Stef van der Ziel
Jet-Stream founder and owner Stef van der Ziel is an entrepreneur and inventor. Van der Ziel is a streaming media and CDN veteran and innovator. In 1994 at age 21 he was one of the first pioneers in webcasting. In 1996 he managed to overload the Internet with massive live webcasts so he had to design CDN technologies years before commercial CDNs entered the market.
Van der Ziel was one of the first to recognize the power of the Internet and its potential to liberate and revolutionize broadcasting. He also identified scalability and reliability challenges. To solve these, van der Ziel invented advanced streaming media focused content delivery technologies in the mid and late nineties.
In 2002 Stef van der Ziel wanted to further design, commercialize and market his technologies and founded Jet-Stream which today is the market leader for CDN intelligence, CDN technology innovation and CDN technologies licensing for mobile operators, broadband access providers, telecom operators, broadcasters, carriers and cable operators.
In 2004 Stef van der Ziel also founded StreamZilla, Europe's leading streaming media CDN that delivers billions premium mobile, web and OTT streams for hundreds of professional content owners including leading brands in sports, broadcasting, enterprises, publishing, video production and studios.
Stef van der Ziel:
"For most people proper education is the only serious way to success. But many entrepreneurs become successful not because but despite education. There were no studies that could learn me the stuff I do… I dropped out of high school. I am 100% autodidact and proud of it. I pioneered my first webcast in 1994 at age 21. That was the start of my career as a streaming media and Content Delivery Network specialist and entrepreneur.
I have a personal motivation. My commercial activities are based upon my personal motivations, visions and ambitions. I foresaw a that the Internet would liberate broadcasting. If I could broadcast video globally, then anyone would be able to do so. In a matter of time, all content would be distributed via the web to PC’s, mobile clients and TV’s.
My personal motivation was – and is – to scale the web for professional, massive content delivery, to liberalize broadcasting, to disrupt but also help the traditional cable and broadcasting industry and to break open this market so anyone could create, distribute and consume content, anywhere, without borders.
I am doing this by offering professional internet, OTT and mobile content delivery services and by developing cutting edge technologies so telcos, mobile operators and anyone can build their own scalable video delivery infrastructure that go beyond the best effort CDNs as we know today."
My beautiful wife and I got married in 2009. She is very intelligent and she understands my work mentality, she works hard herself too. We got married in a nearby castle and had a great afterparty in our own backyard.
Our daughter was born in 2010. No matter how tired I am from traveling or working, she always gets a smile on my face. She's so sweet. We play and I love teaching her the small and big things in life.
We live in the Drenthe province, which has beautiful forests, pastures and heathlands. Our home is a very old farmhouse with a thatched roof. We modernized the entire house in phases. It has plenty room for living, work and friends. It is very well isolated and I am planning to add solar panels. We use groundwater for the garden.
It is a great relaxing place to be and to have friends over. The pastures are turned into a large park-like backyard with ponds and trees. The old orchard and rose garden are kept intact. We have five cats who chase away the mice. Herons ate our fish and hedgehogs love our shrubs. We have many birds per season. I have a rifle but I only shoot cans.
I am very dedicated to what I do. I love being independent. I worked very, very hard for many years without making any money. But I persisted and believed in myself. Many years later I could have leaned back and live an easy life because of my companies commercial successes. Instead I chose to invest deep in CDN innovation and in the growth of my company, both in time, commitment and money. I have an enormous drive to change, to innovate and to improve. Sometimes I can drive people crazy with my urge to do things better, but I can also make them do more than they think they can do themselves and that is rewarding for everyone.
Our office culture is typical Dutch: a mix of professional, punctuous, efficient, informal, open mindend, very direct and challenging. We are eager to learn, open for debate at any level, and are not shy of expressing our opinions. Authority is about knowledge and vision, not about formal status.
The streaming and CDN industry is really exciting. I can use and invent technologies that change two entire industries: telecoms and media. We work at the crossroads of media, technology, design and culture. These have always been my focus since I was a child. I built my own AM transmitter, I opened our TVs, radios and cameras at home to learn how they worked (sorry :). I enjoyed pranking with phones, equipment at school and with my Commodore 64. I programmed light shows for it for parties. I took my first Mac to the limits with Photoshop 1 and QuarkXPress. I worked in concert halls and I was always backstage, producing media, managing stage lights or producing marketing material around pop and rock concerts and dance events.
I bought a Mac with video capturing and video out capabilities and digital video became a new passion. When I hooked it up to a modem in 1993, I wanted to stream video live via the Internet and managed to do so in 1994. That was over 18 years ago. I made a living by washing dishes for many years while I built my company from scratch. Life was quite hard but fun and inspiring.
I am a conscious and responsible person. I don't gamble, I don't smoke, I don't drink, I even pay my taxes in time. We eat organic food. I don't lend money and save and invest carefully. I help family and friends, am active in charity. I am honest, open and reliable. I live conciously. In less than 20 years I worked more than most people do their entire life until their pension. I live life twice as fast as many others do :) I also put a lot aside: social life, friends, family, free time, to achieve what I want...
...so allow me to have one 'bad' but extremely fun hobby: exclusive cars, I own multiple. My ultimate winter car is the 2008 Range Rover Autobiography TDV8: space, safe, luxury, preheating and 4x4. My ultimate fun car is the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS cabriolet with its tuned engine, sport exhaust and RS rims. And for special occasions and touring I take the 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S. Wow. It's raw 4.7l V8 sound is thrilling, yet it is a very stylish car, nothing comes close. Even though some of these cars are quite fast, I am a gentleman on the road, I just love to drive these beautiful, timeless cars. For work, for pleasure. Not to show off but to enjoy. Cops tend to pull me over and try to fine me for whatever reason they can think of because driving exclusive, large, loud or fuel guzzling cars is politically incorrect in the calvinist Netherlands... That's why I prefer to do road trips in Germany and Italy.
Other hobbies are gadgets, music, photography, filming, my drum kit, clothes and traveling. I've recently been to Canada, Ukraine, Norway, England, France, Spain, the USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium and Sweden. I am interested in politics but simply have no time for it. Being a true Dutchmen, I am very critical about our government and how it should not invade our lives or try to manipulate how citizens should live and take away responsibilities.
Even though I am very fond of design, quality and luxury, materialistic items or money are not that important to me as it may seem. My real drive is to raise my own bar all the time, to learn, to come up with great ideas, to make a difference, to see an idea become success, to be independent and to be leading with ideas, vision, know-how and technology. That is a richness no materialistic items can replace. And of course enjoying life with family and friends is very important for someone who tends to work 24/7.
I don't like people who abuse our great but expensive system and let others pay for their hobbies. I also can't appreciate intelligent people who don't use their intelligence but choose easy jobs instead. What I really don't like is people stealing ideas and technologies and pretending it's their own. We are proud that we conceptualize and design and develop everything in-house. Copying is not just illegal, it is intellectual poverty.