BACKSTORY: Jonathan Ayache
We question Jonathan Ayache, the co-founder and CEO of Lift Airline
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Listen, listen, listen. The most effective negotiators I’ve seen are the ones who truly listen to the other party, understand their goals and then respond thoughtfully rather than just talking through what they want out of the deal.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a business analyst for a small management consultancy. I worked on projects in the hospitality, financial services, housing, insurance, banking and retail sectors.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I think it was about R12,000 a month. I’ve always believed that "a penny saved is a penny earned" and I think most of my disposable income went towards a deposit on a flat which I was very focused on buying so that I could get into the property market.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
I’m by nature an introvert and when I was at university and in the first few years of my first job I didn’t realise the value and importance of building my network.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
Create an environment of accountability and consequences.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I took a year off after school and worked in the kitchen of a kibbutz in Israel, serving hundreds of people every day. While I’m much better at cutting vegetables, I still can’t cook very well.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
When I was at university a friend and I decided to try trading futures. Let’s just say it didn’t end well and a few margin calls and thousands of rands later we realised we were in over our heads.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?
It’s not really a financial investment but one of the best decisions of my career was to join Uber when it was still very much a start-up.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Comfort — it’s only when we push ourselves outside our comfort zones that we are really learning and growing.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
I co-founded and became the CEO of an airline :)
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
Stop talking and start taking action.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.