Our Benelux Office Managing Director and Partner, Dave is based in our recently opened office in Hasselt, Belgium. To get to know Dave, we interviewed him about his work, life goals, his thoughts about the future, and his first-ever computer. Our goal at Net Group is to maintain a healthy work-life balance, which is why the first six questions concern work and the last four are more personal.
1. What is your mission in life?
My mission is to improve lives, to push businesses to inspire and implement solutions that improve lives, and to do this with passion, empathy, joy, some style, and humility.
2. How did you find your way to Net Group?
Before joining Net Group, I was self-employed for ten years, roaming the world and helping global operating companies improve their services for customers and staff.
3. How can Estonia and Belgium benefit from each other?
Estonia can import some beer from Belgium; Belgium can import Estonia’s digital mindset and tools.
4. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned while working in the industry or challenges you’ve faced?
Assumption is the mother of all fuckups.
5. What are you most looking forward to in the coming years?
Building a team that is as diverse and inclusive as possible. Giving young people who are willing to go the extra mile opportunities to be themselves and do what they are good at, regardless of skin color, background, religion, or personal beliefs.
6. Do you think that technology can make the world a better place?
Technology is just a pile of things. People make the world better or worse.
Technology provides tools for humans to use in good or bad ways. A scalpel in a surgeon’s hand is bliss for a patient in need. That same scalpel in a psychopath’s hand is doom for society. Similarly, if technology is put in the right hands, it can do wonders. If put in the wrong hands, technology can cause disaster. A mobile phone can be used to call an ambulance to save a life, or it can be used to set off a bomb to take lives. Humans are the active agents. Without humans, technology corrodes. Humans have agendas that fuel their actions. Technology alone will not make the world a better place. The human definitions of “better” cause them to change the world for better or worse. Some think capitalism or caliphates or chaos would be ‘better’, so they set to work using whatever technology they have at hand, from stones to satellites.
7. Let us look into the crystal ball: What will life be like in 10 years’ time in the world?
I’ve seen so many “5-year plans” in my life, yet none of the ones I saw and read in 2015 and 2016 mentioned a global pandemic. None of the ones I read in 2017 and 2018 mentioned a war in Ukraine. Here’s my two cents. Hopefully, the world will be more peaceful and inclusive than today. After that, I want to see a world without waste, where people reuse or recycle most of the waste and remove our reliance on single-use products.
8. A short memory test: What was your first mobile phone/computer, and what year was it?
A Commodore VIC-20 in 1980. My father bought the first personal computer in our town. He was a schoolteacher, and even though they were super slow, he saw computers as the future.
9. You already speak four languages: Dutch, English, French, and German. Is Estonian next on the list?
Possibly, after first trying to pick up Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Hindi.
10. What is a fun fact about you that your colleagues may not know yet?
I love to travel off the beaten path. I also love to design and rebuild or renovate houses, using as many used materials as possible.