We sat down with our newest PaperCutter, Ad van Amrooij, to get to know our new
Head of Global Sales a little better.
PC: So…tell us about yourself! AVA: I grew up in the Netherlands but I had always had a desire to live in Australia or New Zealand. It wasn’t until 1996 when I was at a certain age (!) that I decided to pack up my life and make the move to live in Melbourne, Australia. It was a choice between moving to Sydney or in Melbourne and I had the help from my two friends from Australia who lived in Amsterdam, one friend was from Sydney and the other friend was from Melbourne who both convinced me that Melbourne was the most European city. They weren’t wrong!
PC: OK… we’ve tried a number of ways on our own… how DO you pronounce your surname? AVA: Ha! Yes.. the combination of ‘ij’ is pronounced as a letter ‘Y’. For example, in the alphabet where you have ‘x-y-z’, in dutch, it is “x-ij-z’. So Amrooij comes out as “Am-Ro-ee“. For my three girls, their surname is spelled with a ‘y’ on their birth certificate to make it easier for them – and for their teachers!
PC: What did you do prior to joining PaperCut? AVA: I was very fortunate to have held positions across different countries and different industries; The Netherlands where I graduated as an accountant and started as a junior administrator for the National Gas Distribution Company and where I ended up co-owning and building a SAP consulting company whilst working as a programmer, to Australia where I worked for KPMG and IBM running their businesses, back to the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia working for BHP Billiton, managing their enterprise systems globally. Finally ending back in Australia, Melbourne of course, to work for Infosys and Fujitsu in various senior roles.
PC: What attracted you to PaperCut and the role? AVA: To be honest I was attracted to PaperCut the company! I was lucky to be given a glimpse into the culture of PaperCut where you are given a barista course (just in case) and where there is a “Lego” meeting room in the head office! The other aspect is PaperCut’s agility and nimbleness, which is different to the big corporate world I was used to. A company where the CEO can send you messages with emojis just shows you the kind of CEO he is. The company’s sincere interest in sustainability and its staff care were also very important in my decision making.
PC: What are you looking forward to most here at PaperCut? AVA: As a print software solution company, I am looking forward to helping PaperCut grow their business by maximizing sales and leveraging of what they have been creating so far, in turn, it can be reinvested back into the business. It’s the underpinning of sustainability and cutting waste which appeals to me.
PC: What’s your vision for the channel? AVA: Although a bit early, my vision is to bring the whole PaperCut ecosystem closer to the customer in conjunction with our channel partners which will bring longevity of the customer base through ongoing renewals and upgrades.
PC: How do you like your coffee? AVA: I like a good cappuccino which I have now mastered at home, but am yet to get right in our coffee area!
PC: What are you passionate about? AVA: My family’s well-being and sustainability.
PC: What do you like to do in your spare time? AVA: I like to spend my extra time with my girls which includes attending their Friday night basketball games. I also coach one of the teams of teenage girls (yikes!). I also like to work with wood and build things. As soon as something needs fixing or replacing at home, my first “go-to” is to figure out an excuse to bring out the tools and solve it through woodworking. This passion may have stemmed from my childhood where I loved playing with wooden blocks. Plus, it ties in with my passion for sustainability – a win win!
Before you get involved in your first ever Hackathon (an opportunity to step away from the day to day, be inspired, think big and collaborate with people you might not normally have the opportunity) you definitely have an idea of what it will be like… innovative, fun, memorable and AMAZING!! It’s no wonder I was excited to be involved in PaperCut’s own version, and first of its kind – Constructival 2016! Working in a team of such talented technical people though, I was still a little on the nervous side – what on earth could someone from the People & Culture team really do?
With a few weeks to go I buddied up with Tom, one of our user experience designers, to put together a video to capture the two days! All sorted. I would help with the concepts and documenting the video that was captured and Tom would do the videoing and editing! You can imagine my dismay as this sound proof plan started to crumble the day before when, regardless of how much he tried to troop through it was becoming evident the best place for him was to be wrapped up in blankets sleeping!
Before I’d even had a chance to come up with an alternative group to join, people were stepping up to help. First things first – an introduction to the camera: the on button, this is how you zoom, keep it steady like this and “this one here… that is record”. My first practise recording was in fact the kick off – and the glimmer of what the next few days would entail. Having a ball I ran around for the next two days with my camera, bumping my tri-pod into door frames, getting insight into what all the teams were doing from conceptualising to prototyping with lots of frustrations, smiles and laughs along the way.
Of course a video isn’t just the footage… but again, I wasn’t going to be left in the lurch and after a quick 101 course from the support team I was off on iMovie – choosing what clips to use, cutting shots, speeding up footage, adding sound and captions. Not only was I capturing PaperCut’s first ever Constructival I was also learning a whole lot of new things that I would never usually have had the opportunity to day to day. More importantly though I was beginning to understand what it feels like when you need to be brave, when you are operating outside of your comfort zone, when you let your imagination run wild and get creative.
It may not be a studio production quality feature film, nor will it be in the running for any notable awards in the film scene. It most definitely wouldn’t have been possible on my own or without everyone featured. But by goodness, if I can do this, just imagine what else is possible! Without further ado I present to you my project for Constructival 2016:
Keen to find out more about PaperCut’s first global Hackathon? Check out this blogall about Constructival and this one from the team that built a robot!
PaperCutters are always about pushing the envelope and are never interested in business as usual. We therefore don’t want to spit out some lame new years resolution as we statistically know that resolution fulfilment steadily drops down through the months of the year.
Life (and software) do not reset every new years (except back in Y2K), so we shouldn’t just start setting goals for goals sake, just because the calendar has changed over. We believe that chance favours the prepared mind and improving further on what we are already doing is critical. We aim for perfection in everything that we do regardless of the timelines, so instead of making a long list of resolutions, we’ve decided to start the year by investing in the future and inviting selected students from John Monash Science School over for a week to learn what we do, and how we do things here at PaperCut, ask questions and provide a fresh perspective to our mindshare.
We’ve had the privilege of hosting Angi, Josh, Reena, and Will to spend time with us and get exposed to PaperCut’s work and culture. These bright young minds aren’t just your regular students who were randomly picked. They are awardees, rigorously selected, and sponsored by PaperCut to join the 2016 SuperComputing Conference in Salt Lake City UT.
The John Monash Science school have carefully screened students through an essay submission asking about concrete action plans on what they will do in case they win. The selection is then followed by interviews to help decide who shall be awarded a trip to the conference.
SuperComputing experience was nonetheless a great experience for the students as they were glad to report that they were absolutely jumping out of their skins while they were in the helm of super servers and cutting edge VR gadgets. And to quote Reena: “I would stay there 24/7 if I could! It’s awesome!”
While their week at PaperCut HQ as a follow up activity cannot match that level of excitement, we certainly hope the activities we arranged for them compensated in their further discovery and learning.
From creating marketing videos, to tinkering with front end website animation code, to analysing customer engagement rates and sales funnel analytics, their curious minds questioned every detail of what they have seen. Their questions have inspired us to revisit our processes and procedures and go back to basics. PaperCut has definitely benefited from having them around, and we sincerely hope that their experience with us has been worthwhile for them.
Beyond showing them agile software development processes and clean code, we hope that they were able to see our constant commitment to building closer relationships with our customers and resellers, as well as our obsession to constantly push the ante of innovation.
We also hope that they’ve thoroughly experienced our “coffee culture”, that our (good) coffee builds constructive conversations around products and services, which in turn produce better software and solutions that help customers.
So here’s to 2017, stronger relationships, awesome software, and fantastic coffee. We love that you are reading this and please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help in any way. You’ll be surprised at how we are eager to connect.