t realise I was three or four miles away and there were only about 20 minutes to get there. So I was sweating when I arrived.”
“When I found out that Folkert was looking for someone to take over the Hamburg department, I felt honoured, but I told him I did not want to end up being a local promoter”
At the time, although FKP had a significant presence in the German market, the company still had a small workforce. “I was making all of the decisions myself,” states Koopmans. “I was the local promoter, I was doing the festival bookings, and I was also in charge of the touring department – so it was clear that I needed somebody to take over some parts.
“My first offer to Stephan was if he would be willing to run the local department. But he was not really interested in that.”
Thanscheidt recalls, “When I found out that Folkert was looking for someone to take over the Hamburg department, I felt honoured, but I told him I did not want to end up being a local promoter. And then he sort of mentioned that he needed someone to book all these festivals…”
While the switch of employers was an exciting prospect, Thanscheidt’s loyalty to Visions delayed his move to Hamburg. “Folkert, of course, wanted me to start at FKP the following day, but I had been at Visions for so long that I did not want to burn any bridges – I wanted to leave things in good hands. But Folkert understood and eventually I started working with him in May 2009.”
Initially taking on the dual roles of head of festival booking and head of the local department, Thanscheidt was the youngest department leader in the company’s history, although he admits, “the company was much smaller back then – only about 50 or 60 people.”
Thinking back to those early days at FKP, he recalls, “We restructured a lot of things when I came in. For me, it was a fantastic company and great to be there, but there were a few things I didn’t understand. I was unsure whether I should confront Folkert or just keep my mouth shut, as it was a very different environment to what I was used to.”
“I’m very happy about where we are and that especially the old, strong brands still exist and that they are still regarded as the coolest festivals to play in this country”
Needless to say, Thanscheidt spoke up. “From that point on, we started developing a lot of things in Hamburg and elsewhere. We also founded a management board, which there never was before.”
Recalling the early days in 2009/10, he tells IQ, “I started running [the festivals] with a much smaller team. We had a festival director for all the organisational things, the production and all that. And I was more involved in everything to do with the artists and marketing.
“Everything was much smaller and simpler back then, as festivals were not that developed. I’m very happy that they are more developed now and that we’re changing a lot of things and offering something different nowadays. But thinking about back then, it was just a field with a couple of stages and some food concessions. The number of festivals was maybe comparable, but it was a very different effort that you had to make to put these festivals on properly.
“Now it’s more about the kind of experience that you have, whereas it used to be a fenced field with some border properties, and then just some pizza, burger, and fries stands, and maybe two stages and a dance tent if you were lucky. We always had fun, but I [can’t] imagine [calling] something like that a festival nowadays, where you have to think very carefully about things like sustainability awareness and gender balance on the line-up.
“Also, costs and pricing and the financials of those kinds of festivals was very different. But now it’s also a completely different product, which I love, and which I’m really proud of – I’m very happy about where we are and that especially the old, strong brands still exist and that they are still regarded as the coolest festivals to play in this country.
“But from my point of view, the festival is never ‘ready’ – there’s always a list of things to improve for next year, and it’s a very agile process to just develop them year after year after year, to keep them fresh and cool and modern so that they remain places where people just want to go and spend their music vacation and escape from daily life for one to four or five days.”
“Without Stephan, the company would never have been able to grow so fast or so successfully”
The company has almost changed beyond recognition from 15 years ago, and while Koopmans founded Scorpio back in 1990, he credits his co-CEO as one of the main reasons for its expansion during the last decade.
“Without Stephan, the company would never have been able to grow so fast or so successfully,” states Koopmans. “I don’t have to worry about the German festivals, for example – he has them completely under control. Knowing that I can rely on him allows me the time to develop other ideas and other projects. Without Stephan, that would not be possible.”
Some of those projects involved launching the FKP Scorpio brand in other territories.
“We took the adventures to Scandinavia and to other markets,” says Thanscheidt. “We bought the ruins of Hultsfred Festival; we founded a number of new things; we had to find new offices; and we also bought some existing smaller indie companies. But we did this in a very strategic and planned way. There were of course some problems here and there, but in the end, we were pretty successful everywhere.”
The gemini twins
In early 2013, Koopmans offered Thanscheidt a huge promotion. “He asked me to become his partner in FKP Scorpio, and run the company together as CEOs,” says Stephan.
“We both know what our strengths and weaknesses are, so sometimes he is the good guy and sometimes I am the good guy – we work that out between us”
However, conscious that other colleagues had been at FKP longer than himself, Thanscheidt had some frank and honest discussions about how that announcement should be handled before agreeing a new deal. But more than ten years later, the arrangement has been a stellar piece of business by Koopmans.
“We both know what our strengths and weaknesses are, so sometimes he is the good guy and sometimes I am the good guy – we work that out between us,” reveals Koopmans.
Today, in addition to its extensive operations in Germany, FKP Scorpio’s international reach spreads across Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK. And the workforce has expanded from 20 people, 15 years ago, to more than 350, full-time, in 2023 – and countless more during the festival season and on some of the massive tours that Scorpio promotes.
That growth has required the two CEOs to bring in other experienced executives to bolster the company’s senior management team: COO Freddie de Wall; CFO Jörg Jesche; Jasper Barendregt, managing director of FKP Show Creations; Michaela Töpfer, managing director of Palazzo, the group’s gourmet cabaret show organiser; and Marc Engelke, managing director of FKP Eventservice.
Along with Koopmans and Thanscheidt, those individuals make up the company’s management board, which meets every Monday morning and has supported the strategy of the two principals for the group’s continued progression, as well as its survival plans throughout the Covid pandemic.
“One of Stephan’s big strengths is that he deals well with authorities and politicians – something that I am not very adept at”
Freunds in high places
With Thanscheidt leading the company’s Covid response, FKP Scorpio managed to retain its entire workforce, while paying everyone 95% of their normal salaries throughout the lockdowns.
But Koopmans reveals that his co-CEO’s efforts benefitted many more people than just his colleagues.
“One of Stephan’s big strengths is that he deals well with authorities and politicians – something that I am not very adept at. I prefer to remain in the background doing all the groundwork,” says Koopmans.
“Stephan knows people like Wolfgang Schmidt who is like the right-hand man to [German chancellor] Olaf Scholz. In fact, Stephan actually worked with the German government a lot during the pandemic. He helped them develop a lot of the health programmes and gave them advice on how to do it. He was very involved with that, and I know that he helped the whole concert business in Germany as everyone tried to make sure their businesses survived Covid.”
While the whole of the German industry might owe Thanscheidt a debt of gratitude, for the man himself, ensuring that live music was as high as possible on the government’s list of priorities during the pandemic was paramount.
“It is my responsibility to fight on behalf of our industry for better support or whatever we need”
“I’ve been on the board of the German promoters’ association for nearly ten years,” says Thanscheidt. “Obviously, the discussions that we had in the pandemic were crucial, and I was part of all the health programmes, money-wise, which were rolled out to different parts of the industry in Germany.
“It is my responsibility to fight on behalf of our industry for better support or whatever we need, on the local level in the different federal states and with the federal government in Berlin. It’s one of my biggest privileges to do that, and it’s something that I take very seriously.”
When he’s not rubbing shoulders with the country’s policymakers, Stephan stands shoulder to shoulder with the fans of his beloved hometown football club Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“Music is my first love, but my second love is definitely football,” he says. “I’ve been going to watch my hometown team since I was five or six years old. I started going there with my father and my uncle at the old stadium of Borussia Mönchengladbach. And since I’ve been living in Hamburg, I’ve also had a St. Pauli season ticket for eight or nine years now. I’m a big football fan.”
With so many responsibilities, finding the time to make full use of that season ticket might have become more challenging, but he notes that being confined to home during Covid also reignited his passion for making music.
“The pandemic gave me a bit more time to play my instruments again, and that’s something I also really enjoy”
“The pandemic gave me a bit more time to play my instruments again, and that’s something I also really enjoy. Sometimes we rehearse with the Hurricane Swim Team, and I like that a lot.”
For anyone unfamiliar with that band, he recounts the tale behind its formation.
“The Hurricane Swim Team was an ironic hashtag our social media team used to communicate with fans during the flooding issues we had at Hurricane Southside in 2016. We have our own radio station for the festival’s camping grounds, because if there’s a problem, you can reach the fans in their cars, via the radio, because the Internet will not work if thousands of people are trying to use their smartphones and you have an emergency situation.
“In 2016, we had to evacuate the camping grounds, and everybody had to go to their cars to wait until the storm was over. One of the radio guys had a ukulele, and he composed a tune with those people in their cars who had connection with WhatsApp. And the resulting song became a number-one viral hit on Spotify for two weeks after the festival, so we recorded it and now it is tradition that we start the festival at 3 o’clock on the first day with a performance by the Hurricane Swim Team, in the hope that we will never have weather like this again.”
Indeed, that tradition led to one of his all-time highlights.
“There was such a magical atmosphere – we were all crying on stage – all of us. These are the moments you will just never forget”
“I remember the first year after the pandemic (last year) we opened the gates, and the band was on stage waiting for people to come for the start at three o’clock. There was this dust in the air, and then people came running over the hill, flooding to the front of the stage.”
Another highlight came just one week earlier. “My first actual festival after the pandemic was Greenfield [in Switzerland], where we have these alp horns – four-to six-metre horns that are a traditional thing from the mountains around Bern in Switzerland. The alp horn blowers come every year and play two or three songs to open the festival, which is a pretty punk, hardcore metal audience.
“But for me, and many others, this was the first event post-pandemic. There were 25,000 people in front of the stage screaming and crying and whatever, and then they did their thing with the alp horns, and there was such a magical atmosphere – we were all crying on stage – all of us. These are the moments you will just never forget.”
Such moments build camaraderie within the Scorpio ranks.
“I’ll give you a small insight into working with Stephan,” says colleague Janina Zeller, outlining Thanscheidt’s thirst to discover new music. “Next to his job as our CEO, he leads our festival booking team, of which I and three other colleagues are part, so we sit right next to him and work very intensively with him every day.
“There is hardly a band he doesn’t know, no matter how small”
“When we’re curating our festivals, it’s incredibly exciting to discuss with him acts that are promising or bands that we would like to provide a platform for. There is hardly a band he doesn’t know, no matter how small. Whether it’s an up-and-coming rapper, a metal band, a punk band from the UK or Iceland, or a formation for our Gothic festival.
“Even though the musical orientations of our festivals are very wide ranging, he puts an equal amount of heart and soul into each one – even if he is an old punk at heart.
“Not only is the approach something that I and the team try to follow, but we try to emulate his feeling for acts, the network he has built up, and the personal and honest contact he maintains with many.”
She continues, “Of course, in our day-to-day work and when we’re onsite at the festivals, this is a very intensive time as we spend 16 hours a day in a small space. But it’s always a mix of very creative and effective work and also a lot of fun and a lot of laughter. He is definitely up for any kind of fun.”
“I think he’s more popular with people than I am,” laughs Koopmans. “But he’s also a fantastic businessman and strategist. We’ve had some hard and tough conversations over the years when we have different ideas, but the debates are always healthy, and we’ve always managed to reach mutual decisions that we can agree on.”
“There were a lot of festivals this year that had fantastic line-ups but did not sell anything because it was just too expensive after the crisis”
Having notched up 25 years in the music industry, including those two years of pandemic turmoil, Thanscheidt has an optimistic view for the future, although he admits current trading conditions are the harshest he can remember.
“We’re always trying to stay positive,” he states. “Throughout Covid, we did everything to keep our family and friends together in the company. We’ve managed to go through this, and now we’re back to more or less normal. But it’s still problematic as the costs are rising so much for many different reasons – energy prices, personnel, materials – and also the costs for the bands are rising, which makes their fees, again, more expensive.”
He notes that, somehow, his festival portfolio has managed to avoid the problems that many other European events have endured this year, perhaps by keeping their prices for admission lower than some rivals.
Nonetheless, he admits, “Ticket prices are at the limit at the moment. That’s what we really significantly feel.”
He continues, “There were a lot of festivals this year that had fantastic line-ups but did not sell anything because it was just too expensive after the crisis. The money people have to spend on their electricity and gas bills and the inflation you can also feel in the supermarkets all make things very difficult at the moment.”
“It’s all a bit more difficult, but it’s no comparison to last year, which was complete chaos”
Thanscheidt and his colleagues have not escaped every dilemma, however. “Tempelhof Sounds could not happen this year because of the refugee situation in Berlin at the airport, with all the Ukrainians being housed there. But all our other festivals took place and did pretty well – most of them were sold out, which is good. It’s all a bit more difficult, but it’s no comparison to last year, which was complete chaos.”
With anything between 19 and 25 festivals in the FKP Scorpio stable in any given year, finding time to be at each and every event simply isn’t possible for Thanscheidt. “I go to as many as I can, but a lot of them are on the same weekend, especially in June, so I can’t physically make them all. But we try to divide things, so it’s me or Folkert going to most of the festivals. And it also depends a bit on the position I have at the festivals – there are some that I personally run with my festival directors; and there are other festivals where my job is more like being a representative.
“I like to be at Hurricane in the centre of the full thing, which is super intense for five or six days. And on the other hand, there are other festivals where I just travel to another country and hang out, meeting people and talking to the locals and stuff like that. I like both parts of being involved, to be honest.”
As for visiting events organised by other companies, Thanscheidt says, “It’s tough, but I always try to see one or two new festivals per year. This year, for example, I was at Happiness Festival for the first time – it’s a smaller one with a 15,000-capacity in the south of Germany.
“I wish I could see more, but it’s very difficult timing-wise because we have so many things going on with the company in different markets, and we’re restructuring to bring some things to a new level. So, this keeps me busy, besides the festivals we are doing, and preparations for next year are already started – 2024 is going to be a big year!”
“The growth around different markets and also here in Germany with different new projects has been immense”
FKP Scorpio’s set-up has been an ongoing project since Thanscheidt first came into the fold. He comments, “The growth around different markets and also here in Germany with different new projects has been immense.
“In the beginning, Folkert and I both did more or less everything. Then a bit later, we started to restructure things so that Folkert’s focus was more going into the touring direction, and I was more going into the festival direction.”
In 2017, FKP Scorpio hired veteran artist manager Freddie de Wall as chief operating officer, to provide another level of management support – while the other management board execs have followed. “There are almost 400 people working across all the company’s offices, which requires a higher level of organisational and administration processes,” notes Thanscheidt.
One bonus of Scorpio’s continued evolution is that it gives the company’s CEOs more time to spend on the thing that first lured them into their careers: music.
“Folkert and I both like to run the company, but we also love and want to work with music. So having the likes of our CFO and COO more active in the daily operations allows us to do that.
“You’ll never be 100% satisfied with a big, growing operation like this, so it has to continually evolve”
“At the moment, [the company structure] is pretty good, but there’s still a lot to do. Of course, you’ll never be 100% satisfied with a big, growing operation like this, so it has to continually evolve. We’re definitely on the right path to where we want to be, as a pan-European promoter. But we also want to retain our different style in the way we work and the way we are, looking at ecological and social sustainability, awareness, all these kinds of matters, which are very important to us, and where we are also quite loud about our beliefs and our aims.”
He adds, “For us, it’s also more a question of what’s going on in society. What are the changes? What can we do to help shape the world as we want it to be? It sounds a bit hippie-ish but it’s quite an important question next to the business and content side for us.”
Being at the forefront of the company’s festival strategy allows Thanscheidt to implement those principles in practice – indirectly influencing the hundreds of thousands of fans who attend those gatherings each year.
“Bringing people together through music and culture is our mission statement,” he says.
“I emphasise to the teams that are working on the festivals our role as being a good host. I mean, if you have people in your kitchen or your house, you also try to be a good host, so this is what we also want for all the people coming to our festivals – not only the bands backstage and your VIPs but for everybody who buys a ticket and comes through the gates.”
“Sustainability is something we demand from more or less every department”
One obvious area in which Thanscheidt and Scorpio’s festival teams are succeeding is sustainability. Single-use plastic is a thing of the past, while programmes to cut the use of diesel generators are also progressing.
“Sustainability is something we demand from more or less every department,” Thanscheidt tells IQ. “It’s easier for some departments – for the food and beverage department, it’s easier to implement more sustainability, for instance, so we don’t have any plastic cups or food containers anymore. We also try to encourage suppliers and contractors to be as sustainable as possible, and some departments now have the option to change suppliers from one event to another.”
While consolidation seems to be the name of the game in the current, tough live music business environment, Thanscheidt and Koopmans, along with their senior management team, are working on further expansion plans for FKP Scorpio, although not that they will divulge details.
However, giving an insight into their process, Thanscheidt says, “If you analyse a country, be it small markets like in Scandinavia or a huge territory like the UK, they are all very different. You have to check what the market needs and what you have to offer. And you need to be pretty clever otherwise you’ll just burn money, and it will not bring you to the goals you have. In the end, it’s more or less about identifying the right people and partners, and then building a master plan for the next three years, bearing in mind it will probably have to be adjusted as you go along.
“Making quick money, especially nowadays, with the things we do, is sometimes possible but normally not the way to go. It’s not very sustainable. So, we just try to implement cool things into markets, be it touring or festivals or a combination, depending on the people, the market, and the companies, and then we try to make the best of it.”
“Programming and producing a festival are a bit like playing with Lego: you build it up, you build it down, you put it in different ways”
Ambition, for Thanscheidt, remains an important motivation. But he admits that the day-to-day routine is still something he loves. “Programming and producing a festival are a bit like playing with Lego: you build it up, you build it down, you put it in different ways. And this is what you do all the time, every day, throughout the whole year to get it to the perfect thing you want to build.
“Then, when it comes to the festival weekend, where everything works, and where everything gets into this flow that we had this year – this is the best moment, because then you see the result of what you did throughout the rest of the year. And when the headliners are playing and you’re standing on stage, looking at the crowd of 80,000 people having the time of their lives, and you see the emotion of the fans in the front rows – this is something I really, really love. It’s one of the best parts of my job, which comes every year at some point, and sometimes many times over.
“All these situations are pretty much based on the team and how we interact with each other and how we stick together when it comes to tougher times. I’m really proud of our products, the development, and everything we do together with this team, and also the amazing crowds we have. Selling 50,000 tickets without announcing anything, on the first day after Hurricane and Southside this year, in a year where promoters are struggling to sell tickets because people don’t have a lot of money: it’s the nicest ‘thank you’ people can say after a festival that just happened as they’re trusting us that we will put something great on next year again.”
In terms of music, he keeps his list of ambitions short. “I would love to present Rage Against the Machine at some point at one of our festivals, because I basically more or less presented all of my favourite acts somewhere over Europe in the last 15 years. But I never promoted Rage Against The Machine.”
He adds, “There are a lot of ambitions when it comes to the development of the company and also the European network we have, as well as helping the people in our company to develop individually. This is where I’m spending most of my time, at the moment, to develop and build the company, together with our whole team, and just make it better and make it a company where everybody’s proud and happy to work. And also, being a pan-European promoter that bands and artists and management trust.”
“Ed Sheeran played the smallest slot on the smallest stage at the smallest festival that we did, so we know that we can develop careers from day one”
All in all, Thanscheidt is marking his 25th anniversary in music in a good place, knowing that his hard work in the evolution of Koopmans’ FKP Scorpio empire has resulted in a set up that can allow artists and their music to thrive.
“Ed Sheeran played the smallest slot on the smallest stage at the smallest festival that we did, so we know that we can develop careers from day one, also through the different festival platforms we have, and then grow with the artists,” he states.
“We have a lot of big artists nowadays who all started at our festivals at some point. It’s a strategic platform we can use to support younger acts – and to also support more female artists to make sure we have a more balanced line-up in a few years. The percentage at our festivals is not where it should be – it’s different from festival to festival, and it is getting better every year – but we still have a lot to do, and we’re making sure that we do it.”
He concludes, “Ultimately, this is something my team and I love: trying to take us to the next and better level, sometimes with small steps, sometimes bigger steps, but we make sure it’s always moving in the right direction, and this is the most important step. If I can still be doing that in another 25 years, then I will be a happy man.”
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