Lachlan Hicks (32) was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He’s been with Peecho over the last five years now, and has staked out a name for himself as the company’s new market explorer. At the moment of the interview, he’s enjoying a week off on the isle of Mallorca.
My girlfriend Ruby and I both finished our university studies and wanted to go to Europe. From an Australian perspective, you have three options because English is widely spoken there. If you’re fully career-focussed, you go to London. Into partying? It’s Berlin for you. But if you want a bit of both, you literally go in between, to Amsterdam. It’s a great city, not too overwhelming, but big enough for us. Besides, there are plenty of cultural things to do and it’s well-connected.
All in all, Australians and the Dutch are actually very similar. Both thrive on good senses of humor, love to travel, and have a good time. The Dutch directness was a bit of a culture shock, I must say. I remember asking a new acquaintance "How are you doing" (a pretty standard greeting in Australia that usually elicits a standard response) and getting an intimate blow-by-blow of his recent break-up. I appreciate the honest, direct nature though - makes it easier to get to know people and helps cut to the chase in the workplace.
The Dutch also have a great attitude towards work-life balance. Some of my friends back home only travel once every few years. For them, it feels like I am "always on vacation". The mix works well though - you can see that from the thriving startup/scaleup scene here in Amsterdam.
“I love the straightforward attitude of the Dutch”
I love the straightforward attitude of the Dutch too. There was one minor culture clash five years ago, on my first working day. During the interview a week before, I asked what time Peecho usually starts. Eric, the CEO, said about nine. Now, in Australia, if the CEO says nine, they usually mean you should show up at least an hour earlier. So I showed up at a quarter to nine thinking I’d be very late. But there was nobody there! They really did start at nine.
I wear a few different hats, but my official job title is Partnerships and New Market Development Manager. I look for new market segments which can benefit from Peecho’s solution. I'll work with marketing and product development to make sure we have a good value proposition for these segments and go off and build up the initial customer base. That’s what I do day to day. It’s very entrepreneurial, and I like that.
While Peecho has a number of established customer segments, we're continuously finding that our global print solution is relevant for all types of businesses. For context, when I started at Peecho, we were largely a solution for online magazines to sell in print. We served a few bigger companies, but being a platform for online content companies was not yet our commercial focus. We saw there was lots of potential there, we just weren't actively approaching them yet. We had the solution and service for them, we just needed to change our marketing and sales approach and a whole new wave of growth opened up to us. Since then, we've continued to keep our eyes open and it's served us well.
I like OneClickLayout, a business-to-business photo layout service that helps apps turn user generated content into a branded photobook in a single click. We were the first to market to offer a solution like this for the content app niche. This was really born of a need we saw in our own sales process. The first apps we contacted had a critical mass of users and lots of user engagement, but they just couldn’t think of a way to monetize that.
“Our OneClickLayout is the ideal monetization solution for companies that don’t have the expertise to build their own”
We said: “Here’s a wonderful solution: why not turn your content into a photobook?” It’s a great idea, but most app companies don’t have the capacity or expertise to develop this from scratch. So they need third-party software. After some searching, we realized there wasn’t a solution out there that fit the needs of these highly design-driven brands. That was the start of the OneClickLayout journey.
It was a nice puzzle to create a product offering that worked for the diverse needs of our clients. At the same time, we had to make it work for Peecho as well, try to fit it in our existing ways of working and design a commercial offering that made sense for all parties, you know. The whole process was really fun, particularly when it came to finding takers for the beta version, improving it, and then setting up sales processes.
Each market brings its own challenges. It’s never a set way of working. Our Marketing and Sales departments cooperate closely to ensure that the strategies align.
On a macro level, there is a big shift from offset printing to printing on demand. That’s not so much driven by cost motivations, but more so by sustainability considerations. Big corporations are taking measures to cut back their emissions, for instance by shifting their focus from single-supply to localized printing. Huge print runs lead to overprinting, so it’s a good thing many organizations are trying to tackle that. We’re lucky our business is more sustainable by nature.
“We’re lucky our business is more sustainable by nature”
As a company that’s scaling up, there’s always work to be done. It has this vibe of always hunting for ways to level up. We’re competing against the big names, which gives us a certain drive and clear goals, and reasons to do things better than we’re already doing. That makes it exciting.
It’s also incredibly social. It’s grown from a smaller to a bigger team, but it still has its close-knit company culture. There's a low power distance, it really doesn’t matter if you’re CEO or part of the support team. Feedback is always appreciated, of course in a respectful way. We’re all in it together. Sometimes someone else’s suggestion or solution really is the best way forward. Be humble and listen.
“Peecho has this vibe of always hunting for ways to level up”
Not much, I keep my heart on my sleeve. I consider myself a pretty friendly and open guy. I’m trying to be upright, hold myself professionally, and work hard. You don’t have to be polished, just be authentic and truthful.
As for my spare time, I used to be into bouldering, but then COVID-19 hit. Nowadays I like to go on long walks with my girlfriend. I’ve also recently taken a month off from alcohol and started exercising to get my health back on track. In that respect, a workation in Mallorca could help me up my vitamin D levels.
Read more about Peecho's work culture, mission and perks here.