A lot has happened in the past 6 month and it feels right – with the end of this calendar year nearing – to reflect on the changes and look forward to new activities.
Since the beginning of October 2018, I started as Business Developer for The Fork.
I strongly believe in cross-pollinations between different industries and markets and this job is a perfect example of just that. The Fork operates at the cutting edge of Blockchain Technology and AgriFood. An area that has seen a tremendous uptick in attention for multiple reasons:
the stakeholders in the Food & Beverage supply chain, all the way to the farmers, have been using archaic methods for way too long. Many elements in doing business have not changed over the past 30 years and well, they should have.
the foodindustry is facing more and more problems in regards to Food Fraud. We have tried many different techniques and approaches to tackle this, yet we are in desparate need of new solutions.
related to that, Authenticity of food and beverage products is getting more attention. Simple example: A country has the capacity to produce say 100n organic apple juice products… yet it exports 130n of those products. In order to address fraud on this level we need a better system
also when it comes to Traceability, there is still soo much that can be improved and most stakeholders still have no clue how to handle the bigger heap of data, let alone the basic data. And collaboration in order to exchange traceability data is also still an issue.
For me, with a long history within the trade side of the food and beverage industry, these issues are imminent.
And having looked over the fences of different industries for a long time, with specific interest in the “new tech” developments that will eventually touch us all, I started connecting with people in those areas of expertise. Eventually those contacts led to the moment that through a food fraud focused blockchain initiative I got in touch with Marieke of The Fork.
After initial phone conversations we got together in person and then the mutually added value from a form of collaboration was clear quickly. Not long after that my position materialised and I started while running.
I have been in a family business environment since 2001 and my own boss since 2008… so it has been a while that I actually had “colleagues” and certain responsibilities towards other people, let alone a “boss”. Nonetheless, the landing has been supersoft and the onboarding actually faster than expected: A super nice team of young, enthusiastic and driven people that understand the necessity of educating and implementing change.
Within short period of time it has led to a couple of new projects:
Not just the new position but also some other older leads have materialised into new projects, most of which are not similar to the routine brokerage game. They are linked, yet differentiate in setup, number of people involved and scope. One thin red line remains: My position in all these projects focuses on connecting people to enable new business.
Overall the lead up to these projects is related to consulting, advisory work and targeted networking on demand.
Elements of which the value becomes more eminent, reason for me to re-assess how and when I monetize my time spent on that.
Some of these projects are bringing new experience and experiences worthy of sharing in the near future. Should be interesting for anyone with an open and entrepreneurial mindset.
For some reason adopting the new job, incorporating it with the ongoing brokerage business at indupro, maintaining a healthy work/life balance came quite easy. That does not mean there were no quirks and annoyances, which are rather non-sense, but perhaps funny to mention:
- Working in a different time-zone than most of your team can lead to some difficulties. Regarding standups and meetings it usually works out, just by planning well. But due to 6 hours difference, work days are half as long… which puts a restraint on effective collaboration time.
- The Fork works with Microsoft’s ecosystem and I thought it might be interesting to try and adopt Outlook for Mac for all my email… Yeah, something I quickly averted from again. Being the keyboard shortcut junkie I am, combined with fluency with gmail’s shortcuts, the Outlook application really is a PITA. Funnily enough I found out that in the web version of Outlook, you can actually set the shortcut pattern to gmail… perhaps something that will come to the Mac application version later.
- While writing this post (never a one-day endeavour) I found a good solution for managing multiple channels of communication over multiple platforms. It has drastically reduced the time I spend on switching between apps, browser windows and logging in for different services:
Station is the first smart workstation for busy people. A single place for all of your web-applications.
You can really optimise this as most applications have a web-version that perfectly fits Station’s super powers. And for those familiair with these kinds of tools: yes, it has replaced Franz (which focuses on messaging only) in my work flow.
Want to know more? I keep track of the tools & services I use
- And there is one more thing: Personal Energy Management. I strongly believe in balance and one has to constantly search for that, no matter what the situation. Saying “no” is a starter, but overall assessment of expected personal energy input and output in a business environment makes for an easier work-life balance later on. This is somthing that is forced upon you again when you are more dependend on other people and – maybe at a higher level – when people are dependend of you.
- Something else: Tracking Billable Hours. Something that is also new for me and it took some trial and error, quick testing to find a tool that does time tracking in satisfying manner for me. I ended up chosing a free service, called And Co, as it checks the boxes, does the trick and seems to receive continuous updates and integrations. Good outlook for the future.
- And last but not least: refreshed computing power. I ditched my 2015 15 inch MBP and replaced it with… a 2015 13 inch MBP. 😱 Ok, perhaps not a logical choice but I upped the power (this one is maxed out) and the form factor is a real improvement for me, especially when traveling. Strangely enough, I find the smaller screen more pleasant. For a 3 year old machine it still screams and has the key-travel and ports I just need.
Sometimes I wonder why sharing this has any added value, but eventually it comes down to 2 things for me: a.] Somebody may pick something up from it b.] writing for an audience asks for different writing, more self-reflection… which makes that I personally pick something up from it.
In any case, I hope you appreciate my writing.