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Meeting a real life, IoT Super Hero!

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Shelli Gafan Opportunities, Permanent, IoT...

When we hear the word ‘hero’ what, or who do we immediately think of? 

Me, personally, I think of someone who puts others before them, is an extraordinary individual and has exceptional talent. A genuinely nice guy or girl. An example of a hero could be a firefighter or doctor and then, in this context, there are people who are digital heroes.

The wiki definition is “is a person who performs extraordinary deeds for the benefit of others”.  I think this is pretty accurate, wiki!

Recently, curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know EXACTLY what it’s like to work at one of the brilliant companies that I have been recruiting for and helping to grow over the past couple of years, so I interviewed a great guy called Werner Vink who has been employed by Heroes ( as an IoT Consultant for a few months. Acting as a Corporate Recruiter for Heroes – a brilliant start-up that is an exceptional club, thought leaders in AI and IoT built with the Microsoft Azure platform – I wanted to get to the bottom of why Heroes is indeed such an exceptional club. Heroes fits perfectly with my proposition as they help customers to automate and speed up their processes and to get them a step ahead by enabling them to use emerging technologies such as IoT and AI.

Shelli:   Hey Werner. Nice to meet you! So you’re now a hero! How does it feel?

Werner: Hey Shelli. It feels great! I love it here!

Shelli:  That’s good to know! Why did you leave your last job then?

Werner: I wasn’t working in a job I loved. The company was moving too slowly for my liking. I want to work with innovation. I was approached by Heroes for this role and I jumped at it. I thought it would make the most of my potential and I was right!

Shelli:   What did you actually want in a new job apart from the innovation part?

Werner: Responsibility in projects. Being accountable for something tangible. You have such a strong sense of responsibility here. You need to be able to work on your own, bring ideas to customers and convince them it is a good idea to invest in.

Additionally, because of Mario’s (Smit, CEO) understanding and knowledge about upcoming technologies, the belief he has in applying those technologies for business growth and the way he was real about being successful in this area. There is always uncertainty for start-ups, but Mario has solid business partners who are extremely supportive and trust him implicitly.

I wanted to help build something and I now have the freedom to explore my capabilities and work on things I like.

Shelli:   What sorts of things do you do for your customers? Any examples?

Werner: Advising them on integrating software applications to improve processes and building and commissioning IoT software applications for new and existing products. For example, Integrating an IoT platform from the US. A platform that processes a lot of data orienting towards energy related data that offers a strong return on investment. They deploy it as a high end back end tool, as well a front end tool. As a consultant for Heroes you choose the tool / platform that offers the best usability and value for money for the customer. This might involve building a hybrid solution.

Shelli:   Where do you see the IoT market heading over the next couple of years?

Werner: The way I see it, companies/enterprises will adapt to IoT as a tool to improve (asset) management. Consumer products will get cheaper, so product sales and services will grow. IoT certainly brings about more control and transparency. If you’re developing in it, it needs to be done in a DevOps way now.

Shelli:  What do you see that your impact could be on this?

Werner: Convincing customers the added value that IoT brings by formulating informative business cases and helping companies in deploying / developing software tools.

Shelli:   I hear on the market that companies are often reluctant to invest in IoT solutions. Why do you think that is?

Werner: They don’t have the confidence or the knowledge yet about these tools. It’s so new and uses a lot of advanced technologies and they don’t have the knowledge on how to apply them.  Who’s not afraid of change? That’s where Heroes comes in. We walk customers through the process hand-in-hand, explaining the benefits of IoT to them and how it will improve their business processes thus saving time and money. (smiles confidently).

I actually see this as an improvement rather than disruption to the market. It is simply a technology integrating with your business to do better rather than creating new business models.  It means you’re more in control of your assets. You need to be realistic with what is needed for now.

Shelli: Wow, that’s great to hear, Werner! You’re clearly experts in this!  So which sector/s do you foresee being affected most by IoT?

Werner: Manufacturing, Engineering, Energy sector, Mechanical/Hardware maintenance, Transport and Supply chain and of course I must mention our home grown driverless cars!

Shelli:  I’m blown away by all this. Thanks for enlightening me! What would you say is coolest thing you’ve done since you’ve become a hero?

Werner: On a personal level, I’ve actually developed my soft skills and sold my services to a company from my own network. I showed them which route to take it gave me the opportunity to do something completely challenging and new. From that point of view, Heroes is like a breath of fresh air, encouraging you, not pushing you, to smash through your own boundaries.

From a technical perspective, I recently developed a crowdfunding product for a customer. That was awesome! I showed them it was the best way to go! They loved it!

Shelli: So we’ve heard about the great stuff, but what about the challenges? What would you say they are?

Werner: Keeping yourself busy when you’re not fully booked, using my own network to try to find projects. But that’s what a hero does. He thinks outside the box and uses his special powers! I guess we can also use this time to go on relevant courses/conferences as we are always encouraged to develop.

Shelli:   What value do you see that Heroes brings to the market?

Werner: Wow! I love this question! (Beams)

At Heroes, we understand engineering and what’s happening on the ground. They understand the problems that their customers have as well as the varying techniques and will create a bespoke solution for the customer that suits them perfectly, thus solving their issues. 

We have unique technical knowledge about cloud development, IoT and AI in combination with excellent strategy and project management skills. Our Heroes all love what we do. When we love what we do, we excel at it!

Shelli:  Werner, it has been such a pleasure catching up and hearing all the wonderful things you’re doing. What’s your next goal?

Werner: I’ve been to a couple of conferences recently that were awesome and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to go, but what I’d really like is to present at them! Heroes encourages you to follow your dreams and they do this with every single employee. They even encouraged our Microsoft MVP to create and facilitate a global AI bootcamp. We spearheaded that. Can you imagine?!

Shelli:   Wow! That is quite something! Sounds like one awesome company!

One final question: Who is your hero and why?

Werner: (Laughs) This one is easy, Shelli. My mum. She has 3 kids and always maintained a full time job. I still saw her a lot. She never complained and just got on with it. That’s why I achieve so much. She has taught me to reach for the stars and always have dreams and ambitions.

Shelli:  Werner, thank you so much for your valuable time. I have learnt so much about the inside of Heroes, IOT and the future! Keep up the good work!

As a mum of two young kids myself, and working often around the clock in a demanding job, I hope I’m a hero to my kids!

For those who don’t know us, we are not your average recruiters. We are not fans of spec’ing people in to random companies in Holland and praying they’re a match. Our passion and expertise and track record is in building small companies with great people in the Netherlands. We’ll work hand-in-hand with a start-up or medium sized company and discover what THEY need in order to grow at the pace they would like. We mainly deal directly with the hiring manager acting as a corporate recruiter, rather than just another agent.

Like what you read and want to be a Hero? Fascinated to hear more?

Get in touch!



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