Thanks for these five wonderful years
Five years ago, this week, I moved to Amsterdam to start Your Majesty’s European office. It was January 3, 2011 to be exact. Your Majesty Amsterdam started with four IKEA desks and a sandwich toaster in a tiny studio on near the crowded Leidseplein.
I remember being excited about it, but mostly extremely scared and confused. -How the hell will we pull this off? It was only two years ago I started as an intern at the New York office, and now — all of a sudden — I’m leading Your Majesty’s first ever expansion? The founders must be completely balls-out crazy to back this!
We started out the three of us—Kasper, Kristofer and myself. I took care of the producer responsibilities (even though I actually coded a few of our first projects) while Kasper and Kristofer served as our premium product, technologists.
At that point we didn’t have any designers. Our strategy was to try to get some European clients going, while paying our bills by doing production work for the New York led projects. We had little know-how of how to run a an actual company. All we knew was that we were good at what we were doing and that we wanted to work with the best. We also knew that the quickest way to learning something is just to get your hands dirty and do it, so — we got to work.
After three months of mingling, coding and pulling contacts we landed our first all Amsterdam owned project — as production partner on klmtakescare.com for Tribal DDB. When we sent that first invoice, we celebrated with cheap prosecco and a Mario Kart Wii, we were on a roll. It marked our first step towards managing ourselves without New York’s aid.
One year later, in early 2012, we were completely self-sustaining with our own clients and projects and could finally make our first hires, Hugo and Mitchell — we had a real team!
Now, on our fifth year of being in business, it’s with pride I think back at all the challenges we’ve tackled and learned from together and what we’ve accomplished.
We have worked (and still are working) with some of the best agencies and brands in the world and produced some groundbreaking work, we have a beautiful office space in the center of Amsterdam and we’ve established a solid European base for Your Majesty as a global organization.
And all that is great, but what I’m most proud of is that we have built such an amazing team and culture together with the people we’ve come across over the years. We are now a tight knighthood of 12 extraordinary people that I see as my second family. It’s a true joy to come to work every morning and I feel lucky to be spending most of my waking hours with these people. What more can you ask of a workplace?
Earlier I wrote that I thought that the founders — Peter, Jens and James — were batshit crazy when they trusted a group of unproven rookies to lead the first expansion of Your Majesty. But looking back, their trust is one of the reasons I love being a part of this company and it’s culture. It’s a culture where exploration of the unknown and entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged and where you, if you have some talent and high ambitions, can go from intern to managing partner within five years. It’s that type of company and culture I want to continue to facilitate for the next five, ten, twenty years.
We’re starting 2016 stronger than ever, with a bunch of new and ongoing projects in the pipeline and big plans to be announced. I hope I’ll get many opportunities to feel scared and confused again, so I can turn those into new learnings as well.
Cheers to these first five years and thanks to everyone who’s been a part of it. I look forward to the coming five years.