“Enabling artists and the people who support them is the common thread,” – says Pieter van Hoogdalem
What is your new job?
I am the Business Development Strategist for Adamson.
How long have you been in this position?
Three months. I’m the new kid in town. I feel at home, though, as if I’ve been here for longer than a few months. It’s been nothing but good since I started.
What led you to your new position at Adamson?
Coincidence always plays a part in how we get where we are. Since I’ve lived in Canada, we have always been in Quebec, but I became interested in seeing a different part of Canada, so I was looking at the greater Toronto area for a while. Then, this position at Adamson came by on LinkedIn. I reached out. We started talking and one thing led to another.
Tell us about your background.
Since my teens, I have been a musician and involved with sound, and since my early twenties, I’ve been active in the music industry. I ran my own company in the Netherlands in music production and artist management. I’ve done a lot of live recording and webcasting for radio and television, and I’ve also booked concerts and tours for artists. I’ve been on the road as tour manager too.
At one point, I lived in Mexico and eventually made my way up to Canada, where I continued to work in the music industry. I was Director of Business Development and CEO for Proship Entertainment which is a musician recruitment agency that recruits worldwide for cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Holland America. Since then, I’ve worked for Landr Audio Inc., an online platform for music creators which provides plugins, online distribution, AI mastering and a collaboration marketplace.
Wow. That’s a lot of variety in the work you’ve done.
For me there’s a common thread in all these different jobs, which is that I enable musicians or the people and organisations around them. I feel that I am still doing that here at Adamson. If a musician or band does not have to wonder or worry about the sound that the room is receiving then they can fully concentrate on their job, which is giving the best performance they can.
What’s a musical experience that inspired you or left a big impact?
I’ve had so many times where music inspired me. When I was 14, I arrived late to a B.B. King concert. I walked in right as he was holding this one endlessly sustaining note. I think he did it in every concert – the bent-up note that is on the verge of feedback, with that boyish naughty smile while he holds it. That moment made a huge impact.
Well, I guess anyone whose been in the room with B.B. King probably found it memorable!
Yes, he really knew how to win people over.
I guess it’s difficult to top that.
A different type of moment happened when I worked with the Metropole Orchestra (a symphony orchestra with a rhythm section) through my job in radio. We did a project with Mike Keneally who is a Frank Zappa alumnus and Vernon Reid who is the guitarist from Living Colour. They both separately wrote material to perform with the orchestra in Paradiso in Amsterdam.
In the concert, Mike Keneally starts the show, and the moment his guitar comes in, there is no sound! He realizes that he forgot to change the batteries in his active guitar. Suddenly, I see Vernon Reid running through the crowd to the backstage area and comes out with his own very colourful guitar for Mike, who proceeded to play on that guitar while we changed batteries.
That for me is a beautiful moment, right? Vernon’s instinct is to help his colleague so the show can go on. It was a reflex. He just did it.
It's no wonder that would stand out to you, who has always worked to empower and support musicians. What was your role at that event?
I was there on behalf of Dutch National Radio as a producer. We commissioned these projects, and I was sort of the liaison between the orchestra, the artists and the radio. I did the contracting and made it possible for them to come over for rehearsing and was responsible for the recording and broadcast of the concerts as well.
What qualities or skills do you bring to your job at Adamson?
Over the years, I’ve learnt about being persistent, never giving up, and being concise in everything you do. The greatest breakthrough in my career, however, was learning how to truly listen.
Especially when you are involved in sales, when you start out, people often have a fear of cold calling. I had that nervousness years ago when I started out. Then someone pointed out to me the importance of listening.
Does this mean you weren’t always good at listening?
Early in my career, I realized I would be on these calls, and instead of really listening to the answers of the person on the other end, I was either focussing on my next questions or the end goal of the phone call, which was to close this deal. Well, maybe you don’t want to close this deal! If you have truly been listening, maybe you have heard that there is another much more lucrative deal on the horizon, for instance. I think that is one of the most important things I have learned in my career: that if you say you are going to listen you actually have to do it.
How does listening skill benefit your work in leadership roles?
Listening also means keeping your opinion to yourself until others have had the opportunity to give theirs. Especially in a management or CEO position, if you start with your own suggestions and ideas, there is a chance people will talk towards those, but if you start by asking, “What are your thoughts? How should we handle this?” that is when you get the most creative input. Listening and trying to get the most out of myself but also the people around me is an important skill set I bring to this job.
What does your day look like?
No day is the same! There may be weeks of travelling to get in direct touch with customers, or going to events, trade shows, or performances where we have speakers installed by our team. In the office, I am meeting with production, making reports, doing a job interview for personnel and the list goes on and on. There’s no time to get bored.
What does a Business Development Strategist at Adamson do?
I’m lucky it’s a very varied job. Business development is often confused with sales, but it is more than that. It is brainstorming with Brock, the CEO, and the team of executives to determine where do we want to go in the future? What are our goals? What kind of company do we want to be? Then, once we decide what direction we want to go in, we must figure out how do we get there? How do I get the different departments to work closer together and more efficiently towards the goals we’ve set for ourselves?
In the sales part of my work, I stay in touch with our customers and distributors, I coordinate our sales activities with our reginal team our regional directors in their respective regions (The Americas, Europe Middle East Africa and Asia). I must know all the ins and outs for their regions so we can translate that to a more global strategy. Their input and market knowledge are essential for me to do my job properly. I then must coordinate all these ambitions with our production department. You could sell anything, but you have to be able to deliver. This means I am going back and forth between customers and production to ensure we can meet our goals.
What do you enjoy most in your work?
I like the interaction with clients and customers. When we deliver on time, I like the satisfaction it creates with our customers. Another thing I enjoy is trying to land deals and when I land one under the right conditions, it is satisfying, obviously. If that doesn’t give you satisfaction, you are probably in the wrong position!
I consider myself fortunate being able to travel – I get to see the world and learn from it. You get to know different cultures, different ways of negotiating – that can also be tough, and sometimes you learn the hard way. There are many aspects of this job that give me satisfaction.
What inspires you?
Although my work has shifted from musician recruitments to online creation to pro audio tech manufacturing, my biggest inspiration has always been music. I am lucky to have many years in this industry.
Which people inspire you?
I have great admiration for the perseverance and professionalism of the artists I have been fortunate to have worked with. I see artists as entrepreneurs. If you want to make it in this sector as an artist or as a company supporting artists, you better get ready to roll up your sleeves. You can’t ever give up and even then, you might make it. Nothing is certain.
What inspires you about Adamson?
I have great respect for artists, but also for founders in this industry. Adamson is a company that was built from the ground up using its own ground-breaking tech. Everything is developed in house to this day.
It is an exciting time to be working at Adamson with recent product launches such as FletcherMachine which raises the bar in immersive audio, as well as what the coming years will bring us.
What makes Adamson unique?
First, the undeniable quality of the product that makes us unique – it is top of the world. I can say with new products that we have raised the bar even higher. That is a bold statement, I know, but that is the truth.
Secondly, compared to some of our competitors who are also top-notch in the world, we are a smaller company which makes us more agile. It helps us identify better with our distributors, customers, and partners around the world.
Finally, the working relations here – although everybody is working their butts off every day – have an informality about it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously all the time – there should be room for that, provided that the work gets done. There is a lot of personal interaction here amongst the team. That’s important to me – to be part of a team instead of part of a workforce.
What differs most in this position compared to your previous work?
I have not worked with physical manufacturing before. In previous work, I was involved in providing services. There is a lot I’ve been learning in the new job, but I am proud of what I have accomplished in the past, and I have many valuable relationships that continue. A friend of mine is performing at a festival this summer here in Canada. I’m going to the festival, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to it all on Adamson speakers, which makes this new work feel connected to what I’ve always done. I’m looking to the future and not looking back at all.
What is something people out there may not know about you?
I have a very international family. I met my wife in Panama who was at the time living and working in Spain as a ballet dancer. When she decided to retire from dancing (which you have to do before your body retires for you), she wanted to move to Mexico. She asked me to join her, so I dropped everything and went with her.
Our son was born in Mexico, and shortly after, we moved to Canada, where we then we had a daughter. This means I have a son who holds a Dutch and Mexican passport, and a daughter who holds Canadian and Dutch Passports and my wife is Mexican Spanish. I guess that fits with the work I do. My family is my greatest motivation to be the best in what I do.