Ruben Meiland is a seasoned entrepreneur and passionate product leader with over twenty years of experience building global products at scale. He is the founder of Beatfreax and Ticketscript (which he sold to Eventbrite in 2017). He also managed part of the product division at Eventbrite in Silicon Valley. Currently, he is the CEO of LeadingCourses. Ruben has extensive experience with all aspects of delivering world-class Software as a Service, product management, product-led growth, engineering, and Agile practices. Ruben set his first steps as an entrepreneur with Beatfreax - a unique electronic music platform. Beatfreax put Ruben on the trail of a much larger project; Ticketscript...

Ruben Meiland is building top-notch products with nearshore developers

Ticketscript story

Ticketscript - a European-based self-service event ticketing software - came to life when Ruben and his friends spotted the opportunity in the organisation of the concerts; buying event tickets used to be cumbersome. According to both visitors and organisers, there had to be a better way of selling tickets. In 2006 the entrepreneurs sketched the first version of their solution. To develop their project, they teamed up with GlobalOrange (part of saasmore Group). 

“Software development is always expensive; it is the most costly part of starting a digital company,” tells Ruben. “Making a mistake in the choice of technology partner can cost you a lot, sometimes even the whole company. That’s why I’m cautious in choosing whom to work with.” 

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Growth, selling the company and the Silicon Valley experience

Ticketscript grew rapidly, and at the end of the ride, the platform handled a 100mn revenue. In 2017 Ticketscript was acquired by Eventbrite - a billion-dollar event-management platform. Ticketscript sold tickets to more than 100,000 events in Europe, including Ibiza based Amnesia and Love Family Park in Germany, and Amsterdam Dance Event.

Ruben joined Eventbrite in Silicon Valley as VP of Product. During the three years he would spend in the US he became an avid golfer. Just like his first two businesses, his third one was born out of passion. Ruben got in touch with LeadingCourses - a Dutch company that helps golfers find and book golf courses. In April 2020 he joined the company as CPTO. He became CEO in July the same year.

In charge of LeadingCourses platform development

Building a digital product is a complex activity as it is. But dealing with three different development agencies working on the same project, with various work processes and ineffective communication between parties makes it even harder. Besides that, there were a significant number of technical challenges. To aid him in this challenge, he once again reached out to the saasmore Group. After reviewing all the requirements, saasmore came up with a dedicated nearshore team solution provided by Amsterdam Standard.

“In the beginning of my career, I was sceptical about nearshoring - describes Ruben. As many other people might think, I imagined many engineers working from far away and delivering chunks of code. For me, it was crucial that developers are a part of the company, that they understand the product and know the users. That they feel part of the team too. For LeadingCourses I started with just two engineers and a project manager. The Amsterdam Standard specialists proved to be very capable. Working together was easy and comfortable, so we started to scale.”

golf courses platform
In charge of LeadingCourses platform development

From developer to developer

Ruben is an engineer himself. He started development at the age of twelve and became very passionate about the internet. He is experienced in building scalable systems, booking systems and architecting databases. Ruben was building Beatfreax by himself, started as the first and only engineer for Ticketscript and scaled it to a product organization of fifty by the time the company was acquired. After that, he oversaw a globally distributed team of over a hundred twenty specialists at Eventbrite.

His extensive knowledge of software engineering helps Ruben to find solutions, challenge engineers and at the same time understand their way of working and thinking. He knows better than anyone else how complex software development is. Ruben says: “Building the software is an art. It’s comparable with creating a painting - you start with an empty canvas and later on create a product that solves actual problems and needs.”

Setting up the project with Scrum

Amsterdam Standard’s team managed by their project manager made significant strides in the early stages of collaboration. Proper scrum meetings were set, all the backlogs were collected in one place, and the backend- and frontend refinements were aligned and merged.

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LeadingCourses has ambition plans

“We have very ambitious plans. The following steps for LeadingCourses are to grow our business within Europe. We are continuously working on improving the product and extending our services.” Ruben notes: ”Golf, in general, is an industry with outdated tech. There are so many things to improve and innovate, so we need to set clear priorities and maintain focus. Improving our booking engine and customer journeys, adding more valuable content and building new community-focused features are a few opportunities for future development. To make our plans come true, we are growing our nearshore development team. By April, it will consist of nine specialists." 

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Why nearshoring the development team?

It’s always challenging to find qualified tech talent in any part of the world, and it’s even harder to retain them, says Ruben. There is a lot of competition and it’s hard to compete with enterprises when you are a start-up or a scale-up. By nearshoring, you don’t have to deal with these problems. The nearshoring company chooses candidates for you, retains them, and makes sure the working environment is comfortable for the employee. On top of that, the nearshoring company takes care of all related administration tasks. However, to nearshore successfully you need to keep these practices in mind:

  • Do not treat nearshore specialists as “contractors” or outsiders, they are part of your team. Invite them to (virtual) social events, make an effort to get to know each individual, share company strategy, et cetera. Make sure they truly feel part of the team!

  • Communication is the key. There is no such thing as “over-communication” when working with remote or distributed teams. Alignment and transparency about business strategy are critical. 

  • Choose the nearshore partner you can trust. It needs to be a collaboration between parties and not just a “financial agreement”.

Ruben Meiland CPTO Leading Courses

When done right, nearshoring is a very efficient, scalable and cost-effective way of software development. You don’t have the struggles of searching for talent and many of the challenges to retain them; you can focus on developing your product.

Ruben Meiland - CEO LeadingCources

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