José Soares started his working career as co-founder of a mobile gaming company. Although it was a bit of a hit and miss, this experience allowed the start-up to expand and provide a variety of value-added services across Africa, mainly for financial institutions and mobile operators.
As the business expanded, so did Soares’s role – from Web development to delving into marketing as chief marketing officer. “I helped to shape our applications alongside the mobile development teams, while devising the marketing strategies that would drive them to our customers,” he says.
Fast-forward to today. “I recently joined one of South Africa’s most innovative hotel groups, The Capital, where I have been given the responsibility of driving technological changes, building out our own apps, while bringing everything together, from the onsite tech to the start of your digital journey with us.”
TechCentral asked Soares a few questions.
What does your company do?
We are an Aparthotel company with a nationwide footprint, providing modern human spaces to live, work and play – furnished in style, with all the creature comforts you’d expect. Our hotels provide the perfect balance for every individual, businessperson or family.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
Being exposed to the world daily; security and data is top of mind. Hotels are rich in personal data, which is entrusted to us, so our focus needs to be on storing this safely and using it ethically, securely and within the bounds of regulation.
What do you most admire in business and why?
Courage and patience! You need the balls to try things, and the patience to see these through. I admire this, because it is often very hard to stay the course in the face of failure, rejection and the opinions of others.
How do you attract and retain talent?
The Capital is a remarkable place to work, and offers an environment to grow, develop and shine. I make sure to give the teams the space to work, and more importantly to challenge them to do new things each day.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
This isn’t a race, take your time, follow your path and listen to the advice of those ahead of you, not behind or beside you.
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
I block my calendar out with the tasks I need to accomplish each day. I’m not a big fan of meetings, so this also prevents others from booking my day out.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
I would love to work in an animation study. It seems like incredible fun and really rewarding.
Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years?
There will be further democratisation of software development, making it easier for anyone to create and enter the space. This may also mean way too much content, too many apps, quantity not quality.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. It reaffirms the power and importance of following your dreams.