On Tuesday 7 February, I and a group of YBSA members had the rare opportunity to have breakfast with the CEO and founder of Discovery Holdings – Adrian Gore. Apart, from being a director at YBSA and attending in that role, I also wanted to understand what makes the mind of an entrepreneur who questions and recreates an industry.
There were a bit over 20 people seated at the Discovery boardroom, all waiting to hear from Adrian Gore. He opened the floor by requesting that we debate issues and ask him testing questions that he would proceed to answer, as openly as he possibly could. Our questions ranged from the ins and outs of the Medical Aid and Health Insurance Industry, to some about entrepreneurship. The most fascinating, for me, of Adrian Gore’s answers had to do with job creation.
Question: “The government is pushing for the creation of more jobs, yet the procurement department at large corporate companies hinder job creation with delayed payments to small business and endless red tape. How is Discovery improving job creation?
Adrian Gore: “It’s no secret that we need to create more jobs in South Africa, and entrepreneurship is one of the keys to unlocking the creation of these jobs. What I have realized is; big business drives efficiency. Entrepreneurs don’t wake up in the morning thinking “I’m going to create jobs today”, instead they are driven by the idea of “I’m going destroy jobs today”. And in that, they create jobs.”
Disruptive by nature
Inasmuch as entrepreneurs, as a result of their efforts, create jobs. They think in terms of changing industries. If you ever started a business, then you’ll agree that you knew something was not working and you had to be the change.
Instead of just realizing the proverbial “gap in the market” you became the gap and created a hole that only your service and product can fill. MySpace (which took a minute and Google, to remember), didn’t fill a gap they created it and then along came Facebook who killed their jobs.
Our purpose, as entrepreneurs, is to disrupt what seems a working market and make new rules where others follow the status-quo.
Adrian Gore also noted that the nature of business has changed. “Any business needs to have social impact and a desire to change the world” – said Adrian Gore.
The two views, among many others, Adrian has about business are that he (a) thinks business needs to serve a social purpose, and (b) it also needs to be ruthlessly competitive.
Discovery supports quite a number of social causes ranging from education to entrepreneurship, where Adrian Gore is a board member.
Where it comes to competition, he maintains entrepreneurs need to be ruthless and foster a culture of innovation.