It is a cold Friday evening, February 2006. My wife, Kasia, and I are sitting on a sofa, enjoying the warm glow of our open fire and a beautiful glass of red wine. We are reflecting on our life, what we have achieved, how happy we are with our beautiful family and exciting careers. Nevertheless, it feels as if something is missing, we are not fulfilled. We feel as if we have to change something. Shall we start looking for a new adventure? But where? When? How? It appeared to be the first step into an amazing journey, which ends today …..
That Friday night we seriously considered moving to Poland for the first time. The country where I had met my wife years before, and where we felt we could test ourselves facing completely new circumstances. We thought Poland had a huge growth potential and we wanted to be part of it. The seed was planted and since then our focus and energy shifted towards this new idea. Coincidences and conscious actions, pushed us further into the right direction. A meeting with former colleague Arie de Bruin resulted in a business idea that we started executing together. By the end of 2006 Goyello was founded, and in February 2007 we moved with my family to Gdańsk, the City of Freedom.
No time to chill, never a dull moment
Since then we have been on a high-speed train. We managed to achieve amazing things, we met wonderful people, we had great experiences. We also had some struggles to face. Without any external financial support, we had to manage our cashflow. Profit in a spreadsheet is pointless without money on the bank account. Month after month we managed to gather just enough money to pay for salaries and bills.
The financial crisis around 2008-2010 caused serious trouble. On paper the revenue still looked good, but when clients stopped or postponed payments, the going got tough. We were forced to say goodbye to several good team members, it was one of the toughest moments of our existence.
Fortunately, we managed to overcome this period, partially thanks to finding clients in other countries than our Dutch home market. The future started to look bright again.
Continuous growth, new ambitions
Goyello continued to grow, from 2 to 8 office rooms. After a few years, both the space and atmosphere of the first office no longer matched our ambitions. We moved to the brand new Olivia Business Centre. In 2011 just one building was under construction, today it is a big office centre, one of the most beautiful ones, according to me.
This appeared to be a major shift in the perception of our company. No longer were we treated as a nice startup. People realised we had a smart and experienced team with highly skilled people who understood how to make software solutions, enabling our clients to benefit from IT.
10-year anniversary, an amazing milestone
Our 10-year anniversary was an intensively celebrated milestone. What a wonderful company had we build from scratch, together with our amazing colleagues, stimulating clients and supportive partners. For Arie and me, as the two founders, it was an important moment of reflection, as well.
Joining Aspire Systems
We concluded time had come to look for a strong partner that could help us safeguard Goyello’s stable growth. After an intense search process, we got acquired by Aspire Systems. I decided to remain on board, to support the integration and to help Aspire to further develop their base in Europe.
After two years, I feel my job is done. Time has come to leave this train at the next stop. A stop that we are nearing now. Once I get off the train, I will watch it leaving the station, continuing its journey. I wish all the colleagues on board a wonderful experience.
I am so grateful
During this 14-year journey I have met so many wonderful people, who allowed me to continuously develop and improve myself. It has been a journey across many boarders and many cultures. We had our lows, but fortunately many more highs.
I’m missing words to thank everybody who has been involved. I am so grateful that you all supported me in realizing my dream. A dream that I had only shared with Kasia and my friend Jeroen in the past. I told them that I wanted to realize my own successful company. And that’s what we have done.
The list of people I would like to thank for making my dream come true is endless. Therefore, I want to limit it to a few key people. Building this great company wouldn’t have been possible without the great support of my wife, Kasia and our three sons. They have been really patient with me. Without Arie’s guts we probably wouldn’t have started the company. I am really grateful as well for all the guidance that Jacek Węsierski, our legal advisor, has been providing to us from day one. Last but not least I would like to thank Gowri Subramanian, CEO of Aspire Systems, for continuing the journey with our amazing team in Gdańsk. But probably most important, I would like to thank all those great colleagues that have supported us all those years and the client who trusted us to be their long term partner.
Everybody must be able to realise their dreams!
Unfortunately, not everybody is in the right position to fulfil their dreams. Therefore, at both Goyello and Aspire we have been cooperating with the Trzeba Marzyć Foundation (Eng: You Must Dream Foundation). Thanks to Trzeba Marzyć sick kids’ dreams are being fulfilled. Having dreams and realizing them provides an enormous drive to live and make the best of it. Because I’m convinced of the great work they do, I will continue to support them and have already made another donation to show my gratitude on this special day, my 51st birthday and the start of a new journey.
Several people have asked me what kind of a gift I would like to receive for these two occasions. Please don’t feel obliged to do anything. I am already grateful for all you have done. But if you want to do something, please donate to Trzeba Marzyć, which can be easily done through this PayPal link.
Time for a break and some reflection
I am ready to recalibrate my compass now. The future will show when the next train will depart and where it will be heading. The upcoming months, I plan to dedicate to my family and triathlon training. My running and cycling mileage should dramatically increase and a pile of books is waiting.
I won’t leave without a party
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is a strange moment to leave. I have received many warm and emotional reactions during the past days, but this is not the way I would like to say goodbye to my colleagues. Therefore, I promise we will organise a party once this is safe again.