High-Five by Vruchtvlees part three

High-Five is a technology, design and entrepreneurship driven conference initiated by design agency Vruchtvlees. This was the third year in a row High-Five invited five inspiring speakers to share their most valuable lessons with an exclusive audience of marketers, entrepreneurs, CEO’s and managers.

Theater Rotterdam turned out to be the perfect location to host this conference: A beautiful industrial venue decorated with banners and balloons in the distinctive Vruchtvlees colors, goodie bags, and a DJ!

By installing the app Sli.do before the conference kicked off, the guests were able to (anonymously) ask the speakers questions during their talks. The known Yuki Kho who moderated the conference submitted these questions after each talk, enabling the guests and speakers both to enjoy a laid-back talk with room to answer a selection of the many resourceful questions afterwards:

Hack your Future

Maartje Kruijt, educational Director of Hack Your Future: A refugee code school based in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Brussels used her talk to answer the questions she would like to be asked during these types of conferences, which was a refreshing way of presenting. She explained how she dreads the phrase ‘Those refugees must be really thankful to you’ which she tends to hear a lot in interviews. She clarified why this is a very one-sided view since every single refugee sacrifices 25 or more hours each week to learn how to code after they pass the tough entrance exam.

Every Sunday a group of volunteers are teaching refugees how to code. Not only in Amsterdam (HackYourFuture will pay for your transportation costs if you are living in the Netherlands but not in Amsterdam), Copenhagen but also in the recently opened school in Brussels!

This initiative is such an inspiring way to effectively help people back on their feet and give them and society something highly valuable. It comes to no surprise Maartjes advice was to offer help where- and wherever you can.

Hack Your Future is always looking out for more volunteers, laptops or people who want to help developing their program. View this YouTube video with the experiences of the mentors and students.

If this sounds like something you want to contribute to click here and help them out!



Ebi Atawodi, Product Manager Global Payments Growth at Uber and a truly inspirational woman and speaker named her talk ‘The secret in the secret sauce’ and involved the journey you have to be willing to make when you are working on perfecting your product.

According to Ebi you need to be (a little) crazy to make a big impact on the world. She told the inspiring story of Frederic Tudor who was stubborn enough trying to ship frozen water to India over and over again despite of people calling him insane. When he eventually succeeded he became very wealthy leaving all name-calling behind. This uplifting story teaches us to invest time only in projects you’re very passionate about.

The Uber payment department initially struggled to get their product right for all riders and drivers around the world. Ebi and her team learned that if something doesn’t work out as planned you have to go back to the drawing board and continue until it does. When discussing well-oiled teams Ebi touched the example of sanding wood: Anything that's worth the friction will eventually get smooth. Resilience is the key here.


The Vegetarian butcher

Niko Koffeman, co-founder of The Vegetarian Butcher shared how his holiday on a beautiful French campsite surrounded by fields of lavender and a good conversation about meat with farmer Jaap Korteweg was the start of a highly successful partnership.

The Vegetarian Butcher chose from the beginning not to use any budget for marketing purposes, and their products got shared in large numbers anyway. The examples Niko shared were hilarious: Pictures of grandmothers who refused to eat fake meat and are eating their precious stamppot with a plant-based rookworst on a regular basis now, or the prank a lot of husbands are the victim of: Spouses who serve fake bacon and share the positive reactions of their husbands, brilliant!

The Vegetarian Butcher is a great example of a product where marketing efforts are not the main concern because the quality of the product and the demand are so high.


ABN Amro

Eliane de Josselin de Jong, innovation manager at the ABN Amro bank is known for her innovative way of thinking in the digital world where the end user always is king. With Design Thinking and a human-centred approach she accompanies processes and facilitates workshops to teach teams how to innovate within the ABN Amro. Eliane elaborated on what innovation means to her during the High-Five conference. Her main lesson to share was something she lives by: Do what you are passionate about and try to learn from everything you come across that interests you.

'Always pick a job ensuring to inspire at least the two generations that come after you’ - Ebi Atawodi, Uber worldwide

Merijn Hos

The story of how Merijn Hos's, Illustrator, Visual Artist and occasional Art Director, work got picked up by the greats in this world like Apple, Wired Magazine and Nike is the perfect example to accompany Merijn’s nr. one advice: Let things arise.

Merijn shared how his wife, a décor builder for television, one day left a horrifyingly big old printer in the house. Merijn initially was not that thrilled with the big obstacle until an uneventful afternoon when he started printing and the gradient that came out shook his interest. Today Merijn’s enviable client base includes Jawbone, 030.303 Records, Coca Cola, Dazed & Confused Magazine, Down The Rabbit Hole Festival, Red Bull, WIRED Magazine, Keds, Vice Magazine, Pepsi, Le Sportsac, Nickelodeon, Adobe and Nike.

When Merijn Hos was confronted with his refreshing Dutch matter of fact-ness about his amazing career and impressive clientele when his talk was done he simply answered ‘ah I’m from Twente’.


After Merijn’s hilarious answer the audience was asked to look in their goodie bag and take out the plastic champagne glass that was hiding in there all along. The Vruchtvlees team poured the audience a glass of champagne to toast to a successful conference and to celebrate their outstanding achievement: winning the European Design Award: A perfect end of this inspiration inducing conference.

It was an honor to visit the third edition of HighFive! Many thanks to Homerun.co, Theater Rotterdam, Dalton Jansen Choreography and of course Vruchtvlees!

Check out our previous blog post about Homerun’s offline series The Art of Work: The employer-branding edition that was hosted by Spaces.

Can't get enough of High-Five? Watch the awesome recap: