[Creators Spotlight]: Reading content from others can help to shape your own perspective on things- Remco Magielse
In this series “Creators Spotlight”, we are asking our creators about their journey. Watch out for them sharing their journey and getting candid with us. Today we have with us Remco Magielse. The global product portfolio manager at CM.com, Remco talks about spending his childhood in Netherlands and shares an important piece of advice for all content creators out there!
Creators are the heart and soul of Tealfeed. As they continuously work towards feeding us more information every day, it's only fitting to bring out their journey for the world to know.
In this series “Creators Spotlight”, we are asking our creators about their journey. Watch out for them sharing their journey and getting candid with us. Today we have with us Remco Magielse.
Remco Magielse, global product portfolio manager of CM.com, talks about spending his childhood in Netherlands and shares an important piece of advice for all content creators out there!
Continue reading to find out more!
Who has been the biggest influence in your life? What lessons did that person or those people teach you?
Like most people, the biggest influence in my life has been my parents. Now that I have kids of my own, I realize the daily struggles and investments that parents make for their children.
I don’t think there is anything that compares to the unconditional love that parents hold for their children. The most important lessons that I have learned from my parents is to deal with situations as good as they come. I have learned to be flexible and not get caught off-guard if things don’t work out like you imagined they would. Carpe Diem – if you would.
Another important lesson that I try to apply in my daily life is that treating people equally doesn’t mean that everyone should be entitled to the same. Instead, you should give people what they want. As an example: if my parents give my brother a present of a certain value, I don’t feel that I deserve something of the same value. Instead – I know that they will be there for me when I need it.
I’m lucky to have a loving and caring wife. She is able to see the good in all people. She has taught me that when you care for things and give them attention it makes them flourish. When you see that every person has a beautiful side and you can find a way to nourish that, they can achieve amazing things.
When I look back on my professional life, the most inspiring person I’ve ever met is Kees Overbeeke. Kees was one of my professors in university. What made Kees inspiring was his broad knowledge of almost anything. He was able to relate design, psychology, technology and socio-cultural knowledge. On top of that, Kees would fight for each of his students.
Two moments that I vividly remember: as a young student I had submitted a paper to an internationally renowned conference (CHI2009) and was invited to present it. Kees was in the audience. Smiling ear to ear. After the presentation, he introduced me and showed my work to his international colleagues. Kees gave a keynote presentation later in the week. He celebrated that achievement with his team of direct colleagues. But he also invited all of his students in the celebration.
When I now think back of that week, I can see how much pride Kees took in the way he trained his student. A year later Kees asked me to participate in a project that he would run in Siena (Italy). The project went all fine, but my memories are from the walks, talks and dinners that I had with Kees. Kees was there waiting for me at the bus station when I arrived. He toured me through the city, and treated me to dinner in his favourite restaurant. What inspires me most is that Kees dedicated this much time and attention to me, in order to make me grow. Kees showed that if you believe in people, all you have to do is create the opportunity for them to shine. Or to quote my favorite movie:
“I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it”
Tell us about your childhood, what was the best part? Is there any specific incident that has largely influenced the kind of person you are today?
I’ve had a very pleasant childhood. There are no major events that have really shaped my personality. Sure, I’ve been sad, laughed at, called names. But kids are harsh and often times brutally honest. It hasn’t done any harm to me in the long run. I consider myself a lucky man that I didn’t lose any close relatives at an early age.
I’m the oldest of four brothers. Because I have been the oldest, I often times felt the responsibility for my three younger brothers. That has shaped how I am now. When in a group I tend to take the lead and feel responsible for the group.
As a kid, I already had a lot of friends. I got along well with most people. I enjoyed playing outside, playing board games, or playing on my NES. Well, the kind of stuff that most kids my age did.
What I’m proud of is the group of friends that I have collected throughout my life. My closest friends are the people that I went to high school with and that I know for the majority of my life. We share so many experiences as a group that – even when we have not seen each other for a full year – it only takes two minutes to be fully at ease with each other.
Where is your hometown, and what was it like when you were young?
I’m born in a small town in The Netherlands called Bergen op Zoom. It’s an adorable small city that has a rich history. It played a significant role in the Middle Ages in the Netherlands, and even Northern Europe. A thing that I’ve come to appreciate more over time.
The place where I lived was kids friendly. There was almost no traffic in our neighbourhood and plenty of other children to play with. There was a soccer field that was vibrant in the summer. From a young age onwards, we simply gathered outside to play together. Looking back on my hometown and childhood, it was a pleasant environment to grow up in.
I still go back to the place occasionally. It sparks many good memories and there are friends, family and relatives still living in Bergen op Zoom. Although I don’t easily get attached to ‘places’, this is a place that I easily feel comfortable, because I know it so well.
How important a role does content play in your life? Are you a full-time content creator? Why did you start creating content?
I’ve been educated along the principles of “reflection on action”. Whenever you do something and have completed it, you take a moment to sit back and reflect on what you’ve done.
What went well, where could you improve. I’ve been living this even before the entire “Scrum”-principles for software development became a hype (everyone knows the Retrospective is the most important meeting).
When you critically reflect on your behaviour, you’ll see patterns on where you fail and can improve. During my career, I’ve noticed that many people struggle with similar types of topics. That’s when I started to write down my experiences and ideas.
Hoping that other people can relate to them and it helps them. I’ve done a Ph.D. so I tend to write rather easily. Writing helps me structure my thoughts and get things out of my head. By trying to write things down in order to explain it to others I can also structure my own thoughts.
Whenever I want to learn something new, or hear about a topic that interests me I try to read several articles on that topic. We should be thankful there are so many people that are writing down their ideas and opinions.
Reading content from others can help to shape your own perspective on things. I’m convinced that the best ideas emerge when people actively discuss and collaborate on those. The downside of the abundance of user-created content is that it is easy to find an opinion that matches your own.
If you only look for opinions that are close to your own you’ll never learn. Try to challenge yourself to read articles that you would initially disagree with. Follow the line of reasoning of that person and see whether you should adjust your own opinion. It will make you a fuller person if you have the capability to do this.
What’s that one aspect of being a content creator no one talks about?
Many articles about becoming a writer speak about creating content as a “side hustle”. If you start writing for the additional money you’re very likely to become unsuccessful. The articles that I’ve written have varied extremely in the success rate.
Some have been read thousands of times, others only a dozen times. I try to focus my energy on the articles that I want to write. Things that I am interested about or interesting stories that I like to tell.
Typically they spark from experiences that I have, interesting discussions that I’ve had, or lessons that I’ve learned. When I write a story I have to convince myself that it is a story worth telling.
I see it as a great compliment when others find it worth reading. When you start to create content you should accept that many of your stories will not be read.
What’s the most satisfying part of being a content creator?
There are two moments in writing and publishing articles that give me energy. The first is when I finalize a story. I tend to give it one final read before I publish or submit it. That last moment when you read the last sentence and think to yourself “Yes, this was a story worth telling,” that is magical.
The other moment is when you get interaction from the audience. I enjoy getting feedback in the form of comments or highlights. When people highlight or mark specific sections in your articles you know that you have provided them with a valuable lesson or insight.
Also when people take the time to reply to the story or leave a comment I appreciate that. It confirms my own feeling that it is a story that is worth sharing.
What are you up to currently and what are your long-term career goals?
When I look at my work there are two skills that I combine that help me to get ahead in my career. First, I often describe myself as ‘social oil’. I get along with a lot of different people and enjoy working with many different people. This makes it easy to pull together a multi-disciplinary team of domain experts.
Second, I can quickly analyze complexities and “dummy it down”. This means that I am able to quickly get to the core of a problem or solution. Or I can quickly explain some technology to people.
Currently, I work as a global product portfolio manager within CM.com. I look after the business messaging portfolio. We help our customers to deliver messages on a wide variety of channels across the world.
We are in an exciting phase with the company. We are expanding our business rapidly. That means that we do not only have to build on our product portfolio, but we also have to work on our business strategy. I find this a challenging phase. Helping to build the company and make our products better at the same time.
I try not to focus on long-term career goals.
The world is highly unpredictable. Who knows what business look like in the next 5 or 10 years. Instead, I try to build my own knowledge and skill set. That will help me to adjust to “the what” is needed in a business context at that moment in time.
I enjoy working in a high-tech multi-disciplinary environment in order to build great products for customers. Perhaps that several years down the line I can head a product development organisation?
What drives you to create content regularly?
Many of the ideas for stories come from lessons that I’ve learned on projects that I’ve done. Or when I’m faced with a new challenge, I research that subject myself.
As a way to structure my thoughts, I write articles. Also in my role as team lead, I help and coach people in my team. When we have interesting discussions about topics that can be an inspiration for a story.
Typically, I find my drive when there is value for me in writing the story. (It might sound a bit selfish, though 😊)
What’s the most challenging part of being a content creator?
At this moment in my life, the most challenging part for me is to find the time to do the research and write the content. My current job is demanding and I need to put in some additional time to get things in place.
I’m also dedicating more time to my family life with two young kids. That makes it difficult to find several hours in which I can write stories. There are so many drafts with ideas that are just waiting to be finished.
How do you make sure that you aren’t affected by nasty comments and negative things said about you?
Perhaps I’m rather lucky that I haven’t had to deal with extremely negative or threatening comments. However, when creating products for Philips Hue I’ve reviewed what people said about the products and discussed online. There, you also develop a thick skin. But I also realize that some people say things a little more extreme to “be funny” or draw attention.
Next to that, I try to take all feedback seriously. It’s good when people have a different opinion. I’ve met and worked with so many different personalities that I also have come to understand that some people are just poor at expressing themselves. If you put things bluntly at least it’s clear what you mean.
And you know what…I’m Dutch. Normally we’re the ones that are too blunt and straightforward 😊
Anything else you would like our audience to know about you!
I will never ever sacrifice time with the people that are close to me for work. Work may seem the most important thing right now.
Everything at work is always super urgent. If you want, you can work 168 hours a week. But you can never get back time. Think about this: 10 years from now when you look back on the last 10 years, you will not remember all the deadlines that you’ve hit or missed. Nor will you remember any of the meetings that you’ve attended.
But your partner and/or kids will remember that you were not there in times when they needed you.
Why did you start creating content on Tealfeed?
As a content creator, you want to build your audience on various channels. Tealfeed does a great job in building a lively and interested community, where they also publish content from its creators.
How would you want people to remember you?
I’m convinced that many people want to be remembered in the same way: as a loving, caring person that was there for them and that contributed to the world and society through their daily work. This is no different from me.
Although I also have to be realistic: the impact any individual person can make on the world is small. Except if you make the world smaller: for my own family I hope that they will keep telling the stories of how I’ve been a loving father and a caring husband. That we’ve enjoyed our life together.
To make an impact on business, society and the world is much more difficult. Through my writing, I try to inspire, educate and support others. If there are people that are helped by the stories that I wrote, I feel that I have contributed something to their life.
What's success for you and when you would consider yourself to be successful?
I think that success is a fluid definition. It is difficult to judge whether someone is more successful than others. Personally, I try to live everything in balance.
I would consider myself successful if I am able to keep a balance in my professional life, my private life and my social life. This gives me a lot of peace of mind. Don’t get me wrong: I work hard and put in the hours that are needed. But I can really take time off with friends, just hanging out. Or taking a morning walk with my family on the weekend.
When you look at the world around you can easily get distracted by the ‘success’ of others. If I look on my Instagram feed, I only see the beautiful places that people visit. When I scroll through LinkedIn, I only see the career successes that people have made. I don’t have the ambition to measure up to all these people.
I personally find myself successful because I was able to take my family (with two kids of 1 and 3) on a trip to Mexico to attend the wedding of one of my best friends. We had the best time ever as a family, and as a group of friends. That is my success in life.
Who’s your favorite creator? Why?
As you may understand from the previous answers that I’ve given, I don’t really have a favorite creator. It’s great that there is such a diversity of opinions and stories. These are all opportunities that I as a person can develop.
In general, I must say that I don’t look up to specific people with the thought “I wish I were like them”. Not because I think that I am so great. However, I’m convinced that every human being struggles.
For example: I’ve read the biography of both Albert Einstein and Elon Musk. Both are highly inspiring people. But they also had their struggles in life. Einstein couldn’t land his work until later in his career. Elon is (apparently) not a nice person to work for. Everyone has their quirks. This makes it difficult for me to name an individual that I would qualify as my “favorite” creator.
To every individual who’s planning to start out as a content creator, what would you like to advise them?
Just start. It has never been easier to start writing content. What is holding you back? Write the stories that you would like to tell. Better yet: Write the stories that you would like to hear! Do not focus on how these stories are received. Realize that there are billions of people in the world.
If you find the story worth writing, surely there must be some people that find it worth reading. Write it for them!
But promise me that you don’t put crap stories out there. Be genuine. Be reliable. Be honest. Deliver quality pieces.
Few maintain consistency, few remain unique, and fewer are the ones who do both of these right, and earn a spot in Tealfeed Spotlight.