Mark is Head of Engineering at Flow, and compares his job to a contractor making a plan to build a house. He handles his money sparingly, hates kale, and loves that Flow has a higher purpose.
"You have to think of a software product like Flow as a house: once it's there, you have to do maintenance to keep it in good shape, and sometimes you want to change or expand something. When we fix a bug at Flow, you can think of it as fixing your gutter, and when we launch a new feature, it's something like building an expansion. I work as head of engineering, and you can compare my role to that of a contractor. I have to make sure that Flow as a software product runs smoothly from the organizational point of view, and that we continuously make the right choices. Here we have to weigh things against each other: costs versus benefits, short term versus long term. We must have a good and stable working product, and I have an important role in that. I'm involved in operational matters, and at the same time I help think about the strategic steps we need to take. That makes it very varied and fun."
"At my previous job, I had about 1,500 colleagues. It was very cool and educational, but I still thrive better in a smaller organization. You know each other very well and know exactly what's going on. At Flow you notice very strongly that there are people working here who have a very entrepreneurial character. That is contagious, and they are also really nice, friendly people. There is no hierarchy, everyone treats each other equally and familiarly, and we get the freedom to work from home a lot. This is also a prerequisite for me, because I have to travel an hour and a half, and also like to spend time with my children after a working day. Every Tuesday I'm in the office with pretty much the entire Flow team. Those are always busy, fun days full of meetings and conversations."
"Before corona broke out I was at a gym doing strength training with a small group of people. Unfortunately, the gym didn't survive the pandemic, so then I started training at home out of sheer necessity. For many people that doesn't work, but for me it works extremely well. I do calisthenics, which is training with the help of your own body weight. The only equipment I have are two rings hanging from the ceiling of my study. When the kids are in bed, I put on my gym clothes and get to work out. I think it's super to see my progress. Whether I have become more muscular? Haha, I don't know, but definitely stronger."
"In general, I'm pretty frugal when it comes to my money, but then again, I'm not the type who has spreadsheets for everything, and knows exactly what goes where. When my salary comes in, part of it goes into my investment account. Anything we have left in the checking account after a month goes into our savings account. For many people, what's in the account always ends up being spent. This is certainly not the case with us; we think very consciously about our spending. If our car breaks down, there is enough in our savings account to buy a new one. I really see that account as a buffer for unforeseen expenses. My investment account is meant as a little piggy bank for later, when I want to retire a little earlier, for example."
"I clean the dishwasher as efficiently as possible: knives with the knives - all sharp edges down - spoons with the spoons, small glasses and large glasses have their own places, and it's the same with plates. This way, as much can go in as possible, and most importantly: it's super convenient when cleaning out. When my wife cleans the dishwasher, I can never resist reorganizing it briefly afterwards according to my 'rules'."
"I prefer to spend money on experiences, such as an outing with friends or a family vacation. Not that I take extremely expensive trips, but I think it's important to be able to enjoy carefree vacations without constantly checking how much something costs. We have traveled with the family through Morocco and Montenegro, among other places. By car through such a country, and then from hotel to Airbnb - all planned in advance, though. With five people it quickly becomes expensive, but that doesn't stop me from, for example, going out to dinner a few times. It may cost a bit if I think I get a nice experience in return. I then leave that frugality at home for a moment."
"You really don't make me happy with Dutch food. I just think kale and mashed potatoes is the most disgusting thing there is. The smoked sausage is fine, but the rest; I really can't eat it. And kale is my middle son's favorite dish. On his birthday he chose that to eat. I tried it anyway, to set a good example. It was not a success, I was really very happy once I finished it. Just give me Mediterranean food, like Spanish or Italian."
"Flow's mission to help people meet their financial goals was a very important reason for me to apply for this job. I was really looking for an organization with a higher purpose. At Flow there is. When I look at myself, I know I'm in a luxury position: I've always had good jobs, can live well on what comes in and don't have to set aside a whole lot to do things I like. I think it's really cool that I can contribute to making this possible for others as well."