“When I was traveling through Asia, no one could pronounce my name. People just kept calling me Frank or Freak. At a certain point, I realized I should start introducing myself as ‘Drake, but with an F.’” Today, we’re happy to introduce the newest frog on our team: Freek! As a product owner, he’ll be leading one of our agile Scrum teams and he’s excited to get started.
In fact, Freek is excited about a lot of things: people, movies, music… Ask him one question and he’ll give you five answers. As of yet, we have still to figure out the source of this mysterious energy. For now, all we know is this: it’s contagious.
“You can’t impose change”
During his master’s degree, Freek studied change management. He explains why it’s so difficult to get things moving in large organizations: “Change is about culture. If people don’t understand why you’re trying to do things differently, it simply won’t happen. That’s why you can’t impose change from top-down. Managers don’t always get that. You have to involve everyone in the process, making people co-creators of change.”
Speaking of change: technology is reshaping our world at an incredible pace. Does Freek have any advice on how we can become co-creators of these fundamental, seemingly uncontrollable changes?
“I think it’s important to be aware of how technology is affecting us. There are threats, but if we can learn how to use technology properly, it will bring humanity to great heights. I probably won’t be around in 100 years, but the world will still have to face its problems. That’s why I’m a big fan of people like Elon Musk. He’s able to look at things way beyond the scope of a single human life.”
In his own life, Freek doesn’t seem afraid of change either. After a few years at his previous job at a large government organization (“Things were moving really slowly. There were always political interests at stake.”), he decided to do what many others only dream of: he quit his job and booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok.
“The idea of backpacking had always been at the back of my mind. When I finally found my window of opportunity, I knew I couldn’t ignore it.” Over the next eight months, he climbed volcanoes, surfed the waves of Bali, and snorkeled with manta rays in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.
When sharing his story, Freek is quick to beat the cliché: “I wasn’t there to ‘find myself.’ Instead, I thought of it as a challenge. I’m very extroverted, always hanging out with my friends and family. This time, I figured it would be good to be by myself for a while. It makes you realize you’re in charge of your own life.”
Becoming a product owner
Now that Freek is back home, it’s time for another change: starting his new adventure at aFrogleap. He’s ready to jump in, convinced that his new role as product owner will suit him well: “Building things and being able to help people makes me feel good. When I can make others excel at what they do, that’s when I thrive.”
Even though we’ve only just met Freek, we can already tell his enthusiasm will rub off on the rest of our team. We’re glad to have him on board. Welcome to the pond, Freek!
We’re always looking for new talent at our Amsterdam office. Would you like to be part of an ambitious team in a creative environment?
Maybe you’ll be our next frog!