Before joining ScaleUpBoard in 2019, Wouter Staatsen served as a board advisor at PastBook, a tech company that allows customers to create instant photo books from their phones. As of 2020, Wouter is the CEO of PastBook. As a board advisor, he was keen to learn more about the scale-up ecosystem. When asked about why he joined ScaleUpBoard, Wouter mentioned that “it’s very fruitful and insightful to learn the best practices as board member/CEO by getting information and analysis from other scale-ups. It’s like putting a mirror in front of yourself and seeing how you’re doing compared to the mean.”
The frameworks coming to life
In the last two years PastBook scaled from 14 to around 40 people while seeing revenues triple. Wouter saw ScaleUpBoard learnings come to life, and he still applies some of the program framework. “For example, we understood that our company is going through the scaling phases. At first, the core is pivoting and experimenting to reach product-market fit. Then, you begin to explore this market.” As a board advisor, you take innovation into consideration in every stage. While you scale, the world keeps on changing “and you want to invest in developing new products and conquering new markets.”
The responsabilities of being a board member
For Wouter Staatsen, being a board member brings lots of fun and energy due to the entrepreneurial environment and future-orientated nature. “You have the freedom to develop new products with creativity. And you can also be very ambitious, you are trying to develop an international company together with an international team”.
These are the intriguing aspects of being part of an advisory board as a CEO, however all of this comes with a wide range of responsibilities. Wouter explains that “you need to coach, help and lead the team towards certain goals. But in a scale-up you also have to deal with a lot of uncertainty. In Excel you see a budget that drives from a point to another in a linear line. But this is the theory. In practice, things are a lot different. So, as a board member you have to deal with these variances along the way.” Wouter advises not to panic if, as a supervisory board, you don’t achieve the results in the estimated time. There are so many variances during the scaling phase, as a board member you need to have the long-term perspective in mind, while dealing with the stress of constricted timeframes.
Board members as maestros
As a final remark, Wouter remembers that during the ScaleUpBoard program he learned how to deal with uncertainty by listening to different stories. Participants receive examples on how to face different situations, developing a flexible mindset, ask for feedback, and staying up-to-date with industry developments. Being a board member is, after all, “a balance between management, inspiration, financial analysis and product development. You try to build harmony, as if you’re composing music for an orchestra. This usually does not work perfectly immediately. You have to learn, practice, keep pushing and adjust along the way”.
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