Four missing ingredients in the SA startup space

A US venture capitalist asked me this weekend, “What do tech startups in SA need?” My knee-jerk reaction was “Nothing!”, but after some reflection I’ve settled on four things we need if we’re ever going to take over the world: 1. Angry capital Only Silicon Valley could have funded Uber and AirBNB. Nowhere in the world…

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A typical crazy day in SA

So I was mugged yesterday Its the second time I’ve been mugged in SA. I was once mugged by six tik-fuelled 10-year olds at 3am in Cape Town CBD.  I think I’ve been mugged in Spain and New York (although I can’t be sure, I’d had a few drinks). Yesterday I was in Kayamandi, helping…

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How to let go of nice people

Its easy getting rid of assholes. Its never nice firing nice people.But sometimes a nice person has to go, and the only question is “How?”Rule number one is show respect.Most of the time, strict adherence to the law is the wrong process because it incentivizes the employer to “manage” the person out of the business…

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4 reasons why Investec is the best private bank

I’ve been with Investec since I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002. Recent experiences with a competing private bank have made me appreciate anew how awesome Investec is and feel a tad guilty for perhaps taking them for granted. So here’s my reasons for why Investec is the best private bank in SA: No…

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How to spot people without integrity, so you can avoid them

1/13 Warren Buffett says you should back people with integrity, energy & intelligence. Without integrity, the others are irrelevant. 2/13 Watch for people with integrity. Latch onto them. Life is too short to spend time with people without integrity. 3/13 Its hard finding people with integrity, they’re not self-promoters by nature. The best way is…

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7 things I learnt from Clelland Kruger

I had the privilege of working with Clelland Kruger for over three years at iBurst. Somehow, in spite of struggling to make profits and being trapped in an endless price war, we managed to build a happy company culture. Clelland was the HR director in that time and was key to us ultimately winning 1st place in…

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Never let an accountant run a business

I’m a Chartered Accountant (SA) and I’ve run a few businesses, so hear me out. When your profession, ie: accounting, has consumed you to the point where you have no identity other than “I am an accountant”, then you are unqualified to run an organization. If you act as an accountant you abdicate responsibility for…

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How Free WiFi can help stop Ebola crisis

The problem is there are not enough healthcare workers in the Ebola countries.You can’t reasonably expect healthcare workers in countries like the USA to travel to an Ebola region, risking infection and death (nevermind loss of income and time away from family).So how do you connect the people who need healthcare with the people who…

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4 secrets to clear writing

Use paragraphs. No more than one sentence per paragraph. No adjectives. “Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” Terry Pratchett A person’s writing is a window to his brain. Endless rambling interspersed with exclamation marks and with no punctuation or paragraphs is the sign of a diseased brain.

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7 lessons learnt from Tweetstorming

A while back Marc Andreessen started tweetstorming (10 to 20 consecutive tweets about a single subject) Personally, I don’t like following tweetstormers because it clogs my feed. So I ignored. But then I thought, Marc’s not a stupid guy, lets try it out and seen what happens. Long story short, I’m now a fan of the…

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4 ways driving in the slow lane makes you a better person

No road rage You can type an SMS whilst driving You can’t speed and get speeding fines You use less petrol and save the planet from global warming The only reason to ever get out of the slow lane is if you have the misfortune to be stuck behind a truck transporting a rugby pitch.

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7 things I’ve learnt from Malan Joubert

I’ve known Malan Joubert since 2010. I first met him in a meeting arranged by the landlord of his company, FireID. The landlord was hoping I’d invest in FireID so that the lease could continue.I demurred. But we had a walk after the meeting and it took me five minutes to realize Malan is a…

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