KOTI’s Oseno Jissle

Driven by perfectionism

Rotterdam is the capital of crossover concepts: with bars that turn into clubs and shops that equal as galleries, it´s a playground for young entrepreneurs.

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One such entrepreneur and connoisseur of the crossover concept is Oseno Jissle. The 27-year old from Rotterdam is the founder and mastermind behind KOTI, short for Kids Of the Industry, a collective of young creatives creating quality content in music, imagery and fashion.

We first met through friends, and since we were moving in the same circles it was only logical that our paths would cross again. This time it´s for a talk long overdue, about his ambitions, his wisdom and his superpowers.

As mentioned before, KOTI stands for Kids of the Industry and is a a Rotterdam based collective, consisting of musicians, DJs, fashion designers, photographers, graphic designers: creative people in general. KOTI gives these creatives a platform to showcase their talents through the collective. In the near future they are shifting the focus to online, to create a bigger community of creatives, contributing, creating and networking.

KOTI as a concept is always growing: “In the beginning there was no plan, just the vague idea to form a group, a collective. The first time the thought came up was during the shooting of a fashion video in London for my label NOUV´N. I enjoyed being in charge of the process from beginning to end, working and collaborating with people close to me.”

The first person Oseno shared his idea with was the young photographer Rosa Quist, who later became part of the collective as Head of Photography.
After the initial start as a group with regular people Oseno soon realized the benefits of operating as an open platform, and changed the focus from a closed crew to open source: “More people, less boundaries. There are more impulses coming from the outside now which stimulates an organic growth of projects.”

“If I were a superhero, my alias would be Black Dynamite.
He doesn’t have any superpower, he’s just a boss.”

When I ask him about his grand plan for the future he pauses. I know him to very carefully formulate his answers, not wanting to give away too much. Consequently his answer doesn´t surprise me: “I´m working on it on a daily basis but I always take into account things that could go wrong, external factors, so I never plan too far ahead. I can tell you, however, that I´ve already reached all of my goals for 2015, so I´m on schedule.”

He reveals to me he will go pretty far to reach his goals, but he needs the rest of his crew to ride the same wave: “As soon as I notice that people are not putting in as much energy as they should we meet as a group to figure out what/who is the weak link and do something about it. Taking advantage of other peoples hard work while not giving anything in return is no option.”
Working as a group is one of the key values of KOTI, “I created the concept of KOTI as it is, but I couldn’t have done it on my own.”

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Travis Scott, photo by KOTI Pictures

“The initiative is based on collaboration. Filming, rapping, producing, I can´t do it all at the same time. As a matter of fact, I can’t rap nor produce at all.”

This focus on collaboration also turned out to be his biggest pitfall: “I have trouble with opinions.. I’m used to always make all decisions on my own, whereas now I need to take into account other people with other tastes and other ideas.”

He tells me he learned that he needed to let go of control a bit in order for KOTI to keep growing. I wonder how he got to that point, as his entrepreneurial spirit seems to be driven by his perfectionism. How does a perfectionist get peace from the transition of controlling everything to an creating an open source platform with significantly less control?

To quote Dutch artist Willem de Kooning: I have to change to stay the same. Oseno had to grow not just as an entrepreneur but also personally, to keep KOTI relevant as a collective. “In the beginning I had to get everybody on the same page by controlling everything and taking charge, but now that everybody more or less knows what has to be done I can take a step back.”

KOTI is far from fulfilling its full potential, but has come a long way since the very beginning. According to Oseno the key is to not think too much, but act. There’s a Dutch verb that goes something like: stop bullshitting, start cleaning, and that’s exactly the philosophy Oseno goes by: “If it doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you find a solution or an alternative but never, ever, give up.”

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