I love tech innovation

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Elles de Vries; mathematician and true techie. As a business developer and digital strategist, she loves to develop and implement new ideas.

How did you get into digital technology?

I studied mathematics with a master’s degree in mathematical physics. After my studies, I started my career at KPN Research in 1995. One of the first projects I had to do was to write a report on how mobile would develop over the next ten years. GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) just started, and everybody thought that only business people would use it as it was costly. Some people even thought that mobile would not take off, because you would not want to be reachable at all times. 

So in my report, I wrote that in ten years' time everybody would use mobile and that some people won’t have a fixed telephone line any more. I wrote that your mobile would be a small computer with everything there that you would need, like agendas, emails, watching TV, etc. 

At the time, everybody had a big laugh about my far-fetched draft report, and they never published it. And look at us now in 2020!

The digital technology field has changed so much over the last 25 years, and I love that during my career, I have been a part of all the significant changes.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

I like the digital field so much that I like and do everything; games, monitoring apps, dashboards, back-end, front-end, product owner, project manager, business developer, CEO, et cetera. In sectors like finance, energy, soccer, healthcare, entertainment, you name it. The risk of that is that I do not have a very clear profile and that sometimes hampers my career. 

On the other hand, it is what I like to do, so why change it!  

My career goal is to keep doing what I am doing now. I learned a lot from the RightBrains Digital Leadership programme, like how to implement customer co-creation and other valuable skills. 

How did you get involved with RightBrains?

I was invited to the RightBrains kick-off meeting in 2014, and I just knew I wanted to be involved. I believe that digital products and services are better if the team that creates them are more diverse. So that is why I support RightBrains’ mission to attract and retain more female digital talent.

Advice for others?

Consider a career in digital technology!