Decisions: Angus Robertson of PowerPerfector

The founder and CEO of the green power technology company on his best and worst decisions.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST ... Maintaining my personal ethics and integrity. Both qualities are vital if people are going to be able to work together in life, but they tend to disappear when the pressure is on.

I got the opportunity to start powerPerfector only because I had given someone else a helping hand. In return, he introduced me to the patent-holder for the Japanese voltage optimisation technology that is at the heart of our business. I had to work hard to build a relationship, but I knew that its day would come, if I could hang on long enough. Everything I know about business, people and risk I learned from hard experience. In the first year, 2001, I sold only one unit. But now energy costs are rising and carbon reduction is on everyone's agenda, and we have doubled our revenues every year for the past three years.

For me, integrity in particular is the key to a sustainable business. I want to achieve something worthwhile, not just try to make a quick buck. And I want to be able to sleep at night while I'm doing it.

MY WORST ... was building a record-breaking sailing yacht, Zeus. Launched in 1995, Zeus was the tallest sloop in the world, with a carbon-fibre mast 175ft high and a cold-moulded hull made of five layers of mahogany.

It took five years and cost $15m, mostly borrowed from the bank. I was building a dream - I left the City after years as a money broker, and I wanted to create something exceptional. But it was a commercial project too. There were a lot of rich oilmen at the time whom I thought would be happy to pay as much as $24m to own such a unique sailing boat, designed and built utterly without compromise.

Then en route across the Atlantic, Zeus put in at Puerto Rico for repairs, in the course of which the hull was left unsupported in dry dock and irreparably weakened. We couldn't fix it, so I had to sell - for only $3.2m. I lost everything and spent three years paying the bank back, although they had to settle for a lot less than it had cost them. But I don't regret it. I believe that every time you fail, you get stronger.

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