Founder Interview - Jonathan Dierckens

Welcome back to the Founder Post series! In this last episode of the 3-part series, we sit down with co-founder Jonathan: 70's rocker, software developer and music enthusiast.

Founder Interview - Jonathan Dierckens
Jonathan with one of his daughters in his happy place

Welcome back to the Founders Series.
In the third part and final part of this series, we would love to introduce you to Jonathan, music enthusiast, software developer, and seventies rocker of The Pack.
Did you miss the first and second part of The Founders Series, where we introduced Metalhead,
Elias and Music business expert, Hans? Definitely check them out :)
Without further ado, let’s get into Jonathan’s interview!

What is your relation to music?

Jonathan: For me, music is always there: when I wake up in the morning, when I'm programming, when I’m showering,… I’m listening to music basically all the time. However, I would describe myself as a passive, but explorative music listener, since I mostly listen to one of my favorite big playlists on shuffle mode or I let the AI of Spotify pick my daily music in the “Discover Weekly” playlist.

My music taste is also quite broad, I listen to all kinds of music: from 70’s Rock over 90’s Hiphop to more present-day music. But I also like to listen to Belgian music and even listen to African, Spanish and French music sometimes. If I would need to pick my favorite genre, without a doubt this would be 70’s Rock.

I simply love the vibe I get when listening to music from this unique period. After the Second World War, the economic situation was changing a lot, and the generation growing up then wanted change. They were striving for more freedom and typically behaved a bit “rebellious”. This rebelliousness also translates itself in the music from that period, and that’s what I like about it.

Give us some examples please!

Jonathan: Some examples of 70’s Rock artists I listen to are The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, Lou Reed and Neil Young.

But there is a time and place for every kind of music. For example when I'm snowboarding - which is my favorite sport - I like listening to the album “Oyebo Soul” from Arsenal and to Demon Days from Gorillaz as well.

To business!

Why did you start The Pack?

Jonathan: During my career, I have been involved in some drastic transitions in various industries: in the banking industry where I saw the transition from mainframes to PC and mobile banking, in the media, where I witnessed the increasing impact and pressure of the internet and social media on journalism. Afterwards, I was involved in some companies in old industries making their transition into new ways of working. So, If there’s one constant in my career it definitely would be these tech transitions and evolutions.

And then I met Hans, and I heard him talk about the music industry and how it didn’t really evolve in comparison with other industries, which made me see an opportunity there.

Another reason of course is that I’m a big music enthusiast so the music industry really attracted me.

What’s the impact The Pack can make on the music industry?

Jonathan: During the transitions I’ve witnessed, I have noticed the importance of people efficiently working together as a team. So, during my career this has been one of my main goals: helping teams work together in an efficient way, and reducing overhead. With The Pack, I have this same goal.

In the music industry, a lot of different people come together to bring a lot of value to the artists. However, it’s not always clearly visible what this value is exactly. So, with The Pack, we want to create a platform where these different people can efficiently work together as a team towards the same goal and reduce friction among them.

Secondly, I also believe that The Pack can become the go-to tool for artists covering everything that’s “boring”, so they can go ahead and enjoy their tours, without worrying about administrative tasks and overhead.

Why are you the right person to found The Pack?

Jonathan: I studied psychology and economics, but afterwards I pursued software development. So, my strengths are the combination of an analytical and engineering approach, as well as a strong business mindset.These combined, give me quite a vision on tech, and how it will evolve. That’s the unique perspective and futuristic vision I’m bringing to The Pack.

What’s your unique role in The Pack?

Jonathan: My role in The Pack is being “the glue” between the music industry and tech world: the future vision of business and tech. Long-term, I think my role will be being the leader of the product and tech roadmap.

Allright! Since starting The Pack, what has been the....

...funniest anecdote?

Jonathan: The first thing that pops up is when we had a summit with the three of us in Madrid. During those three days, Hans was telling us war stories about when he used to be a Tour manager. However, in the end, tour manager Hans accidentally booked our flights a week later and we discovered this the evening before we had to leave...

All the flights the day after were either not available or too expensive. In the end, I ended up staying three more days to have a cheap flight back home.
Hans persisted through and the day after he had his flight back home. But still, I think he paid double for the flight.

I think that for me was certainly the funniest anecdote.

... biggest challenge?

Jonathan: Definitely get and stay focused.

All of us have read books such as “The Lean Start-Up”, but to really set up and execute the concepts explained in these books isn't always that simple.
Since Hans has been working in the music business during his whole career, he has a lot of ideas about how the industry can improve and evolve. And many of these are amazing ideas, but it’s another thing to actually implement these and translate them into features on the platform.

From my time as a software consultant, I am used to tempering expectations of people with high dreams and ambitions. The only difference and difficulty for me now is that this isn’t an agency context, this is our start-up and I share the same vision, dreams and ambitions. I also want them to become reality fast, but sometimes these things simply move slower than expected. So, the biggest challenge has been definitely getting everybody, including myself, focused and aligned.

What we did to overcome this challenge is two things.

First, we went back to the basics. We could have chosen the direction of already seeking lots of funding, but we didn’t choose to go this way. We chose to really go to the essence. And from there, there's no other way than having focus.
Second, we pushed to have the smallest possible feedback loop. From the moment we have the smallest feature sets possible ready, we present it to our special group of beta users to get valuable feedback in order to improve the product, but simultaneously making them warm about the platform we are creating.
I do think we’re getting there, but we have come a long way.

... the biggest lesson learnt?

Jonathan: I would say the same thing: validate quickly.
Last summer, we went for the first validation of “The Pack Pay”. But in my opinion, we already developed too much in that direction before validating. I think we should have asked for feedback much earlier.
In theory I knew that, but practically, it didn't work out that way.

Another big lesson I learned is: persistence is key.
The three of us all have another angle, approach and personality and we all have other experiences that we bring to the table. But what I really like is that even when we have setbacks or obstacles that we are confronted with, we simply keep going and we stay motivated.

Thank you! Any last words?

Jonathan: I think I have covered everything.

I just would like to ask our readers to reach out to us at if you work in the music industry, and are willing to share your insights about what you think our product features should look like. We would really appreciate it :)

Do you want to learn more about our two other co-founders of The Pack? You can read Elias’ interview here, and Hans' interview here.
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