Member Spotlight: Martijn Atell

September 9, 2015 7:27 AM

Meet Martijn Atell, CEO and Founder of VoteBash. Read more to find out what he learned when he survived in the jungle for two weeks!

1) What is your weirdest or most unique talent? The ability to foresee situations and act on them. At an early age my parents showed me how to think multiple steps ahead and strategize. It helped me in making great decisions. To others those decisions seem not logical at the time, but they always have worked out. My friends claim that I have a crystal bowl, not true of course. However, I spend a lot of time answering one question: “What can happen next?”.

2) What is one thing you can't live without? I have tried that already. When I turned 18, I survived in the Amazon jungle naked for 2 weeks as my right of passage to become a man in my culture. I had little training. It turns out, you can actually live without many man made things. But when I found my "authentic self" in that jungle, I discovered the "will to act". The will to act made me successful going through universities, my challenging career at BMW, managing difficult environments and I know it will make me successful with my start-up VoteBash. Especially when you are founding your own company you will encounter a lot of side line critics that tell you cannot succeed for many reasons. The will to act for yourself helps you blending out that stuff and to become successful anyways. It is the life force of my authentic self, I cannot life without it.

3) Who was your favorite musical artist when you were in the 5th grade? Ok, you clearly want me to show you my age. In the 5th grade I was heavily influenced by my siblings. At that time they were listening to Prince. A year later Prince did the soundtrack of the first Batman movie in 1989. He is a clear genius and an innovative being. Needless to say, I have been a fan ever since.

4) In what event would you win an Olympic gold medal? Surviving. It is in my DNA to overcome any situation in any environment.

5) What TV sitcom family would you be apart of? In the 90’s I was watching these sitcoms: Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier. All were very good, but I love the family of Frasier Crane. Niles, rules!

6) Here at the HQ, one of our Core Values is “Leave the world better than you found it.” What do you do on a daily basis to live out that value? That is a great motto and a huge responsibility. I love to volunteer for causes like Black Girls Code and help out with several social innovation initiatives in the world. I like to help people with access to my network or resources to get their ventures or ideas going. The easiest way to leave the world better than you found it, is just to be nice to everyone you meet all the time, even when people are dismissive of you. If you see me, you know I love to smile and greet around and see how everybody is doing in life. Last but not least, with VoteBash I believe I can make a positive impact on the world and let people discover the value of their own opinions in a playful way and unlock their freedom while creating peaceful environments. It’s what I wake up and work for every day.

7) What do you enjoy most about what you do? There is something magical about creating a product or a service and establish it into world. I love it when an idea someone has at an early stage and the execution thereof can become something that changes communities and society in the long haul.

8) Tell us about your first job. My first official long term paying job was at BMW in Germany. It was challenging. At the age of 23 years, I have just finished my thesis there and got hired in the Electric / Electronic Process planning department in Munich, Bavaria. My German at that time was bad, I did not know many people. Being Dutch and the only black guy there, I am sure I was pretty much a rarity then. I was responsible for the planning, the development and the roll out of a worldwide production diagnostics program module that tested critical electronic vehicle functions in the manufacturing lines of BMW and later MINI and Rolls Royce.

9) What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year (personal or professional)? Going ice skating with my wife at the Rockefeller Center in New York during the holidays.

10) If your friends or colleagues were to describe you in one word what would they say? 

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