Paul Santos is the CEO of Ethiopia. Paul is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Paul provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Ethiopia. Paul Santos joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team is delighted to have Paul join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Paul, thank you so much for taking the timea out of your busy day to answer our questions about leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. Paul, please tell us about Ethiopia. What is the elevator pitch?
Working in Ethiopia which is still very underdeveloped in terms of internet and web sites it is like a new ground, it is like a pioneer experience, it is exciting and very rewarding.
2. What is the one thing that makes Ethiopia great?
The potential for Ethiopia is enormous, 100 million people mostly very young, they are full of resources and anxious to join the internet. Internet is still very expensive one of the most expensive in Africa, although it was substantially reduced a few months ago, there is on the cards further reductions on the price per giga, so it looks bright. Imagine so many millions, so many business and very few internet hosting providers in the all country.
3. Please tell us what is the key to being a great entrepreneur?
Ability to keep working when everything seems to fail, even when your best friends and your family tells you that you should give up. If you want to be a great entrepreneur, you have to work hard and persevere, we must believe that those efforts will pay off.
4. What is the best advice can you give to a young entrepreneur just starting out with a new venture?
The world needs more and more entrepreneur to make people’s life easier. Load of problems needs to be resolved in this world, particularly in the developing countries and specially in Ethiopia. Each problem spans a million dollar opportunity to be tapped and exploited. However, it is not that if you solve the problem people will get to know about it of their own and come running to take the solution. It is Entrepreneur’s responsibility to create visibility of the solution, provide easy access and way through wide distribution channels. He should bring out its economical or emotional value.
A first time entrepreneur should consider these parameters and must avoid making mistakes as it costs time, money and other resources.
Startup is a journey, a long trail of five to six years of facing social and mental challenges, hurdles, financial crisis, work life balance issue etc with an abnormally low success rate. But, the true picture is not that gloomy as it sounds. The journey entrepreneur is fun if you have passion.
5. What is the one thing that you, as a person, want to be known for?
Well I would be happy if in 10 years down the line, young entrepreneurs would appreciate my commitment to developing and help integrate Ethiopian business with the internet.
6. When building a business, what is the one most important thing to keep in mind at all times?
There are many reasons that lead people into starting their own business. Most of them only think about the profit, but I can’t say I agree with this way of thinking. Yes, making money is important, but if you put your main focus solely on that, you won’t stay long on the market. The competition will outrun you, the lack of ideas will lead to failure. This even means that you will only make a short-term profit, thus failing to do what you wanted in the first place. So, focus on investing in your future.
You need to have the passion for the profession, you have to strive to make a change. Be a leader instead of a boss.
Some people start a business because they have an idea and want to show it to the world. I started my own business because I was fed up with working for people that didn’t appreciate my effort. When I finally realized what I wanted to do, I didn’t think of money or success, it is what I wanted to do more than anything, it is my life.
7. When hiring employees, what is the one most important thing you look for?
To find people with more knowledge then yourself.
8. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning?
This is me, I jump out of my bed, it is a new day and new opportunities, I wish that I didn’t need to sleep.
9. What is the one thing that makes a great company?
Passion, passion. When you work with a customer do not think in terms of your profits but how to improve and help your customer.
10. What is the one thing that makes a great leader?
A leader who Is constantly trying to avoid failure means a leader who is very unlikely to take the risks necessary to achieve success.
A good leader is not seeking failure, no, but a good leader doesn’t fear it. When failure takes place, they think about what they can learn from the situation and move on! See failure as a learning opportunity, not a setback.
And last delegate, delegate, a leader should see the all picture not just part of it.
Paul Santos, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We appreciate you participating in this important roundtable interview series, and helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Ethiopia, nothing but the best.