Why mistakes should never be described as regrets

October 10, 2020

Before he started his successful company, MODE, his previous business had got him into debt to the tune of millions. After sorting out his debt, he ended up selling his company, Quest, to the shareholders for a dollar, literally. Quest is still running and the business is doing quite well. 

The entrepreneur in question is Julian Kyula. He is the founder and former CEO of MODE. He led the company from a start-up to a leading global company. MODE is a well-known company that specialises in mobile financial technology such as providing airtime credit and micro-loans to millions of mobile phones users across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. 

One of the lessons he learnt as he embarked on the inception of MODE is that as you build and expand, you have to be careful how you go about hiring. This has to do with everything from how many people you hire, who you hire, how you hire you name it. Julian shared that he used to have this belief that the more people he hired, the more successful he was. This mindset got his fingers burnt. 

“You can’t say, my vision is to employ 10,000 people. That’s not a vision, that’s just a gun to your head. That won’t be a business unless you’re a HR company.” Julian Kyula said when he was guest at Unthinkable Roast.

Another lesson he took away from his experience with his first company Quest is, it didn’t work out because it was not an original idea. He says the eureka moment for Quest came when he was at a kiosk and something caught his eye. “I was at a kiosk and they were advertising Okoa Jahazi, Safaricom’s airtime credit product. I asked about it and that guy took me through it like I was a student.” Julian said. One of his biggest lessons out of this was, never re-create, always re-invent. His company MODE took the concept of micro-loans, turned it on its head, and grew it into one of the most successful companies in East Africa.

There’s always a learning lesson to be attained from success and from failure. As an entrepreneur are you learning from both?

Julian Kyula was a guest at Unthinkable Roast in April 2019. Click here to join other leaders for inspiring monthly conversations on leadership and innovation.

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