Betty Blocks: The Modern Holy Grail for Software Development

The Modern Holy Grail for Software Development ‘Enabling citizens to program’

Interview Chris Obdam, CEO Betty Blocks

By Esti

Sixteen years ago, Chris and his brother Tim Obdam started a company that would lead to the No- Code movement of an extraordinarily disruptive page in the enterprise digital story.

Just as the internet for business kicked off Chris Obdam, IT programmer, realised that he wanted to create a platform that would give his brother the tools to build his own applications. ‘The idea was to make myself superfluous.’

By 2012 the company was renamed to Betty Blocks making clear that the ‘citizen- developer’ Betty can build functional apps without having to write a line of code. ‘I believe that in 10 years if you still need to program, it would be the same as when you go and put the car together yourself.

The company strives to get software out of the dusty old image by using newest technologies to build a modern development house. The ambition is to become number one, by evolving and improving the user experience.

‘We are positioning ourselves as the holy grail that builds a complex product which creates speed and simplifies software development to change the future.’ This will result in IT developers not having to program anymore and give them the opportunity to concentrate on developing the tools for the upcoming challenges within the society.

To do so, the company is non-hierarchical organized. Ambitious professionals get freedom to take responsibility, submit ideas and share feedback. ‘I tell that if you never make remarks of what I should do different or better I believe you do not do your work correctly.’

Professionals without a degree also get an opportunity to be part of the team. ‘The world spins so fast that before the innovations reach the classroom they are often already old news. Do not get me wrong, we stimulate people to finish their degree, but it is not a must is all I want to point out.’ 

Betty Blocks established an internal academy. ‘We have our own fulltime inhouse trainers encouraging professional growth.’ A personalized program is developed for each professional. For seniors there are additionally external trainings available. There is a possibility for professionals to grow or develop in different areas; going from front-end to back-end or tech sales, consultant or architect role. ‘This is something that distinguishes us more than the traditional ping pong table or our own brewed Betty Blocks beer.

Today 110 professionals work in a scrum environment on one common goal–to become the number one. Before every sprint all obstacles are evaluated, milestones set, and strategy drawn. ‘We do not have meetings, we have small gathered talks, because we have the feeling that large meetings lead to never ending discussions.’

For fun the company has Friday after work drinks and four legendary parties. ‘I think we have to highest score on informal stuff we do together. We do expect our colleagues to be present.’ Up until now Betty Blocks has organized eight European developer conference and several meetups.

‘Success can only come with commitment, working together and voicing the message in an informal Business manner,’ – Chris Obdam, CEO Betty Blocks.

Inspired and want to join Betty Blocks team?

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s leading tech-hubs. Companies are enhancing their international orientation in order to draw in talented internationals who can help them realise their projects. Esti, IT recruitment Amsterdam, attracts and retains international IT talent by guiding companies to develop a culture in which international professionals thrive. The perfect match is not only about meeting 100% of the requirements but most of all about change, progress and new experiences. Esti focusses on the personal motivation and ambition of each professional.

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