We question Frank Knight, CE of Debtsource.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I taught myself to speak German from reading Asterix comics. My sister married a German and at 16 I took my first trip there. Having "studied" all the Asterix books as a teenager I managed to figure out the German dialogue.
What is your biggest regret?
I don’t spend much time looking back. I was offered an opportunity in Canada 15 years ago and sometimes wonder how that would have panned out ... The road not taken and all that sort of thing.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
Undoubtedly the Okavango! With the highest concentration of game for any of the parks, the place is an absolute haven for photographers and bird lovers. Quite mystical — I love it.
What was your first job?
Working as a computer operator for Sappi. I did that for six months and nearly went brain-dead.
What are you reading at the moment? What books should everyone read?
I’m reading Age of Discovery right now. The book everyone should read is The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, on the life of Warren Buffett. The book is littered with life lessons on a wide range of topics, though that’s not what it sets out to do. I always find biographies a great source of learning — this one tops my list.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
I’m not materialistic and hate spending money. Having said that, I see travelling as an investment, so will happily spend on that. My favourite destination is anywhere in Europe. I love the vibe.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"The most uncommon thing in this world is common sense."
Is there such a thing as "enough money"?
I read somewhere that enough money is defined as 20 times your present annual salary. I really like that definition — it appeals to my sense of structure.
What is the most overrated virtue?
Righteousness. As you mature you discover that people are never just one thing. We are all a combination of assets and liabilities — that’s what makes us work, I think. Righteousness tends to focus on only the liabilities of others, ignoring our own, of course.
How do you handle stress? What are your top tips for dealing with stress?
Sweat the big stuff! I see so many people get stressed over piffle such as traffic or paying cognisance to a-holes. Really?
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Definitely Asterix — his pragmatism in a sea of madness resonates with me.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
Abu Simbel in Egypt. My wife and I went there while cruising the Nile and got stuck at the airport for a few hours while they fixed the plane with Band-Aids in 50°C. Never again!
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Stop selling! Start listening, understanding and consulting. People do business with real people who offer genuine solutions.