Angola is in a tricky place

Population approx. 20mil. Plenty oil. Plenty mineral resources.A couple challenges.The population is rapidly urbanizing, creating big traffic and accommodation problems in Luanda.The government is not wildly interested in the opinions of taxpayers, mainly because oil money eliminates the reliance on taxes to pay the bills.Long-standing Angolan troops in DRC are causing problems amongst that population,…

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Cry for Argentina

In a follow-up to my Venezuela’s Woes post, I thought I’d touch on Argentina’s current dire situation.Since going bankrupt in 2002, Argentina has enjoyed a brief resurgence followed by decisions reminiscent of those made by the leadership that brought it to ruin in the 90’s.First, they nationalized the public pension fund. “Don’t worry, we’ll take…

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Venezuela’s woes

The great thing about traveling is that I’m reminded that South Africa is not alone in confronting challenges, both political and economic.Take Venezuela for example. Its president, Hugo Chavez, was reelected a couple months ago, whereafter he immediately disappeared into a hospital in Cuba. No one has seen or heard from him in two months.Better…

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Conversation between my 4 year old daughter and her teacher…

In a couple days, my wife and I are leaving for the States for a 2 week “business” trip to see whats happening in the world. Clearly our 4-year-old daughter is worried. Below is a conversation related to us by her creche head-mistress:From: Mickey Olivier Date: 29 January 2013 11:35:02 AM SAST To: Alan Knott-Craig Subject:…

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Touch the box

Chatting to a mate yesterday, we reflected on the spawning multitude of companies in SA that can provide you with cool web design services, whilst there is a dearth of companies that include the grit of logistics (for example, design an online shopping site, and include delivery, customer care and returns in the product.)Touching the…

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USA vs SA 2012

Ok, so I’ve just finished a roadtrip though the USA: 41 days, 13 states, 10,000km.This is my 9th trip to the USA since 1999, during which I’ve worked, lived, studied and holidayed through California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, DC, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and New…

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In defense of big families

You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.  ~William D. TammeusFor a couple of decades now (maybe longer), rich/educated people have been telling poor/uneducated people, “Stop having so many children!”It got…

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7 rules for RV’ing in America

RV rule #1: Be careful where you park. Parking spots are like the mafia. It’s hard getting in; it’s much harder getting out.RV rule #2: Be sure to firmly secure far end of sewage drainpipe. Trust me, things can go truly pear-shaped if the pipe pops loose.RV rule #3: Never make eye contact with other…

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Inflation in America

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both brings temporary prosperity; both brings a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunities.” Ernest HemingwayInflation: The rate at which your currency loses purchasing power over timeThe official inflation rate in the States is…

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The more customers you have, the safer you are

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert FrostIt’s easier to build a business with only one big customer. The alternative is something like Facebook, with a billion customers! Cash flow is easier. Only one invoice to send each…

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The best way to say Yes

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. VoltaireAs a manager, people are only ever trying to persuade you to “Yes” to their request. If your initial reply is “Yes”, they leave the room happy.If your initial answer is “No”, they immediately try to persuade you to say “Yes”.No one ever tries to…

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Creativity creates competitiveness, process creates jobs

Ideally, you want both in your business. Apple is the master of combining these attributes (or at least it was whilst Jobs was around.) It changes the game whenever it launches a new product, whilst the Tim Cooks of the world gives it a virtually unrivalled competitive advantage in logistics (a fundamentally process-driven world). The…

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