Chris Helmbrecht

What is your target audience?

My target audiences are different. We have events (XING) with middle class managers (50/50 Russian/Foreigners). We also run high class events for a smaller selected audience in the city’s top venues, likeSo-Ho Rooms, Krysha Mira or GQ Bar. Besides all that, we do ‘open for everyone’ parties, which are just pure fun

What is your role in Moscow’s social scene?

I’m German and been living in Moscow for 9 years. Since the beginning I have been organizing business network events and also parties for the last 6 years. Today we are running various monthly events, like the bi-weekly XING meeting, the monthly ASMALLWORLD Soiree and our own weekly parties with We Party! We have a following of about 5000 people, plus the reach through social networks

In your opinion what are the greatest challenges facing expats in Moscow?

When you come to Moscow for the first time you are filled with stereotypes and horror stories about Russia and Russians. Most of itis not true. Moscow looks European, is geographically in Europe and the people look European. Having said that, the business culture is pretty different. Let me put it like this. Living here and running a business is OK at first, despite of the bureaucracy. Then you run full force against an invisible wall and you’re lying on the ground with some broken bones. There are only two choices. Give up or get up and dust off. Slowly you’ll recover and you keep running again, until you hit the next unexpected invisible wall. You learn to expect these walls and how to deal with the problems, but they tend to never go away. Anytime your business is running well and you feel it’s going well, you most certainly hit the next wall.