Birger De Geyter is co-founder of Unlocked, an Antwerp gaming & esports agency that specializes in global customer support within this rapidly evolving industry. De Geyter has built up more than 20 years of experience, resulting in a worldwide network. In his spare time he enjoys a cozy restaurant or an exciting football match.
What do you consider to be your most important (entrepreneurial) characteristic?
“Perseverance. Sometimes it takes years for a project to come to fruition. Sometimes you also have to consult with a customer for longer and plan in order to convince him. Persistence is therefore necessary in this world.”
Where would you like to live/work/do business?
“Admittedly, it is not always easy to do business in Belgium, but personally I am still happy here. Don’t forget that we should be quite happy with the living conditions in this country. We take certain things for granted, while in other countries that is not always the case at all.”
“If I ever moved, I would like to live in Canada. I really like American sports, both in terms of experience and how they are approached economically from an entrepreneurial perspective. The sports competitions, teams,…, are healthy and sustainable. Profit maximization is important and always in balance with sports. In other words, profitability will not be compromised in order to win the championship at all costs, something we can learn a lot from in Europe.”
“I am less a fan of American cuisine. Everything is exaggerated: the portions, the calories, and so on. In Canada, on the other hand – especially in the French-speaking part such as Montreal – you will find French cuisine that we are of course also familiar with, but the country is largely part of the American sports ecosystem so that you best of both worlds gets. Canada is also a stable country from a macroeconomic point of view and has a strong society.”
I really like American sports, both in terms of experience and how they are approached economically from an entrepreneurial perspective
What are your favorite (brand) names?
“Nike and especially the story of founder Phil Knight. You can only admire how he has built up a sports empire as an Asics distributor!”
“The name, which comes from the Greek goddess of victory, the recognizable Nike ‘Swoosh’, which comes from her wing, how Nike continues to innovate with, among other things, the acquisition of RFKT within their digital strategy,…, all these things make me resolute choose Nike.”
What is your favorite motto?
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or in Cruyffian style: you have to shoot, otherwise you can’t score. It is essential as an entrepreneur that you keep trying. You also have to be prepared to accept negative outcomes, so that you will eventually also appreciate the positive extra.”
As an entrepreneur, you must be prepared to accept negative outcomes, so that you will eventually also appreciate the positive
“It’s also just a difficult business because if it were that simple, everyone would be doing it. A customer can reject your proposal several times, but if you learn from those rejections and get to know the customer better, you can achieve success with the next proposal.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
“The fact that I, together with my two partners, have been able to build Unlocked into the company it is today in 12 years. I am genuinely proud of the great course we have traveled with all our people and I hope that we can continue to build on this basis.”
Is there someone who has defined your life? In what sense?
“My father has had a huge influence on how I approach certain things. He has achieved a lot in the IT world and at one point was even country manager of Oracle Switzerland. Unfortunately he passed away much too soon 12 years ago, but there are certain principles he taught me that I still apply every day.”
What would a good old day be to you?
“Still working, but hopefully at a different pace by then (laughs).”