‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we pose 10 questions to business leaders across the continent.
Peng Chen, managing director, Easy Taxi Kenya
1. What was your first job?
My first job was working at a deli shop in San Diego, California making sandwiches and frying chicken and chips. Not the most glamorous job but it was great experience.
2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Thinking of ways to get more people to give Easy Taxi a try. Nairobi is a tricky market, particularly in the emerging e-commerce and mobile app space and you have to be willing to try every possible marketing channel to reach your customers.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I’d have to give thanks to my mom and dad. My mom, for teaching me that it’s never wrong to try, and my dad, for teaching me that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
4. The best professional advice you’ve ever received?
One of my professors in college taught me the art of discovery-driven planning – the idea that we should set clear checkpoints in life that allow us to evaluate where we are and move accordingly. Neither business nor life is ever a straight shot to the goal. You have to be ready to adjust.
5. The top reasons why you have been successful in business?
I wouldn’t consider myself successful yet but I would hope I’m on the road to it. The thing I’m working on the most now is being able to “zoom in” and look at things critically and in detail, but be able to “zoom out” and understand how things work in the scheme of things.
6. What’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
I haven’t gone to business school so I don’t know from first-hand experience. But I hear the pros and cons about both options, I think ultimately it depends on where you are in your life and what you want to achieve.
7. How do you relax?
Going on motorbike rides with my girlfriend, chilling at the coast, hanging out with friends, and daydreaming.
8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
It averages out to 9am.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
If you could have any super power, what would it be? What would you use it for?
10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
It takes a team to build something amazing.
Easy Taxi is a mobile e-hailing application available in 30 countries. The app allows users to book a taxi and track it in real time.