Wie of wat is toch die Micael Dahlen (NMD18)?: ‘The expectations society is still around and it brought us Trump’

(tekst: Nanny Kuilboer – MarketingTribune)

Micael Dahlen, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior aan de Stockholm School of Economics in Zweden, is één van de twee prominente keynotes tijdens NIMA Marketing Day editie 2018. In aanloop naar 21 juni stelde MarketingTribune deze rijzende ster in marketingwetenschap alvast een aantal vragen.

Was the release of Nextopia your big breakthrough?
Nextopia was my first book to be released in Dutch, so obviously I would have to say yes. I have loved the Netherlands for a long time, and was very happy when I finally received some liking back.

Is Nextopia still on topic or do you see a shift away from the expectations society?
I wish I could say that we’ve all learned and evolved beyond it, but it’s still around, and it brought us Trump! However, I’m glad to observe that sustainability and Streamness – creating streams, movements of meaning together –  are becoming increasingly important in society.

What is your current research topic?
I never have just one. I’m still very much into happiness, which was a primary part in Nextopia. I actually released a new book last year – Chaosology, which is not out in Dutch yet, so obviously it hasn’t had its breakthrough yet! – which dugs deeply into well-being, how people can be a bit more happy, do more of what they want and less of what they don’t really want, and – pardon my “Swedish” – kick life in the ass. I have a couple of projects on the quantification of life and how all this feedback and numbers related to everything we do impact us. And I’m working on my “next Monster”, a life science journey-experiment-expose kind of thing.

What was your drive to write Monster?
I was curious about people’s fascination with evil and serial killers. It all started with a tabloid billboard, citing an open letter from Sweden’s most infamous killer which said “Stop sending me all these love letters”. I just couldn’t understand it. So I travelled the world, met the serial killers and dug into ordinary people’s minds, and finally understood better than I would have wanted.

I saw a picture of your office space…is that real and workable?
Very real and very workable. It’s the way I work. Chaosology.

Are you proud of people calling you the ‘rockstar professor’?
No, but the little boy who grew up with very bad hearing and dreamt of being a rockstar but didn’t understand that his music did not really sound that good, would have loved it. I’m happy for him.

Are you familiar with the brands represented at Nima Marketing Day 2018?
I’m pretty familiar with a number of them, both from my stays in the Netherlands and from encounters elsewhere. The rest I look forward to getting to know when we meet soon!

How do you prepare yourself to address a room filled with Dutch marketeers?
With kroketten and stroopwafels, like I always do when I’m in the Netherlands. Love them! I actually think that who and what people love and eat says a lot about who they are, so I’m always curious about that when I travel and get to know a country. And the Netherlands love and eat so well! My wife’s not too keen on my exploring too much of the loving, though, but I’m all in with the eating 😊. Other than that, I prepare myself with grave performance anxiety, because the Dutch are so smart and hip, but also calm myself knowing that they are among the friendliest people I know.

What’s your connection with Peeter Verlegh, Professor of Marketing and the Head of the Marketing Department at VU Amsterdam and the person who is going to introduce you at Nima Marketing Day?
Peeter is the archetypical Dutch Professor to my mind – supersmart and extremely gracious. That’s rare in academia, at least in the rest of the world, professors tend to be either or. Peeter and I met way back at some conference, where he stood out with those two qualities and I instantly wanted be friends with him. We don’t meet very frequently, but when I need the very sharpest eye on some piece of research – my own, or some article that needs review for the research journals where I am an associate editor – I send it to him.