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The hoodies behind Zerocopter

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 would like to introduce you to our brilliant Manager of Finance at Zerocopter, Thom Haller! With an insatiable passion for numbers and a deep belief in the power of statistics, Thom is the driving force behind financial precision.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, who is Thom Haller?

Hello there, my name is Thom Haller, proud Manager of Finance at Zerocopter.

I am a die-hard number-cruncher dedicated to the laws of mathematical calculation and the pursuit of making everything quantifiable. Sounds boring, I know, but trust me… math is involved in a lot more of everything we do than most people realize.

I have a lengthy background in accountancy, including a long, exciting tenure at the Euronext stock exchange building in Amsterdam, running fund administration and risk management. But I haven’t just always sat in the finance dungeon. I worked the larger portion of my earlier years through all kinds of bars and restaurants. Tapping, serving, and chatting… it’s a great way to get to know so many different types of people and build on your communication skills, which can prove beneficial when you plan on crashing a few good parties.

Even though I have enjoyed my college years here in the Netherlands (Leiden) and stuck around after that for family life and my career, I am originally an American. I grew up in the best place at the best time anyone could in the States, that being beautiful mountainous Seattle up in the Pacific Northwest, where I lived until I made a move to NL at age 20 in 1996. No regret!

Can you please describe your job title in a couple of words?

Straightening stuff out, putting money in all the right places, translating figures into models, running checks & balances… and then some more checks & balances. I am a resolver.

What do you like about working as a Finance Manager?

Challenge and Order. Those two things bring a sense of fulfillment to my day. Dive into a challenge, figure it out, tackle the beast, and emerge with your business in order. Think about Keitel’s role as The Wolf in Pulp Fiction. Take that, make it substantially less suave, and translate “corpse cleanup” to “grand ledger cleanup", and I guess you’re looking at what I do.

How did you end up at Zerocopter?

Zerocopter has been around for a while and established a respectable name in the cybersecurity industry.  And with changes within the company, the need has emerged for not only new financial control but also some process-revamping and extra administrative prowess. I am always up for an adventure!

Oh, and Erik (our CEO) and I go way back. I know he knows his stuff, so if he is excited about something, you’ll be able to get me on board.

If you could trade positions with anyone in Zerocopter for a day, what would it be and why?

That would have to be Edwin. The man has a brain that lacks a pause button in its design. I would love to sit in the quirky, dissecting mind of Edwin van Andel for just a day to get a sense of what it’s like to see straight through things and understand the core. He’s like the Obi-Wan of gadgets and what otherwise appears to be useless junk but probably isn’t once he’s done with it.

What have you learned from working at Zerocopter?

Space is key. This is something I already knew, but at Zerocopter, it actually appears to be applied. Recognize someone’s strengths, and give them space to perform. Wonders shall await you.

What (book/podcast/courses etc) would you recommend to someone (new) in this industry/job function?

Admitted… you won’t find me with my face in a physical book that often. It may sound weird, but I spend a lot of my free time hunting down stats on the web or other sources and bringing them into my own models to be able to say something factually based on my worldly surroundings.

The Corona crisis period was, of course, a feast for stats and a quest for predictive knowledge (don’t get me started). Still, when I’m in the mood for lighter material, you will catch me modeling countless sports stats, setting up my own prediction pools for friends, or sometimes just simply perusing maps… as in old-school atlas-style geographic maps. There is an abundance of puzzles in there. It’s a great read for some casual brain-training.

If you would like some media tips from me, then you’ll have to tap into my grand knowledge of sapiently sarcastic movies that still manage to carry a commanding message. Need an example? Check out Mike Judge’s 2006 spot-on take on the inevitable demise of human wit. Idiocracy. “It’s got electrolytes!”

When was the first time that you heard about the term “bug bounty” or “RD/CVD”?

I rolled out of my stock market job and into the cyber security sector two years back in mid-2021. At that interview, I heard the term “pentest” for the very first time (which sounded weird to me because we call one of our daughters “Pen,” short for Penelope).

I was forced to dive quickly into the definition and promptly encountered the wonderful world of bug bounties and all of these hipster hacker acronyms behind that.

What is your favourite stereotype about the hacking industry and why?

Aside from hoodies? No, it might just be the hoodies… black hoodies. On a different note, I’ve always been fascinated by the obscure world of LARP-ers and how that all works. Sharing office space with genuine original hackers may be the closest I ever get to that.

Do you have a (hacker)handle/username? And what is the story behind that name?

Haha… I wish!

Maybe on a certain level of comparison, though, I have always dreamt about the character I would concoct if I were ever to become a professional darter. Those walk-ons are awesome and worthy of some true thunder.

Although I can’t tell you exactly what my stage name would be (as you would then immediately know the password to several of my personal online accounts), I can say that my walk-on song would probably be Here I Go Again On My Own, by Whitesnake. That chorus takes anthem rock into a whole new world of gnarly.

We hope you enjoyed the blog and got to know Thom more. Stay tuned for the new blog in August, and find out more about the hoodies behind Zerocopter!

Written by Zerocopter

July 10, 2023

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