Our popular series of Hedge Funds Club Good Life Interviews continues with HFC boss Stefan Nilsson checking in on James Alexander, Chief Commercial Officer of Invast Global in Sydney for a chat about escapism, Lego and getting dressed for work.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
I love stories that are interesting and quirky. Bloomberg’s “Odd Lots” podcast is a sure-fire way of starting your day with something that expands your frame of reference. Well, mine at least.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
Escapism. Anything that breaks the current WFH routine is essential right now. For me, getting outdoors with the family is key. In the current environment where we inviably spend a lot of hours in front of screens trying to keep in touch, unwinding can be as simple as a walk in the park. Wine also helps…
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
Yes, as long as the timeline on “recently” is flexible. I’ve always been interested in the human side of big events and still find myself recounting anecdotes from the Michael Lewis’ book “Boomerang” which recounts the post-global financial crisis-era through the lens of several different countries. “I Want My Hat Back”, is also good for a laugh according to my three-year-old.
Your soundtrack of choice?
Right now, it’s a split decision between Ludovico Einaudi’s “12 Songs from Home” and The National’s “Boxer”. Both have a bit of grit that seems appropriate right now.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
That depends on who’s asking. The one that is a certainty is carrot and ginger juice on a Monday morning, everything else is up for negotiation.
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve made?
Not spending more, a hangover of Scottish heritage. Life doesn’t “keep” in a money box.
Have you ever had a great mentor and what did you learn?
Yes. He passed recently in advanced years and had the fearless, no BS approach that comes from a life well-lived. For all the technical things I learned from this person, a fondness for a good story was the most important. Those aren’t forgotten.
What gives you energy?
Caffeine and my young boys. When I’m alone, good tunes. As a former drummer, the steering wheel and dashboard cop a good “talking to” more regularly than I care to admit.
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
While it’s easy to say family here – and they do ground me more than anything – trying to display the right attributes to some of the younger members of our team is also important. Realising that your example is the one they look to keeps you from getting ahead of yourself.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
Just one, no, I can name dozens. Anything with chilli is a hit. Lankkan Filling Station was a recent highlight.
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
Only a little. I’m a believer in the “less is more” approach. The marketing team may disagree.
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
Commandeering my kids’ Lego. It’s genuinely addictive.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
In the era of covid, I opt for the newsreader approach, business up top, party down below. After concluding a recent board meeting, the business shirt tucked into the Okanui’s got a public airing.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
Not enough. Never enough.
What makes you happy?
Getting it done. A sense of accomplishment. Work, parenting, being there for family and friends or just smashing a good Lego set.