Whathas been the most defining moment of your career and what did you learn fromit?
The most significant event was decidingto start the Capitec Bank venture. It was the first real start-up venture I wasinvolved in and I didn’t realise at the time what it would take to build.
Whatwas the most important lesson you learned starting the company?
I learned about the gap that can existbetween your vision and strategy and the actual implementation of it. When westarted on the Capitec project we overestimated our ability to implement andlearned how important it is to tie the vision to how you are going to carry itout. I learned to plan things more carefully and also to ensure that you takethe whole team with you.
Whathave you had to work particularly hard at mastering?
I am not the most patient person andI’m not that inclined to spend too much time on the finer details of things.These are things I continually work on improving but at the same time Iimplement strategies to make up for my lack of strength in those areas. Ialways ensure I have strict quality controls in place to make sure that whileI’m driving results, things don’t fall through the cracks, and I always have adetail-driven person on my team.
Whathas been your most humbling business experience?
When we started Capitec Bank analystswere very sceptical about our ability to succeed. It was a good reality check,however, because it made us realise how very hard we’d have to work to make thecompany successful.
Intough economic times, what advice would you give to existing and aspirantentrepreneurs?
Focus on the opportunities, not on thenegative aspects of the downturn. Instead of looking at where you have to cutcosts, look at how you can maximise the opportunities that exist with yourexisting capacity. It is possible – sometimes it just requires a bit ofcreative thinking.
Whatare the most interesting changes you’ve seen in the financial services sectorduring your career, and where do you see the most significant changes in thefuture?
I expected to see more non-banks enterthe banking arena and this didn’t happen. The most significant change I’vewitnessed is banks’ increasing disinclination to interface directly withcustomers. Looking to the future I believe the banking market needs to providemore user-friendly instruments, particularly to facilitate payments. This isespecially relevant to the mass market. I think the credit crunch has shown usthat existing credit models are no longer relevant and I believe we will see arange of different approaches to providing credit in future.