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Hitting the high notes

Hitting the high notes

Source: Ger Rosenkamp, Asset Control

Asset Control CEO Ger Rosenkamp on the joys of entrepeneurship and his private passion for piano playing

Date and place of birth: Goor, Netherlands, 23/6 47
Residence: Curacao
Marital status: Married
Education: Degree in Chemical Engineering, The Hague Technical College
Career path: 1975 -1981 Executive with two industrial manufacturing companies in the Netherlands and the US.
1981-85 Co-ordinator with the industrial development office of the Dutch government, working with US and Scandinavian high-tech firms and venture capitalists to set up subsidiaries in the Netherlands.
1986 – 90 founder and CEO, Stockdata, European vendor of real-time and historic market data, company financials and research to investment firms.
1991-99 Co-founder, Screen Consultants, a leading independent consulting firm in Europe for market data and information technology systems serving the financial services industry and professional investors.
1991 – present Founder and CEO, Asset Control, the world’s leading provider of Centralized Data Management (CDM) to financial industry firms.
Current posts: CEO Asset Control

Q: What was your first job?
A: When I was 15 I had a job at a mail order house. I found myself locked in a massive room with 10,000 bras of all sizes, designs and colours. My job was to select them according to the order list. Subsequent jobs cleaning chickens in a chicken factory and being a waiter in a high class establishment never matched up to this!

Q: Who is or was your mentor?
A: I would rather say I had a mentorship experience working with the Dutch industrial development office. It exposed me to all sorts of situations and gave me access to some of the best entrepreneurial brains around, as well as some of the craziest. By the time I’d spent several years there, I believed I was ready to do something for myself.

Q: Which business leaders do you most admire?
A: No-one particularly stands out for me, but what I most admire is someone who is prepared to stay with his/her vision. Those people who started up software houses in their garages or spare rooms in the 70s had courage and belief. We need to nurture that.

Q: If you weren't in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?
A: I wouldn’t. When I set up my own, I quickly found that advising others how to do it is far easier than doing it yourself! However, the personal freedom entrepreneurship gave me, the ability to contribute and the passion I developed for what I do could not flourish in anything I did not run myself. So if my current job didn’t exist, I’d just have to start something else!

Q: Do you read books on management theory? If so, which has influenced you the most?
A: Yes, I read a lot. I’m presently reading “The Discipline of Market Leaders” by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema which is all about service leadership. Another book which I found inspirational in the 90s is Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” which had tremendous influence in technology marketing and which was updated in 1999. It is still relevant today.

Q: Which competitors do you benchmark your company's performance against?
A: I don’t. We have many customers and my best benchmark is customer satisfaction levels. I was overwhelmed to see a slide at a recent user group meeting which said “We are all happy customers”. Other than that, I look at the numbers published by the research institutions and measure our performance against total market size.

Q: What has been your best experience in business?
A: That moment in the user group meeting when I saw that slide. It meant everything. It told me that the integrity in which I so strongly believe was a reality.

Q: What was your biggest mistake in business?
A: Lending money to a friend to start a business. The business and the friendship both failed.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: Nothing in business now. In the early days, of course, I grappled with problems which sometimes seemed unsolvable, but now the only thing that keeps me awake is my wife!

Q: How do you relax?
A: I’m a member of yacht clubs and golf clubs, but I mean it when I say I’m passionate about what I do in business, so the clubs that I belong to hardly recognise me since I only occasionally show up. My favourite relaxation is playing the piano, and I indulged myself with a Steinway two years ago which I play just for my pleasure. I also go diving with my family although those days when I had to carry all of the diving gear took away a lot of the enthusiasm!

Q: What was the last gadget you bought?
A: A PDA, just like many others have, but I love the way it keeps me organised.

Q: Favourite Web site
A: I regularly check out financial news sites. Most are very professionally done, so I can’t single out a particular site. It’s important for me to understand the changing context of the world we are trying to serve.

Q: Desert island disc/book
A: A boxed set of Chopin’s piano music, possibly the Ashkenazy edition, or a Ballade, if I can only have one piece. The only book I want is the Bible. On a desert island I would have plenty of time to try to understand more about the meaning of life and the Bible would be more than sufficient for my needs.

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