July 28, 2003... Jacqueline and I drove from our little student room in Amsterdam-Zuidoost to the centre of Amsterdam. Next to the central station, there it was: the Chamber of Commerce KVK. In as a student, and out as an entrepreneur. In about 15 minutes. That was an anti-climax. Months of thinking, writing business plans. Getting good advice from people... Getting very bad advice from people... But, in 15 minutes it was all settled. FireWare was registered. The entrepreneurial journey could begin!
This was 19 years ago. That is the time between my birth and getting my driver's licence. So that's kindergarten, primary school and secondary school. Don't think about it too much... On the other hand: "Summer Jam", by The Underdog Project, was number one in the top 40 on 28 July 2003. Still a great song! And still often heard on the radio. Then it all sounds a bit less far away!
Jacqueline and I were green as grass 19 years ago. We really didn't know that then. Now we really do. By now we could write 3 books about all the things we did right in the history of FireWare. And about 17 books about all the things we really could have done better. Gaining experience, I believe they call it.
It all started 19 years ago with a thesis asking why special effects from the theatre and film industry can't be used for the training of emergency response team members. Some people may remember the experiments in the studio at the theatre technology course.
In 2022, FireWare grew to a company with 23 great team members, who help every day to make sure that first responders all over the world become and stay competent. So they can make a difference when it matters most. Each of the team members brings his or her own expertise and builds on the theatre technical base that was laid 19 years ago. This is how we continue to innovate, professionalise and learn.
Today, on the anniversary of FireWare, is a good time to reflect. To do so, we literally bring out memories “from the old box" again. Archive boxes full of crazy memories from the past years. Nice to go through them once in a while. Usually with a smile, sometimes a laugh and occasionally you think: OOOOO that was that @#$#@$#$! I thought I had repressed that. Only to push that object back into the old box afterwards. Strange really...
But a birthday is also definitely a time to look forward to a super cool future. Because, at 19, a lot of great years are behind us, but the best, most beautiful and most adventurous years are yet to come!
Thank you all for your contribution to the journey of the past 19 years. On to the next chapters! Will you join us?