We recently had the chance to interview Anjo De Heus, who is associated with several companies. Being a commercially aware, extremely competitive, and assertive leader at the executive level, Anjo has gained extensive expertise in B2B/B2C technologies such as SaaS, Blockchain, and e-commerce solutions, designed to enable companies to scale up, transform and experience stellar growth. He has lived and operated in the United States, Asia and Europe, and currently lives in Dubai, UAE which made him understand the corporate world from multiple cultural experiences as well.
During his career, he has been recognized for outgoing, confident, and enthusiastic communication skills, a natural ability to talk with assurance, integrity, and conviction to influence others, lead by example and resolve conflicts, thus ensuring a collaborative and cohesive environment.
His ability to define competitive go-to-market strategies, drive change and innovation, ultimately build operational excellence, resolve complex problems, and sustain high performance, alongside overseeing the bigger picture, has benefited many companies. Learn more about him and his journey through this interview below.
Starting The Career
We are interested to learn about the career journey of Anjo and the inspiration which led him to today’s position. Also, he is working for several companies, so we asked, “What’s the idea behind your companies?”
Anjo shared, “Being a serial entrepreneur, as well as someone who is often asked how to go to market, define a strategy, and work out a vision, I am currently involved in a couple of companies that all wish to make fame. The companies have one thing in common: they all are based on emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI. One of the companies is making a name for itself in the music industry, having a very extensive MFT marketplace recognized by the industry. It stands out because its Web3 approach is fueled with the metadata of over 70 million songs and more than 6.5 million artists.”
He added, “Another company is entering the market with a fresh approach to making real estate investments more democratized and accessible, allowing for tokenization of property, providing liquidity for the developers and or owner, and passive income for the subscribers. This platform will make waves in a booming real estate market such as the UAE. A third company uses AI to interact between companies and audiences, whereas AI is used to define audiences based on millions of data points. This company was recently awarded a large project by Pepsico during the Superbowl.”
Advice For Beginners
Young entrepreneurs find it quite inspiring to hear from successful business owners. We asked, “How did you begin your career journey? Do you have some advice for beginners?”
Anjo shared, “Many moons ago, I was asked, based on my commercial and marketing skills and merit, to join a company as a shareholder, which was a company driven by tech nerds. By being able to think differently and strategically, I changed the company’s direction, started to work closely with some big industry players, and closed several strategic partnerships and OEM agreements for these partners to adopt our technology, resulting in a global rollout of our solution. This effort resulted in a gigantic revenue boost for the company, coming from zero to 80+ million US$, which eventually was noticed in the industry.
After doing it all, I decided to start a new company, leveraging my network and skills, which I could sell to an investor after substantially growing it. Subsequently, I created two companies doing great and making an impact.”
“My advice to young entrepreneurs is always to stay true to yourself. It might be that no one likes your idea. Yet, when you believe and put all your energy into it, it eventually will pay off, yet also be open to advise and criticism from others, as sometimes your idea might be off. It might not be feasible or has been thought out based on false presumptions. So, do your homework, be tenacious, live the moment, and find people who will help you grow into something. Also, be aware of the pitfalls of being an entrepreneur. It is a lonely job, and don’t be scared to fail, as failure is part of the journey.” he added.
Goals Of the Companies
Every company has specific goals on its list. We were intrigued to learn about the plans of Anjo’s companies. We asked, “What’s the goal of your company?”
“The goal I always set for starting a company is to become a mainstream player. That is easier said than done. However, I believe in setting up a company with a dual strategy. Create and sell products based on powerful propositions to serve large communities, and on the other side, build the product based on its intellectual property. This dual strategy will give you multiple options while going at it. You can own a market and grow into something big, and on the other hand, make the company valuable for potential acquirers.” Anjo replied.
Teamwork and Success
The success of any company is majorly influenced by teamwork and trust among the employees. So, we asked, “What makes the team successful?”
Anjo shared, “Diversity. Never hire people who think like you because that will turn into a team of similar-minded people, which can be ok. However, a healthy dose of dualism is so essential when building teams. Think about the following scenario. You are a great technologist, and your first hire is another great technologist you like and who shares the same values and who thinks like you.
There is nothing wrong with this; however, it also means that you increase your comfort zone, whereas one should hire resources who can pull you out of that comfort zone and force you to think differently, broader, and more creatively. This approach will propel your team into excellence and make your proposition stronger and more diverse. When I say hire people who can push you into territory that has yet to be explored by you, I am not talking about people who break down your thinking or are of that sort and have a, by default, pessimistic view of everything you do. So cohesive in the sense that you have the same goals and ambitions, diverse when it comes to being complimentary, and please do read the word positive as different skills and mindset.”
“How important are employees’ energy levels to the success of Your Companies?”
He replied, “As one with very high energy levels and unstoppable in creativity and execution, I love working with high-energy people. My personal belief is to consider the thoughts of individuals, and when noticing a depreciation of energy in people, one must act.
There is always more than the job, and as a leader who has built teams and coached many individuals, one must be ultra-perceptive of what is going on in the team and the lives of individuals. So yes, high energy levels are vital to every company, whether a startup or an established organization.”
“How do you plan to motivate your team to go the extra mile?”
Anjo shared, “Gone are the times where there is one person who beats the drum, and the way I encourage team members to go the extra mile starts with a simple thought, which is that anybody who knows better, that was the reason they were hired, is the leader of the segment they handle or manage.
Allowing people to expose their thoughts, skills, and talent is critical to the overall success of a company. People are more than just hands to finish a job. They are individuals with thinking capacity, so be clever and utilize that as a company. This is not about anarchy in an organization, merely about getting the best out of team members and making them “own” the domain based on skills and contribution.”
Challenges and Key Points To Move Forward
In the course of functioning, every company has to face some challenges, and how they move forward by tackling the same is worth watching. So we asked, “What keeps Your Companies moving forward even during challenges?”
Anjo shared, “The last few years, most companies have seen plenty of challenges, whether it was covid related to the macroeconomic situation or the current war. I do not believe there is a single answer on how to keep companies moving forward through difficult times. Still, in general, one could say it is to keep focus and not use any of the mentioned situations as an excuse for failure or lack of success. As an entrepreneur, one must be agile and able to pivot during any situation beyond your control.”
Adapting To the Latest Technologies
To compete better and have a top-notch performance adapting to the latest technologies is of utmost importance. So we asked, “How do you think technology is leading to changes in businesses? Is it helping your companies grow?”
Anjo shared, “I have always been a proponent of and involved in using technology to transform business models, so let’s be clear: never implement technology to for the sake of deploying technology, only for a business purpose. All I have been doing throughout my career is to transform businesses digitally, yet never with the goal to be that person who brags about having the latest tech without a purpose.
There must be a reason to introduce technology. We continuously see opportunities to use tech to grow, but please remind yourselves of the impact it might have on your organization. There are many examples of tech implementations where whole companies were brought to their knees. So, think twice before acting and make sure you have the right talent on board to introduce new technology. Remember that technology is there to serve you and only to run your business with the people who know what to do.”
“How are your companies adapting to digitalization?“
Anjo shared, “In line with the previous question, digitalization is imperative for most organizations. The need for business agility, spurred by recent events, is causing companies, particularly IT leaders, to forge a new role based on their ability to deliver organizational resilience.
Many IT leaders are already highly aware that they must adapt better to external circumstances, which require considerable changes to their IT landscape. Priorities such as integrating information and improving workflows throughout organizations are critical areas for improvement in any organization, and this also goes for the companies I am involved with.”
“Do you use innovative ideas to be unique?”
He replied, “As a disruptor by nature, one of the benefits of being unique is that you can become a huge success. Bringing something unique to the table is what helps people and businesses thrive.
When you have distinct, unique capabilities, it allows you to stand out, which often results in becoming successful, so yes, I always encourage the entrepreneurs and teams I work with to find that unique, innovative idea to excel.”
We are interested to learn about the current services offered by the companies. So we asked, “What are the services/solutions or products offered by Your Company as par with the current industry standards? Tell us something about your upcoming products or services.”
He shared, “In short, I do a lot of advisory in the field of strategy, growth, and leadership, which include topics such as Go-To-Market, strategizing, re-positioning, value proposition, sales, and vision, and I am often asked to advise on technology to be used in organizations to become more innovative, competitive, and relevant.
I also deal with fundraising because of my experience and extensive network, and I do this not only for the companies I am directly involved with but also for others. A few companies I am currently involved in, yet not limited to, are, Playtreks, Zeptoh, The Playgrounds, N2 Eco, and Libertum Project.”
Message To Viewers
Our readers will be amazed to hear a few words that will encourage them to follow their passion. So we lastly asked, “Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?”
Anjo replied, “The questions asked by you had a couple of common denominators, people, team, technology, and innovation. So, I would like to say that when it comes to people, stop looking for another Elon Musk. Empower your people and create an environment where individual team members can thrive. Break down the traditional barriers of having workers and managers. Also, be aware that intrinsic motivation is a major component of people’s creativity.“
He added, “When talking about innovation, it’s not only about ideas but primarily about solving problems. Find the people interested in solving the issues; once you have compiled that team, and defined the problem, the ideas will follow automatically. And this applies to both innovations, starting a business, and implementing technology in established organizations. Think about the how and not the what, meaning figure out the solution, aka solving the problem, and the ideas will flow.
When done right, you have given your team members the freedom to voice their ideas without fear of reprisal. Get out of your comfort zone, and create environments where people are being challenged by someone disruptive, bold, and unique.
Most problems today are highly complex and far too big to be solved by one person. Great innovators embed themselves in networks to find one insight that can solve the problem. In other words, be open to input from third parties. The companies I work with embrace this thought, hence why I love working with them in their pursuit of excellence.”
Visit Anjo De Heus on LinkedIn.