In the high-flying world of Ethiopia's financial and tech industries, where its actors' mettle is tested as much by the market as by slow university computers and existential fears, lie tales of intrigue, humour, and the human condition. Vivid in their eccentricities and charm, their stories paint a picture of a world where professionalism meets personality, often with a comical twist.

A young student encountered his first computer in a land of budding technology. It was slow and unyielding, if a digital beast of burden, yet it marked the beginning of a journey into the tricky world of finance and technology.

This experience, shared by many of his peers, now seems almost quaint, a charmingly archaic initiation into the digital age.

Among these industry titans, fears range from the almost poetically modern - AI clamouring for a seat at the boardroom table - to the timelessly human, like the foreboding presence of disease or the more peculiar dread of thunderstorms. Never mind the almost comical terror of snakes, a phobia as ancient as it is unfounded in the polished corridors of corporate offices. The desert island scenario, a classic thought experiment, reveals much about the tech leaders' survival instincts. While some opt for the practical duo of water and matches, others take a more philosophical approach, choosing hope and snacks, or perhaps a religious tome, as their companions in desolation. It is a delightful mishmash of pragmatism and idealism, painting a picture of boardroom warriors equipped for both the concrete and literal jungle.

Their recollections of first salaries border chuckling, a humble reminder of beginnings often overshadowed by current success. From modest earnings in clerical roles to the more unusual income from selling handmade drawings, these stories weave demanding and humble beginnings, each a stepping stone to the boardrooms they now command. Their favourite physical activities are as varied as their professional portfolios. From the heart pumping thrill of a leisurely walk or a football match to the graceful arcs of swimming and the rhythmic energy of traditional dance, these activities offer a glimpse into the personal lives of these executives, away from the glare of the financial markets. So are their culinary adventures as diverse as they are amusing. The octopus dish in Tanzania and chicken feet in China stand out as exotic revelations, offering a taste of the global experiences that shape these leaders' worldviews. It is a reminder that behind the corporate veneer lie individuals with a zest for life's varied flavours.

The question of winning the lottery versus being awarded employee of the month elicits optimistic and grounded responses. Some dream of luck's favour in the lottery, while others pragmatically lean towards the recognition of their hard work. It is an amusing dichotomy that mirrors the balance between ambition and realism in their professional lives. In these vignettes, the human stories overcome the shadows of executive faces with corporate suits. From their first hesitant steps with clunky university computers to their fears, rational and otherwise, these are individuals behind the trendy brands popping up on mobiles. Reminders of the journey to the top are peppered with moments of humour, humility, and humanity.

You can read the full story    here    

PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2024 [ VOL 24 , NO 1236]

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