In the cosy House of Tribes, near Tribes The Hague Central Station, we see the delicious cakes, muffins and savoury sandwiches in the vitrine. But with our good intentions in mind we stick to an Americano. Between the flex-working people and the green hanging plants we meet Rick Kegel of ihupani, an information company.
ihupani & BitQ: Who, What, Where?
Together with Christiaan Borstlap of BitQ, Rick has been renting an office at Tribes Rotterdam Kop van Zuid in the Wilhelminatoren since June 2018. So why do we meet up at Tribes Den Haag? Rick: "I was curious about this location! I come here regularly, because of a customer of ihupani who is located nearby". We ask Rick about the business of ihupani and the cooperation with BitQ. "Christiaan and I are former colleagues. We worked together at an ICT company, which was closed in 2012. For us that was the moment to start an independent business. We both went our own way: he with BitQ and I with ihupani. Yet we have always kept in touch. About two years ago we decided to look for an office space together. In the first instance to share the rent, but also with a view to a future in which we might work together". ihupani and BitQ are ICT companies that like to work in an environment where technology, people and management meet. They both share that technical background and a good feeling for communication, but they differ in specialisations. And that makes them complement each other perfectly. Rick's expertise lies in the field of information analysis and design, while Christiaan specialises in big data and business intelligence.
Two companies that may merge in the future. That also requires a new name, we note. And that brings us to the special name of Rick's company. Rick: "ihupani is a Hawaiian word that refers to a wise person. And Kahuna - my job title - means (great) leader. I see myself as someone who 'stands in front of the troops' and tries to give direction to people around me, by having and sharing a vision: by being yourself, having an open mind and dealing with each other in a pleasant way, the world can look a lot better and more beautiful. I was inspired by Hawaiian when I came up with a company name. I was looking for something original, without my name in it, but with something that indicates my experience. ihupani, so! But what the name of a possible joint, new company will be, we don't know yet".
Business Nomad Rick
After obtaining his Bachelor Information Science and later his Master Management Information Technology, Rick has been working in ICT for more than twenty years. "Originally, I am an information expert. I form the bridge between the hardcore ICT people - the programmers - and the business people. It is a well-known fact that communication between these two groups is often not entirely smooth. Companies need someone who speaks the languages of both worlds. And that's me! Rick shares his story with us with great enthusiasm, and we ask if it is true that he does his work with great pleasure. Rick: "I can only answer 'yes' to that! I have been doing this work since 1996, and I still enjoy it every day. Actually I have made my hobby my work. I used to be the 'nerd' who was always programming, but who also enjoyed being busy with people. I already realised then that a good software product can only come about when there is a good relationship with the customer".
Tribes & ihupani & BitQ
We ask Rick why he and Christiaan chose Tribes. "First of all we wanted to work in a vibrant part of Rotterdam. We also wanted a nice, warm workplace that would inspire us and which is fully equipped. Like a reception, fast internet and good coffee. And all that we found in Tribes. We had nice conversations with Stephan and Bruce and the connection was instantly there. I also have to give the ladies at the reception a big compliment. They are very helpful, are always there for you". What a nice compliments to receive! Rick continues. "And what appeals most to us, besides all that, is the community it forms. The possibility of networking and being able to surround yourself as a company with other companies, is something we gratefully use. There is so much you can do for each other! We are currently working hard to exchange ideas with other companies within Tribes. We recommend that everyone. It's a pity not to look around you!
We are very happy with the enthusiasm of Rick. As far as we are concerned, he is absolutely right: make use of the people around you and discover what you can do for each other. Look for collaborations, or just a nice conversation, of course :)
Visit ihupani's website, make a connection with Christiaan or find them at Tribes Rotterdam Wilhelminatower!