Issue 1

All the way Dreaming about a better world with Manuel Gruber, founder of Dreama TV

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.” — Charles Bukowski

Far too many people live a life they don´t like. They chose a profession only to make money or live a life directed by someone else. With time that leads to frustration or even depression. The team of Dreama TV is on the way to change that. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to find their talents and dreams, by sharing stories of persons who are already living their dream.

I’ve met Manuel Gruber, the founder of Dreama TV, to learn more about his passions, beliefs and contributions to create a better world.

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“The idea was born in a little garage during an inspiring discussion with my mentors Harald and Hermann, the founders of Dream Academia.” — says Manuel. “We spoke about all those remarkable dreamers and read their stories. We’ve found that they all had similar ways to reach their goals. I wanted to share that with the world.”

“In that time I was in the middle of my studies: I’ve studied journalism and media technology with a focus on TV production. At that time, I just started a video production company and had collected a lot of material to share on Youtube. During that time Philipp, my co-founder, also left his job and we started the project Dreama TV. The first approach was to collect inspiring web series that were spread all over the internet and bring them to one channel – Dreama TV. After many learnings, the project was close to death, when we applied for an accelerator program. There we pitched and were selected for the first batch of the ProSiebenSat.1 startup accelerator program out of over 600 applicants. It kept our project alive, but we were still moving in the wrong direction. In 2014 we decided to rethink and go back to the roots following one question: How can we inspire and empower as many people as possible with our stories?”

Yakuzuzu: How do you finance the project now? Do you have investors?

Manuel: We mostly finance the project from our own pockets at the moment. Now that we have built our first working prototypes, we will go into crowdfunding and later on crowd investing. We do not want to fund it through advertising, because it does not meet our values.

Yakuzuzu: What are those values?

Manuel: Transparency, independence, holistic views, sustainability and self-determination are some of them. We actually co-operate with another channel already, because they meet all of our quality standards and share our values. It is not that easy to find business partners who have the same mindset.

Yakuzuzu: What was your dream when you were younger?

Manuel: I wanted to be in a rock band and own my own music label. Looking back nowadays, I do lots of the stuff that come along with that, film production, photography and even some music.

Yakuzuzu: What are the challenges in your business?

Manuel: To reach the biggest impact we can with the few resources we have. We want to stay true to our original idea and vision. Therefore you sometimes have to say no to investors. I don’t believe in brand sponsorship. I believe in a better world and I decided for myself to stay outside of the mainstream. Outside the system. That also means that I had periods in my life where I had to live on one euro per day. This can be very stressful, but I am happy with that. I don’t want to make compromises. Do you know the poem “all the way” from Charles Bukowski? I like to present it in the beginnings of our Dreama workshops. He speaks my mind.

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.” This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind…

Yakuzuzu: A start-up also means a lot of work. How do you use your spare time?

Manuel: I love what I do, so the line between work and spare time became blurred. When I don’t work I am also creative. I love photography and travelling. As we do not work with investors right now we don’t feel that pressure that other startups might have.

Yakuzuzu: What are your next goals to reach?

Manuel: We want to reach 1 billion people within the next ten years. I want to travel the world and meet the most remarkable dreamers. One of the current steps is to build an online platform for dream development. We want to spread the mindset of people who chase their dreams. Online, but also in physical space, through workshops, books, in schools etc. Another step will be going global, that’s a constant challenge we are working on. How can we be open enough to have people all over the planet help us find stories and contribute them to our channel.

Yakuzuzu: What about the 3rd world countries? Can they also pursue their dreams while starving?

Manuel: We get the best feedback in exactly those countries. People there want to change something. They still have the drive. In the western countries people often prefer to live in comfort and wouldn’t want to leave their routines. I think nearly 80% of us are living a life which is directed by others. On the one hand they are unhappy, but on the other hand they are too lazy to change anything. And dreaming does not always mean going for something big. It can especially be small dreams like bringing drinking water to your village that can drive innovation as many examples show.

Yakuzuzu: What does happiness mean to you?

Manuel: Freedom. The more freedom I have, the more happy I am. At the moment, I can mostly freely decide what I want to do during the days and nights. In the mornings I can decide whether I work or I meet a friend for a coffee. That’s the biggest luxury you can have and one that is really important to me.

Yakuzuzu: How come freedom and being independent is so important to you?

Manuel: Maybe because of my childhood and the environment where I grew up. I somehow wanted to show myself that I can reach whatever I want in life and not depend on a system. My parents never went to college. I wanted to graduate and do things I love and that’s what I went for, even if people in my surrounding often didn’t understand me. Maybe I saw too many people living a life they didn’t like.

Yakuzuzu: In the beginning you said that the big dreamers all have some similarities… what are these?

Manuel: Real dreamers never give up. If something really drives you, you will do anything to reach that goal.

Motivated to follow your dreams? Find out more on: www.dreama.tv