Working with software for almost 20 years, Tim has profound experience combining leading edge technology with practical thinking. Tim grew up in the USA and learned the business as a Software Developer and Product Owner at TMG, Development Manager at Emesa and CTO at HoyHoy.nl. During his career, he worked in many international environments including the Netherlands, Serbia, France and the UK. In 2016, he joined e-commerce start-up ZAMRO as their first hire in the role of CTO.
You were the first to join Floris Jan and Eric, founders of ZAMRO, on their adventure.
How did they rope you in?
“It’s a greenfield operation. Of course there is an inherent degree of uncertainty, but we’ve got a number of things going for us. We’re first-movers in a €120bn market and we can rely on the long-term backing of investor SHV, and the assortment and infrastructure of their subsidiary ERIKS. So it’s exciting to build this company from scratch, but the question isn’t whether we’re going to succeed, it’s when.”
What was your first assignment at ZAMRO?
“It was the build/buy decision. I opted for both. We’re using the Intershop Commerce Suite and built our own front end. The first iteration went live on the third of October 2016 in The Netherlands and we’re continuously improving it. It’s good enough to start building the business, but we’re developing a far more advanced platform.”
Where do you stand now?
“Well, IT is at the core of the company, and that’s reflected in our share of resources. I’m developing our DevOps, we’ve got two multidisciplinary scrum teams and we’re forming a third. Each team can pick its own name and which flavor of agile/scrum project management suits them best. Currently, Team Sky is focusing on UX and Design. They use Google Analytics, Hotjar and A/B-tests to gain insights. They receive a lot of requests from marketing. Team Kobalt takes on projects such as setting up our Azure SQL data warehouse and implementing SAP.”
Floris Jan and Eric deliberately hired a CTO with a track record in innovation. How does that impact your development?
“What I like about ZAMRO, is how tangible our products are. The logistical challenges provide a whole new layer of complexity for me. Currently, we’re transferring all orders to ERIKS, and they ship the goods to the customer. That’s the dropshipping model. But we’re in the process of setting up our own warehouse. So don’t worry about my learning curve!”
Why would you take the supply chain into your own hands?
“Ultimately, because of the discrepancy between our customer bases. ERIKS mostly supplies large industrial players, while we focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Our customers have different needs in terms of assortment, and their expectations in terms of ease of order and delivery options are strongly influenced by B2C e-commerce. The only way we’ll ever be able to deliver features such as same-day delivery, is by managing our own supply chain.”
“Once the new scrum team is all set, we’ll evaluate everyone’s strengths and personal goals, and use that as a guide to define the focal area for each team. For example, a division in mobile, front end and back end could work. But nothing is set in stone. I’m a strong believer in the bottom-up approach. Organic growth of our people is the best way to propel the business forward.”
2016 – now CTO, ZAMRO2014 – now Founder & Co-owner, Pepperkid.nl 2013 – 2016 CTO / Head of Development, hoyhoy.nl 2011 – 2013 Software Development Manager, Emesa 2005 – 2011 Senior Software Engineer / Technical Lead & Architect / Online Product Owner, TMG 2001 – 2005 Senior Developer, E-wise 1998 – 2001 Developer, CCS