“Today we see too many inefficient advertisements and too many people annoyed by them because they are already engaged in unrelated activities, such as watching videos or reading articles. Next to that, it is very hard for small companies like your neighborhood bakery and butcher to keep up with big companies.” David Landveld and Ali Gadziev, participants of the Tilburg University Challenge, came up with a solution!
First of all, thank you for having this interview with us and we are glad you guys are joining the Tilburg University Challenge! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your idea?
David: My name is David Landveld. I’m a third-year International Business Administration student at Tilburg University and next semester I will start on the Strategic Management master program.
Ali: My name is Ali Gadziev. I am a student at Erasmus University, RSM currently studying Strategic Management. The idea of Spotlight Sales; We want to create an intelligent advertisement platform that focuses on everyday consumers, helping them in their search for personal discounts and making advertisements more enjoyable.
“The way you were raised can definitely help in facilitating the entrepreneurship path,
but I believe that walking it is a choice.”
So, how do you know each other? and when did you realize to start working together on this idea?
We met in the first grade of high school, making us long-time friends. We worked together on projects before and at the time when we got the idea for this current project we had a mindset that allowed us to think creatively about how we can achieve financial freedom. We were convinced that a normal 9-5 corporate life would not lead to the wealthy life we aimed for. The funny thing is that we discarded this idea at first, just to make the conclusion that this has a lot of potential later on.
Long-time friends... That could be very useful when working together. You say that you both have this mindset. So we are interested; what is your view on; entrepreneurship runs through the veins?
David: I don’t believe it literally runs through the veins or that being an entrepreneur would be determined by how you’re raised as a kid. I do believe that it takes a certain mindset, would you dare to take risks, think logically, be creative, have perseverance and be optimistic and always try to learn and improve. The way you were raised can definitely help in facilitating the entrepreneurship path, but I believe that walking it is a choice.
Ali: In line with David, I believe it takes a certain mindset to be an entrepreneur. However, I do believe that this mindset is established by a base-level of passion that is within the individual. Moreover, your environment would probably have a significant effect on entrepreneurial activities as well. This remains, however, an ongoing but interesting discussion.
You already mentioned some, but what do you think are the personal characteristics of a great entrepreneur? And why?
We think that there are many types of entrepreneurs and there is not really one set of characteristics that makes one great. However, from the sessions with coaches like Mark van der Pol and Karen Lanning, we were convinced that openness to learning and flexibility are seriously important.
"The recent economic development, incited by the COVID-19 crisis,
enables us to truly provide meaningful service and simultaneously be challenged."
Let’s go back to the idea you are participating with in the challenge. How was the idea of Spotlight Sales born?
Like we said, we have been friends for a long time, working on several projects before. At first, we discarded the idea of an intelligent advertisement platform. However, we came to the conclusion that the idea had a lot of potential.
We believe that the idea of SpotlightSales, we currently have, indirectly came from two factors. First off, is that in our previous business attempt we noticed that advertising effectively is very hard and takes a lot to do right. Next to that we once went to different retails stores to talk about their advertisement activities and from there we noticed that more business owners had the same problem. The reason that we are consumer-focused right now is that we believe it is crucial to understand the consumer side first and then go from there.
Sounds like you already did a lot of research and effort. What is it that motivates and drives you in working on this idea?
David: I believe that the offer we are making has a lot of potential to be beneficial to the average day of a consumer. Next to that, I like to make the comparison to being a captain of a ship traveling and mapping the unknown. I like that comparison because I feel that entrepreneurship is similar to that, as you try to get to understand your market and establish a brand. Next to that, I like to imagine the things I could do and the people I can help with the money earned.
Ali: The idea is subject to numerous interactions with different sets of people (consumers as well as other entrepreneurs). This makes working on this business much more exciting. The recent economic development, incited by the COVID-19 crisis, enables us to truly provide meaningful service and simultaneously be challenged.
If you could go back in time and start up a company that currently exists, what company would it be?
Ali: Amazon! This company has become so big in recent years and has enlarged its corporate wings into multiple industries (even the space industry!). This makes controlling its portfolio much more interesting.
David: It would probably be Shell for me. I think Shell has a bad reputation today because of their history of bad externalities to the places they operate in. I would change that for the better and use the power such a big company has to take responsibility for either leaving things how they were or improving them.
Sounds like big ideas and visions! How do you see yourselves and your idea in 5 years?
Ali: The aim is to be an entrepreneur with a successful business. If this does not become reality, the back-up plans are investment banking or strategy consultancy. No matter which will be realized, the overlap is that the “9 to 5” does not exist here.
David: Things could go in two directions for me. I either will work in my own company or I will work in the financial industry and try to learn as much as possible. One thing that is certain is that I will work the hardest I can, building a solid future for myself and the people I care about.
Thank you guys so much for answering our questions! We wish you all the best and luck during your entrepreneurial journey!