Q&A in NRC Handelsblad

“We were not a rich family. My mother is unfit for work and my father is originally from Bosnia. My allowance was ten cents a week. But what you don’t have, you don’t miss. And my childhood taught me that even with little money, you can still have fun and be happy. When I want to go do something fun now, I still do inexpensive things. When the weather is nice, I make a trip to Zandvoort by bicycle.”

Work schedule
“’Balance’ is the keyword to me. That means I particularly want variation — not having the same conversation five times in one day. I don’t schedule more than two important meetings on the same day. I don’t care for this whole issue of work time versus private time, by the way. I never keep track of my worked hours either; that’s just not the way I think about work. A lot of people think of ‘work’ on a sort of meta-level, the same way they’d think of ‘life’. That just overcomplicates things.”

“Just my phone’s browser — and the weather forecast, of course. Apps as we know them now will not exist in the future. Mobile internet evolved very quickly, of course, and every smartphone manufacturer very quickly created their own operating system. That’s cumbersome for companies that want to work with apps, like banks; now they have to make an app for five different systems. I predict that all these different versions of apps will make way for mobile websites that can be accessed from any smartphone.”

Management book
“The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. It’s not about running a business or about management, it’s about themes like love and wisdom. I find it mirrors my way of thinking, as it were. When I broke up with my girlfriend, I gifted her a copy, to show her how I see the world.”

Most valued possession
“My piano. I play it every morning and every evening. It creates a sense of consistency and helps me in a creative sense too.”

“My grandfather from Bosnia. He’s passed away now, but he moved to the Netherlands as a refugee during the Balkan wars. I’d remembered him as a bulky, strong man, but when we picked him up at the airport, I could have counted his ribs through his t-shirt. It baffled him that he simply got a state pension here. We’d explain that the Netherlands are a welfare state, but he’d still think it was strange. He was a mechanical engineer by trade. He decided to start repairing people’s broken electric devices in the neighbourhood, in exchange for having a chat to learn Dutch. He’s what made me realise you need to make something of life.”

Best advice
“Being an entrepreneur for a long time will make you become a little calculating, in the sense that you’ll learn to think in terms of scenarios. In a given situation, I always want to think five steps ahead. Following other people’s advice, I’ve stopped doing that in my private life. Go travel. Just do nothing for a day. For business decisions, you need to be calculating in a certain way, but in your private life you can be silly, strange, offbeat or special.”

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