Interview with Dale Holten

The interview below was conducted in 2021.

PART 1

I sat down with Dale Holten, the Founder and Managing Director of Syntelo, to learn more about his personal story and to learn more about his success as a South African entrepreneur in the IT space. The interview was done in two parts. 

What type of music are you into?

“So, Dale what type of music do you listen to?” 
“Um…Literally whatever my wife plays. Whatever I play she changes. So, I’ll say my favorite music is her music. Fortunately, she has good taste…” 

What are your hobbies?

“So, when you’re not working what are some of your hobbies?” 
“When I’m not working I’m spending time with my 3 girls –– My wife and my 2 daughters. My wife and I usually have our dates after dropping kids at school. We love slipping in for a quick walk on the beach and enjoying a good cup of coffee together.” 
“I also love spending time with my 2 daughters. We enjoy beach time, frisbee throwing, paper plain flying, tennis, reading, dancing, hugging, wrestling, anything goes really, so long as I am in the picture, and I am playing their game lol.”
“So, it’s clear that you’re a family man.”
"Absolutely!" 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

“Dale, are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? In other words, do you need time alone to recharge your energy levels or time with people?” 
“I would probably lean towards being an extrovert because I enjoy the social element of connecting. I definitely need to refrain from talking at times!”

What’s the phone app you use most?

“Ok great. So, since we live in a digital world what is your favourite mobile app?” 
“I’d have to say that I enjoy YouTube, Kindle, and You Version. So, I would say that I jump mostly around those three.” 

How do you take your coffee?

“Fantastic. So, now time for the big question. How do you drink your coffee?” 
“I love washing down scrambled eggs with black coffee! 
“Is there a reason why you drink black coffee?” 
“That’s an interesting story. It used to drink it with milk, but the cappuccino feature broke. Thereafter, I drank my coffee like an espresso, and I’ve never looked back! So, even though the coffee machine is broken, it’s not broken to me.” 

How has the lockdown been for you?

“On a more serious note. As we all know the lockdown has been a difficult season for many South Africans. How has it been for you?” 
“One word comes mind: transformative. The lockdown gave me lots of time to think about my business and how to leverage new opportunities. The lockdown has also given me time to connect with my family.” 
“That’s so encouraging to hear. It’s good to hear a positive perspective, especially in a country where so many people are negative right now.”

What's on your bucket list?

“So, Dale what’s on your bucket list?”
“I absolutely want to do a winter holiday with my family.”
“O, whereabouts?”
“Perhaps skiing in Switzerland.”
“I’ve also spoken to my good friend Vincent, and we would like to both go visit the replica of Noah’s Ark in America.”

Have you had to overcome any major setbacks?

“Have you had to overcome any major setbacks?” 
“One of my clearest setbacks was when I realized that I was on a path that I did not want to be on. I ran a franchise for about 6 or 7 years. When I decided to leave, I basically had to start from scratch. I had to start it in debt and with no clients. However, the setback came with an opportunity. I was able to use my experience and knowledge to start a new company. This was the birth of Syntelo.”
“Within half the time, we had reached the same turnover that we had had, with the franchise. This has now been our 8th year as Syntelo, and I am so grateful that I was able to turn the setback into a success story. I really enjoy the fact that we get to tell our own story, and to create our own culture, with our own set of values, with our own vision and mission.”
“Thanks for sharing that. I believe that our setbacks, whether our own doing or beyond our control, are what shape us and make us who we are.”

What is your definition of success?

So, what is your definition of success?”
“I believe that success is the ability to reach one’s goals, but to do it in an honorable way without taking advantage of other people. So, it’s about living with integrity and honor. It’s also about learning how to serve others and put them first.”
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