Mighty Mac – E.M.A gets inspo from Bali’s nightclub guru Mac Pedari
| 9th February 2020
With a few dollars in his pocket from his Father, Mac Pedari left home in Dubai at the tender age of 14 and travelled to Miami to study business management, then landed a coveted job as A&R for Sony BMG.
Dynamic and ambitious, Mac moved to Europe and set up a successful advertising and marketing company in Stockholm and Rome, but he discovered money doesn’t buy you happiness and came to Bali to find himself.
It was sheer luck that I accidentally met the friendly Mac at the opening week of Shishi, when I was trying to track down the music manager. I was interested to find out more about this successful but humble businessman, who is the brainchild behind some of Bali’s most iconic venues including Ma In Lo, Mbargo, Mint, Pyramid, Opium, Rebenga Lounge & Kitchen and his latest project Shishi.
But being a big part of the hospitality industry, consulting and investing in Bali is not the only job Mac is busy with, his other business is Amazon.com.us and fund trading! How does this guy have anytime to chill I hear you say?
Mac: “You have 24 hours in a day, for me 5-6 hours is enough sleep then I divide the rest of the time with sport, private life and business. If you are active enough, not lazy and doing things you love, you have people you love and the life you love, you always have time for everything.”
I had so many questions I wanted to ask Mac so we sat down one evening in Monsiuer Spoon for a good couple of hours whilst he educated me on the ins and outs of the nightlife business in Bali, his key to success and why he doesn’t like to party in his spare time…
E.M.A: Originating from Iran, but born and raised in Dubai what inspired your move to Bali in 2008?
MAC: I had a bucket list for places I wanted to visit and Bali was on that list. My businesses were doing really well in Stockholm and Rome everything was amazing but my heart and soul was not there, it was just business day in day out. I came to Bali and was only supposed to be here for two months but two weeks into my vacation I just knew I wanted to move here.
I had people that wanted to buy my businesses so I went back to Stockholm and literally sold everything and moved out here.
It’s about decision making, what you need, what you want and what’s good for you, and you have to just go for it! Sometimes it’s a big risk but if you go full hearted, it’s more of a calculated risk.
E.M.A: That was a brave move, what did you do when you first moved here?
MAC: If you have money it makes things easier, you don’t think want am I going to do, what’s going to happen to me! The first six months of being over here I just did sports like tennis and kite surfing, I was living in Sanur and checking out the island, doing lots of research, then I moved to the Semiyaki area.
I’d been in the hospitality business for 25 years and I noticed the 2 things that work over here is property and hospitality, I’d never worked with property always hospitality so it was common sense for me to take that route. So I opened a bar called Ma In Lo and that’s how it began!
E.M.A: Yes, please tell me about your first venue Ma In Lo.
MAC: I decided to open it in Benesari because my former business partners had the biggest clubs on that street, and I knew if I wanted to enter the big scene down here then I needed to know these two gentlemen. I already had the concept of the bar I wanted to open, and it turned out to be a great success. It was a place for 50 people, but we had 250 gathering around the street and it just worked out.
E.M.A: The Dubai party scene is massive would you ever move back and set up some venues?
MAC: No never! I go back and visit family, but I would never move back there, it’s too plastic. Maybe if I was still in Europe, I would have made that move, but there was a reason I came to Bali for soul searching and to go back to who I was. There’s no soul in Dubai, there’s a lot of money to be made there but you can make a lot of money anywhere if you are good at what you do.
E.M.A: For our readers in the UK how would you describe the Bali nightlife vibe?
MAC: I can describe how it’s been over the last 12 years since I’ve been here… I’m now on my 10th venue so I’ve been part of building up the scene in Bali, and it was up, it went down and then went up again and right now it’s confusing, it’s getting too commercial. Investors aren’t opening venues for the love of the music they are opening them because they heard it’s good to open a club here and they want to either launder their money or start a business, they have no idea about music and the nightlife here. But I think it’s on its way up again!
E.M.A: I’ve seen that a few of the big clubs have closed down in Bali over the last couple of years like Jenga and Sky Garden, and it’s not just in Bali that the big clubs seem to be struggling it’s a problem worldwide, why do you think this is? And also, what advice would you give to them here in Bali to stay in business.
MAC: I think it’s all about timing and at the same time money management and staff management. General management is one factor and the main factor is the life of a club in Bali is 3-5 years maximum.
Just because you build a beautiful place and have the best sound system (I mean the sound system is important) it doesn’t mean you will succeed, you need to take your time and be patient to build it up and to do this you need a good opening team and management.
Money can buy you beauty but, in the end, it comes down to humanity and money cannot buy you experience, everything comes down to management mostly business management.
One thing myself and my team are good at is when we are opening a venue, we do a lot of research because money doesn’t grow on trees. I want to know that if I’m putting a load of money into a budget, that it’s the right budget otherwise that money is gone and everything I’ve worked for meant nothing! Research is the key!
E.M.A: Has there been one particular venue that you’ve opened that your most proud of?
MAC: I’m proud of all of them because of the amount of time and effort I’ve put into each venue. This is probably one of the reasons why I’m never jobless and I’m always wanted here because once you have me onboard that means it’s a none stop machine that is rolling. I have staff management, a business manager, money for investment, I have the whole kit. So when I come in you have a lot of benefits and I will be there 7 days a week, the first person in and the last person to leave each day, and I will put in as many hours as it needs to make it successful and that’s what makes me proud, and I’ll do the same for a smaller place as well as the bigger places.
E.M.A: It sounds like you are very passionate about your work, why do you like the hospitality business?
MAC: Because I truly love leadership, my style of management is leadership, I don’t want to be the boss, I’ve never had a boss mentally here in Bali. For me it’s about bringing in and creating a lot of jobs and making sure that whatever I’m doing that this energy is thriving everywhere. I don’t just bring people in to give them a job I educate them and teach them how to do this business.
I’ve trained over 2,500 staff here and so many of them are abroad right now making dollars for their families who are doing better, and these people are as loyal to me as I am to them.
E.M.A: I’m guessing you’ve met a lot of inspiring people throughout your working career and of course a lot of a**holes! What’s the best advice that someone has ever given you that you still use to this day?
MAC: To be yourself, I’ve heard this from a few of my mentors and I never understood what they meant at first because myself, according to me, was never good enough so I couldn’t relate to it, I didn’t love myself I wanted to be someone else.
But when I grew and I began loving myself a bit more and I came to the conclusion that ego meant nothing and I wanted to be a good person, be humble and kind, you can still make tons of money, I actually make more money now than I did before, and before I was an a**hole.
E.M.A: Would you say Bali has changed you as a person?
Bali has a nice filter system, a very organic system where bad people literally get two choices here, either to correct themselves or the island just spits you out, and that happens a lot. This island has a force, it knows if you are a good person or a bad person, and if you’re bad it gives you the option to change yourself or you say goodbye.
I’ve seen a lot of people come in and leave and a lot of people come in and change, me being one of them!
E.M.A: It can’t be all work and no play for you, what do you like to do in your spare time?
MAC: Well I don’t like to party in my spare time, my business is hospitality meeting thousands of people, the last thing I want to do in my private time is to be out meeting more people, I create parties, I create nightlife but this is just a business for me.
I love to read books, learning knowledge, also sports like tennis and kite surfing, it’s good for my mental health. I took up snowboarding when I lived in Stockholm but the best place I’ve ever snowboarded is in Iran, it’s in the top three best places to go off piste in the world.
E.M.A: What projects are you working on this year?
MAC: We’ve just recently signed a new deal and we’ll be opening a new venue in April. The only thing I can say right now is I’m dedicating this one to the LGBT community. It will be a pansexual club where everyone will be welcome. This is a project I’ve been thinking of for over one and a half years now, but I’ve been busy with other things, but now is the time.
E.M.A: For someone like yourself moving to Bali to set up business in the Bali nightlife community what advice would you give them?
MAC: If you’re a foreigner moving to another country, firstly learn their language and through learning their language you are giving them respect, secondly learn the culture, understand it and respect it, at the end of the day you are a visitor, and thirdly do everything legally.
I came away from this chat with Mac feeling really inspired, it was great to gather knowledge from behind the scenes of the Bali nightlife and to hear all about Mac success which came hand in hand with his hard work, humbleness and good energy.
The nightlife scene anywhere in the world can be pretty brutal at times, trust me I should know being a DJ, but my faith has been restored and I’m excited to see what the mighty Mac Pedari will be bringing to Bali next.