Last week ABN AMRO, one of the largest banks in Western Europe, held a technology entrepreneurship event that aimed to inspire young entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level, which in many cases, means to a global scale. The company invited successful entrepreneurs to speak with the energetic audience about their experience bringing a startup to fruition and successfully reaching that ever-desired international marketplace.
Reminiscent of his signature red watch, Derek’s presentation carried the overarching theme and inspirational request to “think radically”. One can easily infer a parallel to one of his idols, a well-known and highly regarded entrepreneur that once suggested we think differently. Derek explained how he grew Mendix from a small room of developers to a global app platform company by focusing on building a world-class team. In fact, he attributed much of the company’s early growth to a priority on hiring the best people he could find and suggested that the Netherlands, with its top-notch technical and business schools, lends itself to tech startups.
Derek was also keen on knowing his product and the prospective customers of it – with the utmost scrutiny. Having experienced the pain in building and maintaining enterprise applications in former positions, he was well positioned to push a technology forward that could better connect business-oriented and technical people in the enterprise. The importance of knowing the ins and outs of the product you plan to introduce, and the people you plan to introduce it to, is far from easy when both are moving targets. Derek concluded his presentation with an exclamation that as a tech startup, you need to think radically and be disruptive in order to stand out from the crowd.