Willem-Jan is a digital product leader with a 15+ year track record in online marketplaces, multi-sided platforms, apps, and media. He has worked with teams across continents from startups and scale-ups to corporates like eBay. He creates product visions, translating them into actionable strategies, and galvanizes people from different functions and departments to turn their visions and strategies into reality, collaborating closely across the product lifecycle from idea to launch and beyond.
ExpertiseAgile Product DeliveryCross-functional Team LeadershipCross-platform App DevelopmentCustomer DiscoveryDigital MediaProduct StrategyProduct VisionTwo-sided Marketplaces
Product Management Coach and Consultant
- Supported the founders of a multi-sided hospitality data platform in finding product-market fit and scaling operations from 2 to 20+ people. Acted in various roles across the entrepreneurial journey, including head of product and COO.
- Assisted the management team of the leading Dutch web shop platform in articulating an actionable product strategy and transforming the organization to deliver on it. Coached and guided on best practices including OKRs, discovery, and delivery.
- Reinforced the scale-up marketplace in heavy machinery as head of product, guiding a technology-focused business towards customer-centricity to unleash their strengths in data, AI, and machine learning as competitive differentiators.
- Supported the CEO of an Australian data-as-a-service consultancy in developing a strategy to make the business more scalable by productizing their services into a self-service model and extending the customer journey towards more advanced use cases.
- Guided founders of a social care marketplace in transforming the service into a product business and achieving profitability by growing into an underserved market segment. Currently on the advisory board and chairman of the shareholders' foundation.
- Facilitated a team of medical business owners in aligning on long-term business goals and agreeing on strategic priorities toward achieving them, including a new line of online services.
Co-founder of Product and Operations
- Co-founded a mission-driven company to help people transition to more sustainable eating habits.
- Took part in Founder Institute accelerator and applied Lean Startup methodology in validating the opportunity, including customer interviews, demand testing through social media and landing pages, hands-on prototyping, and MVP testing.
- Bootstrapped the business and built up a small team and partners but pulled the plug after a year of hands-on discovery and experimentation did not yield proof for a path towards a viable business with impact at scale.
Global Product Strategy Lead
eBay Classifieds Group
- Drove group-wide product vision and strategic initiatives to make them a reality, working closely with local teams and central functions to deliver internationally scalable solutions (e.g., C2C payments, image recognition, messaging, etc.).
- Brought customer centricity, data-informed decision making, and outcome thinking to product discovery and delivery, at scale.
- Trained and coached 250+ colleagues on product best practices through tools, programs, and workshops to elevate people, teams, and processes.
- Drove global improvements by benchmarking products internally and externally and working closely with analysts in determining proven winners to scale internationally.
- Elevated product culture across a distributed organization by working closely with heads of product and their teams and recognizing product leaders such as Silicon Valley Product Group, Christina Wodtke, Jeff Gothelf, and Ben Yoskovitch.
- Worked closely with global leadership in demonstrating product value and transforming strategy, goal setting, and organization.
- Provided global leadership with a key pillar of organizational transformation by defining global product strategy for the consumer side of our marketplaces (a.k.a. "horizontal") based on international market and product analysis.
- Developed product people across the organization through tools and programs. Created a capabilities framework outlining expected product skills at different levels of seniority for personal development, coaching, recruitment, and evaluation.
- Created and ran highly rated mentorship programs in close collaboration with HR leadership, matching product people to senior leaders across the organizaton for intensive, goal-focused, high-frequency mentoring assignments.
Head of Core Product and User Experience
Marktplaats - an eBay Company
- Coordinated complete platform rebuild, redesign, and migration as chief product owner of five agile teams in a complex stakeholder environment, the largest project in Marktplaats’ history.
- Guided Marktplaats into the mobile era with the launch of mobile and tablet products with 4.5 rated apps that ranked No. 1 in their App Store categories, now accounting for >80% of user engagement.
- Enabled 30%+ YoY growth in buyer and seller engagement in terms of item listings and leads, reigniting growth for a mature business and translating into double-digit revenue increase.
- Oversaw a team of seven full-time employees (product managers, designer, UX researcher, and analytics/SEO specialist). Worked closely with engineering to transform and accelerate workflows (Scum/Kanban, TDD, CI/CD).
Product Director for Classifieds Integration
- Led a team of eight full-time employees who manage the common elements across Fairfax Media's portfolio of key vertical classifieds sites: domain.com.au (real estate), drive.com.au (automotive), and mycareer.com.au (employment).
- Listed placement and management; aggregated and distributed products; handled mobile apps, SEO, analytics, and reporting as well as display advertising and behavioral targeting; and integrated with partners across print and online domains.
- Actively experimented with fledgling mobile and tablet platforms in the early years of native app development. Won multiple industry awards and consistently received the highest of praise from consumers and Apple for Domain iPad and iPhone apps.
Product and Online Marketing Manager for Regional, Rural, and Communities
- Managed commercial interests for the online strategy and management of an Australia-wide network of local news publications and one of Australia's largest free classifieds websites.
- Tripled traffic to 180+ publications while multiplying leads to related classifieds sites by integrating them into Australia's largest local news network, consolidating technology and accelerating growth.
- Increased annual revenue of the general classifieds website by 300% in FY07 and another 50% in FY08. Coordinated make-over and re-launch to align and integrate the product with the rest of the business, decimate costs, and grow traffic and revenue.
- Redeveloped sites and CMS for improved performance, scalability, ease of use, monetization, and audience engagement.
Product Manager for Hosting Services
- Owned a portfolio of B2B email and hosting services, managing the entire product lifecycle from market research and concept development through to launch and beyond.
- Developed a unique and highly profitable colocation offering to penetrate a new market segment, launched it with a viral marketing campaign, and exceeded the best-case sales scenario by 50% in the first year.
- Repositioned the portfolio and successfully led a cross-functional team in the optimization of ordering processes, resulting in significantly higher customer conversion and 95% quicker provisioning.
- Initiated and executed several market pilots to trial new service concepts and technologies. Managed the introduction of several value-added email services (mobile email, virus, and spam filters).
Product Manager for Wholesale Interconnection Services
KPN Royal Dutch Telecom
- Owned a portfolio of wholesale services with an annual turnover of €50 million through which most other telecom operators in the Netherlands interconnect via KPN and one another (fixed, mobile, internet).
- Liaised with competitors and the Dutch telecom authority on network access during the peak and fallout of the internet bubble, a strategic role that combines technical/conceptual thinking and abstract analysis with negotiation and people skills.
- Selected for KPN's management development program and served as secretary to the carrier services management team, the fastest growing business unit within the company.
Mobile Product Strategy and Product Development
Reignited usage growth for a leading online marketplace by driving the mobile strategy and transforming products and teams in line with it.
- Developed a narrative around the impact of mobile devices, and educated decision-makers and stakeholders across the company on implications, forecasting the share of mobile usage to grow from up to 10% to over 80% in five years.
- Created a strategy to leverage capabilities and address the limitations of smartphones and tablets for key use cases in buying, selling, and trading.
- Worked closely with commercial functions to address revenue impact, especially in CPC and display advertising.
- Collaborated with Engineering to transform teams and processes, increasing the number of designers and developers and up-skilling people and teams in omnichannel product development.
Outcomes and impact:
- 4.5 rated apps that ranked No. 1 in their App Store categories
- 30%+ YoY growth in buyer and seller engagement, listings and leads, reigniting growth for a mature business and translating into double-digit revenue increase
Marketplace Platform Rebuild, Redesign, and Migration
Product managed a successful platform rebuild, interface redesign, and user migration as chief product owner for the largest project in company history, coordinating five agile teams in a complex, high-stakes environment.
User migration was completed by the deadline and resulted in:
- Double-digit growth in key metrics like listings and leads
- Modern API-based architecture that enabled new functionalities and mobile apps
- Agile workflows with weekly releases, moving towards continuous integration and continuous deployment
As head of product, I was responsible for:
- Stakeholder management with all functions, departments, and business units, from management to marketing, sales, engineering, legal, and customer support
- Roadmap planning and prioritization
- Collaborating closely with engineering in scoping of work, improving workflows, and actual product development
- Signing off on acceptance criteria and completed work
- Coordinating qualitative and quantitative user feedback
- Collaborating closely with marketing in closed beta-testing and go-to-market strategy
- Functionally managing a team of seven product managers, designer/user researchers, and a product analyst
Unique B2B Offering to Penetrate a New Market Segmenthttps://www.xs4all.nl/colocation/
Developed a unique and highly profitable value proposition to penetrate a premium market segment, launched it with a marketing campaign that went viral amongst target customers and exceeded the best-case sales scenario by 50% in the first year
When the company expanded, we aimed to reduce costs of our enlarged data center capacity by offering self-managed server hosting (colocation) on top of our portfolio of managed web hosting services.
We developed a unique flat-fee proposition that offered customers up-front certainty around costs, rather than receiving a monthly invoice based on data usage -a key feature in all competitive offerings and a major source of concern for customers, especially in the high-end of the market.
This differentiator leveraged our unique strengths as a leading provider of both consumer broadband access and professional webhosting services, giving us a surplus of essentially free peering traffic. It also made implementation easier, as we did not have to implement dynamic billing.
Our go-to market plan offered system administrators special invites through message boards and forums, while simultaneously targeting decision-makers like CIOs and CTOs via ICT business publications.
We exceeded the best case sales scenario by 50% in the first year.
Master of Arts Degree in Cognitive Science
University of New South Wales - Sydney, Australia
Master of Science Degree in Industrial Design Engineering - Innovation Management
Delft University of Technology - Delft, Netherlands
Scrum Certified Product Owner
Marketing Management (NIMA-B)
Netherlands Institute for Marketing