Thursday Hero: Olav Maassen

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Yes I know it’s friday :)

A while back I read a great blog where someone talking about his heroes. He reasoned that what he admired in other people were things he wanted to achieve for himself. I think that’s a great idea and I will post about one of my heroes every thursday. To get clearer what I want to accomplish and hopefully inspire others to adopt some of my heroes as their own.

Today’s hero is Olav Maassen, former colleague at Xebia. He really is the embodiment of a First Follower, is a great networker and at last, but at least, the only guy I know that can get away with wearing cowboy boots under a suit and tie.


Olav is a great networker. He knows pretty much everyone who is anybody in the Agile/Lean/Kanban scene and vice-versa. And he is very open about his network and is always trying to figure out who to introduce to who. He was using triad relationships way before Dave Logan et al made them famous in Tribal Leadership. This active looking around makes his network more and more valuable for both him and the people in his network.
The best thing about Olav is that networking is not some kind of tactic. He is genuinely interested in people and helping them. When asked how he got so great at networking his reply was that he was not great at all. Only after pointing out how valuable his network was for him and others did he begrudgingly agree that he must have been doing something right.

First Follower

If you have not seen Derek Siver’s TED Talk about First Followers you really should, it only takes 3 minutes. I’ll wait.
Olav even has First Follower as title on his personal business cards. He is always on the lookout for exciting new ideas and people and support them. Through him I have met people (and likely future Thursday Heroes) like Donald Reinertsen, Dan North, Pollyana Pixton, Sue McKinny, Liz Keogh and many more.

Oh and did I mention that Olav lives and breathes Agile? And is writing a comic book about Real Options? And that he does not post nearly frequently enough on Twitter at @OlavMaassen?

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