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Alon Lits. Picture: Supplied
Alon Lits. Picture: Supplied

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

Create long-term value for all parties.

What was your first job?

My father used to own a small pharmacy in Hillbrow. I used to help in the shop during school holidays.

How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?

My early pay cheques would go towards expenses around the house. I remember splurging on myself for the first time when I received my first bonus in banking and buying a PS3.

What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?

Don’t put too much pressure on making the "right" short-term decision. Make the best decision based on the information that you have today and trust that things will work out in the longer term (and course-correct if needed).

If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?

The lack of accountability.

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

I sold aromatherapy pillows in a mall in the US in 2003.

What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?

Taking a position in Chinese tech stocks and underestimating the level of regulatory interference that has taken place in that market.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?

It’s clichéd, but investing in myself. I chose to use savings and loans to pursue my MBA.

What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt?

Life is not always fair.

What do you consider an overrated virtue?

Patience.

What is something you’d go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?

I was incredibly scared of speaking in public when I was younger. I still get butterflies at times, but I never thought that it would be a phobia that I would overcome, or something that I enjoy.

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?

My little boy spent 10 days in NICU [newborn intensive care unit] when he was born (he is 100% fine now) but I felt so helpless and I regretted not having any skills to help him. At that point, I wish I had been a health-care professional. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for everyone in that sector, now more than ever.

If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?

Get off the fence on every position and take a strong stand to create accountability.

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