This interview is part of a series of conversations with the people working at Mimetas. The 'I' in Mimetas focuses on the personal side of the scientists that drive our world. Today we have a chat with Bas Trietsch, Chief Technology Officer and straight shooter at Mimetas.
How would you describe your job to me, if I were 5 years old?
At Mimetas, I work on developing and inventing new versions of the OrganoPlate®. I also ensure that the current OrganoPlates are made correctly and are available to everybody. When a client, or a biologist from our Model Development, asks for a specific new feature for the OrganoPlate, we get to work. I also work together with our factory, making sure that production is efficient and reliable.
What does an average day for you look like working at Mimetas?
My days during the week are quite diverse. One day in the week I reserve to spend at the factory, where I work with the guys at our factory to look at any issue in production. We also look at opportunities to increase production and quality. Two days in the week I schedule most of the meetings with my team, which means talking a lot with the colleagues running our different projects. The remaining two days I spend working with suppliers and talking to different parts of the company to ensure everybody has what they need. During those days I also brainstorm with our biologists to solve a particular need for their projects. That starts a complete development process, from brainstorming, to prototype development, to picking the best concept, to developing the project.
What is your favorite pastime?
I like cooking a lot! I like good food and wine, but I also like making it. So with summertime arriving, I try to take some time to prepare nice food on the barbeque or on the smoker, which I recently built. I stole a drum from our factory and cut it open. After that, I burnt the inside to prepare the drum for smoking. Other than that I like traveling, snowboarding, and diving. I went diving in Australia and Egypt, but I’m afraid Egypt has ruined me forever – it’s just so beautiful.
Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?
Good and on time is better. My girlfriend is a trauma surgeon, which means that time is crucial. They have a saying, “better is the enemy of good”. When developing a product, it means that if you keep fiddling around, you sometimes make it worse than before. That’s especially true when time is a big factor. In our case, the competition is not sitting still. So this is a big challenge in product development: when is it good enough? There are always things to improve, tweak, and tune. That also means that your clients are waiting on the product as well. Being efficient is very important, don’t get stuck in the details. That’s why prototypes are usually not far from the finished product.
Do you prefer people being straightforward to you, or people tempering their words?
Always straightforward. I dislike it when people tip-toe around a subject, resulting in them saying “yes” when they are thinking “no”. People need to be straightforward. If I say something that is wrong, everybody in the room can call me out on it. People should be able to say what they want, which is, I think, a big strength of the Netherlands.
What small things in life make you happy?
As I said, my girlfriend is a trauma surgeon, which means she has to wake up very early. I get up with and break the morning with her. After that, I get to sleep some more, and that is such a good feeling. It is a great way to start the day.
What is your favorite quote, song, or belief, anything that you live by?
One of the things is the whole idea that you should never try to shine brighter yourself by diminishing other people. You can usually shine a lot more by letting other people shine. I think that’s true in your social life, but also in your professional life. It’s more rewarding and more productive to try to enable other people to do the best they can than to put yourself forward. There’s no culture at Mimetas to outcompete amongst ourselves, rather we try to help each other as a team. That is one of the most important things for a person, but that gets enhanced in a team.