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#60 Digital expansion vs. digitization, experiences from a CTO – Jacob Fahrenkrug

Jacob Fahrenkrug, Managing Partner at Tektit Consulting, Jacob started his professional career at Hypoport Group, where he took technical responsibility for the mortgage market place in the Netherlands. Following that Jacob became Chief Software Engineer in charge of development and technologies for a business unit of Deutsche Post DHL. In 2014 he joined yetu driving the open Smart Home Platform technologies and was appointed as yetu´s Chief Technology Officer. Currently Jacob is working as Managing Partner at Tektit Consulting. Jacob is a keen technologist and regular speaker at conferences on technologies, software architecture and agile software development.


• Getting to know Jacob
• Introducing Agile methods at Deutsche Post
• Strategy for teaching a big and slow company to do things in a more effective way
• Importance of company politics and learning how to work with them
• Challenges designing a smart home meter
• Jacob’s key learnings on negotiation, building, and using networks
• Working as a CTO and CEO in different projects
• Criteria for building successful teams
• Difference between digitalization and digital expansion
• Features of a good CTO
• Achieving work-life balance
• Advice to his 18 years old self

Key Discussion Points:

[0:52] Getting to know Jacob

[5:41] Starting career as a junior developer

[7:13] Why Jacob left Hypoport and moved to Deutsche Post

[9:45] Introducing the Agile methods at Deutsche Post

[11:30] What was your strategy to teach a big, slow company to do things in a better way

[22:26] Why Jacob left Deutsche Post

[23:14] Why company politics are important and how to handle them

[29:27] Jacob’s next step after leaving Deutsche Post

[35:00] Jacob’s key learnings on negotiation, building, and using networks

[39:54] Challenges in selling their smart hub idea

[46:00] Jacob’s experience working in other projects as a CEO and CTO

[59:35] Criteria for building teams

[1:10:25] What is the difference between digitalization and digital expansion

[1:14:44] What makes a good CTO for you

[1:17:38] How Jacob achieves work-life balance

[1:24:40] What do you do to recharge your batteries

[1:25:44] What is your favorite books

[1:28:27] What kind of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Interesting Quotes:

“Although I really enjoyed working with the people there and still admire everything that they did, there wasn’t enough room for me to make the next step.”

“If we believe the right thing, we really value the customer feedback.”

“Just push yourself into the world and letting people know you and your product exist”

“Listen to understand, not to answer.”

“We always also look for certain character traits. What I like to use a lot are the animals. So, there’s like the owl, the dolphin, the shark and the whale. Everyone has certain character traits and for you to build the team, you need all four of them.”

“Digitalization is when you have processes that currently are analog and put them into the digital world. It’s like introducing a CRM system or like getting away from certain XML files into better tooling.”

“Digital expansion is like adding to your core business products that leverage internet technology and digital technology.”
“You always should follow what you think is right. Follow your value system, and be explicit about it.”

“A lot of people need to understand that it’s not just making their workflows digital. There’s something else that they need to do: shape and open the market for digital services and products in their respective fields.”

“Be yourself. Be your true self and stick with it.”

Book Recommendations:

Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness – Frederic Laloux
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t – Simon Sinek
The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It – Chris Voss
Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – Jim Collins
Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – Jim Collins
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
Ken Follett books

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