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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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