BACKSTORY: Kagiso Khaole, general manager at Uber Sub-Saharan Africa
In the spotlight this week is Kagiso Khaole, general manager for the ride-hailing and food delivery company’s operations in Sub-Saharan Africa
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Beware of sunk costs. Too often bad deals are made because the parties are under pressure to justify the time, effort and money spent on the negotiation. Fight expediency.
What was your first job?
My first corporate job was legal risk consultant at Investec, where I prepared and reviewed deals at the private bank.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
My first take-home salary was about R9,000; I think it went to buying formal shirts for work and saving for a car
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Albert Einstein’s quote: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
With 33% of South Africans unemployed, this is a major issue to be addressed. I believe technology and platforms such as Uber are pivotal to creating avenues for people to access earning opportunities.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I was never a voracious reader, but ever since 2020, I have gone through about 35 books a year. This was inspired by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal target of reading 30 books a year. I hope to surpass 50 books in a calendar year very soon.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
Not entering equity markets early enough in my career.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?
Investing aggressively during the Covid pandemic. Mostly luck.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently and why did you like it?
Master of Change by Brad Stulberg is a timely and practical reminder that we need to embrace instability and constant change.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Life owes you nothing. It’s up to you to make the most of everything it offers.
What phrase or bit of jargon irks you most?
“I don’t have enough bandwidth.”
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
Definitely the travel stories; I’ve been blessed to see many parts of the world.
If you were Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
Education. Education. Education. We need to do more to expose the youth to the possibilities available today. Formal schooling, while important, is not the only way. There are in-demand global skills that can be acquired through certifications and other nontraditional interventions.
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