Meet David - 27 - Co-Founder & MD - Product Architect
Hi there! As another week comes to an end it is time to introduce you to David Middelbeck, another member of our founding team.
In case you are as curious to get to know him better as we are, just keep on reading! He kindly gave us a sneak peak into his non-work related morning routine, his daily work responsibilities, as well as his top three edyoucated moments.
Sounds interesting? All you have to do is scroll down!
Thanks for taking the time, we are more than excited to get to know you better. We already know that you are one of our four co-founders. What else should we know? 🤗
Hey everyone, I’m David!
Born in the North of Germany, and now living most of my time in Hamburg, I’ve probably inherited much from my “Northern roots”: loving the sea more than the mountains, preferring a calm & sunny winters day to a hot day in summer, and not being afraid of rather short and pragmatic conversations.
To pick up the metaphor from [Jan], who described himself as “Bob the Builder”: I guess you could describe me as an “Architect”. In this role I spend most of my days ideating and defining the features of our core product, the edyoucated platform. It also involves a lot of “translation” and bridge-building: between short-term customer needs and long-term visions; between sales and engineering; between shiny new product ideas and pragmatic MVPs.
Fun fact: last year I found out that this “Architect” metaphor doesn’t just describe what I do at work, but seems to be somehow rooted a bit deeper than I thought. When all of our edyoucated founders took the popular MBTI personality test, my resulting personality type was labelled as “The Architect”. 🤓
What probably helps a lot with this “bridge-building job” is the fact that I’m extremely curious and love to explore all sorts of new domains and topics. For example, I decided to study Philosophy and Political Science “just for fun” after I finished my Bachelors degree in Information Systems. Some other things I love to explore include classical and jazz music – both listening as well as playing –, multi-week roadtrips through new countries, and extending my cooking and baking skills. Whenever there’s something exciting to learn or to master, I love to ask lots of questions, listen, and learn.
David in New Zealand, 2019.
As one of our founders you’ve been here from the very beginning. What would you say is different today with a team of 10 people than a year ago with only the four of you? What’s the same?
What’s different is the amount of truly focused work that we can spend on certain topics. In the very beginning, as a very small team, each of us had to cover a huge variety of different topics every week. Now we’re at a stage where some of us can start to specialize on certain topics, which also allows us to build on our individual strengths and weaknesses even better than before. We can react much faster to new market and customer needs, and most importantly: it’s also a lot more fun to work together with people from so many backgrounds.
Well, and what’s the same? I’m really proud that we’ve found so many new colleagues who are equally passionate about rethinking corporate learning for the digital age. So we’ve kept this initial entrepreneurial spirit, this drive, and learning culture from the very beginning – and I hope this will be the case in the years to come, too!
Could you give us a sneak peak into your daily schedule?
Sure. As I live in Hamburg, but have a small apartment in Münster, I usually wake up in one of these two beautiful cities. Usually I spend the time from Monday to Thursday in Münster, and Fridays in Hamburg. I get up at around 6:45am, get some breakfast, and then spend the first hour of my day on something that is NOT work-related and doesn’t involve any form of communication. Yep, you guessed it, I’m an introvert and in this respect not much different from the other three co-founders… 😉
Usually that “non-work-related thing” is either playing music (if in Münster: piano, if in Hamburg: guitar), running around a lake next to my apartment (if in Münster: Aasee, if in Hamburg: Alster), or reading a book (if in Münster: usually something about business, if in Hamburg: novels or classical books). Some years ago I noticed that I’m more balanced during my working day once I’ve already completed some non-work-related activities for myself.
On my way to our office I check if anything important came up on Slack or via email that needs to be addressed immediately. Yet, I prefer to spend the rest of the morning with some deep work. For example, working on some product ideas or sketches. The early afternoon is then reserved for meetings such as our internal daily standup, discussions with our sales and development teams, or appointments with our clients.
In the evening I usually answer emails and have more open-ended working sessions with my colleagues. Sometimes I return from office at 6pm, but most days are a bit longer because of some exciting or important projects that I want to finish first.
Looking back, what would you say was your favorite moment while building edyoucated? In case one is too hard to pick we would also be happy with your Top 3. 😊
Ha, that number fits perfectly: as we hired exactly three new full-time employees in addition to our founding team, I would say the first day of every one of them. For me it was – and still is – extremely rewarding to see this great team growing and adding very unique skillsets and personalities with every single one of them.
We always ask our team members about some of their skills. Jan told us about a skill he would like to learn. Marius and Nils shared some skills they possess that only few people know about. What skill did you learn recently that you never thought you would?
Playing the guitar. 🎸
When Corona hit Germany, we moved to a work-from-home setting immediately, so I had to work from Hamburg. I don’t have a piano there yet, but still wanted to stick to my morning routine of regularly playing music, so I’ve taken this as a reason to learn something new. When I was young, my piano teacher advised me against playing the guitar to focus on my piano skills. Yet, I kindly ignored this advice in March this year, bought a cheap guitar online, after a couple of though first weeks I’ve now overcome the enormous finger pain, and am quite happy with the progress so far (currently learning John Mayer’s version of “Free Fallin’”).
And that’s it, we’re done! Thank you so much David! We had a blast.
You would like to become part of our team as well? Check out our open positions!