Meet some of the BSL team
BSL is a Dutch company with a British director. So when you visit the BSL team, you’ll hear both Dutch and English, and sometimes Brutch. In a world of “databases, technical design, JSON, assets, responsive web design and web services”, Brutch can be extremely useful!
“Nemo hic adest illius nominis”
I’ve been told to “keep it short”. No stories about my time spent in a nunnery (learning Dutch!), or my many years flying round the world creating software and astronomical bar bills. Short and sweet is the motto…
Martyn Simpson – Director
The Bright Side changes continuously, but I’m still the sole director. I can usually be found behind a computer, either in our offices in de Corridor, or at my home office in Breukelen. Unfortunately I have too few chances to write software myself, but my love for software development remains. I spend as much time as possible working together with our engineers and designers, just to keep pace with the rapid changes. BSL/the Bright Side of Life is the perfect platform for applying new technology.
Life beyond BSL includes keeping in touch with my very independent offspring (Geoffrey, Emily). My wife Michele works alongside us here in the Corridor 3 days a week. It also means endless (alternative) music, radio drama and an ever-expanding collection of films. Yes, I still buy the damn things – streaming just doesn’t satisfy the collector in me. I have never lost my love for new and alternative music, and so you can often find me at the Paradiso, the Tivoli or Melkweg – although I’m a little older than the average visitor!
My spare time is often consumed by house maintenance – which helps me relax. During the winter I have given up falling out of Christmas trees, or breaking limbs skating. Instead I slowly work my way through my collection of Islay malts. Or visit parts of the world I’ve not yet seen – and watch cricket in distant (hot) lands.My life in England is a distant memory now, but I still occasionally visit Leicester – my birthplace. Nowadays I enjoy being a tourist in London, and in the many beautiful parts of the British landscape.
Web content is an essential part of my life both here at BSL, and at home. This brings me endless music (Spotify and Tidal), Films/TV (iTunes), and online shopping. As an ex-pat Brit, I use the BBC for much of my entertainment. Online BBC radio 4 is one of my favourites – along with BBC online cricket commentaries. I’m one of the many Archers addicts worldwide – a radio soap that is now more than 60 years old! The BBC worldwide iPlayer brings some of the best of the BBC to my iPad, and my browser. This is an almost endless source of new drama and comedy. It also provides access to ageless material from the past. Programs like Blackadder and Fawlty Towers. All in all: too much stuff, and not enough time to enjoy it all!
Time to go, the word count meter is glowing red. As James T. Kirk would say:
Me transmitte sursum, caledoni.
PA/Client Relations Manager
Since mid November 2012, I can be found working three days per week at the Bright Side of Life. Starting as interim Office Manager, my new function from 1 September 2013 will be Personal Assistent and Client Relations Manager. My duties will include providing support to the Director (agenda/marketing/personnel), but I’ll also focus on sales/customer relations.
I’m extremely pleased to be given this opportunity within BSL, and see it as a new and exciting challenge.
After completing my training as Director’s assistant, my career went in a completely different direction. Via a recruitment agency I was introduced to the world of commerce, and I subsequently found myself carrying out a variety of roles for several different employers, from Intermediary to Office Manager.
I also worked for a year as a stewardess with Martinair before motherhood beckoned. After my two sons were born, I put work on the back burner for a while so that I could concentrate on ‘the kids’ when they were small.
Now that those two small kids have become teenagers and are spreading their own wings, I’ve been able to develop my career further. I’ve worked for nearly 2 years with a placement bureau carrying out back office work, and in 2012 I completed a 3-month project for a major energy supplier where I was responsible for managing a team of 12 hostesses.
And when I’m not working, I like to enjoy life to the full – for example, spending time in Amsterdam.
If you have any queries related to BSL’s financial administration, Michele Simpson can be found three days a week at BSL – working on invoicing, payment of bills and salaries, and looking after our maintenance contracts.
Michele Simpson – Financial administrator
As you may guess from my surname, I’ve been involved with BSL since its very earliest beginnings, when the company was first registered at our house in Breukelen in 1990. After the ‘Bright Side’ became a B.V and moved to its first ‘proper’ office in Maarssen a year later, I remained closely involved with all aspects of BSL’s administration, eventually becoming a paid employee in 2004 at the insistence of the Dutch tax authorities.
In my current role, I also help out in the secretariaat if the Office Manager or Office Assistant are away, and provide extra backup during busy periods.
So, if you hear a strange English accent on the phone when you ring our offices, it’s undoubtedly me! And of course, I also do any Dutch-English translations that may be needed, and work on English-language blog items for the BSL and DilemmaMatch websites.
When not working at BSL, I also carry out translation and editing work from BSL’s original office at our home address. As our two children have now ‘flown the nest’, any remaining hours in the week might be spent watching a film, enjoying a meal (home-cooked or otherwise!), or simply relaxing with a good book.
And when Martyn’s busy work schedule permits, I also enjoy visiting as many corners of the Netherlands as possible with him – or anywhere else in the world as well!
I’ve even been known to indulge Martyn by accompanying him to cricket matches throughout the world, but for obvious reasons I prefer the Caribbean to a cold September in Nottingham!
System Architect / Information Analyst
I’d already discovered my interest in computers from a young age, and it was an easy choice for me to pursue a career in this field. I first followed a study in Information Science at the Hogeschool van Utrecht, before putting my accumulated skills into practice at a number of companies. I then joined BSL as a software engineer in 1995, where my current position is System Architect / Information Analyst.
At BSL, I soon began to focus on the functional and technical design aspects of application and system development, working closely with our clients to meet their specific requirements. I also became increasingly involved in preparing offers, particularly where design aspects play an important role. I immersed myself too in developing systems using Oracle DBMS as the primary platform. In other words, I’ve been involved across the whole spectrum of system development during my years at BSL!
And when I’m not sitting behind my computer keyboard, I can often be found sitting at a piano keyboard. I’m a keen jazz pianist in my free time, performing in different groups and bands. I like to explore the great outdoors as well, and particularly enjoy active sports such as running, cycling and sailing.
Java / Senior software engineer
My name is Peter, and I work at BSL as a Java / Senior software engineer. Among my various activities at BSL are devising technical and functional designs, translating these designs into working code, and testing the code and offering customer support.
I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Utrecht. I then went on to carry out research into complexity theory (searching for efficient algorithms used in the solution of problems) for the university’s Department of Information and Computing Sciences. On the basis of this study, I was awarded my Ph.D. on 1 February 2006.
I am also involved with computers in my spare time.
Junior Java Developer
I have a Masters in Social Psychology. An unusual combination for a software developer! The reason I choose Psychology was because I’m interested in how people behave. But once I’d got my Masters and began job hunting, I realised that I couldn’t honestly see myself working as a psychologist. Which of course meant I had to decide on an alternative career that I would enjoy. From a young age, I’ve had a passion for software. It’s great to create software, or modify code to make software perform as you want. Also I enjoy seeing the results almost immediately, which gives me a sense of satisfaction. So with all this in mind, I changed direction to follow a Java developer course. I plan to learn other languages in the future as well.
My free time
Even when I’m not working, I’m busy with computers and software. I enjoy reading articles about programming, but plenty of other subjects as well! In other words, I like to learn new things. That’s why I’m currently spending time finding out about do-it-yourself in the house, and gardening. And although I guess it almost goes without saying that I often play computer games, old-fashioned board games are just as enjoyable. And the occasional film or TV series. And last but not least, I have a couple of pets. My cat Mozzy and my axolotis. An axolotis is an Mexican water salamander that can grow its own body parts (including brains!). And… they always look really happy 🙂
Since May 2018 I’ve been working at BSL as a web developer. I immediately started a challenging Drupal project, where I mainly worked on the front-end. At BSL there is a lot of diversity in projects, which makes the work unpredictable – but also provides lots of opportunities to learn new skills. So maybe working on a front-end project today, and then working on a back-end problem the next day.
I work alongside a great team of developers with a lot of knowledge and experience in various fields. So help is always at hand.
I started with DTP work, designing house styles, advertising work etc. After having made some designs for websites, I thought, why don’t I learn to build the sites myself. It’s taken about 3 years full-time study of various programming languages and technologies to get where I am now. I started exploring various CMS frameworks, (Joomla, Drupal, WordPress) and began work as a freelancer. With all the projects that I’ve worked on, I’ve been used to working as a full-stack developer. That’s what I prefer, because I don’t have a strong preference for front- or back-end web development.
In my free time, I indulge my passion for cooking. I love good food, and I like to cook for friends.
I also work a lot with computers and the internet, discovering new technologies and tools. Actually always working on expanding my knowledge, experimenting with new tools or frameworks. And if I have some time left, then I’m relaxing on the couch watching a movie.
In 2016, I joined BSL as a Front-end Developer. As my work in this role overlaps that of designer and developer, I have the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and expertise of colleagues involved in software development as well as design, whilst learning the in-and-outs of BSL.
When a computer first appeared in my childhood home in 1993, I soon discovered that as well as using it to play video games, it could be used for making things too – it wasn’t long before I began creating web sites, music and pictures outside of school hours!
In 2006, I decided to study BAT Design for Virtual Theater and Games (now known as Interactive Performance Design), faculty Theater at the HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht. During my course, I was able to build up wide-ranging experience of interaction in its broadest sense, from stories and animations through to games and interactive art installation. This was also the time when the popularity of mobile platforms was growing fast, giving me plenty of opportunity to be involved from the very beginning. After graduating in 2011, I started work as a free-lancer, working on a variety of projects where the focus was on web- and mobile technology.
As for what I enjoy in my free time… it’ll come as no surprise that I still like to spend it making things. Artwork, small web- and mobile development projects, or sketches for example. And I’ve now swapped making music to making my own radio programme. I’ve recently even been able send out my own test broadcasts via Internet, but the next challenge will of course be to find listeners who want to listen to it…
My name is Marc, and – as a graphic designer – I take care of all things to do with graphics at the Bright Side of Life.
For me, working at BSL means working on many different and diverse projects. One day I could be helping out with system management, the next day I could be working on brochures. And I can always keep myself occupied with web-design for our customers.
Because my hobbies – gaming, computers, internet and photography – started playing a larger role in my life, I decided to look for something in these areas to make a living from. I succeeded, and after some wandering through the world of IT I finally ended up at BSL as a graphic designer. I have been working here since 2002, and if it’s up to me I’ll be staying here for a while longer!
Despite the fact that BSL is based in Breukelen, which is near Utrecht, I still live in Apeldoorn as this is where all my friends and family live. Unfortunately, this means a daily bout of traffic jams, but luckily I know many alternative routes. Besides, working at BSL is well worth the effort!
Hi, my name is Diana. On 1 January 2007 my year couldn’t have started better: that day I began my new job as office assistant at Bright Side of Life.
And I’m still just as enthusiastic now as I was on that first day: BSL is a fun place to work, with unique, professional colleagues who are all driven to help our customers the best way they can.
Right after I finished my training as European Executive Secretary / Management Assistant I worked for several years as a financial administrative assistant at Albron Catering. But when I discovered BSL, I knew this was the company I had always been looking for.
Outside of work, my passion are my two sons Quinten and Damian. None of us at home can sit still, so we often go out to various places; either just the four of us, or in the company of friends. I also have several hobbies such as Showdance and Zumba, but enjoy shopping or going out for a nice meal too.
When we’re having some peace and quiet together, I often take long walks with the family, or I can be found behind my phone (read: Facebook games). But I can entertain myself just as well with an exciting film or book.
At the beginning of 1998, BSL was joined by Eek. Nobody knows exactly what he does, but he – perhaps influenced by a a famous family member – claims he is a librarian. Nobody at BSL believes this, but as long as he doesn’t leave banana peels around the office and doesn’t eat our lunch, we’re fine with that.
He has never been known to buy a round of drinks, using the poor – but unfortunately accurate – excuse that he has nowhere to keep a wallet.
His hobbies are apparently eating, drinking (excessively), and picking fleas. He is a very low cost resource (we pay him peanuts).