What makes a good leader? Some might say a strong personality, resilience and a tough attitude. But two Dubai schoolboys prove that kindness, curiosity and the ability to listen are the skills that are needed to make it to the top, when they became CEOs (or Child Executive Officers!) for a day.
“This was a bit of an experiment, really,” admits Tariq Sanad, chief operating officer of Fetchr, an app-based parcel delivery company, who handpicked nine-year-old Conrad Scheibye and 11-year-old Darshan Soleti Kizhakkel Valappil to go along to their headquarters and listen to the company’s product and growth teams present their latest ideas.
“Children see things very simply, where adults unfortunately like to make them complex,” Sanad admits. “It’s great to have them here, talking to all the different teams from Sales to Product Development, and hear them really quizzing our employees on why they do things a certain way, why this doesn’t happen, or why that doesn’t work. And they’ve definitely caught us out on a few things and given us some great suggestions – so this is an experiment that’s already paid off!”
Conrad, who is originally from Denmark, has been coding for as long as he can remember and Darshan can already complete the Rubik’s cube in less than two minutes, so these are clearly clever young men. They spent the morning meeting the teams, discussing what they did and, of course, offering a few pointers on how they could do things better.
“We gave them the mandate to fire anyone who wasn’t up to the job,” jokes Fetchr co-founder, Joy Ajlouny. “Seriously, though, they interrogated us and we were dumbfounded - these guys are geniuses because they have a simplicity of mind and clarity. When you’re focusing on something for so long, it’s that simplicity
that you miss.”
The boys looked at how the company are currently developing their app, adding on new services and one in particular – the option for customers to also buy products they would like to be delivered via the app – was one idea the boys actually came up with, not realising it was already top of the agenda for the team,
who are currently working out how best to make it work.
The boys spent time with each department but it was – perhaps unsurprisingly – the digital map (or Bird’s Eye View as it’s known) that drew the most attention, both totally fascinated with its ability to GPS track every single Fetchr driver out on the road at any one time. And, of course, they had a few ideas on how
to improve this.
Sanad asked the boys what one of the biggest lessons a person could learn in business would be. “That it’s okay to fail– as long as you do it fast,” Conrad replies. “To listen to your customers because if you think up your own idea and you never listen to them, if they don’t like what you’re doing, they will go somewhere else.”
“And that it’s okay to fail because failure is just a stepping stone to success,” Darshan smiles and adds.
We asked both boys why they want to run their own company one day. “When you work for others you’re not the boss, but I would not act bossy because I don’t like people bossing me around – I would be a good boss who is kind, respects everyone in the office and doesn’t cheat anyone,” Darshan declares, admirably.
Conrad says: “If you are the boss, you can choose when you have free days, you don’t always have to work and I would give kindness to people who work for me. I would get to know my people and get people that work hard.”
The boys’ parents, who were watching their children’s day in the limelight from a distance out in the reception area, are understandably proud of these ambitious young men, and the value of this unique experience.
Want to see your little one here next? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what your kid wants to be when they grow up.
Conrad’s father, Carsten Scheibye, says, “This has been an amazing opportunity for Conrad to be recognised for his ideas – which was why he was invited to begin with – but, more importantly, it’s been a great way of gaining a practical insight into a real life organisation, making the idea of a company tangible.”
Something tells us this won’t be the last we hear of these budding entrepreneurs, destined to shake up the world of commerce before they’ve even left high school. Just remember, you saw them here first!