Where are you from?
I’m from the Netherlands. Born in Amsterdam and raised in various cities including Lelystad, Amsterdam and Almere. Now I live in Utrecht.
What’s your role at Kambr?
I am the Chief Product Officer, leading the teams of Product, Data Science and Professional Services at Kambr.
As a founder, can you share your perspective on why and how Kambr came to be?
Before Kambr, I had the opportunity to work on various innovative projects in revenue management. I believe my contribution to these projects is my creativity and a strong entrepreneurial mindset. I felt a desire and need to foundationally improve the way technology is used in the aviation industry and wanted to spark a revolution of change.
My inspiration to start a business was Formula 1. I have been a fan for decades and I witnessed how this sport is transformed by the influence of data. As became evident in the Netflix series Drive to Survive, on the surface people play a key role, but in Formula 1 behind-the-scenes developments are visibly impacting the results. What many people do not realize is that F1 is a real team sport in so many ways and through data, the team contributes to the performance as much as the driver behind the wheel.
“I felt a desire and need to foundationally improve the way technology is used in the aviation industry and wanted to spark a revolution of change.”
With my new mantra “Mutt the buzz, build the Bizz” I shared my personal story in my Medium post, but how Kambr came to be is not because of me. It is because of Martin who brought us co-founders together. All with similar, yet also unique perspectives, we have quite a chemistry where we complement each other in many ways creating the power of who we became to be at Kambr.
What do you love most about Kambr?
That is a tough question to answer. What I love the most is my ability to share my passion and knowledge with all the other Kambrians in the company today and those who partially joined our journey. What we are doing is beyond what I ever could imagine and the process of how we got there was a true learning experience for me.
What’s something you want your colleagues to know about you?
I love animals — they are the source of us humans showing compassion and positivity. I once read that most humans love animals, so maybe my answer is not surprising. It is just that in my day-to-day life I am not seen with animals so few people know this about me.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Is there anything outside of work? The first thing which comes to mind is recovery. In past years I have been living my life fully dedicated to work — partially also due to COVID where minimum travel was available for us, and we had to follow regulations. I am therefore extremely excited to be able to go out in the open again and enjoy socializing with my friends whenever I can.
What’s your superpower?
My superpower is my perseverance. I do not need a lot of motivation to keep things going. I have countless examples of putting a full work week into one-and-a-half days to finish a project, task, or duty.
To that extent I am not sure whether others will mark this as my superpower since doing so requires making sacrifices where I sometimes lose sight of the emotional consequences of others — did I reveal my super weakness now?
What makes you nervous?
I am quite dependent on reading people’s body language as my hearing is not that good. Due to that, I cannot interpret much from the tone of their voice. Interaction with people who do not reveal many signals through their body language makes me nervous since I cannot sense the level of comfort of the conversation.
What are you proud of?
So many things come to mind. When I relate it to my own accomplishments, I am proud that I am not afraid to show my vulnerability. As weird as it sounds, it strengthens my personality and my ability to build relationships with others. I am comfortable with myself and wish others this feeling as well. It is liberating to experience not having to deal with pretending.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
An important friend of mine once taught me the concept of “mental hygiene.” There is a larger theory behind this dealing with the neuroscience of humans which tries to define how we make decisions and form opinions in life.
How I apply this advice has evolved over time, but like washing your hands I train my brain not to have fixed opinions. I constantly try to collect different perspectives and opinions, especially in areas where it is not relevant for me to have a fixed opinion.
I do have strong core beliefs, but I do not really have a fixed point of view. In a world that, based on my observations, has polarized in the past decades, it is advice I benefit from every single day to improve tolerance towards everybody, no matter their opinion. It allows me to enjoy my own life and take better care of others.
What’s one thing you love to do?
Rollercoasters — I am quite a thrill seeker and love to experience G-forces. Likely as I am getting older my tolerance for it will be declining, but my wish has always been to experience G-forces in flight (like a stunt plane) or in a racing car — I think rollercoasters are the closest thing to that experience.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was twelve, my grandmother had an enormous influence on my career choices. I was inspired by her stories of being a purser at cruise liners. It led me to a career in the hospitality industry first and I even studied hospitality after graduating from high school — although it was only for one year and I dropped out.
What is the last thing you searched on Google?
That was “deadmau5 edc las vegas 2021 tracklist” — as I listen to live DJ sets during work it has been a while since I last heard a set of him (Deadmau5). I heard a new song that emotionally got me thinking of my daughter and I wanted to know the track name.
What’s the most interesting (or unusual) job you’ve had?
I am sure to frustrate many who are hearing this story endlessly, but my job at Six Flags Holland in the year 2000 was the best job experience I have ever had. I was fortunate to be at the right time, in the right place with the right people.
I am so thankful for having experienced that job as it set the course for the person I am today and played a critical role in the accomplishments I have achieved including the ones at Kambr.
What’s your favorite/dream destination to fly to?
I think that would be destination unknown. I need to have the courage someday to just pick a place on the world map and go with the flow to reach that destination. My holidays normally are quite conservative and organized.
What’s your favorite aviation-related film or TV show?
Come Fly with Me starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams was my favorite aviation TV show. I had great fun watching it. Also, I find the character Captain Dave from the show LA to Vegas hilarious.
Window seat or aisle seat?
Always window — every time I am on an airplane I am fascinated by the views.
Do you have any funny or weird flight stories?
Ha… Missing my flight because I confused the arrival time for the departure time? My personal best was the one where I thought I was going to fly but ended up on a bus to Barcelona.
In 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted I was asked to be part of a team to be sent to Barcelona to coordinate the repatriation of Transavia passengers to the Netherlands. I remember deliberately packing my luggage without liquids so I could travel light without having to check in any luggage.
What I neglected to realize was that the reason I had to go to Barcelona was that the air space was closed. It only dawned on me upon reporting for duty. Fully pumped up for a 2-hour flight it became a bus ride of 24 hours with the Transavia crew. Upon arrival we went to the airport immediately, creating one of my famous 40-hour in one-and-a-half days cycles.