Building a successful business involves trial and error.

Fortunately, there are plenty of books about entrepreneurship that can help you further.

In The golden reading tip, entrepreneurs talk about the book that brought them the most.

This week Joep Donders, who led and then took over software company Marvia.

  • Entrepreneur:

    Joep Donders

  • Company:

    Marvia

  • Reading tip:

    No rules rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

    by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

Joep Donders was not the founder of Marvia, but is now the boss.

In 2018, he and his partner Merlijn Bruijnes bought the company from PostNL.

After an expansion on the European market, they are now also storming the American market.

The company makes software to help businesses be more visible locally.

Franchise companies or local branches of large companies can use this to use the corporate identity and marketing documents and adapt them to their situation.

Customers such as Royal FloraHolland, Domino's and SNS Bank work with Marvia's systems.

“We do not believe in a model in which you determine in advance how many working days and how many days off someone has in a year.”

Joep Donders, Marvia

Why did you choose Hastings and Meyer's book as a golden reading tip?

"My business partner recommended it because their ideas are very similar to ours. We thought it was crazy for some time that people are given a lot of freedom and responsibility in their work, but that labor relations are squeezed into a tight framework. When taking over Marvia, we wanted abolish vacation days and replace it with a freer model, but we were advised against that. Because of the book about Netflix, we finally introduced it."

What's wrong with vacation days?

"We don't believe in a model where you predetermine how many work days and how many days off someone has in a year. If you hire people based on their judgment, why shouldn't they be allowed to apply that to their free time? We think that you can take as many days off as you want, as long as the work is done."

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Do people also take that freedom?

"We are trying that out; we have just introduced it. Some employees were afraid that they would take less time off in the new model, because the work is never finished. That is why we gave everyone the choice this year to sign a contract with old terms of employment."

And now everyone is on vacation?

"This summer we ran into the fact that many people from the same department were away at the same time. That was not very convenient and we discussed it. With the freedom to organize the work yourself, comes the responsibility to coordinate this with colleagues. ."

“The Netflix CEO is very liberal to employees, as he found that his meddling with content in previous companies has sometimes backfired.”

Joep Donders, Marvia

Have you taken any other ideas from Netflix?

"The Netflix CEO gives employees a lot of freedom, because he noticed that his involvement with the content in previous companies sometimes backfired. For example, employees who

had to promote

the

Casa de papel

series

in Italy were allowed to do so entirely at their own discretion. They do have to be accountable for that, but they are given the confidence in advance that they can do it their own way. That's how we work."

How do you like that?

"You do need people who can handle that responsibility well. That's why we carefully select the best people."

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