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 special person.
Since then we’ve done a coiple deals, one of which resulted in him repaying me with R50,000 in ice cream vouchers. I still have some of those vouchers, I don’t think my daughters will ever know what it is like to pay for ice cream.
Malan has taught be seven lessons:
- Speed is everything. If you can’t move fast there’s something wrong and you’re about to die.
- Scaling tech is easy to talk about, much harder to do. It’s not sexy. It’s painstaking and requires brains, patience and perseverance.
- There’s no substitute for raw horsepower. All things being equal, the cleverest people win.
- Don’t trust anyone unconditionally until you’ve known him or her for a long time.
- Start small.
- Forcing tech down people’s throats is insanity. Give people what they want, not what you think they need.
- The easiest way to fund your business is through revenue. Bringing on outside shareholders can be dangerous.