Imagine a Newton’s cradle with more than one line of steel balls. Imagine a Newton’s cradle with five or six lines – all in different planes. That’s what it’s like at ASML. Here, people’s ideas and initiatives set things into motion in ways that are almost impossible to predict, which makes it an exciting place to work. I half expected this before I started, it’s inevitable when you’re working at the very borders of known science and technology. And now, after working here for five months I feel that it’s only natural that the whole environment at ASML should have this “uncertainty”. After all, the company invests very intensely in R&D and operates a very fast time-to-market – this is an inevitable cocktail of uncertainty. Heisenberg would love it.
Even with all this dynamic unpredictability, the company continues to deliver reliability to its customers. That’s why ASML is the preferred lithography supplier by all of the world’s top-ten microchip manufacturers. So it is a bit of a paradox – a risk-taking, uncertain environment is required to create highly reliable state-of-the-art products.
If ASML was a sport, what would it be?
A sport whose rules change continuously. This sport hasn’t been invented yet, but if it ever is invented, ASML would be world champion.
Well obviously ASML’s reputation of high technology appealed to me, but I also wanted to graduate at a large production company. So when I saw the project for factory layout and control optimization on the ASML website I sent my application right there and then.
Apart from technical knowledge what else have you learned?
In a very diverse environment like ASML with plenty of very bright people, I quickly learned that you have to choose your battles. Only try to change the opinions of other people about the things that you are really passionate about. If you choose carefully, you can make a difference. If you try to change all the opinions you are not sure of, you will simply run out of energy. I think that’s a valuable lesson that will help me throughout my career.