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Leaderspeak

He manages the OLX Group portfolio, including OLX, dubizzle, Avito and letgo. OLX India, a consumer-to- consumer marketplace for used products, has 4.5 million daily active users and gets about seven billion pageviews a month. Over 22,000 cars and 18,000
Team BT        Print Edition: December 1, 2019
Leaderspeak
Martin Scheepbouwer CEO , OLX Group

Q. The biggest challenge in your career

A. The biggest challenge lies in finding a balance between building products at scale, which is necessary for speed, and making sure that these products are locally relevant. In many countries, we have local products which solve local needs. But we also need scale so that we can move faster in other countries.

Q. Your best teacher in business

A. I would like to mention Sushil Kumar, who now leads OLX India (he is General Manager). He has been an inspiration for me. He started with a lot of potential on the analytics side but evolved into an all-round business leader. Moreover, he is not opinion-driven but data-driven. The way he learns continuously is another admirable trait. You have to learn new skills all the time to be successful in business. And he has done that during his journey.

Q. Two key lessons for young people

A. In online classifieds, we have made an existing behaviour easier. Buying and selling have been universal requirements since humankind came into existence. So, find an existing need and solve it a better way. Second, surround yourself with hungry people because they will help you overcome challenges which you would inevitably encounter.

Q. Two essential qualities of a leader

A. First, drive and hunger. Skills can be trained, but drive is hard to coach. Over the years, I have seen that people who are hungrier than others overcome problems, are more flexible and learn faster. Therefore, they get further. It may come at a cost, though. They are the people who spend less time at home, are often stressed. The other quality that I value a lot is the ability to explain complicated things in a simple manner.

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