Mike is the head of the Network Team (and a trusted member of the Support Team and BHV Team, because there’s nothing Mike can’t do). He’s 2 metres tall and he’s also known as “Monsma” or “Monsmaatje”.
Mike was one of the first to join and, together with Jeroen, Jesper and Dennis, helped to set up Rinkel in 2015.And he still enjoys talking about the brand and its infrastructure every day!
Does the name Mike sound familiar to you? It should! Alongside his colleagues Arthur, Mikaela and Quintie, he regularly picks up the phone to answer your questions and solve any problem you may have.
So Mike, what's the first thing people think of when they hear your name?
No idea! I’m actually very curious to know what people think when they hear my name. Mike is a short name that is common in the Netherlands, but there are also several variants of it: Maik, Mieke, or as an abbreviation of Maikel or Michael.
You belong to the Network Team and the Support Team. What do you actually do at Rinkel?
I am in charge of the Network Team within Rinkel. We do our utmost to ensure that your phone call travels the right route to and from our network, with the best audio quality. So that you can always be reached on your landline number.
In technical terms, it means I’m responsible for the infrastructure and the server layer on which Rinkel services run. This includes optimising the hardware layer, networking, monitoring, liaising with connected carriers, the roadmap and planning.
In other words, if something doesn’t work, it’s up to me to fix it as soon as possible. Whether it’s 2 pm or 3 am in the morning!
What's your favourite office saying?
This is a phrase that has become quite normal in our office and it often gets thrown around on Slack, our internal chat program. It’s a short, powerful word that we often use to end a sentence or say goodbye.
For us, it is a synonym for "great". But you can also use it when you’re totally frustrated by something. The only thing you can say in those moments is "Joe" and walk away.
So, I can't help smiling when a colleague has invested a lot of time writing an entire email, including good arguments, and other colleagues only respond with "Joe". (Of course, always as a joke, then we'll be serious again).
What do you like best about working at Rinkel
From the very beginning, it has just been a really great experience, and it still is.
When Jesper and Jeroen set up the first version of Rinkel in 2015 and finally came down from attic where they were working, I saw immediately that it was a great idea and that I couldn’t miss the chance to join in!
And that’s how I came onboard to Rinkel in 2015! Since then, we have grown tremendously, had ups and downs and gone from a start-up to a scale-up.
Although it’s our job to provide a service to entrepreneurs, everyone in the Rinkel team also has that entrepreneurial mentality, which makes working at Rinkel great!
What do you like best about the Network Team?
Rinkel is a SaaS (Software as a Service) service and you need a well-oiled infrastructure for that. In the Network Team, we are constantly working on the latest techniques to improve, maintain and monitor the system.
The idea that almost 7,500 companies (with 10,000+ end users!) are already using the service gives me an enormous drive. But also a great sense of responsibility to make sure that every single one of these 10,000 users can be reached 24/7 on their landline number(s).
At Rinkel, we develop everything ourselves in-house and are not dependent on third parties. That’s also reflected in the work we do. We often have the sense that we are pioneering and that makes it great fun.
Think of our latest feature, the Webphone, for which we have used the "WebRTC" technique. Because this technology is new, we had to build almost everything from scratch. And so it’s great to see the team all on the same page, working together to create a new feature.
I hope it´s a popular feature that will make many entrepreneurs very happy! That would be really great.
What problem or frustration faced by your customers do you want to solve next?
I think we’re on the same wavelength on this at Rinkel: as Jesper said, telecom solutions in general are anything but user- friendly.
That’s why at Rinkel, we focus on a telephone solution where simplicity is king and we constantly listen to our users in order to improve our product. For example, creating features that are easy to set up and manage from your pocket and where a stable conversation without hiccups is the norm.
As I said, this is unfortunately not the standard in our industry. When you call most telecom companies, you can easily be on the phone for half an hour and then be put through to three different departments, only to be disconnected without a satisfactory answer.
So from the very beginning of Rinkel, we have always focused on our end users. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have time to wait on hold for half an hour. That's why we make sure that the Support Team speaks to you almost immediately and we always take our time (with us, there is no time limit to finish the conversation).
If you need it, we will help you to set up your My Rinkel account step-by-step and provide extensive advice. This is how we do our best every day with the Support Team to give every customer a great experience.
It’s also very nice to read this in the reviews that our customers write.
Okay, now we know professional Mike but what do you do when you're not working?
Before Covid hit, I was often at the gym. Since then, things have changed and in the past few weeks I have been preparing to go again, after 1.5 years away.
At the weekends, I like to go out on my motorbike. But only in good weather, because if it rains, I have to clean it afterwards and that’s not my favourite chore.
I also like going out for dinner with my wife. We appreciate good food and you’ll often find us in a fancy restaurant. (According to my colleagues, I’m the guy who never cooks and goes out to eat every weekend).
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Oh, this is a tough one! I love to travel and I don't want to miss out on winter sports either. (It's not for nothing that the About us page says I was an explorer in a previous life!)
But if I really have to choose, I would love to go back to the Maldives. I went there on my honeymoon.
I can tell you: it’s exactly like the pictures in the travel brochures with the tropical beaches and palm trees. There is nothing more beautiful than waking up in the morning on an island with only the ocean to look at!
What's your favourite drink?
It depends on the day and the time!
Every morning, I start with coffee to wake up and at lunch, I always have an Aloe Vera drink. Also called an "Aloetje". If I don't have an Aloetje, my colleagues will ask me if I’m ill!
How many William Shakespeares are there at Rinkel?
We ask everyone we interview in the "Meet the Team" category to fill in the Archetype quiz. Jesper and Lichelle went before Mike. They were both the intellectual archetype and Lichelle was also spiritual.
Mike is (coincidentally) also an intellectual! Just like William Shakespeare and his fellow colleagues! So, we have more than one William Shakespeares at Rinkel!
The presence of several William Shakespeares at Rinkel is promising for the Network Team, because intellectuals are data-driven, like to think and learn! These are good qualities for someone who is responsible for the entire Rinkel network.
Is there anything else you want to say to our readers?
We are "considering" setting up the Rinkel band in the Support Team. All day long, we sing hits from the '90s and the '00s in the Support corner. Although Arthur says that sometimes it drives him slightly crazy, I catch him secretly joining in.
And the ladies from the Marketing Team never close our door, so maybe they want to join in!