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Driver Spotlight: Tom Pryce

From what rises ambition? Or love? Why can’t some of us be content with the lives we’ve been given? Why do some yearn for so much more? Tom Pryce wanted to drive cars, fast, and couldn’t be stopped by the perils of the sport. He was on a seemingly impossible quest for greatness, yet by no fault of his own, he lost his life in the attempt.

Read my 11th driver spotlight on BadgerGP, here.

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Fishing

Not doing what everyone would do, not taking what everybody would take. That’s strategy at heart, and there’s a Chinese tale that tells with surprising truth about a Mandarin who spent years fishing on the riverbanks, using a straight needle instead of a hook. People looked and wondered, and told everyone about that remarkable way of fishing. The story spread through the country, eventually reaching the emperor, who came to look for the fisherman himself. “What do you expect to catch with this hook?”, the emperor asked. The answer came serenely: “You, my emperor”, said the man.

Meaning of work, life?

Working in the ad industry can be weird, at times. It struck me when our first television campaign went live on national television, for Supradyn, those vitamin supplements. Instead of feeling proud, I felt confused: “Are this pills even working?”, and “Who am I helping here?”.

From then on, I saw the ad industry in a different light, and suddenly it seemed so weird to work on promoting supermarkets one week, to campaign against foodwaste the other week. It felt so trivial to sell new flavours of toothpaste, or new fragments of shampoo. It’s not per se that I felt better than that, but I did feel the world could do fine without all that nonsense. Maybe the disinterest that people have against advertising, I started to feel while working in the ad industry.

Luckily I got the change to get on board at Vandebron just when it started, and I worked really hard, but also spirited, to create media with meaning. We’re creating a better world, like so many other companies. But few of them, really, are ad agencies.

I wrote longer on this for OneWorld, a Dutch magazine, the full article which you can read here.

Launch of the Year award!

Some days ago, Vandebron won the Launch of the Year award, from the Dutch Marketing Award. Especially for the marketing team, it’s great — because after all the awards Vandebron received for social and renewable impact, this is also a nod that our marketing is sound. Also, it’s special because what we do, doesn’t per se feel like marketing: We show where your energy comes from, with pictures, text and video. If you do that well, does it become marketing?

André Oerlemans wrote afterwards:
“The most endearing moment of the evening was the presentation of the Launch of the Year award, which went to Vandebron. According to jury chairman and former winner Erik van Engelen, the company didn’t fall into the typical tree-hugger approach, but opted for a fresh and bold marketing strategy. Marketers Jaap and Pieter stood somewhat confused on stage to receive the award:”This is our first job. We are fresh out of school, without any marketing experience. We basically just do what we think is right.”

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Interview on Adformatie

Dutch marketing & advertising websites Adformatie & Pim Online interviewed me about Vandebron, about our lack of experience in the energy market and the way we do marketing. You can read the interview (in Dutch) here:
Vandebron profiteert van gebrek aan ervaring in energiemarkt

 

Going for gaps that exist

56 years ago today, Ayrton Senna was born. If you ever watched the 2010 documentary ‘Senna‘, you might realise how inspirational the man was.

One example. When Ayrton Senna collided with Alain Prost at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix in 1990, both retired from the race, ensuring Senna his second title in Formula 1.

Afterwards, three-time Formula 1 World Champion Jackie Stewart questioned Senna’s racing ethics, saying he was willing to take risks other drivers wouldn’t. Senna simply replied: “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver.”

That’s as true for racing drivers, as it is for anything you do. In life or work, many opportunities come by, equivalent to gaps in motor racing. Whilst it might be the fastest way to a stressful life, for me, going for gaps that exists is the only way.

Today

‘Nice day to shake up the energy market.’

In all its irony, perhaps the first thing I ever wrote for Vandebron, was the best thing I ever wrote for it. It cut clear the let’s-do-this tone of the company, the go-green mission and the joie-de-vivre spirit. All after has been built upon that sunny day in March.

And today, that day was two years ago.

The sentence rang true that day, it has done on every day since then.
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Race reports for Coanda

As I wrote earlier, I’m now writing for Coanda Simsport, a simracing team competing in iRacing’s World Championship Grand Prix Series. The firs two race reports are now done, you can read them via these two links:

Land down under: Phillip Island race report

Start me up: Interlagos race report

BIG

 

Moving ahead

“How many moves ahead do you think?”, a journalist once asked legendary chess player Garry Kasparov. Many in the room thought he’d come up with a ridiculously high number, which would make us all understand what made Kasparov such a great chess player, yet Kasparov simply replied: “There is no answer”, and continued: “The main thing in chess is not how many moves ahead you can think, but how you analyse the current situation.”

Applying the same strategy to life, let’s think about how often — instead of objectively assessing what’s happening to us now — we try to count and map moves forward: a fixed plan in a game of variables. Like chess, life doesn’t work that way.

Once we stop looking ahead and examine the moment, new opportunities arise, and difficult decisions become obvious. Anyone who doesn’t know what to do next, only doesn’t know what is happening right now.

 

Driver Spotlight

What goes on in the mind of another? We can see actions, hear words — but one’s thoughts are always one’s own. Didier Pironi’s first victory for Ferrari deemed it likely that he would be France’s first world champion, yet it ended his friendship with Gilles Villeneuve, for the victory had come in an inexplicable act of betrayal — its reasoning obscured for us — and neither Pironi or Villeneuve would ever fully fulfil their talent to become Formula 1’s world champion.

Ten minute longread on Badger GP!

Driver Spotlight: Didier Pironi