As CTO (Chief Technical Officer) Jesper "Jeppie" is at the helm of the Development Team, but for the rest of the team he is also the boss when it comes to lunch time. Jesper knows the magic word that gets the whole office on their feet to dive into a poké bowl or a sandwich.
Does the name Jesper Paardekooper sound familiar to you? It should! Jesper has been with Rinkel since the very beginning, when it all started in an attic room in Hellevoetsluis. Developers are often in the background, but Jesper is 100% deservedly up front!
In this interview, Jesper introduces himself and gives us a behind-the-scenes insight into development ↓
So, what’s the first thing people think of when they hear your name?
I think it differs a bit from generation to generation. Older Dutch people probably (hopefully!) think of Jesper Olsen, the striker at Ajax from 1981-1984, who I’m named after.
The younger generation among us probably thinks of Jesper Grønkjær, the outfielder who also played for Ajax from 1998-2000.
But most people call me Jasper, unfortunately.
What exactly do you do at Rinkel?
As CTO, or Chief Technical Officer, I’m responsible for the development and technical quality of the My Rinkel platform. I’ve got a double role at the moment: I lead the Development Team, which means I set the roadmap together with the stakeholders, and take care of the planning.
But I also work on developing every layer of the My Rinkel platform and the iPhone app. From back-end (everything that happens in the background) to front-end (like how the app works and the website looks) and everything in between: I’ve got my finger in all the pies.
What’s your favourite office saying?
At the office we always eat at 11:30. That might seem early, but the advantage is that it’s still nice and quiet in the restaurant. Fortunately, my colleagues don't mind eating a little earlier either, because I only need one word to get them on board: “Lunch?”
They see me coming at 11:30 and often I don't even have to say anything. We all eat together, so it's always a nice shared moment. Plus, our lunches are paid for, which is a real perk. I think the fact that lunches are free at Rinkel also contributes to the popularity of this office saying.
What do you like best about the Development Team at Rinkel?
Without a doubt, the variety. One day I’m working on a REST API and the next day on a React interface. No two weeks are the same, in fact, no two days are the same!
I also enjoy seeing the effect our growth has on our team. A few years ago (when we didn’t have so many customers and colleagues), we had quite a lot of responsibilities as a team:
As our organisation grows from startup to scaleup, you notice that this is changing. We used to do customer support together, for example, simply because Arthur was not yet part of our team at the time. But it’s so great to have him on board!
The same goes for our fine marketing team who (thankfully) never ask me to write a blog, something we used to have to do ourselves.
We also have colleagues to maintain the infrastructure so that the Development Team can focus on what they do best: building great software for our customers!
What are you most proud of?
How much we have grown at Rinkel. Jeroen and I started building Rinkel in my attic in Hellevoetsluis. At that time, we both had our own businesses and Rinkel was a hobby project for the evenings and weekends. Neither of us had any children back then, either. ;-)
With 7,500 customers and a team of 10, you could say it’s become a hobby that has gotten out of hand.
What frustrations faced by your customers do you want to solve?
When we had just started Rinkel, the telecom industry was completely new to me. I was also surprised by the user-friendliness of the average telecom solution for entrepreneurs: or rather, the lack of it. It’s not the best; and that’s putting it mildly.
From day one, we’ve always strived to make the My Rinkel platform as user-friendly as possible. We don´t just come up with features that sound amazing but add no value, we strive and focus on thinking together about what will really help entrepreneurs.
Our goal is for everyone to be able to work with our platform: that anyone can set up and make changes to their business phone system from their pocket. Even people who are less technically minded.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I’m married to a Canadian, so normally we go on holidays to Canada. My wife is from Calgary, near Banff National Park. That has become my favourite holiday destination! Our honeymoon was in Tofino, on Vancouver Island. I can highly recommend alternating between the beaches and the mountains.
What keeps you busy outside of Rinkel?
We moved to a house with a garden two years ago. You’ll often find me there, messing around. I also like doing DIY (our house was self built), but since our son was born I don't get much time for that any more. I’m also an aspiring Lego Master and I like watching football!
Jesper Paardekooper or William Shakespeare?
We also asked Jesper to do the Archetype quiz.He is an “Intellectual” just like William Shakespeare, Plato and Immanuel Kant.So, we have high hopes for him and his development skills in the future.
Intellectual types love to think, are very curious, and never stop learning. And that’s definitely the case with Jesper!
Jesper being our CTO was not without the necessary ‘hiccups’. In 2008, before Rinkel was founded, he made the support department of a previous employer anything but happy.
“Just after I’d started there, I once ran an UPDATE query without a WHERE statement on a production database.” The ultimate rookie mistake among developers. Fortunately, there was still a backup available, so the damage was limited. But it did make customers angry: among other things, their printers, computers and modems temporarily stopped working.
“Jeroen was there when I made that mistake. And yet he still asked me to set up Rinkel with him. Kind of special, right?”
Want to work with Jesper and build the My Rinkel environment mobile app (or Lego)? Check out our vacancies!