Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Diane Janknegt (DJ): I am an ex-Microsoft executive who worked for Microsoft Netherlands between 1997 – 2012. In this job I saw the ‘power of technology’. With great tech you can influence the lives of billions of people.
MB: What led you to start WizeNoze?
DJ: At Microsoft I saw that software can change the world. I wanted to develop software that would make the world a bit better and create a company like Wizenoze, which has an outstanding balance between profit and purpose.
MB: What are the main problems you are trying to solve?
DJ: The internet is the world’s most extensive library, and so should and could play a more significant part in education. If we unlock the right information, we can give students around the globe access to better resources, leading to better grades and better skills.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
DJ: Managing the challenges of exponential growth (200%), and finding the right people to accelerate the growth rapidly. We need people who are able to sell a solution, not just a product.
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
DJ: Global presence. We now have offices in Amsterdam, London and Delhi. Our next one will – most likely – be the Middle East.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
DJ: It’s a golden combination and the best there is – to create something that has a significant impact in such a way that people are willing to pay for it.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
DJ – There is always a way out, so look for opportunities and never ever give up! If it were easy, so many people would do it.
MB – Who inspires you?
DJ – Successful entrepreneurs who have built a great company. It’s so incredibly hard to do that I have enormous respect for everyone who does this successfully.
MB – How do you define success?
DJ – Reaching millions/billions of students who will actively use our products, affording them better learning outcomes.
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
DJ – Normally speaking it is work-life balance, but Coronavirus is helping a lot with that.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
DJ – “The Hard Things about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
MB – What do you do to relax?
DJ – Spend time with my kids, go to the gym, have dinners with friends, watch Netflix.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.