The Learning Economy

Sabine Georg:Believe in Yourself

Miami Ad School Europe managing director, and 14 year veteran of Google, Sabine Georg talks with the Learning Economy’s Jeremy Tai Abbett about learning to accept vulnerability to become more confident.

The above images are taken from a 2016 trip to Google in Mountain View when Sabine and I experienced an early morning in the Muir Woods near San Francisco. I highly recommend a visit especially if you are jet lagged or are an early riser; best way to experience nature with a friend.

The Learning Economy - Episode 01

Sabine Georg: Believe in Yourself

[00:00:25] Jeremy: Hey everyone. I’m Jeremy Abbett designer and former creative evangelist at Google. You’re listening to the Learning Economy podcast, a podcast about not what people know, but their capacity to learn through practical experience, self-taught skills, passion, and the courage to question the status quo.

[00:00:45] For today’s episode, I sit down with Sabine Georg , managing director at Miami Ad School Europe, as well as a 14 year veteran of Google and former colleague of mine.

[00:00:56] We talk about how her path from studying at one of Germany’s most well [00:01:00] known art schools led her to work in at one of the world’s most valuable companies, which later led her to where she is today. This was recorded in December of 2019. Before Covid-19 was but an idea based on a Steven Soderbergh film.

[00:01:16] I’m sitting here with Sabine. She’s my friend and ex-colleague from Google. We both left; she left after I and she started before I did. And we’re going to talk a little bit about creativity and her path to where she is now as the managing director for Miami at School Europe.

[00:01:33] Good morning Sabine

[00:01:34] Sabine: Guten Morgan.

[00:01:36] Jeremy: Let’s start in the very beginning. I know you grew up in a small town near Hanover.

[00:01:42] Sabine: Richtig. In VW-land where Northern Germany is the most boring. And really it’s, it’s ugly. It’s an ugly town. *laughter* It’s an ugly town. An ugly town I always wanted to leave. When I’d been to Hamburg for the first time, it was clear that Hamburg [00:02:00] should be my wahlheimat, this nice word made up by Goethe, I think

[00:02:05] Computer: Wahlheimat, translated to English means you’re elected home.

I really had to learn to be vulnerable on one side and open on one hand, but on the other hand, become more and more confident and really fighting for your, yeah, for the right to continue trying.

— Sabine Georg, Managing Director Miami Ad School Europe

00:02:09] Sabine:  So it happened, and I came to Hamburg to study at HFBK Hochschule für bildende Künste around the corner here at Kunst- und Mediencampus, and I started out studying to become a teacher for fine arts because I had no, not the courage to study fine arts only. So becoming an artist or something like, Oh my God, from a small town in an ugly part of Germany, I had another courage to do what I always wanted to do to become an artist. So, I started to become a teacher. And then I realized, Oh my God, I’ve been to school, I am at university, and I’ll be back to school to become a teacher. So I will spend my life teaching and I realized the age of 20 no, I don’t want to do that. I will not be forever in school.

[00:02:57] So, I applied with a new portfolio at HFBK. And then I studied fine arts, just the free fine arts without teaching and pragmatism. Another topic. And I did that for, for a while…for some years. And I have a diploma in fine art, and that brings me…nowhere I thought at the time, but I couldn’t care less.

[00:03:25] Jeremy: So, before you got to the…

[00:03:27] Sabine: Bildende Künste

[00:03:28] Jeremy: HFBK. Before you got to HFBK you were studying at a different university or you were setting up HFBK to teach art?

[00:03:38] Sabine:  Yeah. What you do is you study at the HFBK, the arts part, and then you had to attend the university of Hamburg to do the rest, like the second topic. Which was French literature and French literature and language, because it’s höheres lehramt…

[00:03:54] Jeremy: At the HFBK you could study to be a teacher?

[00:03:58] Sabine: Yeah.

[00:03:58] Jeremy: Oh, I didn’t know that. Okay.

[00:03:59] Sabine:  Yep.  You had to enroll at the university to do the didactic and all the theory around how to teach, and then the topic itself was, was French literature and language, which was by accident because I wanted to enroll for German literature and language, but I couldn’t do that because of the numerous clauses. My abitur wasn’t good enough to do German literature and language, so I picked French literature and language. And that was a mistake. Anyway, so yeah,

[00:04:32] Jeremy: So then you decided, “Okay, this isn’t going to work out. I want to study just straight up fine art”.

[00:04:37] Sabine: Yeah.

[00:04:38] Jeremy:  ‘Cause the HFBK is pretty well known in the art world. Who were some of your professors that you studied under?

[00:04:45] Sabine:  I knew them all, like Franz Erhard Walther. I went to his class, but I couldn’t relate to his ouvre and he couldn’t relate to mine. So I ended up being in Claus Böhmler class and [00:05:00] Claus Böhmler is a bit the version of Sigma Polke…