Considering this is not your traditional university approach, why did you choose Team Academy?
“Very good question, actually…Before I joined Team Academy, I was studying at the Hotel Management School of Maastricht. The study we did there was already different from a normal school, a more practical approach. Of course they focused on hospitality and business management, expect we were studying in an actual hotel. And I really enjoyed my time there. I learned a lot and we even had our own pub with some friends. And yet, it was still fake to me. Not vague, but fake. Everything was always written on paper but none of it was ever really executed. We would have a project for over six months working around theories like “two men want to start a hotel, how does it work?” Everything was too abstract, too fiction. The thing is, although I know I’m really stubborn, I was always doing my own thing. I started my own kind of company when I was fifteen or sixteen years old, small things here and there. Eventually I got to a stage where I wanted to work for myself, work on my own ideas and actually realize them. I had dreams and I knew that I would work my ass off to achieve them. So by my third year, I quit the hotel school and applied to Team Academy. I wasn’t even sure what to expect at first, apart from the fact that I knew I could earn a degree, something I find to be very valuable. But I’ve come to think, besides the degree, that this is place, in fact I think the only place in the Netherlands by now, where you can really work on building your own company while having access to all these field experts and networks around you. I never looked backed on that decision and here I am today.”
What was your initial goal before you started?
“Change the world. Kidding. I don’t know. I came here with the festival app idea. I wanted to make it real. I wanted to be that young, independent entrepreneur who had his own ideas. And of course earning money and being successful was a motivation but more importantly than that, it was about getting my own thing out there. That may not have happened with the app but it will happen with something else. And I like that. I like knowing that I’m taking control of my own decision.”
What have been your biggest success/failures as a TA member so far?
“Oh God, too many things. I met a lot of interesting people that I have helped shaped me along the way. But on a personal level I made a lot of mistakes. Like the first company we started, the famous festival app I just mentioned. I really believed it would be the next big thing in the world of festivals and parties. We worked like crazy on it for months and, in one moment, it just failed. It was over. We were already thinking about the money and that was a huge mistake. But it was a mistake we were allowed to make, experience and learn from hands on. In a way my failures turned into my biggest successes. Something else I learned…I always thought that, if you have a good product, you will have success. But i totally disagree with myself today. Because the most important foundation behind every successful company is the team behind it. That is something I truly believe. Make sure that you are on one line with your team, create clear rules and really focus on one and other. Because if your team is great, the rest will follow itself.”
On a personal level, how have you developed as a second year student?
“I think I’ve developed incredibly. There is so much to learn and of course and you will learn until you die but if I look back in the beginning of last year…I’ve realized that I’ve managed to develop myself in a completely different way compared to how I used to think. When I was in the hotel school, I experienced my fist stage of personal development, as in going out, enjoying myself and living on my own. My personal development since starting Team Academy has led me to focus more on myself and on my business. Now I think okay, I have a goal: My goal is to succeed and learn with my company. So how do I reach that goal? Through little steps. Success is about consistency. I’ve developed in the sense that I’m able to turn every failure into a learning step. I remember my first meeting. I went together with my associate to meet with some older, professional people. We thought we would score that it to say the least and well, basically, it totally failed. So we went out, we analyzed, evaluated, and laughed about it. We had learned from our performance and never made the same mistake again. I’ve learned so many things from my business coach alone. Topics and situations you can endlessly read about and study but can never truly learn or develop until you go out and do it. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”
Are you working on anything right now?
“I’m currently working on Avalaunch, a drone we have been developing for some time now. There is a well known problem when people are going to free ride skying, and that is that there are a lot of avalanches. In the moment where an avalanche happens, people try to detect missing bodies through a beacon, a small device you use to locate with radio signals. The problem is that usually takes too long. Too many people die over a reason we believe can be solved. With our drone, Avalaunch, we increase their chances of survival since there is more time to dig and find that person. I’ve been working on this project for some time already and hopefully will be able to release it soon.”
Get in touch with Tim via firstname.lastname@example.org.