Jeans, button-down shirt and casual, carelessly combed hair: Nalden comes off as inconspicuous. A dozen young people are sitting silently at their computers in his loft-like office space in Amsterdam.
“I think the idea to launch WeTransfer has a lot to do with my father,” explains the 28 year old. “He’s a music director and travels a lot. He always showed me pictures from his sailboat, but my mailbox couldn’t handle the amount of data and was always crashing. I sent him instructions for how we should do it but he just couldn’t get it. Too complicated.”
Nalden talked with a colleague who had already had experiences in the field of data transfer to simplify the process. They join forces and brainstorm, choosing a name that they found one cheerful, wine-inspired evening. WeTransfer was founded in 2009—as a data transfer service in which users can share images, music, movies, texts, etc. with just the click of a button. Over 20 million downloads each month keep the small start-up afloat.
Nalden started blogging at the young age of 16 years. “I initially wanted to keep my friends in the loop, let them know what’s happening and which parties to go to,” he reminisces. “Then I started to add my thoughts.” It didn’t take long before sponsors contacted him, wanting to collaborate. They send him on trips, he gets private cars, meets interesting people and all that is asked in return is that he writes about his experiences. He left school at 18, feeling as if life itself is much more interesting and that he can learn about anything he wants to on the web.
Nalden works constantly with diverse artists and designers who construct and reconstruct the WeTransfer website. When he’s not online, he likes to go out, spend time with his friends, or drive his boat through Amsterdam. “I want to find the balance between online and offline,” he says. “Maybe start a family.”
And there it is again: this mischievous, quiet smile.
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