Building·The·Dream noun: The collective passion, ethic, vision, and set of values channeled by a group to achieve a common goal of being extraordinary.
Name: Martijn van Berkum
Where did you grow up? The Netherlands!
What have you learned in your time at BlueConic – about startups, about your role, about your team, about yourself?
A: We had to go back to the basics: renting an office, buying office furniture at IKEA, fixing the company internet connection, setting up chairs and tables, buying a printer. And we still do that, that’s the life of a startup. Everyone can do everything, and it’s up to every individual to contribute what they think is best. Although sometimes it feels like you are doing extremely ‘practical’ work its actually setting the stage for the company culture, so pay attention to it if you just started your startup and are in IKEA figuring out which table you want. 😉
What has challenged you the most? How did you deal (or are you dealing) with that challenge?
A: To really catch the opportunity that BlueConic represents, we moved to the US. That was in itself a major challenge in the practical sense: selling everything we had in the Netherlands, including our house, getting a visa for my wife and I, moving over, getting a place to stay, even simple things like getting a bank account or a social security number. Next to the practical challenges we also had to create a whole new team from scratch, learn a new culture and find those ever so important first customers. Luckily we chose Boston, everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful!
If you could change one thing about your time here so far, what would it be?
A: We made our fair share of mistakes, but I wouldn’t change that at all, as they were and are a crucial part of our learnings. If we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be where we are today!
Oh and maybe try out all the food trucks sooner, they are (almost) all amazing!
What’s your advice to the newest members of the Crew (if you’ve been here) OR what was your acclimation to BlueConic like (for the newer folks)?
A: Marketing technology is one of the most exciting areas of current times, from a cultural, societal, technological and commercial view. The amount of innovation and opportunity is staggering. We have an amazing company, team, product and culture, so seize the opportunity and enjoy the ride!
Why are you at BlueConic – what was it about your interview that you remember and made you want to be here? What keeps you here?
A: As a founder, no interviews for me! What keeps me here is the opportunity there is in the market, which is incredible and intriguing. Every day we learn more about our customers, we can think of more things to help them with their challenges and create the best product out there. Love that work!
It’s so easy for all of us to be in the middle of it all and forget to take a look from a distance of where we actually are. I think for me its the little things, like getting home and reflecting on what we created in the product, or the list of customers and prospects. At those moments I feel so proud of what we already have achieved and I feel such a drive to continue to grow all of that.
In the near and middle term, what are you focused on? What would you like to do that you aren’t or haven’t been able to do?
A: Grow the company, in all meanings of the word ‘grow’!
As ‘the product guy’ I want to make BlueConic easier and easier, and continue to set the trends in the nascent CDP market!
What is your favorite BlueConic product feature?
A: There are so many parts of BlueConic I really like! One of my current favorites are the funnel and form listener. Both would be very valuable standalone products, but are just available as part of BlueConic. Incredible value for our customers!
What is your proudest moment at BlueConic?
A: I think signing up for our series A was incredibly exciting, entering our potential new office at South Street was another amazing highlight, and of course getting our first US customers: Boston Globe!
If you could switch roles with anyone else in the company for a day, whose job would you choose and why?
A: As a tech guy, I always look up to our BDRs. They do the heavy grunt work of creating enthusiasm for our product in the market, and that means being flexible and always quick to respond to whatever potential customers are saying or asking. I would never be able to do their job!
Favored piece of furniture in the office:
A: That’s easy: The IKEA chairs in our ‘front office’, which I prefer to call ‘my happy place’. Love sitting there!
What is something on your bucket list?
A: I always wanted to work in the US. But hey, been there, doing that!
Who is your biggest hero?
A: My wife! She had to move to the US too, but got amazing jobs all herself, first at St Francis House (shelter for homeless), and now at Boston Ballet. Quite a feat! Although as my biggest hero she has competition now in our baby daughter Sara!
What did you want to grow up to be when you were younger?
A: When I was 14 I wanted to be a founder of a software company. Hey, look at that, I did it!