How did I become an expert in digital transformation? With a nerd gene, an interest in technology, a lot of curiosity and pleasure in working with people. And somehow, I often happened to be a step ahead of my time.
It started early, with physics and math as advanced courses in my A-levels. An engineer as a father, who gave me my first computer on my thirteenth birthday. So, yes, nerd. But I was also allowed to be the Master of Ceremonies at the prom night of my high school. I already liked to be on stage back then, too.
And so it continued: Learned to ride a motorcycle during my compulsory stint in the German Armed Forces, then went to university. I studied Industrial Engineering at the University of Karlsruhe (now called the KIT, pun intended), focusing on engineering, robotics and AI. The topic of my master thesis: “Human-Machine Interaction: Interfaces of the Future”. Even back then, I worked in different jobs besides studying, from programming to sales. My first “real” job, back in 1994: Multimedia producer in an IT company in the Netherlands.
In 1996 came the New Economy, the beginning of the Internet. I founded one of the first internet agencies in the Netherlands, when the internet was still going Beeeep in our phones. With my agency ArtWork I experienced the ups and downs of the DotCom boom until I sold it in 2004. After ten years in the digital economy, it was time for a creative break.
During my one-year sabbatical, I worked closely with Frithjof Bergmann, the “father” of New Work. With him, I traveled Europe, did research and gave lectures about the future of work.
In 2006, I moved back into commerce. I had moved to Freiburg, on the foothills of the famous Black Forrest, close to Switzerland and France. Here, I founded Click Effect, an agency for digital marketing, which I still won and manage today. With a focus on B2B and industry, we make companies successful on the internet. With clients such as BASF, Fresenius, Randstad, Singapore Airlines or Merck, we serve well-known names, but most of our clients are the classic hidden champions, mid-sized companies operating internationally as leaders in their fields.
Over the years, I saw that many companies find it difficult to formulate a clear strategy. And if this is the case in marketing, how bad will become for the rest of the company, when everything changes due to digitalization?
So digital transformation became my topic, for my keynotes as well as in my consulting work. Nowadays, that I’ve been through some transformations in my own life, I use my experience to help companies and people make their own transformation a little easier and faster.