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Sometime ago, an acquaintance asked me why my car was so common; so pedestrian. Apparently I replied, “It’s not that important to me”. Bemused, he asked me to elaborate and I said, “My main concern is my two daughters’ future and education. It’s an asset for their future. I would rather spend my money on the best schools than a car”.
Earlier this year my friend was at my older daughter’s graduation party from medical school and reminded me of what I had said.
Though I had never put it into words, this philosophy, fortuitously (or subliminally!), I believe, has guided me through all of my endeavors. From my early schooling in Kenya to university in England, and eventually as an entrepreneur in California seeing through and investing in the future than in short-term gain is a lifelong lesson.
I suppose it began to take shape while at Oxford. Humbled by the history of the university, my footsteps echoed on the time-worn Balliol college quadrangle and always bounced back to me. I presume this is a living metaphor. The steps we take always echo back and remind us of our journey. They reverberate down the hall and let us know where we are going. Our actions today affect where we end up.
My time in places abroad has given me the diverse, multicultural and cosmopolitan life experiences and lessons that have uniquely enabled me to relate to those around me. I have tried to take the best of what I have learned from many cultures and apply those experiences to my career; starting out as a graduate management trainee at TI, and later as a strategy and management consultant at Booz Allen and Hamilton (London and New York), as a strategy consultant at Roland Berger & Partners (Munich), as a strategy and technology consultant at Nextera Interactive (Los Angeles), as an entrepreneur and founder of Comwave (first start-up), as a venture partner at IP Capital Partners (VC Fund) and most recently as a founder and president of Caneum Inc., (start-up and public company).
I have experienced many successes and a few setbacks both in my personal life and in business. I try to be honest, trustworthy and loyal as well as holding to my principle of seeing through and investing in the future not for short-term gain. My observation as I have worked with start-up companies and my roles as a founder, CEO, president and now as a coach and chair of a peer group of business owners and CEO’s is that quite often when these basics are compromised, success and satisfaction is that much harder to come by.