Michael Jordaan
Michael Jordaan

We question Michael Jordaan, co-founder and chairman of Bank Zero.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Deneys Reitz, who just got on his pony and started riding. Everyone should read and will enjoy his book/diary Commando.

What are you reading at the moment? What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (like Willy Wonka meeting The Matrix). Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (even if you disagree with
everything in it).

What was your first job?

An entrepreneur. I bred rabbits for the local pet shop and got the leftover veggies for free from a shop nearby to feed them. Rabbits breed fast and my input costs were very low. Taught me many lessons.

What is your biggest regret?

That I did not take more risks earlier in life. Your quality of life is directly proportionate to the (smart) risks that you are willing to take.

Which phrase or word do you most overuse?

"Could we try to do that via mail before just meeting, to save
time, please."

What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?

Mumbai. Somehow the Joburg flight arrived in the early hours of the morning and the queue to get past border control took three hours, by which time the sun was rising.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

My secret in life is that I surround myself with people who are far better than I am. I’m quite an ordinary guy but I love it when people around me perform well.

Is there such a thing as enough money and, if so, how much is it?

Yes, it is a simple decision and the actual amount will differ for each person. Unfortunately, our society confuses more money with more happiness, which is certainly not the case. We need remarkably little to be happy.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

Tarzan. I loved that he was able to first survive, then rule the jungle. Also that he lived in harmony with nature.

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Leave some money on the table for the other party.

How do you deal with stress? What are your top tips for handling stress?

Sleep and exercise.

On what occasion do you lie?

My sense is that we all lie to ourselves to justify things like: I’m too tired to exercise more or I will just eat these chips and be healthier tomorrow or I’ve worked hard enough today.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I learnt Latin at school and wish I could swap that for a living language.

Tell us about a hidden gem in SA not many people know about.

You will find me most often at the Bartinney Wine Bar in Stellenbosch or Genki (a sushi spot in the same town).