BACKSTORY: Waldo Marcus of TPN Credit Bureau
This week we profile TPN Credit Bureau’s Waldo Marcus
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Gain insight into the client’s industry to pinpoint overarching challenges, which in turn reveal genuine opportunities.
What was your first job?
My first full-time position was as a marketing manager at a family-run polyethylene plastics company, to develop new product ideas and take them to the market. But at a young age I started delivering newspapers in a very hilly suburb of Pretoria.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was R7,000. In typically youthful fashion, I opted to finance my first car. Perhaps this indulgence was partly driven by the extensive hours I had spent delivering newspapers on my bicycle.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
If you don’t know something, find it out. Self-doubt will slow your growth immensely — but be careful of misplaced confidence.
If you could fix only one thing in South Africa, what would it be?
The political leadership, and the will of those in government to grow this country without favouritism.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I love travelling, and fly a lot, but have an immense fear of landing. Those moments just before touching down are the longest 10 seconds.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
I took shares in a startup, which I traded for my small consulting company and a full-time employment contract. The startup failed terribly, and I lost millions as well as my consulting business.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Do not ignore your intuition about people. If you feel uneasy about a person or a situation, stop and listen to yourself.
What phrase or bit of jargon irks you most?
What would you go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
Progress is better than perfection. Care about your inner voice, not others’ loud opinions. And cars are not a good investment.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would implement a national standard valuation methodology for municipalities to determine rates and tax calculations, underpinned with clear minimum requirements for service delivery. I would also introduce harsher penalties, criminal or financial, for politicians and parties that purposely disrupt the effective management of municipalities to benefit their position.
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