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Leading Edge – Wol Kolade, Managing Partner of Private Equity Firm, Livingbridge

The Managing Partner of private equity firm Livingbridge on how he feeds his mind to stay ahead of the game.

NEWS
There’s no point in reading anything in print any more. I don’t even pick up a paper or magazine when I’m at an airport: I’ve always got my iPad with me. I’m disciplined, and download the FT and The Times every morning, and read both on the train into work. Start at the front, read it all the way to the back. And I always download The Sunday Times. I also look at Apple News and Google News. I’ve customised the feeds for both.

I find email newsletters highly useful because they deliver short, sharp information

When it comes to the private equity industry, there’s Real Deals: their newsletter, online magazine and news feed. Also Private Equity News and Unquote. I get their email newsletters daily and weekly. I find newsletters highly useful because they deliver short, sharp information.

The FT has a stable of excellent writers. Janan Ganesh writes a kind of political-social commentary piece, which is always good. People like [Political editor] George Parker and [chief economics commentator] Martin Wolf. Wolfgang Munchau has a great column about European affairs. In The Times, I alight on Matthew Syed and Matthew Parris.

Every Friday I read The Economist. There’s almost too much for you to take it all in, but after 30 years of reading it, I know exactly where to look for the most essential things.

SOCIAL MEDIA
The company has a Twitter feed, of course, but I don’t post to it. I don’t spend any time on Twitter, personally or professionally. The same applies for Facebook. If people want to get hold of me, then they can get hold of me. And I can find out what I want to find out from people by talking to them.

That said, I will use LinkedIn to share company news to my contacts. I check it once every couple of days, which is about as often as I’m alerted to something on there.

BOOKS
If I’m reading a book, then I’m holding something made of paper in my hand. Ideally on a sun lounger. E-readers and the like just don’t work for me. I finished Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hurari the other day. I suppose that counts as business and pleasure. I found it highly interesting, as I did his previous book, Sapiens (read more from Yuval Harari as he Reveals the Future of Mankind). Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed is fun (read more on harnessing failure’s hidden power by Matthew Syed). I listened to another of his The Greatest, on audiobook, which was more like listening to a podcast series because it’s a collection of his columns [in The Times, about sporting excellence].

Wol Kolade is Managing Partner of Livingbridge, a mid-market private equity firm that has, since 1995, invested in over 100 UK businesses. In 2016, Livingbridge secured its eighth and largest fundraise yet of £660m.