BACKSTORY: Tom Marsicano
We question Tom Marsicano, CEO of ‘and Change’
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Do business with integrity. The best business is straight business where both parties benefit. Our business community is small enough for reputations to be nurtured and grown.
What was your first job?
I helped my parents with their restaurant (I was 12). My first full-time job was at the university of commerce, also known as a bank, straight out of school.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
About R220 a month. Some went to my parents, some I spent on fun stuff, and half I saved and when I accumulated enough, I used that to invest in the stock market. It was easier in those days — some shares sold for 10c a share.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Life is a journey of self-discovery. Expect to learn about yourself every day.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
The idea that there is only one thing to fix. There are many aspects of our society that need attention. Perhaps the most destructive is the cancer of corruption. It distorts the economy, erodes trust, and raises the cost of everything.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish I had started trading in bitcoin in 2016.
What is the hardest life lesson you have learnt so far?
People are not the same. Often trust given is repaid with consideration and honesty. But it has happened that trust was repaid with theft and deceit.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
Do what you love doing — don’t chase the money. If you do what you love doing you will do it well, and the money will follow you.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And if so, what would that career be?
I never wanted to trade it all in for another career. I was fortunate to be given the ability to see areas of change and opportunity, and to not be afraid to take those chances. Not all of them worked well, but I don’t regret any of the choices.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would make clear what the principles are that we shall use to govern our country and dismiss all who do not behave according to those principles, quickly and without exception.
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