More than a boat
One of our most experienced captains, started driving the boat in 2018. When he's not taking the boat for a spin, he's driving the Backbase expansion in Europe and Latin America. Soon he will be doing it from lovely Colombia —probably with a glass of aguapanela in his hand.
On his off-duty hours, captain Marco shapes the future of our product in his role as Director of Frontend. Almost 8 years into Backbase, Marco has had the chance to work in both our Customer Success and R&D Departments.
M: Fridays boat tours are one of the oldest Backbase traditions. It's a perk and also a part of the Amsterdam culture. When the weather allows, company boats are quite a common sighting in the Amsterdam canals, and we are privileged to have one of the nicest looking ones!
The tradition implies that every Friday after work people from all of Backbase teams from any departments would gather, especially if there was somebody visiting from one of our offices around the world, and we'd go for a boat ride.
It's a great tool for team-building: learning to be a captain teaches the values of leadership and empowers people to do it their own way. Probably not your first thought when jumping on a canal boat, but sailing it around requires some collaboration between the captain and the passengers, especially when mooring around the city for a drink or a quick pit-stop. The captain works together with everyone onboard, and from time to time might need help; for instance, someone to spot traffic on a blind corner after a bridge. Being the responsible one, the captain makes sure everyone is safe and has a good time, and that the boat gets back in one piece!
M: I have a lot of fond memories of our boat. It has hosted celebrations, welcome parties, goodbye parties, Pride parties and many many "just because" gatherings. Backbasers colleagues often spot the boat going around in the canals and they holler. We often stop, say hi, perhaps they join us onboard and enjoy these spontaneous gatherings.
In the past we have even interviewed candidates on the water! When a potential hire would fly to Amsterdam for interviews, having them join a boat ride was the perfect way for them to experience our company culture. If they had to travel back to the station to catch a train, we would often offer a lift so that they could have the opportunity to meet their (potential) new colleagues.
Sometimes international candidates would be caught off guard by this, for many of them spending an evening with colleagues meant that there’s a deadline approaching and extra hours have to be put in!
It’s not like that we ever needed an excuse to get together and form a personal connection here at Backbase, but when the weather is nice, we can do it on a boat, and that’s definitely extra motivation!
Marco and Albert also run Captain training for all those Backbasers based in Amsterdam who would like to take on the challenge of learning to sail. During the Summer months people from all departments are encouraged to join. Once they feel comfortable doing it on their own, they get their captain hat, which means they can take others for a ride. How cool is that!
This boat showcases all our values, we work hard, we take time to unwind and have fun together, we celebrate. We help each other, we teach each other and we love to see our colleagues be successful. We do it all together!