Faruk, you are the founder and CEO of Polyteia, a member of the Science and Innovation Advisory Council of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior for Register Modernization, and of the Federal Government's Digital Summit, as well as the state speaker of Bitkom for Berlin and Brandenburg.
What motivated you to start your own podcast?
“Digitalization in administration is a topic that often remains behind the scenes. It's inaccessible to the masses. Just the terminologies like the Online Access Act, register modernization, and specialized procedures line up formalities. In doing so, it's easy to forget: It's not the terminologies or initiatives that change the administration, but the people who work in and on it. In my opinion, these people are rarely the focus. With my GovCast, I want to showcase the individuals involved; what motivates them, their professional and personal commitment, why they do this job, and how they came to this profession or, in many cases, their calling.”
How did you come up with the name GovCast?
“Do you know what? We asked ChatGPT. We were looking for a fitting name for a government podcast, and GPT suggested 'GovCast'. After a quick search, we found that there's already a 'GovCast' in America. But since our GovCast is focused on Germany and Europe, that didn’t bother us.”
Who do you want to reach with the GovCast?
“I’d say, all interested parties. Whether they work in business or administration. Everyone who’s always wanted a look behind the scenes of administration. And those who work in administration but desire a deeper and more personal insight.”
How do you choose your guests for GovCast?
“The main thing is they have an interesting role. My guests can be from the administration or a startup, founders or VCs, politicians, journalists... Basically, anyone who plays a role in 'administration digitization'. They are united by the desire to improve and change things.”
What has surprised you the most in the course of the podcast?
“I was surprised by how open people are to sharing personal things on a podcast. I thought my guests would weigh their words more, perhaps not offer as many personal insights, or want to approve the episodes before they are published. But that's not the case. Everyone is happy to talk a bit more openly and casually. For instance, in the first episode, I talked with Markus Richter about how he almost set a forest on fire in his youth. Or in the second episode with Ott Velsberg about his 'addiction' to energy drinks.”
Who are some exciting guests we can expect in the future?
“My next guests are Ann Catrin Riedel, Managing Director of NExT e.V., Chairwoman of LOAD e.V., and a member of the advisory board of the Federal Ministry for Digitalization, Lars Zimmermann, Co-Founder/Member of the Board GovTechCampus Germany, Bernd Schlömer, State Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Digital and CIO of Saxony-Anhalt, and Valentina Kerst, former State Secretary for 'Economic Policy, Economic Development, Tourism and Digital Society' in Thuringia. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming episodes and how they will be received by the listeners.”
What are your personal favorite podcasts and why?
“I almost exclusively listen to American podcasts. For example, I find the Lex Fridman Podcast entertaining because he invites many celebrities, asks 'naive' questions, and has a very pleasant, calm voice. American podcasts are fast, open, entertaining – straight to the point. I like that. In German, I occasionally enjoy 'Alles gesagt' by ZEIT. The podcast is usually very long, but at the same time super interesting. Sometimes I also listen to business podcasts.”