Konrad unites two very different areas with his role in Product & Data. How does he successfully juggle it all?
Hi Konrad, first things first: Your official title is VP Product & Data* – what exactly does that mean?
Product and data are two different functions. With data, we work on everything data-related, obviously (laughs). That means collecting relevant data and conducting complex analyses and prognoses. In the product team, we ensure that we build a great user experience with everything we do. That is, building insurance products that are easy, transparent, flexible, and reliable and for which our customers are willing to pay.
Are you a tech enthusiast in your private life as well?
Definitely! I started building my own computers early on and I was very much into the gaming scene during my teenage years. I remember LAN parties were huge back then and I loved it. And then during my studies, I earned a bit of money on the side by building websites.
How did you get started at Getsafe?
I was at a data meetup that was organised by Getsafe. In fact, I had already heard of the company through a friend when the business model was entirely different. So I was super surprised by how big and professional Getsafe had become. I saw that they were looking for a Head of Data, quit my consulting job, and started my Getsafe journey. After about a year, I took over the product role as well. I worked at a strategic consulting company focused on digital business models and products for a long time after university, so I’ve been juggling tech and business for a while. My role at Getsafe really is the perfect fit for me.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s three things at the end of the day: First is the cool and versatile team that I get to work with every day. The second is the creative leeway that we have at Getsafe – basically that Jeff Bezos “day zero” feeling. That you get to work everyday and you can change and shape everything in order to improve things fast for hundreds of thousands of customers. The third thing is the variety of my role specifically. I always jump back and forth between a very creative part and a technical one. One hour I think about new user flows, and in the next we are talking about data science.
What makes you laugh at Getsafe?
That’s easy, my colleagues. Our working atmosphere lives off of this, too. Sometimes, things go wrong, but we don’t take everything too seriously. We always look at things with a reflective, but humoristic eye.
And how do you deal with stress when things heat up?
I talk to my team and we reflect on the situation together. Your colleagues can motivate you to get things done, but they can also help you see when it’s getting to be a little much. They’ll say “Come on, we’ll sleep on it and look at it together tomorrow”. When I get stressed, I always try to press pause for a moment, and take a step back. You have to do this, otherwise you lose sight of the big picture. Especially in startups, there are always a million things to do, there are so many things to optimise. But the most important thing is to understand what you should focus on, what brings the most value.
Is your VP role at Getsafe your first leadership position?
Actually no, I was a team leader during my time as a consultant as well.
What comes easy to you as a boss? And what’s the hardest part?
I can motivate people well, and set them on a common goal. That’s probably because I get excited about many different things myself. What I struggle with is convincing people of something if they are absolutely against it. I’m not good at giving commands no one wants to follow. I always want my team to act out of an intrinsic motivation, and I want to help them develop a sense for why something is the right thing to do at a specific time. This usually takes longer, but I’m convinced that this is the right way to do it.
Closing time! What do you do to wind down after work?
I have three small children (laughs). Basically, I don’t have a choice other than to turn my focus away from work, because other things are important. So I would say I find balance in my family, and in doing sports. If it wasn’t for Covid, I’d also spend a lot more time with friends. That’s really important to me as well.
Who has inspired you the most in your life so far?
Richard Feynman, an American physicist who was an absolute genius. He was able to explain super complex things in a fun and simple way. So he didn’t just shape a big part of the physics field per se, but he made it accessible for many, many people in the first place. I also find founders of successful companies very inspiring. They manage not to get lost in small sub-problems, but they keep focused on solving the big problem.
If you could live in a movie for one day, which would it be?
I would like to live in a James Bond movie for a day. I loved the movies as a teenager and it was always a highlight when a Bond film was showing somewhere. I guess it’s a kind of childhood dream to see that in real life. But just from the sidelines – so that I can get out of it unharmed!
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*In the meantime, Konrad has embarked on a new journey beyond the insurance industry. If you would like to get in touch with him, keep your eyes open on LinkedIn.