Our Employee Spotlight series invites you to meet some of our Birds from around the world. Discover what they love about their jobs, how they’ve grown their careers, what challenges they face and much more. If you’re interested in joining our flock, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn about our culture, people and how we work!
Business Development Director (EMEA)
“What I love most at MessageBird is that there are so many different types of things to do and goals to work toward – especially given the breadth of our platform and all of the problems we can solve for our customers.”
A seemingly simple weekend trip changed everything for Rehman Abdur. In 2018, he’d booked a two-night stay in Amsterdam to attend a concert, when he unexpectedly fell in love with the city and decided to relocate from his then-home in Berlin. There was only one catch: he needed to find a job.
“I was looking for an opportunity to work for a company that had serious growth potential and that could have a massive impact on businesses,” Rehman recalls. “During my research, I came across MessageBird, which had recently graduated from Y Combinator, had received $60 million in funding, and was one of the most competitive startups in Europe.”
Rehman packed his things, hired a moving truck, and joined our Sales team. He had nearly 10 years of experience selling SaaS, but remembers feeling that MessageBird’s products and services would “have a far larger impact.” Still, there was a lot of white space to attack — and a business to build.
“Compared to where MessageBird is today, we were so young in our growth,” Rehman recalls. “But we knew we needed to win this, and everything was driven by passion! All of us collaborated to win deals and we learned by diving into the world of MessageBird together.”
You joined MessageBird in 2018. Was it like when you started at the company?
To me it felt a bit like an Apple or Google in the early days — about 100 employees, incubated in a garage and really on to something cool. The company’s name wasn’t as well-known as it is now, but I already felt like there was a lot of opportunity to get in and have an impact.
How was your onboarding experience?
Culturally, it was very inviting and collaborative. There was a long table in the middle of the garage where we worked, and we had a chef who made lunch for everyone. We’d queue up for food, start to chat with people and get to know the pulse of the company.
What kept you coming back day after day?
The opportunity to make an impact on our customer’s businesses — to help them communicate with their end users; to really understand how each business operates differently; to shape how their communication flows are going to look for their users; and to contribute to MessageBird’s overall vision. I feel like I’m on the front line of it and I have the opportunity to make a direct impact with my customers.
What’s been the biggest challenge that you’ve helped solve?
When I started at MessageBird our average deal size was a lot smaller than it is today! So, our biggest challenge has been a mindset change in the Sales team about what our goals are — and how large we should be aiming. We can always aim bigger, bigger, bigger!
How does a typical day “as a Bird” look for you now?
There is no typical day at MessageBird. Some days I’ll help a large bank onboard users more effectively. Some days I’ll help one of the world’s largest retailers build a contact center from scratch. Some days I’ll connect the dots between our customers and products, and learn where we can make improvements. And then sometimes I’ll spend a whole day interviewing candidates because we’re growing like crazy!
“We get shit done. I feel like a lot of companies might have a motto but we actually live by it, we mean it. We deliver results at the speed of light.”
Compared to your previous jobs, what is something special or different about MessageBird?
Culture, culture, culture! What I love is that people here are really smart and demanding, but also kind and extremely humble. I think that the combination of that makes for a unique and positive aspect that brings out the best in people. And, it’s the smartest bunch of people that I’ve ever had the chance to work with!
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
Being in sales, failure is constant — that’s not just at MessageBird, that’s for anyone who sells B2B tools to large companies. But at MessageBird there’s a lot of support. There are processes to help you reflect on failure so you can understand why you lost a deal or a customer, and then integrate changes to your methodology in the future. You’re not left to fend for yourself. There’s an entire ecosystem supporting you from our leadership, peers, and cross-functional teams.
How do you take advantage of the Work Anywhere policy?
I spent three months working from Portugal, so I didn’t have to experience the worst part of the Dutch winter. I definitely want to do that more often!
“Being able to Work Anywhere is a great productivity booster. It’s enabled me to have a much better work-life balance; for example, sometimes I block times in my calendar for working out or meeting friends. Sometimes I work from noon to midnight. The policy gives me flexibility to perform to the best of my abilities.”
What’s been your favorite project at MessageBird?
Helping to onboard Klarna, one of our biggest enterprise customers to date. We’re able to directly impact their business KPIs, and we’re business-critical to them; without us, they can’t onboard new users.
Plus, there’s great synergy between their team and ours, and we have great cultural alignment. We have the ability to speak openly, be kind, and connect on a deeper level, while at the same time stay hyper focused on their business goals and be ruthless achieving those.
What is your message to anyone thinking about starting a career in tech?
If you’re not, you’re missing out on the most important industry the world will experience in the next 100 years.
What are three words you’d use to describe MessageBird?
Get shit done.