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‘What we do is really the Champions League of the database world’

For nearly eight years, Gerard Zuidweg and Edco Wallet have been the driving forces behind OptimaData, the full-service multi-platform data (base) service provider. Discover in this article how Gerard and Edco, with their no-nonsense approach, have formed a close-knit team that excels in craftsmanship. Read more about their personal commitment, their passion for helping clients and why the flag doesn’t go out very often.

Edco Walet en Gerard Zuidweg

Three different careers converge

Edco: “Gerard, my brother Martijn and I started OptimaData in January 2017. Gerard is a former banker, my brother Martijn studied aeronautical engineering and my career started in engineering. Despite those diverse backgrounds, we shared a vision, we told you about that earlier.

We saw that database technology was the future, but you need the right people for that. I’m pretty good at finding the right people. And now we have also had Pieter on board as a staffing consultant for five years. In his blog he recently explained not only how he finds the right people for our own team, but also how he matches the right freelancers with the right assignments.’

Strong team

Sterk teamMartijn has since decided to take a different path for personal reasons. Gerard: ‘That is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur, and that is absolutely fine. What was special to experience is that our team proved so resilient that we were able to cope well with Martijn’s departure. We are like a large and close-knit family in that respect. When the oldest daughter or son leaves home, the remaining family members also have to find their place again. After such a departure, the team goes through the process of forming, storming, norming and performing again, and we have come out of it strong. This also typifies our company and the commitment of our people. Everyone has taken a step forward.

The flag out

De vlag uitEdco: “That is quite extraordinary and yet we find it quite common. Recently I had a conversation with an entrepreneur, and he remarked that we have a wonderful company, but that so few flags go out with us.

He was right about that. We are rather modest, and some expressions quickly feel like chest-beating to us. But if I’m honest, much of what we do is not so obvious at all. In fact, what we do is quite special, and we do it quite easily.

We have got things in order, and that ultimately reflects on the market. People see us as a reliable partner to work with, because we deliver what we promise. And yes, we are proud of that. But do we have to shout that from the rooftops?

No-nonsense attitude

‘We hear from several customers that they find this no-nonsense attitude remarkable,’ Gerard continues. ‘Straightforward, knowledgeable and proactive is what they call us and those are qualities we value highly. The other day, a potential customer emailed me with a request for help.

I called him immediately the next day. The guy was completely surprised. We are used to the fact that when we get an e-mail, we respond to it. If at all possible, we do so as quickly as possible, because when people ask us something, there is usually something going on. So for us that’s very normal, but apparently that’s not always the case.’

Drunk on champagne

Transparant en concreetEdco: “So you won’t find us all drunk on champagne at Friday afternoon drinks because we completed a project. But we do love the personal compliments, one on one.

Currently, two of our team members are working on a huge project with a client. That really requires a lot of energy, thought and sometimes frustration. It doesn’t come naturally, so to speak. But these guys put in a tremendous amount of effort. When the first phase of the project was completed, they were on standby in the middle of the night, on Saturday morning, afternoon, Sunday morning and even Sunday night to make the final adjustments.

Gerard then made a small bag for those guys, and also for two people from the client who were involved in the project, with some gifts and a thank you card attached.

Of course he got an app that that really wouldn’t have been necessary, but they did appreciate it. Expressing that appreciation, we are into that, but we are not going to shout on LinkedIn, “Look at us, this week we brought in three new clients.” No, that just doesn’t suit us.

Champions League

Gerard ZuidwegThe craftsmanship that prevails here is really of Champions League level within the field of databases’ concludes Gerard ‘Every problem we encounter, where a customer can’t figure it out, we solve.

I’m not saying we can solve it within an hour, but we come up with a solution. Even on the customer side, most of them really know their way around, but without success. Our guys get it done in the end. That’s something that sets us apart in the market and that’s why we do it: to help organizations with their database challenges.

We’re not here to make a lot of money, because then we’d be in real estate. It gives us a thrill to help customers and to hear that they are happy that it worked again. That’s what we do it for.

Edco Wallet

Married to Anne-Minke, father of nine children, including six bonus children. Gets happy from flat bottom sailing in competition. On and near the water, preferably not in it. Worship drummer in several bands.

Gerard Zuidweg

Married to Maartje, father of three daughters. Can wake you up at night for a gig with cover band B-Loose and can be found on his sailboat in free hours. In winter, he likes to be on the long skis.

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Gerard Zuidweg

Managing Partner
Gerard Zuidweg - Managing Partner
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