What’s your career/company story in a nutshell?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs so it wasn’t uncommon to discuss business ideas around the table from an early age. It was my interest in business, passion for problem-solving and my belief in value creation that led me to leave my job in investment banking and start my own businesses. I launched the online retailer www.yes-sir.com, digital publication www.boemagazine.com and most recently the world’s first exhibition and conference covering the future of millennial business, www.millennial20-20.com.
I genuinely believe that Millennial 20/20 Summit focuses at a unique time in industry, where large and small businesses are dealing with a more-complex and ever-evolving and powerful consumer that requires them to think of innovation, disruption and technology as key components of their future.
The Millennial 20/20 summit addresses exactly this like no other event series has done before. The two-day Millennial 20/20 Summit in London with Official Media Partner, Forbes, is the grand gathering of over 3,000 start-ups, brands, retailers and corporates with 3 conference stages, 4 industry sector tracks, 150 incredible speakers, 40 exhibitors, 4 live immersive showcases and a series of networking opportunities through the day and night. Speakers include Alan Yau, Rio Ferdinand, Intercontinental Hotels CEO, Formula-E CEO, FarFetch CMO, Pepsico Head of Digital, Selfridges Head of Digital Marketing and many more speakers from companies such as Uber, Trip Advisor, Cambridge Satchel Company, Manchester United, McDonalds and Jamie Oliver.
What has been your proudest career moment, so far?
I am not sure there has been one moment worthy of great praise so far in my career, but I am proud of the awards and accolades that Yes Sir has achieved as a team since its inception. I am both proud and flattered that we are currently working with so many huge global brands and partners with Millennial 20/20.
Describe your workspace. Are you tidy, or do you work in organised chaos?
I am ever-changing the spaces in which I work from the official office, to the travelling office, to mixed working spaces or member clubs; and quite often a final preparation for the following day at a more relaxed and comfortable home office…so a mix of the two. Despite the multiple office environments, I focus on complete and unfettered preparation and organisation.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee in the morning, Green Tea in the afternoons and Red Bush Tea in the evenings. There is some method in the madness.
Which stationery item could you not live without?
My Notebook – I take it everywhere with me and although I embrace technology in all other areas of my businesses, I still like to make hand-written notes in meetings.
Which workplace habit can you not stand?
I’m pretty easy-going – there isn’t much that bothers me.
What is the best thing that your business success has allowed you to do?
Freedom and to work with people, I genuinely enjoy working with and get inspired by every day.
Who is your business idol, and why?
My Father – he arrived in the UK from East Africa in the early 1970’s – having left everything behind in Uganda and having to start again from scratch. A successful serial entrepreneur himself, he has always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and be the best versions of ourselves.
What advice would you give to people starting their own business?
There are 4 key tips that I would give to new entrepreneurs:
Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure – the most successful businesses did not end up being the same business model or the exact vision that the company started as. Failure allows you to start again more smartly and is an invaluable learning opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to change your vision as you go along or pivot your business model. Sometimes what you thought would be your strongest USP may not be and you may uncover other revenue opportunities that you didn’t know about. Instagram is one of many examples of this – it didn’t start out even with the name Instagram (Burbn) and its business model was totally different initially.
Find a mentor – it can be daunting when starting out in a new industry or starting your own business. Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice and mentorship – you will be surprised how many people are willing to help entrepreneurs and you will be surprised how much you can gain from mentors who know your industry, and can open doors that would take you ten times longer to open.
Build a network before you need it – somebody gave me this advice at the very start of my entrepreneurial journey and it was invaluable.
What’s your secret to success in one sentence?
Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity.
How do you switch off?
I do yoga and meditation nearly every morning – I believe it provides me with balance, perspective, peace of mind, gratitude and clarity each day.