BACKSTORY: UCook CEO David Torr
We question CEO and co-founder of UCook David Torr
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Often too much emphasis is placed on the terms of a deal when these are but one expression of the underlying objective. Understand your opposition’s objectives and shape your proposal and adjustments around these. Very often there are solutions that align the interests of all parties. To come to these solutions we must first identify the drivers behind the terms proposed.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
What was your first job?
The first time I made money I was selling firecrackers at school — I was 12. My first job was as a chef on a yacht. I was fired after two weeks.
What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of 16th-century cutlery.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience, as a true virtue, is of great importance — but too often it is apathy veiled as a virtue.
What is your biggest regret?
My father passed away when I was 13. Driving out of my mother’s house in Constantia, he said his goodbyes and then joked: "Just call me ‘Wallet’." We had just been to the mall for my birthday and I had nagged him to purchase a host of unnecessary things. My relationship with my father was characterised by this kind of behaviour. Had I had a second chance, I would have asked for fewer of the things that didn’t matter and more of his time.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
What is your biggest indulgence?
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Rand al’Thor from the Wheel of Time series.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
It was in Angola.
On what occasion do you lie?
Outright lying is not something I do.
Tell us about a hidden gem in SA that not many people know about.
Carlyles on Derry in Vredehoek. It has a relaxed atmosphere that’s great for conversation, and the food is both well priced and tasty.
What are you reading at the moment? What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?
The Founder’s Mentality by Chris Zook and James Allen, and Dune by Frank Herbert and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
David from the Bible. I feel my adolescence and initial years after school were distinguished by expectations of failure and a set of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Through sheer luck and a do-or-die attitude I feel I have managed to rise above challenges and expectations, and I feel prepared for what will undoubtedly be a challenging road ahead.