Pim Plaatsman is a creative web developer and tech lead at the Dutch digital marketing agency Brandclick. He is specialized in digital product development and growth. He gets energy from helping clients take their products to the next level. A true creator who always wakes up early starts each day with a big smile and a lot of new ideas for projects and opportunities. Pim loves taking his sailboat out for a spin, to relax and enjoy the beautiful Dutch waters. Sharing his love for nature with his partner in crime and fiancé Marcela, they travel the world exploring beautiful places. Working on new projects and doing something back for the community is important for him. With his last side-project take care, he hopes to create awareness around sustainability and inspire people to take care of the world.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Pim says:
Don’t be afraid to start a new project! As long as you put effort into it, you will find a way to make it work. You have to find out what works for you, and it’s not wrong to pull the plug on a project. You’ve probably learned a lot of exciting new stuff, and now you know for sure this wasn’t. Don’t throw away your old projects, sometimes it wasn’t the right time for it, or you might end up using some parts in a new project.
You should know precisely what you are making and what you aren’t. People will like your aspirations more than a product that is half of what it’s said to be. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to leave features out of your first product. It’s more stressful thinking about multiple features that don’t work correctly than managing expectations of your customer. Whatever you do, always keep your customers informed about what is going on and when to expect certain features. You don’t want to be the next Fyre festival.
Read on to know more about Pim Plaatsman and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background, and what are you working on currently?
Pim Plaatsman: I’ve been a creator since I was young; my dream as a little kid was to become an inventor. I just loved creating new stuff in any form whatsoever, starting from scratch or modifying an old lamp to whatever purpose I thought it would need to have. I would spend hours modifying a process for one of my chores, so it would take less time. On most occasions, however, more time would be lost than gained. But hey, I loved the process.
It’s not different. Nowadays, I still have my projects to work on both digital and offline. I work as a lead developer at a local online agency in Amsterdam. That’s where I met Raoul Valstar, who was working for one of our clients. Minds alike, we’ve both been interested in the startup scene and the impact of companies. We were always messaging with each other about the new cool companies and online projects we’ve found. Raoul sparked the idea of creating an online platform for sustainable companies and projects after he saw an article about Zipline, a project in Rwanda where they deliver blood for transfusion by drone. This was when the idea of take care took shape.
We believe in creating a sustainable future as a community by sharing inspiring initiatives, stories, and companies. Take care is a platform for consumers and business owners to find new initiatives and companies, read about their efforts to make a change, and share their own stories. We curate new companies based on their impact on the world, using the Sustainable Development Goals framework created by the United Nations.
What motivated you to get started with your company?
Pim Plaatsman: I’ve always believed that helping each other and working together with like-minded people will recreate a better result. As a student at the University for Applied Sciences, Amsterdam. I joined the workgroup “students for sustainability.” This is where my hands-on-approach in sustainability started. When Raoul mentioned creating a platform for sustainability a few years later, my first reaction was:” Let’s Go!” We started developing the MPV and gathering more and more companies. We are now working with a spreadsheet of 1000 companies we still have to add to the platform.
It’s a challenging endeavor, but together we can create awareness around the subject and learn about what you can do as a consumer. One example that is truly relevant today is supporting the environment and local businesses by shopping locally. Shortly, we hope to realize a localized search and map to help our users connect with their local initiatives and companies. What’s more motivating than creating an impactful product!?
How have you attracted users and grown your company from the start?
Pim Plaatsman: After we finished the MPV and added around 150 companies, we launched our product on Product Hunt. This was an excellent start to test the platform and its viability. After launching, we’ve got a lot of feedback varying from improvements, possible features, and the occasional “Thumbs up.” Launching take care this way puts us in the limelight of other online platforms and online media. This helped us build a steady stream of daily users on the platform. Straight from the start, we were collecting email addresses for our mailings in which we do updates on new companies, exciting articles about sustainability, and the development of our platform. Keeping the users informed and interested is an essential part of your growth strategy. However, this is quite an easy step to forget when you are busy developing and expanding your business.
We have set a couple of technical and growth goals for 2020. We have looked at what is feasible for us to do in the short term and our long-term aspirations. After creating a list of goals, it was a matter of filtering out what would be the most impactful for the user/platform and which functionalities are the easiest build. So our first point on the list was creating user accounts where they can save their favorite companies/initiatives and make collections. This feature will be released in the upcoming weeks. Besides this, we like to create a community around the platform with all kinds of different features. So, things like a job board, news section, community chat & forum, interviews with companies, podcasts about sustainability, and securing our future.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue? What strategy worked best?
Pim Plaatsman: We started take care to inform users about cool new companies. Our MVP didn’t include any revenue-based features. While working on the project, we began to think about more and more features that would make the platform way more valuable to the users. We are working hard on rolling out the following features to create and grow our revenue:
Premium user accounts (access to our forum, chat, expert content, discount on events and affiliate products) – Native advertising slots on set pages (only for sustainable businesses) – Job board, for your next sustainable job
How much money (funding) have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round? (Additionally, any plan for the future?)
Pim Plaatsman: We started take care as a side project next to our full-time jobs, and since we had the luxury of a complementary team existing of a designer, marketing/startup guru, and developer. So, we didn’t need funding for developing the platform. We have big future plans, though, and are looking for possible offline events. When these plans are more concrete, we have to consider what extra funding or investments we are going to need.
What are some marketing tips to help maximize the success of a product launch?
Pim Plaatsman: Make sure to make use of large platforms to announce your launch. There are a lot of creators and possibly interested people out there. So, make sure where to reach them. When you’re launching a new tech product, you could start by announcing it on sites as Product Hunt, Indie Hackers, and Reddit. After that, don’t forget to post to your social media and appropriate LinkedIn groups/hashtags.
What is a good product launch checklist?
- Make a short but compelling description of your product/company (make sure you can tell what you do in one sentence)
- On which platforms are you going to announce your launch
- Your core product is tested, and every feature works 00%, otherwise, add it later.
- Make sure you have time available to manage unexpected behavior and feedback.
What’s the hardest thing about product launches?
Pim Plaatsman: The stress! Though it’s fun to launch a new product, it’s a little scary because you don’t know how people will react. So, creating a perfect first experience for the early adopters is a must. They are the ones that are going to recommend you or not. Ensure you have a manageable product before you launch, only launch with the features you 100% sure of and know are working. In the first few days of a launch, you will be busy making sure everything is working as expected and maybe tweaking a few little things based on the first feedback.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company? (or What should all first-time startup founders know before they start their business?)
Pim Plaatsman: You should know precisely what you are making and what you aren’t. People will like your aspirations more than a product that is half of what it’s said to be. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to leave features out of your first product. It’s more stressful thinking about multiple features that don’t work correctly than managing expectations of your customer. Whatever you do, always keep your customers informed about what is going on and when to expect certain features. You don’t want to be the next Fyre festival.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing?
Pim Plaatsman: Don’t spend money on making fancy ads. If you have an interesting story to tell, people will be more compelled to use your product. Tell them why you believe in your product and make sure every marketing piece is an extension of that belief.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Pim Plaatsman: Make sure you do at least 1 thing a day for your project, this goes especially for the people who launch a side project and still have a job. It could be as simple as responding to an email. This keeps the gears going, and you’ll find yourself doing a little more than you thought to do.
What are the one or two things that you would do differently if you could go back to 10 years ago?
Pim Plaatsman: Don’t be afraid to start a new project! As long as you put effort into it, you will find a way to make it work. You have to find out what works for you, and it’s not wrong to pull the plug on a project. You’ve probably learned a lot of exciting new stuff, and now you know for sure this wasn’t. Don’t throw away your old projects, sometimes it wasn’t the right time for it, or you might end up using some parts in a new project.
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