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.

Read More

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…

Read More

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.

Read More

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…

Read More

How to raise money for your startup

  1/17 Three criteria for raising money: 1. Raise it before you need it. 2. Have a working product. 3. Have a business model from day one. 2/17 How much should you raise? The rule of thumb is to multiply your estimated cost by 4. 3/17 Calculate cost of development/manufacture, ie: R250. Double it for…

Read More

13 books to give away as Christmas gifts that will make people love you

For friends who are entrepreneurs (or want to be): The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz – The bible for life in a startup. Hackers and Painters, by Paul Graham – The bible for understanding software programmers and the world they (we) live in. Black Like You, by Herman Mashaba – Inspiring story…

Read More

How to eat like a Hero

(advice from my wife on eating healthily)Heroes know they need to function at maximum capacity, they don’t have time to be sick and they cannot afford to suffer from mid-afternoon fatigue.Eating like a hero is like a game where you earn supernatural powers for gobbling nutrients. Nutrients lurk in fresh fruit and vegetables, and come…

Read More

4 factors when making a decision

Intuition (gut) (system 1 thinking according to Kahneman) Rational thought (brain) (system 2 thinking according to Kahneman) Selfishness (what do I want?) Peer pressure (what do other people want me to do?) When operating within your circle of competence, intuition is most important. The “10,000 Hour” rule says that once you have enough experience in…

Read More

4 reasons why Internet usage in Africa is a fraction of that in the West

  Most Africans are Internet-virgins. Streaming video and playing World of Warcraft is not on the average African’s list of things to do on the Internet. The heaviest usage is watching music videos on YouTube. Devices are mostly mobile, and therefore have limited screen size and keyboard functionality. Again, this means most Africans are not…

Read More

Why venture capital is difficult in SA (and Africa)

Venture capitalists don’t invest in products or jockeys. They invest in exits.The only way to justify the high investment failure rate is to have regular exits at valuations much greater than 10x.When taking into account the time value of money, dividends don’t cut it. Only selling the business can realize sufficient return for a VC…

Read More

Some tips for non-technical entrepreneurs

A friend recently asked me for some basic tips on how to develop an app business… here’s a summary of my mail to her:High-level advice: Don’t build it and expect customers to come. They won’t. They’re busy. Sell it, then build it. Consumer apps are hard work and dependent on a huge amount of luck….

Read More

Entrepreneurs stay away from overheads

Overheads in the form of recurring monthly expenses are the same as debt.Best case you hand in notice and pay-up for another month.Worst case you discover you must pay 12 months termination fee.Either way, it requires cash and it slows you down.When you’re in a small business, survival is all about cash and speed.Stay away from…

Read More