Society | June 13, 2002, Thursday // 00:00

Playboy Magazine, Bulgarian version, Volume #3, 2002

Q: What is the fastest way to turn BGN 100 to BGN 150?

A: You buy something at Iliyantsi market (a popular market for goods at low prices – editor’s note) and sell it at Vitosha Street (commercial, downtown Sofia – editor’s note). It is still possible to make it in Bulgaria as far as the initial accumulation of capital has not been completed yet. But I can tell you also the safest way to do this – go to, buy three books on PR that you not only read but also try to understand.

Q: What did you do with the first USD 10,000 you earned?

A: I moved into another office and invested some money in office equipment so that M3 Communications Group, Inc. may develop even faster.

Q: Imagine you hold all the state power in your hands for one day. What would you do?

A: I will permit the purchase of Bulgarian land by foreigners, will launch an efficiently working Stock Exchange and will put aside USD 5 M for intelligent advertising of Bulgaria abroad. Just two words about the advertising – I would show the world the faces of Bulgaria, get a close view of the young people, their hands, their eyes… A real close view. So that the world may realize that Bulgaria is part of Europe. It was, it has been and will always be part of Europe. In fact Bulgaria is a wonderful country and it is one of my dreams that as many people as possible from all over the world realize that.

Q: What was your dream job as a child?

A: Somebody who writes. Who writes anything. I was thirteen when my father sent me to work at Serdika dairy products plant during the summer. I wanted to earn some money for juice and ice cream. Not that my family did not have enough money, just the opposite. But that is the way I have been brought up. My mother had just died in a crash, which my father miraculously survived - may he be healthy for a long time to come - and so I headed for the dairy products plant with a special permission from the trade unions. I started my work there as a carpenter, but it turned out I was the only one who spoke good English and in a week I was promoted to an “assistant” of the director, so that I would translate during talks with a Swiss delegation. But I had so much free time that I started to publish a newspaper, which I typed on a typing machine in ten copies and sold in the neighborhood BGN 0,20 each, which was ten times more expensive than the newspapers at that time. I do not know why I decided to choose a title in English – may be I thought it was more authoritative – Daily News. Now, exactly 33 years later, I publish the most successful on-line newspaper in English in Bulgaria, whose subscribers are already more than 5,000. By an irony of the fate it bears almost the same title –The News.

Q: How would you be described by your friends?

A: Not very generous and not smiling very often, who never lies and envies.

Q: Your dream car?

A: Jaguar, X-type.

Q: What car do you drive?

A: Toyota Corolla. It has a very good computer inside with a large display, on which everything I need is written.

Q: Your type of woman?

A: Smiling, affectionate, and fresh. She must be discrete and lend freshness to the family or the company. By the way freshness is a key word.

Q: Are you jealous?

A: Tolerably.

Q: The best way to get a woman in the mood?

A: A long and interesting conversation, dim light, tender and elegant erotic words, inserted in the sentence offhand and not a word about business or work. And Mavrud wine from Asenovgrad, an ordinary label from about 1994-1998, neither older nor younger.

Q: What do you think women will always find attractive?

A: The confidence – but not the self-confidence – of the man that he is a man. There is yet another very reliable maxim, which I rarely say but always keep inside of me.

Q: And it is?

A: Men make money, but money cannot make the man.

Q: What is favourite type of music?

A: American ballad rock from the ‘70s – Kansas, Styx, Fleetwood Mac, The Carpenters, John Denver, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Don McLean, British melodious rock from the ‘80s – Sweet, the Bangles, and especially and very personally - the Cranberries.

Q: What do you collect?

A: Small pieces of paper, all written by my daughter - now 12 years of age – over the years, which read “Dad, I love you” or something like that. There is one especially precious to me. It was stuck on a sandwich in the kitchen at the office and it read, “It is Daddy’s sandwich. Don’t touch! Or you will be killed!”

Q: How do you change after you’ve had several drinks?

A: Slightly aggressive, till fatigue makes me go to bed, but I don’t take myself seriously - I never take myself seriously.

Q: Your hangover remedy?

A: Time. It erases everything- hangover, insults, pain.

Q: How much does a tub of yoghurt cost?

A: I think between BGN 0,60 and BGN 0,80 depending on the yoghurt. And the tub.

Q: What do you keep on your bedside table?

A: An extremely sophisticated clock with a subtle light, which can tell when it is weekend and doesn't wake me up. There are also two books of short stories, which are eternal books – by Chekhov and Ilf and Petrov.

Q: The last present that you made?

A: An incredible GSM, combined with MP3-player, FM radio and many other extras - that I presented to my son Misho (aged 15). In fact this is what I like to do best – making presents of ultramodern digital toys to people who have no idea what they are all about and later see how they grow attached to them and can’t even imagine they have lived without these toys before. I make such presents to myself in the same way, and before they come to Bulgaria I have already lost any interest in them. It is not only that I am a bit crazy about the digital technologies, it is also connected with my work. I remember that a year ago I ordered the last iPAQ model and received an e-mail from Compaq's central office in Munich, which congratulated me on being the first client of this product from Eastern Europe.

Q: What is the drink of the tired man?

A: A tall tumbler with some gin, the juice of two lemons and the rest is filled with ice and fresh orange juice.

Q: How would you describe the men’s entertainment in three words?

A: In English this would sound more figurative – fun, relax, risk. In the translation the “fragrance” of the words is lost. The last word is really a great and manly entertainment. I love it.

Q: Which is your favorite intellectual acquisition lately?

A: After rummaging in bookstores in the United States for a long time I managed to find my favorite movie on a DVD – Being There with Peter Sellers. A friend of mine from Salt Lake City Tim Williams, who is president of R&R Partners – sent it to me a month ago. R&R Partners is the agency, which was in charge of all the advertising and PR during the Olympic games in February 2002. The film is the work of a Genius – I say it with a capital G, because there are some great simple truths in it such as that spring comes after winter, summer after spring.

Q: Describe your bedroom.

A: A very large bed. Huge. And comfortable. We lived in a very small apartment some years ago and my wife and I slept on a small couch, which we unfolded in the evening. When I go back to these days, I think that at that time I liked it more because through all these nights I felt Mila by my side, and though it was very uncomfortable I knew that in the night the woman I love is by my side and I could feel her. Now we are together, I can still feel that, I know it, but the bed is too large and often each of us has a corner. More: a video casette recorder, a TV set , of course with some 250 programs at least, two or three programs are watched only, the previously mentioned intelligent alarm clock, a digital radio, a big digital clock, which – that is obligatory – measures precisely the temperature (I am a bit sensitive to the cold)and a special picture from Israel with a text on it, which brings happiness to the house.

Q: What are you dressed in at the moment?

A: A navy-blue costume of Gianfranco Ferre – with slim and tender stripes, a bird-patterned tie Christian Dior, a present by the girls at the office for my last birthday, light blue shirt YSL (very soft and comfortable) and what else… Oh yes - - a Raymond Weil watch with an archaic mechanism, but new model, with which I never separate and which I believe I will never truly possess, but just prepare it so that my son can wear it after fifty years. A golden tie-pin Geoffrey Bean, strangely-looking rhomboid model, which I always carry with me, a present by a friend of mine who did not succeed in his business here, but now is one of the most important people in the second-biggest Internet providers in the US – Earthlink. The best and most complicated telephone in the world – Nokia Communicator 9210, my whole office is inside it, including ten films, which entertain me while I am on the road, as well as the Bounce game, in which Ralitsa always beats me. Tombow Pen, which is invariably with me. And finally my favourite glasses with a titanium frame of the French company Minima, which contrasts in a nice way with my name.

Q: Your fashion advice?

A: Clean and comfortable clothes, nothing more.

Q: What cosmetics do you use?

A: After shaving – green Polo of Ralph Lauren. During the day – Contradiction of Calvin Klein or 212 of Carolina Herrera. In the evening – Higher or the classic Fahrenheit, both of Christian Dior. In fact I have quite a big collection of different “scents”, which I think are of crucial importance in the everyday communication, not to mention the way they affect the self-confidence of men as well as of women.

Q: Describe your usual Saturday.

A: They all are different. Still I can differentiate between two types of Saturdays. In the first case Mila, Ralitsa, Misho and our dog, a little white west highland terrier called Bruno, all get out of Sofia. We go wherever we want, there is only condition - no Internet and lots of fun. The other types of Saturdays come before important and difficult weeks. Then I work at the office, have meetings with clients and colleagues, reply e-mails. Even over the weekend the e-mails I send range between 120-200 a day, so that even if I have had a good rest, I am bound to work Sunday evening.

Q: What’s your favourite sport?

A: Football, of course. When I was a kid I played with the junior team of Slavia, legends such as Shalamanov trained me. Now except that I play football (more and more rarely) over the weekend together with Moni Passy and other friends from the Atlantic Club, I often watch matches, drink beer and really enjoy myself.

Q: What is the Bulgarian dream?

A: Free market, real competition, and no corruption.

Q: Describe your business in four sentences.

A: I can do it in four words. Public. Relations. Risk. Love. Whatever my business is it will always be public, relations with other people will be involved in it, I will take risks and will do it with love.

Q: How do you want to be remembered?

A: I want to be remembered as Maxim Behar. Or rather as you like it. I want to have many friends, by the way, but there are people I know I will never want to be my friends. I also want to stay very positive, but this is turning into aerial acrobatics and lots of adrenaline because too much negativism accumulated in Bulgaria for the last several years. But the adrenaline is something nobody can help remembering me with.

* * *

* Maxim Behar, M3 Communications Group, Inc., the largest Bulgarian PR corporation, CEO ( More than 20 years in journalism, co-founder, shareholder, First Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Standart Daily (till 1995), correspondent in Shumen and Warsaw (till 1992). He graduated in International Economic Relations in Prague, Czech Republic (1983), worked as a mechanic at a factory (till 1979). Married to Mila (since 1985), whom he met in the “corridors of a Sofia editorial office”, he has a son – Mihail (born in Shumen) and a daughter – Ralitsa (born in Warsaw). Currently Chairman of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum, part of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. Member of a number of boards and managing councils, chairman of the Bulgarian-Polish Business Club, he has been listed in every issue of Marqui’s Who’s Who in the World since 1996. The company he founded and runs - M3 Communications Group, Inc. has been on the Bulgarian market since 1994 and operates in the field of Public Relations and all kinds of Marketing services. It is associated with one of the leading PR corporations in the world – Hill and Knowlton.

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