A dinner with Mr. John Hoffman, President, GSM World Congress. Suculent Restaurant, Barcelona.

In between meetings and long days Mr.Hoffman had dinner with a fairy. Its incredible! this man does it all! Intelligent, dedicated, and passionate about their work, gastronomy and friends. Close, friendly and a gentleman. Mr. Hoffman opens his heart, behind a big businessman we find a better person. Mr Hoffman many thanks for your time. It´s been a pleasure.


John Hoffman


Red, white, rose or champagne?
I love champagne rose, is probably the most interesting champagne. Also, I don´t like real bubbly champagne.
What nicknames do you have?

People call me Jon or Hoff for the surname, not really a nickname.
Where and when are you happy?
I try to be happy most of the time
What is your biggest fear?
Probably failure
Something crazy you’ve done or experienced?
Lots to choose from! (smile) maybe one of them, when I was at the University, it wasn´t allowed to parking for the students. But the uni had parking for staff, and they had a little sticker to put on the car. So I decided that I was going to make one to putting on my car, and I did it, and it´s illegal! Hahaha   I made one for me and my friend, but one Friday night, off to school, cold and with snow, I when to pick up my car, and it was gone! Hahahha well, I deserve it!   I got in trouble for that! I thought it was funny! Also I had to apologize in front of people, (and I had to pay of course)
What is the defect that most hate in others?
Bad creativity and people without passion, I like professional people, intelligent, creative, passionate, hard working!
What talent would you like to have?
Singing and painting
Which is your favorite tale character, fiction, historical, Disney..? And in real life?

Bogart in Casablanca, is an interesting character. In life; business people, political people, people who work in medicine… Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Amstrong, Mother Teresa!
If you could have another life, (we don´t know), would you become in!. other thing or person? Who?
I better have another life! Hahahah
I will come back may be in a different time, same person different time, before or later, just to experience something different. I have experience this time, so I would like to experience another, 100 year ago or 100 years in the future.
What makes you smile?
For example, the article about a policeman and a homeless in NY. The policeman bought a pair of boots for the homeless. He just did it because he was cold!he is special. That makes me smile, good people.
What makes you sad?
Probably when people don´t treat people well
Favorite music?
Rock and roll! Good old ones!
What do you consider your greatest achievement has been?
My kids
What is your slogan?
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got
What would you like to be when you grow up?
I don´t know because I am still a kid! (smile)
A toast to?
Good friends

Short questions: John Hoffman
Sea or mountain?
Paella or fideua?
Paella as I never tried fideua, but only good paella!
Do you have any home remedy?
Not really!
Do you like cooking?
Yes, I don´t cook a lot anymore, but I enjoy cooking. The most interesting is that I love cleaning dishes! Washing them and putting them away hahahh
Do you have TV in your room?? Or do you prefer a book?
Neither just go to sleep (smile)
I don´t watch much TV, just some sports, and I haven´t read a book, I mean a novel, since long time! this is bad!!
How many alarms do you put every morning?
I wake up for myself and immediately
Day  or night?
Are you superstitious?
Do you have pets?
Yes, a cat and a turtle
Preferred alcoholic drink?
Breakfast, appetizer, brunch, lunch or dinner?
Is not the food is the people
Football team?
Meat or fish?
Good fish
Sweet orsalty?
Well both together is good too!
A film?
Favorite country?
I have many, Spain, China, Middle East, France, United States, Canada, Africa, South Africa! the whole world! haha


Where did you born and how do you remember your childhood?

I was born in Michigan, in the United States, and grow up in a town called Saline, maybe around 10.000 people. Close to a largest town, 150.000 people, with a small town atmosphere. It was a university town with people very well educated.

The first thing you did?
Architect. I moved to Colorado to practice architecture in Denver. That was my first professional work.

Is technology been always in your life? Did you always love tech and mobiles?

No, I get in to technology by accident, through architecture. I was working for a very small firm. One of our clients was like Telefónica, a telephone company, and we did high tech buildings, switching rooms! we were designing the switching centers for them, I was one of the program directors, and after that they ask me to join them. And I got into telephony.

When and why you got involved into GSM Congress?  

In 1990-1992, first as a participant, then as an exhibitor, the Congress was owned by Format Group (London). GSM were 50/50 partners. In 2004 we had the opportunity to buy the rest of the business and I help them, I advise them on buying the business. They want me to run it at that time, but it was based in London and I couldn´t because I was in the States. In 2006 the business moved to the States, and they were looking for someone to join, there hire me in 2007, in 2008 I start to running it.

Talking about GSM, you are the President, congratulations. How many people work with you? Are you a big team?

The business has two mayor shows, the biggest in Barcelona, then in Shanghai, and then a few smallest, 500-700 people. We have another business, publications, we do research and media, we are the largest online mobile telephony news publication on the world. Will do it in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Corean, Japanese and Arabic (soon). So, yes we are a big team!

It´s an honor to us, but, why Barcelona?
The show use to be in France, Cannes, and we grew and we had no more space for exhibitions. Barcelona was judged the best. We move in 2005.

Which is the ambient of the Congress?
Just business, business to business. We don´t even allow people who don´t have interests; well they could pay the ticket, but is very expensive.

People spend time in Barcelona too? This is very good for the tourism.

We think that about 35% of the people, come or leave a day after or before, or they spend the weekend, so yes is very good for the tourism too.

The Congress is business focused. Do you prepare events around the fair like big meetings, private dinners! is worth it for the business? Could we say the fair is working well for business, not only for showing off or just to be there? Do you really close deals?  

The people that are participating do great business, the numbers from last year where more or less 205 countries participates, and they come to do business. They are all here, so it´s easy to talk with a company based in China or Japan. Is a meeting point for all telephony companies.

Now you are moving to Gran Via, why? Are you ready? I thing you have a lot off space demand and new stands? This is a new handicap!
We are getting ready, but we are not ready yet! Still some things to do, we have a good team and is almost ready, only some logistics things to close, but just small stuff.
Is a big change to move to Gran Via, but it was attractive for us at the time we renovate the contract. The possibility of have a new and bigger venue was excellent, is a great facility and new. Montjuic is amazing, the fountain, the location, the tradition! is beautiful, but a bit small and a bit old for us now.

Are you scared about the security? I know you had some problems in the past, and now in a new building!. Do you think is going to be ok?  

It would be easier, because now we have just one building; we could control better the access. We had problems years ago because people could come in fairly easy, and it´s so expensive equipment, and they run away! No violence thanks god but yes, they stole some stuff. I´m sure this year will be better.

How many companies there are represented? How are them? Big ones, or is a good platform also for startups?
We have 1500 exhibitors. Those are companies that takes space, but then, also countries take space, for example España and also the Generalitat, they both take space, and inside them,   they will be 20, 30, 40 companies. No one is really counting exactly, may be another 200 or 300 hundred including the companies inside the countries.
Yes is a platform for the startups as well as for major established companies.

Which are your plans for the fair for the future with the Congress? Bigger? Continuing in Barcelona?
Bigger every year, but bigger isn´t always better. Is getting the right people, the business, be successful in the industry! We sign the last contract to be here until 2018, so 6 more years.

Do you feel nervous before the opening?? And after?  
Not nervous, excited, and afterwards, exhausted hahahah

What do you do exactly in a normal day?

Don´t think there is a sort of normal day, I travel a lot, so when I travel is pretty much, get up, work, doing different things, office,   meeting with costumers or potential customers, partners, government, official lunch or dinners, get over sleep,   get up and over again.
Our home office is in Atlanta, Georgia, then Barcelona, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, these are the main offices, so I travel a lot over these countries.

How do you combine family and work and traveling so much?

I have 5 children, so is hard! Three at uni, one is 15 and other 6 years, from 21 under 6. Yes, you are right I am gone a lot, but they got the chance to travel around with me. They have been to China, London, Spain!

I know you love gastronomy! anything special? Any favorite restaurant in Barcelona?
The best restaurant is the one with friends. A small coffee seating on the street, or a dinner! that´s a matter, good food is good food, and in Barcelona you have that. But the food can´t necessary make a good dinner, of course it helps, but the atmosphere, nice wine, cocktails! good friends make good dinners.

Is difficult for people from abroad to do new friends in Barcelona?
Well!I meet all my friends through business, and yes I become friends with them and they are wonderful people!

Would you like to send a message to the readers?? Any advice?
I think because I am a guest in Barcelona, I would like to thank everyone for supporting us as a fair. Also, they welcoming me really well in this such a wonderful place.
I came for the first time in 1992 for the Olympics and I felt in love with the city, wonderful people, food, weather! So thank you.

Dear John, many thanks for spending your time having diner with a Fairy;) and thanks so much for being natural, warm and spontaneous! I believe now we know you a bit better!


Situated in Raval area, is one of the most populars and cool restaurants at this moment. The area is becoming a place to be! and the restaurant its a MUST!

Rambla Raval 43


Did you enjoy the dinner, would you recommend the restaurant?
Was outstanding, simple décor with outstanding menu. Perfect dinner, we had around 8 pieces, my favorite, the first and the last but everything in the middle were great too!
I will come back and I will highly recommend it!
The wine, muy bien! (smile)

The Menu
Tapenade with Mató Cheese
Fresh tomato with dried tuna slices and cured beef ham
Code brandade
Pickled mackerel
Fried anemones
Grilled fresh tuna
Calf tail with marrow
Homemade brie cheesecake
Susterris Wine (Costas del Segre)

Just an amazing dinner!! Thanks to Antonio Romero (Chef), Manel, Marco, Chema, Fer, Claudio, Sabrina and ! Coto, one of the best hosts in town!! Gracias Coto!!
TuFairyTale will definitely come back too as Suculent is one my favorite restaurants!!! Next time will have dinner at the secret table;) shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh











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