The Jozi sky is proudly pink, radiating red and soon will be my favourite colour – blueblack as the days starts blending into the night. I am listening to the birds’ bountiful chirping after the rain, enjoying a glass of wine after my boxing class and am moved to write about my gut …

I have long been a big fan of trusting my gut, listening to my heart and using my head – in that order. And it has served me well.

When I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” in 2005, I understood that my head and my heart in fact were providing the background info for my gut to make a quick call. And so I even more happily have relied on instinct. Especially when it comes to making big life decisions – which I do in the blink of an eye, comfortable in the knowledge that if the call I make is “wrong”, I will apologise, learn from it, fix it and move on, stronger and wiser. No big deal. As the Indigo Girls sing “It’s only life, after all”.

This week’s Financial Mail cover story features my old (and yes, as we are nearly 50, we certainly aren’t that young anymore – but with modern science, we’ll both feel pretty cheated not to reach 100, so maybe middle-aged is a better moniker) mate Charles Savage. Charles is also the CEO of the Purple Group where I have the privilege to play a role in the brand, client engagement, partnership and compliance teams.

The cover is not just any cover as you can see. It has Charles in a purple suit on a purple bike and introduces the cover story which is about whether Purple Group can sustain its remarkable surge in share price the past few months.

Many in our EasyEquities (the main asset in Purple Group) community, loved this take on the Savage. His kids and family have given him a hard time, pulling his leg (which is already sore from major reconstructive knee surgery a few weeks ago). And some of the trolls, haters, cynics and nasties made their voices heard too. God bless them.

And so what’s the link between my gut and Purple Charles?

I started working at Purple in 2013/4 when we launched EasyEquities – Charles’ brainchild and a brand which, from inception, has been solely and singularly focused on providing access to everyone in order to give as many people as possible the ability to achieve financial freedom and dignity.

I had just left Etana which was sold to Hollard and when I joined Purple, many people told me not to. It was a penny stock, trading at less than 30c. Retail investing would not work as people weren’t clever enough. Charles was too this and Purple too that. And I had started CN&CO – what would happen to that? You couldn’t possibly be involved in both.

But my gut, after one lunch with Charles and his exco team, said different. It said, here is a group of people who want to make a difference. Who take what they do seriously, not themselves. My kerk se mense.

And so, eight years later, having made many mistakes and with much remaining to be done, I am delighted that I listened to my gut. EasyEquities is successful – especially the last two years. And that has translated into the share price. But internally we watch the share price infrequently. We concentrate on what we can influence – our daily outputs – and the value for our shareholders and team will follow.

We are at the start of our journey – not the end. That purple bike is just getting going. We improve one thing, every day. We launch new products, often. We fix what needs fixing, constantly, We challenge ourselves to do better for our clients, always.

We are now operating in other territories, with more to come. And all of this we did with no massive balance sheet – but day to day, backed by the most phenomenal shareholders – thousands of retail community investors in the mix. It brings both tears to my eyes and a spring to my step, every single time I think of that.

And so, whether the share price goes up or down in the short to medium term doesn’t cause anxiety in my gut, at all. Because long term, with one hundred percent certainty, I know that we will all reap the rewards of what we are building, together. Doing good. Watch this space!

And so, as Purple cover model Charles reminded me again today to always trust my gut, I got thinking about some other brands I am and have been involved in.

Because a brand, after all, is “just” about people. People are what make a business thrive – and the more diverse, the better. The more people are supported, guided, challenged and guided in a business – and then left alone to do their thing – the better.

Conscious as I am that many of our CN&CO blog readers (of which there are a couple of thousand daily btw) are millennials, best I keep the rest of what I want to say, short. So here’s a list of those brands I have been incredibly lucky to be a part of, and what my gut taught me about the people in them:

St Stithians: A lot of what I learnt was behind closed doors with Rectors Tim Nuttall and Celeste Gilardi – exceptional leaders, razor smart, immense integrity and a wonderful sense of humour. But one lesson I can share – the ability to stay calm amidst the mayhem, to hold onto your values, is a superpower. Keep perspective, always.

Ami: I am the proud partner in a new insurance venture – Ami – with my friend and insurance entrepreneur Christelle Colman. I met Christelle in Die Hel with Blake (now also a CN&CO partner) and Michael Kaufmann, many years ago. We clicked over 30 Seconds and knowing who Tanya Fourie is. I married her and Simon – another insurance legend and all round mensch (whose proposal to Christelle remains the best, ever. Ever). I’ll leave the official announcements to Christelle – I’m a passive partner after all 🙂 – but the joy of working with a role model woman leader who can prioritise and klap outputs like Christelle, is an inspiration. As is trusting our gut on an underwriting partner!

Etana Insurance: A highlight for many in their careers. And certainly me. Building an amazing brand in very little time with very little money was possible because of the team and the legendary leadership and vision of Chairman Paolo Cavalieri and Deputy Chairman Rob Hallier. Play hard. Work hard. Take what you do seriously, not yourself. Laugh. A lot. At yourself also. Be an expert in your role. And start a race for charity in speedos.

Hollard Insurance: When I joined, this brand had a few hundred employees – now it has tens of thousands I am told. Main lesson here – if you wear a purple (seems to be a colour that follows me!?) unitard when signing a Queen song with Christo, people can see that you are circumcised. But I also learnt that relationships in insurance trumps anything – and you simply need to do what you say you are going to do. My friendship with Hollardites from way back then remains one of the greatest joys in my life.

BurningMan: That the ten BurningMan principles should be applied everywhere. And that Ray Agutter, sadly no more here after dying of cancer, is my best friend.

Sparky’s: Backing passionate, young entrepreneurs always works out. Keep it simple and let them do their thing. Support from afar. As Dylan reminds me – The times they are a-changing. So don’t interfere. Learn. Oh, yes, and also that I actually do love burgers and can eat them with my hands.

CN&CO: My baby. Consisting of people who are my family. Started alongside EasyEquities, it has provided employment to many, created opportunities for numerous people and continues to thrive because of – you guessed it – a focus on the humans who form this brand.

I could go on talking about my time as founding chairman of JOSH (Johannesburg Organisation for Services to the Homeless) with CEO and founder Mary and other NGOs who have kindly allowed me to support them. BASA, the BBC and many others. But I’ll stop here. Because the main point is that my gut is not special. All our guts are. Every single person can make a massive contribution and difference in this world. And I think that we have a duty to do so.

So trust yourself. Who knows, you too could look like Prince and be on the cover of the Financial Mail. But mainly, have fun, people. Life is too short to be a doos.