Here’s the thing.
I’ve probably started five personal blogs in my life. All unrelated to the others. All very different. All about something I was/am passionate about.
There is nothing worse than the introduction post.
I dislike writing it. I dislike reading it on other people’s blogs. But, it must be done. You guys need to have at least sort of an idea of who I am before you start following my crazy (sic) life. This post may also be the foundation you need to understand future posts. For instance, this post I wrote about suffering from imposter syndrome.
So here we go.
The road so far
Play this song and enjoy your read. Supernatural fans will know.
I was born in 1988, which makes me 29 at the moment. My thoughtful colleague Joe told me not to just say ‘I’m 29’ because that’s going to get out of date quickly.
I was born in Belgium, south side of the country. This means I speak French. I have learned English at school (a bit) and through culture (a lot).
Today, I live in Norwich, UK.
About my career
I suppose about 10 years ago, my career path would have been considered weird and unconventional. Today, it seems to become more ‘normal’ to do what I have done. Either way, here is how I got to where I am.
At 18 years old, I went to college to study web design. Partied a lot during my first year and flunked. Decided to give it a second try. Partied a bit again but mostly fell out of love for the classes and gave up about mid-year.
PS: This isn’t me.
At about the same time, I discovered online poker. Started playing a little bit online with the free money all these sites give you. Ended up being quite good at it and grinding the micro stakes all summer.
The next year came around, and I decided to enrol in philosophy classes at the university in Brussels. I freakin’ loved it. I was quite good at everything philosophy-related, but pretty much gave up on anything else they were trying to cram in there (music history, German, etc.).
I did well on my mid-terms, then average at my end of year exams and decided to give up. I had something else going for me: poker.
During that year, I turned about £4 into £15,000. I was now making £2-3k/month playing a game I was really good at and enjoyed. Why would I need a degree?
I stopped everything and went full-time poker player. I moved to Budapest, Hungary (because why the fuck not?).
One of the most beautiful cities in the world (source).
There, I lived from my poker career for about four years before finally stopping. I finally had enough of staying behind my computer from 4 pm to 3 am every day, crushing other people’s hopes and dream.
Though I never really cared and still don’t (after all, they decided to sit down and play, not me), there is something very cynical about taking other people’s money.
At some point, I longed for a true ‘purpose’. Simply taking money from people wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I wanted a team. I wanted a common goal with like-minded people. I wanted to build something.
But, remember: no skills, in a foreign country, and no diploma.
The only other ‘thing’ I ever considered doing was trading. It seemed to fit with my analytic brain, was something I could do anywhere in the world, and I could join a company doing it.
I looked around and finally picked a course. The course taught me how to trade and would hire me depending on my performance after a specific amount of time. As fate would have it, the mentor I was assigned to, Dean, would become one of my closest friends. Dean and I now run a company together here in Norwich. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I spent about a year trading the forex market and making decent profits. Dean took me under his wing, showed me the ropes, and got me to work on his projects as well. We launched a forex training website, which was my first glimpse at marketing and growing a community.
I learned a lot during that era.
[Undisclosed] Digital agency
After about a year and a half of trading, I moved away from Budapest and back into my parents’ house in Belgium.
I decided to launch a business with my best buddy. It was supposed to be a reputation management company but turned into a real web design & social media management business.
We did ok. I didn’t love the job. I hated dealing with small business clients. We barely paid the bills. Although it was useful career-wise and I learned a lot, I really didn’t think this was for me.
After exactly a year, we decided to put the business up for sale. We soon found a buyer and managed to get a small profit out of our sale.
While in the process of selling my agency, Dean and I reconnected. I was looking for a new opportunity and Dean had one. He had this crazy idea of building a platform to manage all the brand new mobile messaging channels that were opening up.
He needed a marketer, and I was available. I packed my bags, met him, Joe (our soon-to-be CTO) and Daphne (our advisor) in Norwich. After a few meetings, we got the go ahead.
Visit ubisend, we build awesome AI-driven chatbots
I officially moved to Norwich, UK, in February 2016. I have been growing ubisend ever since. The story of ubisend could take about 27 blog posts by itself, so I am going to leave it at that for now.
Here we are!
All caught up!
For the few of you who managed to read through this, congrats. It’s fairly boring to read about someone’s life, especially someone you’ve never met.
I hope this helps you figure out who I am. If not, I still felt an introduction post was in order.
Next post I am going to write about… why I am writing here! See ya next time.