• DKK
Natasha Friis Saxberg

Director at Atea Future Growth, Digital Entrepreneur and Writer

KOKOON Portraits # 11

 

Creativity has always been her thing. Prior to turning into a tech-consultant and entrepreneur she worked as a furrier and designer. According to Natasha there’s not much difference between designing a dress and creating visionary digital solutions. Everything is possible. If you can dream, it’s possible, she says.

 

What turning points have defined you?

All my ups and downs have made me who I am today. I have never been afraid to start new projects because should they not succeed, it wouldn’t be a failure. Instead they would have taught me new things and opened new doors. Originally, I was trained as a furrier, but when Brigitte Bardot started kissing baby seals in the nineties, the fur industry experienced a drastic decline. I had my own shop for two years. Here I designed dresses on request, but I had to close it when the financial crisis in the mid-nineties occurred.

 

I decided to try something completely different and trained to be an IT micro-instructor even though I hadn’t studied the field of computers since eighth grade, and a lot had happened in a decade even then. During the beginning of my career, I realized I could combine technology and creativity but also what interest me the most with tech-projects; namely how technology can help us to a better way of life. In my opinion, we don’t lack technology but rather better use of it. Shouldn’t we instead speed up our evolution by reinventing outdated system, or at least update them a bit. Imagine the future of schools where children are engaged and excited to learn. Imagine getting routine treatments in your home rather than in the hospital, if you have a chronic disease, and have your relatives play a part that wouldn't be a burden. Just to mention a few areas that are ripe for change. As a designer, you envision something and next step is to create it. It’s kind of the same with technology. I visualize how the life of a student could be easier and I come up with the answers.

 

Have you met someone who made you look at things differently?

I meet lots of people who impacted my outlook on life. But if I had to mention one person who influenced the entrepreneurial and creative side of me, it’s my mother. She has always been self-employed and no matter what crazy ideas I have presented her with, her response has always been the same; “of course you can do that – it’ll turn out fantastic!”. Naturally not everything succeeded, but I have never been afraid of failing. When I was younger, i felt my nonacademic background was a disadvantage, but today I think it’s one of my strengths - that I wasn’t schooled in a certain way of thinking, and instead can draw on my 26 years of work experiences.

 

What are your strengths?

My enormous press network and contacts to various start-up businesses is definitely one of my strengths in this job. It took me many years to build my network. I have had to be very investigative and dynamic - not an easy thing being kind of an introvert like me.

 

What’s important to you?

Freedom is extremely important to me. Not being labelled in regard to how and what I’m expected to deliver, but being able to define that myself. It’s fine to work towards a common goal, whether it is in a small or large company, but there needs to be a creative freedom in regard to how I reach the goal.

Not power nor money drive me. My work needs to have an impact – so it makes a difference that I go to work. Time to reflect is also very important to me. And time to study and learn new stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time for those things, that was easier to prioritize when I was self-employed. In a way, I think people could relax more and had more time to process and consider decisions before computers came into our lives. Today our inbox is the to do’s other people sets for us, it makes us feel busy but not necessarily efficient towards the goals we should achieve.

 

When do you feel challenged?

I’m an opportunist whereas many of the people I meet are realists. That’s two worlds colliding. Rejections from authorities are hard if the reason why is simply that it’s not possible. That’s not a valid argument – that’s not true. Almost everything is possible.

 

What tends to annoy you?

There is a delicate balance between being vulnerable and thick-skinned, and I don’t think I’m very good at being vulnerable. So, it can upset me, if people complains about their lives, but still don’t make an effort to change anything.

 

Do you cry easily?

I don’t cry that often. But after becoming a mother myself, any footage of children suffering, can move me to tears.

 

What does your gender mean to you?

Even though I work in a business dominated by men, I don’t consider my qualifications specifically feminine or masculine. But I bear in mind to maintain my femininity and be self-contained. Throughout my career I have occasionally met idiots who patronized me just because I was young and a woman, but try to avoid those types. I simply don’t want to work with people who can’t behave – that being men or women.

 

What is love to you?

Love is an odd character – except for the love for my children. That’s without question. I’m extremely loyal and good at adjusting and as a result of that I have had long relationships that should have ended way earlier. Now I have a wonderful boyfriend, so perhaps I have finally learned my lesson.

 

The iconic and now deceased New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. He snapped a photo of Smilla and me on 5.th Avenue and I was totally star struckMy daughter’s eight-year-old birthday while living in New York. I accidently prepared everything one day prior. I didn’t realize it until I stood in an empty school yard with fresh cinnamon buns and 30 balloons. But then all was ready for the day after

Romper on parade in Central Park – my favourite wedding picture. And my son looks the right way…Sunset at Kastellet. One of my favourite spots in Copenhagen and luckily very close to where I liveOne of the things I love about New York are all the colourful people who make the most beautiful motif

At an event in Donald Trump’s apartment in 2013. It was on the market for a staggering $49 millions. Today I would have boycotted a visit thereMy daughter found a book for me at JFK airport which she taught, I should read. It could also do her some good. The apple never falls far from the tree

Horseback riding on the heath in Skagen is not only soft on the eye but also great for the soulShortly afterwards recoding an episode of Tech and The City in my TV studio in Nasdaq, NYC, where I did technology TV for a yearFirst summer in Mallorca after giving up on summers in Denmark. Previously I would swear by our cabin near Skagen, but the rainy summer of 2015 made me give up on summers spend at home

My wonderful children Oscar and Smilla in play mode at a giant fountain in Nice Movie night with my girls. My daughter Smilla on the left, my bonus daughter Malou and lastly Bella my fluffy baby

 

NATASHA'S FAVOURITE KOKOON ITEMS