The Story of Egbert

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Teenage Ventures Turning Into Entrepreneurial Dreams

The story begins when I was around 15 years old, when I was a curious teenager interested in programming and my brother gifted me a book about how to build a website. For a while, I was busy with tasks such as building sites, hiring and managing servers, etc. A few years later, I used to bike to school every day and pass in front of a company with a World Globe logo. Back in the day, that symbol stood for the internet so I thought the company had something to do with the internet or websites. 

One day I just decided to walk through the door and ask if I could do something for them because I loved building websites and thought my skills were pretty okay. So I asked them: “Can I build something for you or do you need someone to help with websites?”. They told me: “No, we don’t do that here but we know a company a little bit further down the road that does build websites”. So I cycled to the other company and asked them the same thing. They said: “Okay, we’re interested but we don’t want to employ you. You have to start your own company and then you can just send us an invoice”. So I created my own company as soon as I turned 18: Noastudio and did my first assignment for them. It was back in the time when Dutch “gulden” were used instead of euros and I did that for a bit while I was still in school. 


An Unconventional Career Compass

I had a bit of a weird career path after high school. When I was young I already knew that I wanted to start my own business so I decided to study business administration so I could learn the basics of starting a company. Pretty soon I found out that it was a boring study and not for me at all, you just learn a lot about accounting. Maybe something to do with economics or business management would’ve been a better fit for me. I ended up switching to computers (ICT) at a very low level, which I followed for 6 months. It turned out I was more of a teacher than a student so they told me I couldn’t stay there because it was far below my grade. They kicked me from that specific education level to a different school so I could follow the study at a better level which I then did for 4 years. 

While I was studying, I thought it would be nice to combine study and work so I decided to work with a company called eFocus which has now been bought by Valtech. I did my final internship in New Zealand, and when I came back I thought it was time to start something for myself. My brother-in-law (Tomas) also did an IT study so we thought: let’s do something together and that’s how we started working together. I had this domain name called ( and my initial idea was to livestream church services on Sunday. I went to a conference where I met a company ( that works with cameras, security and fire detection/ installations in buildings. They also worked closely with many churches so I pitched the idea to them and the owner liked my story. For six months to a year, we worked on that specific product but the market for it started deteriorating so the company decided to stop with that project. Currently, exists so there is a market out there but we stopped the project anyway, we just wanted to continue building things: so that’s when Tomas and I decided to continue working together and founded what is now known as Pionect. 


Finding Purpose in Creation 

When I started Pionect, I didn’t really have a why, I was just very passionate about building stuff. It makes me think of this quote that says: “Being a programmer is almost the same as being a painter, you have this blank canvas and you can build whatever you want”. You have this joy in painting or building and the purpose is just to create something nice. Nowadays I do have a vision and a reason but back then I wasn’t focused on building a company, I was just focused on building nice things and I think we did that for many years. It’s important to have a vision because as a founder, you’re the captain of the ship and you need to stir it, you can’t just circle aimlessly. You have to go towards the vision and manage the people on board in the meantime. 

The way Pionect worked for a long time was by doing many projects. So let’s say a project is maybe a couple of months long and when it’s done you have to find a new project and so forth. There are a lot of customers so at some point it can also cause a lot of stress and Tomas couldn’t handle that sometimes. He started getting physical symptoms but my stress tolerance was a bit higher than his so I noticed it and asked him: “Do you want to continue with this or not?”. In the beginning, he did want to continue but later he thought it would be better if he didn’t. Starting your own business and dealing with many clients is a big responsibility and it’s not for everyone, so acknowledging it’s not for you is also an honest answer and very valid. So at that point I also had to choose: am I going to continue this business by myself or not? If you’re reading this right now, you probably know the answer to this question.


Pionect’s Strategy for Success

Today I love what I do but it’s not always fun of course. I see it as this funnel: all the problems no one else can solve are the problems I will have to solve as a boss. Sometimes I do wish I had a normal job, especially when I’m for example emptying the trash cans at 11 p.m. or doing some other small task, because I never stop thinking about all the little things. There’s this huge list of little things constantly in my brain. To be a good boss you also really need to be a people person because when you have employees you have to know how to manage people and not everyone can do it. I think that is very important to be successful because the company depends on the people, so doing that correctly is an art in itself. Overall I love my job but my favourite things are probably having nice people around me who I love to work with and building nice things (although I don’t build that much anymore, I can still help design some things). 

I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you in certain areas, so I try to find people who are smarter than me and have more experience with things that I don’t. I try to learn from the people around me and if I notice I have a blind spot I try to find a person to fill that in. I think that’s a very good way to learn. For me, at some point, it became about the question: What does your company need to grow? This question is one of the hardest puzzles to solve and it took me around 6 months to find the answer to that particular question. I decided to get rid of all the small projects and decided to only focus on the TaaS (Team as a Service) model because that’s what the company needed to grow. That worked because after Tomas left, I was able to scale the business from €600,000 in revenue to €1.3 million in two years, when before that it had taken us ten years to get to where we were. So that means that I was able to double what had taken us ten years to build in only two years. 


From Firsts to Future Aspirations 

I have had so many milestones in my career this far. I think my first paid project is a milestone, my first employee is a milestone, and my first million in revenue is a milestone, those are some of the important ones I think. The next milestone I’m striving for is making myself obsolete. I want to be able to go away for 6 months and have the company still operating without crashing and burning to the ground. That and expanding to the United States is another goal I’m working towards. Now most of the assignments we get are from word of mouth, which is fine because they are bigger assignments, but I think I shouldn’t rely only on that part for me to become obsolete. So currently I’m figuring out many things like products, content, how we need to do promotion, what we need to do with HR, etc. Pionect has to be able to grow from 10 people to around 25 so we can be a more stable company. Only then can I take a 6-month break and hopefully not get a lot of phone calls.

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