Welcome back to one of our favourite blog series, where a different member of the team is introduced on the second Monday of each month. In these posts, you can find out more about the hoodies behind Zerocopter!
This month we have talked with Renza Gruter, our Chief Product Officer! Renza has dedicated her working life to technology and data, with the purpose to make our lives better!
Please tell us a bit about yourself, who is Renza Gruter?
I think I can best describe myself as a soulful person, meaning full of life and totally curious. I enjoy living in the city center of Haarlem, as the city bubbles with life, and of course, being close to the beach! Both of my kids are grown up, and my son lives in Iceland, which sometimes makes me feel very jealous;) Luckily my daughter is still right around the corner…In my free time I like traveling (a lot ;) ), taking a bath or swinging in my garden, being with friends, playing bridge, cruising in my beautiful roadster, and finding intriguing and beautiful places to photograph. Did I mention playing yet?
How would you describe your job title in a couple of words?
All my working life has been focussed on technology and data, for all its creative possibilities to make our lives better. I like to think of myself as being a philosophical nerd, meaning, to always keep on raising questions in a world where people often are looking for answers and solutions.
What do you like about working as CPO at Zerocopter?
As Chief Product Officer at Zerocopter I need to grow and build vision, in myself, and with the team on the future of digital savviness and how to grow an organism that will actually keep the ecosystem healthy and safe. Beyond commercial thinking and ‘competition’. Beyond old thinking patterns of physical companies, P&L’s, buildings and consultants, towards the metaverse, co-creation and scalable expertise. An immune system for the new era.
How did you end up at Zerocopter?
I feel very lucky that Erik Ploegmakers, our CEO, asked me to join the Zerocopter team last spring, as we both enjoyed working together at Fox-IT.
If you could trade positions with anyone in Zerocopter for a day, what would it be and why?
If I could trade roles within our team for a day, I would definitely want to do that with Mattijs. He is our architect, and to me, he has a brilliant mind and I would love to see our reality through his eyes for one day, instead of needing to ask him all he knows.
What have you learned from working at Zerocopter?
Working at Zerocopter has been a total pleasure so far, my whole life I have been trying to make sure that ego doesn’t outshine brilliance. Banning toxicity by offering clarity. To me, Zerocopter is a love brand, and I feel grateful for being part of this!
In my teens I was a gamer, my hacking was very functionally rewarding by editing the assembly code, making sure my food and mana playing my RPG was optimized :) I was already born at the start of bulletin boards;) and gifts at those days were like a 386DX40 motherboard. So although I am not a hacker, I do feel right at home!
What resources( books/podcast/courses etc) would you recommend to someone (new) in this industry?
Well, I would really suggest ‘What technology wants’ by Kevin Kelly. He describes why technology evolves as nature, taking away the fear-based and control-based perception of technology. The other one is an article by MIT press ‘How to become a centaur’, which to me, is still groundbreaking in proving why machines will actually create a life for us to become more human again. On a more personal level, I would highly recommend ‘Women who run with wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkole Estes, for both men and women. For a movie, I would definitely watch ‘the Big Short’ on Netflix, which opens with Mark Twain’s: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know, what gets you into trouble. But what you know for sure, which just isn’t so’.
What is your favourite stereotype about the hacking industry and why?
Hacking to me is not about coding and tech stuff, hacking to me is being able to stay away from any type of conditioning that keeps us away from an open and creative mind. And to always keep thinking for ourselves! Making sure to create a future based on our backgrounds, personal development and neurodiversity. Stay brilliant, in your own and unique way. Don’t let the tame ones tell you how to live.
Do you have a (hacker)handle? And what is the story behind that name?
I don’t have a handle name, but if I had to pick one today it would contain ‘dragon’ or ‘draak’ in Dutch. Breathing fire to remove everything that is not relevant.
We hope you enjoyed the blog and that you got to know Renza a bit better! In the upcoming months we will share more stories about the hoodies behind Zerocopter. So stay tuned for the upcoming posts in December!