- 5 Feb 2024 11:49 AM
His dedication and expertise shone for nearly a decade, leading him to his current role. For more than ten years, Pál has been a valuable member of the Google Hungary team. He played a significant role in shaping and managing the YouTube ecosystem in the country, contributing to its local success. In 2018, he took on the mantle of Country Manager.
Pál is a founding member of both Startup Hungary and the Digital Retail Alliance, actively contributing to the growth and development of the local digital ecosystem.
1. Where did you grow up?
In Budapest, first in the 12th district, then my family moved to the 11th, then back to the 12th, and then again back to the 11th.
2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I love living here in Hungary, and I really love Budapest. I have seen many countries, since I love travelling with my wife and kids. I also love London, my best friend is from there, he showed me around and helped me get familiar with the local culture there. Actually I was 14 when I first went there to work, and I have loved that city ever since. So, my first choice is Budapest, then London.
3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
The vibe of Budapest, which is really something special. I’ve been to many cities in Europe and around the world, but the vibe here is something unique - especially in the inner city.
Also I would miss the local food, I love cooking, and I cook a lot. I used to be a chef, and I love Hungarian cuisine and take care sourcing my ingredients, many of which I get from ‘Budafoki szomszédok market’ each weekend, I often but meat from Flyby butchers in Budaörs. Also, I love to visit local restaurants with my wife and kids.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
There’s a lot of choice, maybe I would start with the spas, say Rudas, Széchényi, Gellért and others, since they are so special and beautiful. Then an excursion in nature, for example to Normafa, and also Kamaraerdő where I walk a lot with my dog. Would also go into the inner city to explore of course.
5. What is your favourite food?
Since I have two grown-up children, both vegetarians, I cook a lot for then, including Indian and Mexican food. One of my signature dishes is a fajita, with guacamole, rice and beans. I love cooking Indian masalas; I get authentic ingredients from the Szép Kicsi India store in downtown Budapest. Naturally I also like Hungarian dishes like stuffed cabbage, Brassói aprópecsenye and tyúkhúsleves.
6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
My top sport these days is tennis, I play 2-3 times per week, and I follow all the tennis events on TV, even the smaller ones. Earlier I used to play basketball a lot, for 13 years. I used to go to a special sports school where we did everything from skiing to basketball. Although I don’t play soccer, I follow Crystal Palace FC, the best team in South London.
7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?
Szigliget, where I grew up outside Budapest. My dad ran a few restaurants around Badacsony. These days there is nothing left of that business for us there but we still like going to visit since it’s a super nice place. I think I could have been easily been a hotel and catering type of guy. We have lots of guests coming to our house, and it makes me happy to get positive feedback when I cook for everyone.
9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
I don’t think I can pick anything, since I could do anything if needed.
10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Well, depends what do you call vacation….we spent the first week of January at Balatonkenese.
11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
It will be a short one for my wife’s birthday at Szigliget.
12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Bands, I had a few favourites, like U2, Deep Purple, Guns & Roses, Metallica. I was a metal guy for a while together with my teenage friends back then.
Film: Terence Hill and Bud Spencer films, plus Star Wars is a big favorite.
Hobby: sports in general.
13. Apart from temptation what can't you resist?
Well, I have to say chocolate and desserts, but I am working on resisting them.
14. Red wine or white?
As well as depending on the food it depends on the time - during the day white and later on red.
15. Book or movie?
Nowadays I am into books, and am currently reading Mustafa Suleyman’s The Coming Wave. He is the founder of Deep Mind dealing with AI. And I just got a book from Balázs Orbán about foreign affairs in Hungary.
16. Morning person or night person?
17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
We are trying to do a lot here at Google about education. There is a ‘Grow with Google’ project to educate Hungarian kids and give them digital skills. The other one is definitely related to kids, sick kids, so we support Bátor Tábor.
18. Buda or Pest side?
I am a Buda guy but I love Pest as well.
19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
My family and the kids.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
It is much better to be natural and have inner balance than chasing perfectionism.
For background, I was a perfectionist for 20 years, and went through a lot of tough things with that approach.