A photo of Stephanus van Vuuren on the couch with his laptop and coffee

Coffee Break with Stephanus: Head of Product & Development

Today’s coffee break is for all the tech aficionados: we’re sitting down with the mastermind behind the scenes at TimeChimp, Stephanus van Vuuren. As Head of Product & Development, he’s the driving force behind the innovative gears turning at our SaaS scale-up. So grab a cup of your favourite hot beverage and let’s dive into our chat with Stephanus to learn more about his role, his vision for TimeChimp, and even a glimpse into his personal life.

Stephanus van Vuuren – Head of Product & Development

  • 34 years old
  • He has been calling Haarlem home for the last ~6 years, but so he has Pretoria in South Africa as well as Namibia where he grew up.
  • Stephanus prefers 18g single origin coffee diluted to a 34g espresso, but the coffee at the office also provides the necessary caffeine to get him through the day.

What exactly are your responsibilities as Head of Product & Development?

Stephanus is leading the Product and Development teams at TimeChimp which make up for roughly half of the company: “Along with the rest of the management team my responsibility is to ensure a healthy organisation, providing my team with direction and tools to create value for our customers.”

How did you end up at TimeChimp and what did you do before?

Stephanus’ path to TimeChimp was like finding a treasure map in a sea of opportunities: “Toward the end of 2022 I started to look into opportunities that would give me more chances to contribute as an individual, and TimeChimp ended up providing just that.” TimeChimp on the other hand was looking for someone with experience in Product Management and Stephanus’ CV is packed with that: “For the last 12+ years I’ve had various roles in Product Management and was involved in the management of several product teams. Before joining TimeChimp I was the Head of Product at the automotive unit within DPG Media, managing the product teams for brands like AutoTrack and Gaspedaal.”

How does a typical day at the office look like for you?

Predictability is not part of Stephanus’ vocabulary when he tries to explain his daily routine. “No day can be classified as typical since we’re constantly evolving as an organisation. But I normally use my Mondays for managerial alignment, Tuesdays for team alignment, Wednesdays for focus tasks, Thursdays for talks with customers, and Fridays to focus on feedback.”

What is your vision for TimeChimp in the next year?

“This is a big question, but I believe the most important element for us in the coming period is to understand who we are as a company, product, and solution and to stay true to our core.”

What’s your favourite thing about this job?

Stephanus is all about tailoring our tool to the specific needs of TimeChimp users: “I really enjoy exploring solutions with our customers. Finding out what their needs are and what our product can do to help them achieve their goals as an organisation is what gives me a lot of energy.”

What are the biggest challenges for you and your team at the moment?

Together with his team of eleven head strong development team, Stephanus juggles customer satisfaction and innovation at the same time: “Our biggest challenge is to ensure our customers feel appreciated and taken care of while continuously improving and innovating our product.”

What have you and your team achieved, that you are especially proud of?

The latest milestone of our product and development team can be compared to the process of upgrading your ship’s engine while sailing it. Understandably, Stephanus is very proud: “We have successfully migrated our mobile app and a part of our web app to a new and future-proof framework.”

How do you deal with your own time management?

Stephanus is a big fan of time blocking and knows exactly how to prioritise his tasks: “I utilise a variety of calendars to plan and block out time for important tasks.”

What do you do in your spare time?

As Head of Product and Development, Stephanus is pretty busy: “Most of my time is accounted for, and I would not say that I have much time left over to spare. (laughs) But that doesn’t mean that I do not have activities I enjoy outside of work. Next to spending quality time with my wife and kids I also like to try out a variety of hobbies from baking bread in the morning to tinkering with a CNC router.”

Do you have recommendations for books, music, games, movies, or shows?

“I have too many recommendations, so it really depends on the topic. But here is my must-have list: My favourite book is 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy. It’s not an easy read, but I still like to re-read it on a regular basis because it provides a very analytical approach to business. I also really enjoy playing boardgames, at the moment Azul is a favourite in our family. And when I need some music to focus, Snarky Puppy is my go-to band. Last but not least I also listen to a variety of podcasts. Recently I have enjoyed the four part series from ‘de Correspondent’ on the world of container ships, but I also look forward to more episodes of How I Built This, Radiolab’ and Acquired.”

And there you have it, folks – a peek into the life and work of Stephanus van Vuuren, the great mind behind our product at TimeChimp. Keep sipping that coffee and stay curious about the tech wonders brewing in the SaaS universe! Do you want to know more about our team or maybe even join us? Check out our vacancies and apply now!

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