Don’t do something you would be ashamed of

Sunday October 6 2019

David Gonahasa runs Roundbob.com, a travel

David Gonahasa runs Roundbob.com, a travel company creating affordable options. 

By EDGAR R. BATTE

The first thing I do in the morning…
Get a Google assistant update, which includes a schedule update for the day, check and respond to emails I can at that point, then check the fridge for breakfast options.

The first thing I do when I get to work…
No standard schedule. I will usually work the first hour at home and get to work at about 9:30am, so I get straight into whatever I need to do.

My earliest childhood memory…
I really can’t remember, however, my father playing Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s tape in his Suzuki Samurai on every road trip is quite vivid, and of course we all sang along well, except my mother. She just was not bothered. I still remember the lyrics of “Naalikwagadde naye no maama empiisa zanema..” and nkoye nkoye nkoye okwegomba.

My first best friend…
Yako or Koyo, as we called him. We were an age group below my elder brother. We roamed Busega fishing, riding bikes and playing soccer.

My first girlfriend…
I think Claudia and we probably spoke three or four times the whole school term.

My first kiss…
My mother might read this article.

My childhood hero…
My father. He was the most present idol in my life. Also I really did not care for a lot outside my little world.

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The first book I read…
I really do not remember, however I am sure after the phase of tearing pages out of books because they were only good for that, I must have graduated to Peter and Jane and eventually the children’s fairy tales. For some reason I seem to remember Beauty and the Beast quite vividly. That story never made sense, raised too many whys and hows in my mind.

My first job…
I set up a company with my cousin in my Senior Six (S6) vacation called MediaFlower under which we sold website hosting and built websites in 2003, and then developed www.marketuganda.com, Uganda’s first website directory in 2004. That company eventually failed in 2007. Our computers were stolen and we just couldn’t move on from there, so I got a job in Kigali, Rwanda.

My first salary…
Well, I am not sure I got paid a salary at Mediaflower, but the allowances were okay. I really don’t remember. My job in Kigali paid 300,000 Rwandan Francs that is about Shs1.2m in 2007, did that for a month then moved on.

My current job…
I run a company called Roundbob.com and we are trying to create a travel marketplace that helps its users afford to travel. We work with tour agents and communities to identify, develop, package and distribute tourism and experience products online and automate their business processes and access qualified customers. We then help our users afford these products by facilitating instalment payments to the agents or through our travel wallet – save for travel.

What I like about my job…
My job screams possibility and potential. We have the opportunity to actively work on developing solutions for an industry full of potential; tourism and travel in Africa. Fun fact, Spain and France individually received more tourists than the whole of Africa in 2018 and yet as a continent we have 20 per cent of the world’s land mass and 16 per cent of its population, and are full of culture, heritage, experiences and stories that should be told.
The potential is exponential and we get to try and play in the space. We have been able to create thousands of new travellers, created some really cool product concepts that have pioneered industry change and we believe we can and shall take this to Africa.

What I dislike about my job…
My job is an ongoing early stage entrepreneurial experience and it is filled with uncertainty and ups and downs. Two things stand out though; rejection: We actively face a lot of rejection regularly from investors, partners, customers; over the years, I can say I am now used to this but it can be a bummer. Then, waiting since we have to wait through long proposal approvals, due diligence process and other third party decision-making that is really out of our control. The worst part is the waiting, many times you have to wait though.

My most memorable experience…
The day we first took Roundbob live in 2013 is still quite memorable, also being named innovation achiever of the year in 2017 was quite memorable.

Biggest regret in life…
Not having done Computer Science at university. I could probably fix this, though.

Best advice I have received…
I will list a couple.
1. “Because you have two legs, that does not mean you can climb two trees at the same time, climb one tree, put your flag on it, climb down and climb the next.” My father.
2. “Don’t do something you would be ashamed of if it came to the light.” My mother.
3. “In business, don’t expect anyone to be good to you. They have no reason to.” Jack Ma.
4. “Whatever you think, Think the opposite” Book by Paul Arden, this book changed my way of thinking.

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