Quick Update

Last week in Cape Town for a while…

Lions Head Sunset
Lions Head Sunset
  • Week of 20-26 October.
  • Monday, up at 6:00, school run, gym, swim, meeting in Stellenbosch, lunch at Greengate, car wash (for the first time in about 6 months), finally fixed the Kano at Mia’s school, early supper with Mia and a beach walk, dropped Mia at her mom’s and drove to Cape Town, one more wave of creating order around the house while installing iOS 8.1, met a potential new (French) housemate.
  • Tuesday, up at 6:00, walked up Lions Head with Richard (90min up and down), bumped into three people I know on the way up, made an 8 egg breakfast (2 yolks, for the record), listened to Chicane / Behind the Sun – great album, fitted a new iPhone screen cover, perfect application, geek joy, Table Mountain walk with Georg… pipe track and contour road back, we kinda planned a braai, then cancelled it and then braaied anyway, a small one with Michael.
  • Wednesday, finally set up my desk again and ordered ADSL for the house, drove to Stellenbosch, ~swim, bubbly, a really nice dinner.
  • Only woman feel infatuation. Only men feel jealousy.
  • Thursday, bacon, Bloody Mary, got some new swimming goggles (joy – should have done this a long time ago), epic 1k swim, could not stop smiling, VitB shot, fetched Mia from swimming, early supper at Manuka – bumped into Charl and family, drove back to Cape Town, Georg played a nice mix of some new tunes, missed the aKing show, in bed early.
  • 2 years.
  • Sudden urge to visit the power station where Aliens was filmed.
  • Friday, finally found my toothbrush chargers, unpacked a few boxes, backups, Van Hunks with Georg, Paul, Hilah, Tania, Johann and Al – great evening.
  • “Here’s to the normal ones. The conformists. The pushovers. The followers. The square pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things the same. They’re fond of rules. And they have respect for the status quo. You won’t quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. The only thing you can do is ignore them. Because they don’t change things. They hold the human race back. And while some may see them as safe, we see mindless destruction. Because the people who aren’t crazy enough to think they can change the world, don’t.” — Ben

  • Saturday, breakfast and a Bloody Mary at Sidewalk Cafe with Georg, swim, sun, started making a mix tape, epic nap – overshot the mark a little and woke up after 19:00, Cosmos, burger at Royale with Georg, more Cosmos.
  • Sunday, Devil’s Peak walk with Georg, swim, we fetched Paul and Hilah… with only minor delays, fetched Mia, great day of swimming and relaxing, Johann and Victoria’s going away party at Sgt Pepper in Long Street – continuing the pizza on Sunday night routine.
  • Mia’s Afrikaans is progressing well.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Living a bit of a strange mix of the Paul Carr books…

Table Mountain
Table Mountain walk
  • Week of 13-19 October.
  • Yes, this post is late. Writing creativity has been diverted to lots of Telegram messages recently.
  • Monday, got an HDMI cable and an SD card for project Kano, quick 1k swim, finally returned Mia’s bike after AfrikaBurn, fetched Mia (last day of school holiday) and fixed Naulene’s email, more swimming coaching… the two hand butterfly is coming along nicely, Bikini Beach walk, hake, calamari and salad at Trawlers, Bikini Books visit… bought “The Best Best Man” (for R15) – six easy lessons, bought Microserfs (for R8) – good memories of the book, dropped Mia at her mom’s house, (car phone) chat with Ernst on the way to Cape Town, catch-up with Wouter – we had a good laugh about Paul being abducted from a party.
  • Hello Cape Town, summer is certainly in the air and it feels great to be back.
  • “What’s the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek?” — Mia, hmm… might have to watch some Star Trek soon.

  • I think I might have become a sugar nazi – I keep telling people to avoid sugar.
  • Mia can now swim 25m freestyle in 25sec.
  • Busy planning a Suicide Gorge walk for November, looking forward to it.
  • Thomas seems to have resigned from Ernst’s best men group.
  • Great read about startups: Before the Startup.
  • Paul recently reminded me of the story of our R2 photos at AfrikaBurn that Sunday – very funny. Giving the poor guy grief about not knowing his own camera settings – turns out it was not his camera.
  • “The Ex-Presidents rip off banks to finance their endless summer!” — Pappas, Point Break

  • Tuesday, woke up to an awesome day in Bantry Bay, grapefruit for breakfast, figured out Wouter’s coffee machine, got some admin done, Table Mountain walk with Georg (Pipe Track / Chain Route walk and then along contour towards Devils Peak – and back via the tar road)… see above photo, ribs special night at Van Hunks with Georg, Bianca and Tracy, nice drive home listening to aKing / In Loving Memory – great tune.
  • “They say you don’t get over somebody, you get under somebody else.” — Georg’s conversation with Bianca.

  • 5000 photos per year seems to be a good target – I’m at 3200 now.
  • Real friends make it into ~/.mutt/aliases
  • Wednesday, work – had to make a tough decision about elephant hunting, house shopping in High Cape… nice place, house shopping in Camps Bay (wow, something out of the 70s), had to take in the views from the big Bakoven rock, Little Beach visit, walked to the top of Lions Head with Georg… a bit misty, a beer at Van Hunks and bumped into Tracy again, burger in a bowl with Georg and Wouter at Da Vinci’s, good chat with Wouter, thanks!
  • Not often that you meet new good friends.
  • Thursday, house shopping in Fresnaye – not bad, but ended up going for the High Cape option, new record: less than 48h from viewing to moving in, tinkered with Apache configs to fix POODLE attack issues, Van Hunks with Lara, Claus, Al, Georg and Wouter – only the third night in a row, a drink at P&G, ended up at the Fritz Hotel in Gardens and installed OSX 10.10 (overnight).
  • Apache setting you want to be using: SSLCipherSuite EECDH+AES:EDH+AES:-SHA1:EECDH+RC4:EDH+RC4:RC4-SHA:EECDH+AES256:EDH+AES256:AES256-SHA:!aNULL:!eNULL:!EXP:!LOW:!MD5:!SSLv3
  • Nice read: Love is Not Enough
  • Friday, moving day, new place in High Cape / Vredehoek, minimalist unpacking, Tania visited, wired up the hifi/tv, Hendriks G&Ts.
  • Feels like I have not had a home since January.
  • Saturday, woke up at home for a change, installed Aperture 3.6 – really hoping it’s less buggy, fetched Mia from a sleepover, Mia’s swimming squad sign-up, we had to go get Mia some new swimming goggles, pool party and mini-housewarming, watched that scene from Stardust again, kinda fell asleep next to Mia after her bath time, wine, music, dancing in the lounge with Hilah, Paul and Georg, great day.
  • “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” — Oscar Wilde

  • Sunday, breakfast at Sidewalk Cafe with Mia – I really should start eating a bit slower, pool party with camping mattress lilos, Mia made virgin Strawberry Daiquiris, Ingi made a great salad lunch, we managed to finish 6 bottles of my favourite Chardonnay and get every single glass in the house dirty (over the weekend), watched Mega Mind again, pizza at Da Vinci’s with Mia, watched some Cosmos.
  • “Of course they have good fashion sense – what do you think they were doing in the closet all that time?” — Georg

  • Some people are just fun to be around – and the bring out the best in you.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

A bit of a break…

Near Caledon
Near Caledon
  • Week of 6-12 October.
  • Monday, woke up at Rocking the Daisies, biltong for breakfast, safe to say we were the very last people to leave… had to go search for Paul’s phone, stopped for a quick wine tasting at Darling Cellars, drove back to Cape Town with Paul, a swim at Wouter’s house – very cool place, a long lunch at La Perla with Paul and Wouter – nice chats, good food and some Hartenberg Chardonnay, a drink with Georg, Wouter, Al, Ingi and Cath at Van Hunks… great to see everybody.
  • Pro-tip: drink Rehidrat before the party, not just after (via Wouter).
  • Safe to say I’ve missed Cape Town.
  • There is a bit of an irony to this blog – sometimes when I’m not sure if I’m in the mood to do something I figure – why not? the blog could use the content. It serves as a motivation to keep doing fun things, but sometimes I really just do not want to be busy.
  • Wouter and Paul also like Nikki’s AfrikaBurn theme idea.
  • Found this video about free diving (via Brian), made me think of the most relaxed day ever – 1998ish, Bettys Bay area, after an afternoon of crayfish diving with Jacques and Wynand, we stopped for a second dive along the coastal road. Great dive, just relaxing in the fairly warm water. Diving and exploring. Found a little blowfish and played with it. Views of the sun setting across False Bay towards Simon’s Town. Magic.
  • Tuesday, woke up in Bantry Bay, returned my camping gear to storage, Earl Grey tea, Nina Simone and an omelette at Basic Bistro.. bliss, some photo processing, processed a lot of phone notes, epic 1k swim, sauna, blogging, drove through to Cape Town, took a walk with Cath around Tamboerskloof… walked by our old Leeukloof house, burger in a bowl with Michael at Da Vinci’s.
  • “Everything ends badly, otherwise it would not end.” — Cocktail, not sure how I missed this quote, it was pretty much the reason we watched the movie again recently.

  • Wednesday, woke up in Tamboerskloof, fetched Mia, red cappuccinos and omelettes, played swimming coach – more butterfly training, fetched Francis, JIT outing planning, drove to Greyton… booked a place to stay on the way, stopped at Peregrine Farm Stall and bumped into my cousin Petro, which I have not seen in about 15 years, arrived at a cold and rainy Greyton Lodge, relaxed by the fire, a quick (non-league non-Campari) game of croquet with Mia and Francis, phoned Ernst, Francis rocked her panda onesie to Vanilla Cafe – pizza night, nice chat with the locals, Matilda soundtrack sing along at (bubble) bath time… Francis also knows the words now – and we have it in the car, obvs.
  • “Even if you’re little you can do a lot. You mustn’t let a little thing like ‘little’ stop you.” — Matilda

  • I must say Francis is very cool – not sure how I now feel about all those levels of unhappiness I had towards Naulene when I found out she was pregnant with Francis.
  • Thursday, woke up in Greyton, we watched some Cosmos in bed (how wolves became dogs), nice healthy breakfast, tea and croquet with the girls… took us a while to work out Francis is not left handed (even her mom was not sure), Mia and Francis coloured in their new dolphin and teddy toys, new strategy: when they wind each other up I make them do push-ups, drove to the Greyton Nature Reserve and took a walk along the stream – we found two tiny ducklings at the top of the gorge, walked around Greyton and had a late lunch and pancakes at Oak and Vigne cafe… Van Morrison background music and a nice fireplace, walked back and played some more croquet, watched Cosmos (ep3-5), early night, best sleep in a long time.
  • I think we can all agree that the Greyton Lodge was a bit better when it was run by the Scandinavian couple, but it’s still nice.
  • I’m really starting to miss playing squash.
  • Friday, fairly painful watching the children eat sweet French toast after they convinced me they could order some, quick croquet game, Caledon hot water springs – highlight of the trip for M&F – only took them about 30min to get dressed to leave, rushed back to Somerset West for a party Francis had to attend, wine tasting at Ken Forrester’s – figured I’d show Mia the first place the Bothas farmed in the Cape, lunch at Eikendal… showed Mia the trailer of Star Wars Rebels (starts on 18 Oct), a quick play area visit at La Pineta, drove to Spier, a glass of Chardonnay, Mia convinced the barman to make her a virgin (not too sweet) Strawberry Daiquiri, we kicked a soccer ball around the lawn – with a bit of a lingering Daisies foot injury.
  • The “game of why?” seems to be very popular at the moment: Why do cheese knives have holes on the sides? Why do comets have tails? Why are wind turbines white? Why does steam rise off the road when it rains? Why do they built tunnels for trains in the middle of London?
  • Saturday, woke up at Spier (friends and family rate – thanks W!), soldier eggs (soft boiled eggs and toast strips), kicked a soccer ball around with Mia, a long swim – and a butterfly coaching session… the one arm butterfly stroke is looking good, some clothes shopping with Mia, bumped into Will, dropped Mia at her gran’s, birthday party outing, general mayhem.
  • Teaching swimming is more challenging than I figured it would be – not trivial to communicate something which is pretty much a reflex.
  • The Spier review: very cool that they just leave a few soccer balls around the lawns, very family friendly, the art is great, not really my vibe, but nice to see so much art around.
  • Feeling great after following Mia’s sleeping routine for a few days.
  • Managed to keep my life off Facebook for a week.
  • Smartphones really are a pain if you just need to unplug for a day or three – but it’s also a good reason to use your DSLR and leave your phone in the car.
  • Sunday, woke up to the Top Gun soundtrack, sun, swims, wine and more swims, great weekend, thanks!
  • Watching Cosmos really makes you want to live longer – it’s only been a fraction of time (over the last 3.5mil years) that we have our act (mostly) together. It’s a real privilege to live in these times.
  • 7 years, 10 months.
  • Tune of the week: Tove Lo – Habits
  • Back to work.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

End of Techstars and Rocking the Daisies 2014…

Flight to Cape Town
Flight to Cape Town
  • Week of 29 September to 5 October.
  • Monday, started listening to The Goldfinch (audio book gift from Ernst) – this might take a while, pitch practice day in the St James Theatre near Victoria, picked up a Harris Tweed jacket on the way there, nice Skype chat with Mia (Skype for iPhone TFW) – it was parents vs children hockey day at school – Naulene joined the game (thanks Naulene), seems the children won, registered for the Rugby World Cup 2015 ticket buying process (last day), got stuck on the District line – first time London transport failed me, packed up the office in Whitechapel and stored one crate there, Indian food night with Jacques and Werner at Zaffrani in Islington… awesome chicken dish, spa visit – three guys in the spa and no organised crime to talk about, in bed early – and so three months of warehouse living and jokes about boy bands and Mickey Mouse wristbands came to an end.
  • Tuesday, up at 6:00, Techstars Demo Day, bus ride to Victoria, grande lattes, flight check-ins, set up the presentation area at The St James Theatre, early pitch rehearsal session, demo day with a great intro by Brian (thanks!) and networking – good show – all the teams did really well, a beer with the ClauseMatch guys, fetched our bags and said goodbye to Jacques, long Piccadilly Line ride to LHR T1, SAA flight to Joburg with a really bad in-flight movie selection, ended up watching Before Sunset again, fell asleep 1/2 way into watching Inception again (with my new favourite hoodie over my head).
  • “Wish I was here.” — movie poster, looks pretty good.
  • “Isn’t everything autobiographical?” — Before Sunset

  • “Happiness is in the meaning.”

  • We made it onto TechCrunch and The Next Web.
  • Wednesday, woke up somewhere over Africa, rushed to our flight to Cape Town (some confusion from muppet behind the SAA desk), watched two episodes of Cosmos on my iPad and BLE headset – such an awesome series – really makes you want to do things which have a really big impact, quick Hyperloop landing video (which it seems you are not allowed to do), Werner gave me a lift to Paul’s house, fetched my car and stopped at the Eikeboom butcher in Stellenbosch for some biltong (very important stop – you will only really understand if you’ve been living in London for three months), fetched Mia and Francis – start of the school holiday, afternoon at Manuka – jungle gyms, jumping castles and some Jordan Chardonnay with Naulene – re-installed Telegram on her phone and made sure the message notifications worked, Mia and I drove to Stellenbosch and met up with Georg and Madeleine at 5 Reyneveld, nice dinner at De Cameron with a nice bottle of Ataraxia Serenity, Tiramisu and Tartufo for dessert.
  • Thursday, woke up on Paul’s farm, gave Mia her East London Swimmers book, omelette with Mia, swimming gear shopping, swimming at gym – played swimming coach – Mia is learning butterfly and progressing well – let’s see if a few morning shoulder stretches and push-ups help, Pam fetched Mia, had my watch battery replaced (in case I forget my birthday again), a beer at De Stomme Jonge, storage visit – fetched camping gear for Daisies, pretty easy – AfrikaBurn stuff still at the top, drove to Cape Town, Glen Beach sunset walk – great to be back, Wouter cooked some awesome steaks (with a digital thermometer – he’s a big cooking geek it seems), we talked about how the English are obsessed with social class, he has an impressive collection of Philip K. Dick books, he introduced me to How Stuff Works podcast, packed for Daisies.
  • Friday, woke up in Bantry Bay, backups, last minute shopping and packing, fetched Wouter from work, we made it out of Cape Town before the traffic, 4 hour queue to get into Daisies – I’m pretty happy I was not the guy running that ticketing system – people don’t really like the idea of paying R750 to sit outside the festival, finished some work while in the queue – not so much fun to try and send it off with crappy 3G data quality (no 4G!), put up our tents in the dark, watched a pretty epic Arno and Francois show with Steven, a few people probably drove their Touaregs to Daisies just for that one song.
  • Seems everybody was happy with the Daisies 2014 app we built. It worked well – but there was a snag with the geo-fence welcome message (I think).
  • “Coffee, you’re on the bench. Alcohol, suit up.” — via Paul.

  • Saturday, great weather for Daisies this year, Georg arrived, dam and swimming vibes, Paul arrived, watched the rugby with Georg, nap, watched MGMT from the Jaggermeister deck… hmm, best seats in the house, but not the best act to watch live it seems, adventures with Ross till about 5am – great fun, similar to that first night I met him at AfrikaBurn.
  • “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.” — Paul

  • Sunday, a swim in the dam, nap, Sunday beach party… Cape Town is really small – all the same faces, bumped into a few cool people which I have not seen in a while, but like all regular FB users still knew what everybody was up to, got an early night.
  • Daisies 2014: it was big – something like 21k people, good fun, enough Hudsons burger patties for a while, smartphones and music festivals don’t gel – really need an easy way to find friends and festivals – without any battery power worries – or losing phones.
  • A bit sad I did not take too many photos at Daisies this year, but who wants to risk leaving a DSLR in a tent?
  • Tune of the week: Paradise, Coldplay.
  • If we’ve learnt anything over the last while, it’s that tech startups can be a special kind of inefficient if they don’t have enough runway. You really need 12-18 month runways to get anything significant done. Also, eating right and getting exercise is really important – because in the end the hardest thing to manage is your own levels of inspiration. I have a long list of notes about Techstars hints and tips – I’ll try turn it into a blog post soon.
  • ps. I finally figured out how to make en_GB the standard spell checker language for WordPress… seems you have to edit the wp-config.php file and then select English UK from General Settings.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

End of the summer…

Techstars selfie
Techstars selfie (in The Cave)
  • Week of 22-28 September, Techstars week 15.
  • Monday, audio book walk to gym, swim, played with Ricochet (Tor IM), nice Skype chat with Mia, demo day video watching and feedback, bought the new aKing album on iTunes (might actually be the first album I’ve bought on iTunes) walked home and had some Mexican food around Shoreditch with Werner.
  • “Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested.” — Hunter S. Thompson

  • We’re still waiting for EE to activate Jacques’ “fibre” broadband – we now have two routers. I don’t think it’s going to happen before we have to go back to Cape Town.
  • Tuesday, gym, swim… some days you really just want a lane to yourself, ironed a shirt (and so the fundraising begins), a 6 GBP haircut around Whitechapel with a Bollywood movie in the background, played with the iPhone 6 (nice) and 6 plus (lame), bit of an interesting curve ball landed in our inbox, finally managed to buy some Bitcoin on CoinFloor, pitch deck script learning on the train, schwarma at Beirut Express with Werner, angel investor pitch evening around South Kensington… good fun (but I need to present a bit slower it seems) – nice group, just about every house has an Aston Martin or a Range Rover in front of it, a few beers at the pub around the corner… until they closed, nice to catch up with Sonja, good chat with Werner on the bus ride home.
  • We released the Daisies 2014 app. Discovered a snag on iPhone5s (and 6) – but a fix was submitted quickly – thanks Jan.
  • Wednesday, usual audio book train ride to work, proposal writing and a teleconference, pitch practice with Greg (a few steps sideways, to end up with mostly the previous wording) and iMovie tinkering, bugged Jacques to get home early, official SA Braai Day at the warehouse (aka The Cave) with Bruce the dog (Jock of the Warehouse), Jacques got this idea that Bloody Mary’s were paleo and stared spicing them up more with each round, Werner did the braai’ing, Jacques managed the FB photo posting, we ate enough meat for 6 people right off the braai, Bruce kinda moved in, walking to the shop – I remember thinking London is getting really cold now, I finally replaced the 9V battery in Jacques’ fire alarm – a bit ironic since he stopped smoking for three days at this point.
  • Thursday, cleaned up what looked like a decent Braai Day fallout, pitch design and pitch practice, Techstars Connect updates, LinkedIn updates, created AngelList and Crunchbase profiles for GUST and an AngelList profile for myself, the GUST logo changed a bit (more flat look), got out of the office at 21:00ish.
  • I think it’s safe to say it’s winter in London now. See you at Rocking the Daisies, kids – let summer begin again.
  • I love unattended security updates (apt) – I just got a bunch of emails saying Bash was upgraded on all our servers after reading about the Shellshock bug.
  • “Jy lyk nogal na Oscar Pretorius.” — Jacques, to Werner.

  • Friday, cycled to gym (with my dorky yellow cycling helmet), nice swim, spa, audio book commute to the office, OGC fintech conference in Soho, great lunch, quick pitch deck tweaking, presented some of our ideas for wearable tech to a big room full of bankers, pitch practice with Brian, Friday beers with Morgan at the office, sent off some questions for an important RFI, we watched Cocktail again… love that movie, watched Edge of Tomorrow… pretty entertaining – groundhog day – but with Hudson from Aliens, Techstars caps selfie (see above), we decided to go check what time The Haggerston closed – bit of a goodbye vibe to the evening.
  • “Coughlin’s Law: Anything else is always something better.”

  • Saturday, I made a ten egg breakfast, watched Sin City: A Dame to Kill For… meh, watched the rugby with Werner Walkabout Temple Bar… good game, happy hour at Iguana’s South Bank, walked around the Japan Mat Suri festival in Travalgar Square, Turkish food with Jacques at Best Mangal Kebab (Jacques favourite Turkish place) around Old Street… we listened to Jacques stories of how he swam across the Thames and ended up in jail for a night, G&Ts at The Haggerston – to look for my hoodie from the previous evening’s adventure, early night.
  • “Welcome to EE…” – how I woke up on Saturday morning (speaker phone), first question: “please key in your home phone number” – followed by Jacques’ response… “doos”. — how the call centre is able to neutralise Jacques.
  • “Fat people don’t riot.” — Jacques about feeding the masses sugar and subsidising corn farming.

  • Jacques stopped smoking for a whole week. There seems to be a new spring in his step. If you smoke – stop.
  • Sunday, Essex Road gym, swim, had to go replace my lost hoodie at the Superdry shop in Islington, mostly Broccoli for lunch, epic nap, sunset walk along the Regent’s Canal to London Fields Park, last warehouse braai for a while – Jacques made Bloody Marys, I blogged next to the braai – this was frowned upon.
  • Looking forward to swimming with Mia in a big pool.
  • “Don’t become your reputation.”

  • Album of the week: aKing, Morning After.
  • “Broccoli is the new black.” …eat some every day, kids. I finished the Eat Move Sleep book. Need to find something new…

  • And then, just as I finished this blog post I spotted an email from Dr. Ernst…

    “hey johannes
    het vir jou “a just because” audiobook gift gestuur”

Since it’s the end of the Techstars saga, we’ll add a 2nd photo this week…

IMG_7228

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Barclays Demo Day in Canary Wharf…

Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
  • I know, I know – a post that’s actually on time, it’s been a while.
  • Week of 15-21 September, Techstars week 14.
  • Monday, cycled to gym, swim, took some pitch deck photos (hand model) at Haggerston station and the Tesco next door (turns out I actually needed a permit), our Sparklabs money cleared in our account, ordered some wristbands, our pitch deck now includes a slide from Falling Down… it’s a bit hit and miss, but the people who get it love it, catch-up with Frank, pitch practice afternoon – nobody liked my idea of using Take Five as an intro song, pizza night at the cafe below the office, worked on the pitch deck and re-did the video for our deck, zombie mode train ride home, managed to finish a blog post, crashed.
  • “Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around.” — Miles Davis
  • Note to self: watch Falling Down again.
  • “Opstaan tyd is ‘n lekker lekker tyd.” — Jacques

  • Project Kano stalled: HDMI and SD card issues caused the school IT guy to kinda give up.
  • Tuesday, the tube went Contactless from today, productive Barclays design office workshop – the VRM ideas are progressing, worked on new business cards and a new corp ID for GUST Labs, lunch with Cath at The Photographer’s Gallery in Soho… nice to catch up – I bought Mia a photo book about “East London Swimmers” – awesome little project (would love to do something similar), rushed to 1CP (Barclays head office in Canary Wharf) for pitch rehearsal – good fun, Techstars team beers in Canary Wharf at Rocket bar – there was a moment I felt the relentless Techstars washing machine finally got out of the spin cycle and started to relax, train ride home, my proof of address finally arrived (posted bank statements) so I could open a Bitcoin exchange account, managed to finish a blog post sipping some Argentinian Malbec.
  • Less haste. More speed.
  • For the record, Jacques and Werner have been screening my recent blog posts.
  • Wednesday, dark chocolate for breakfast, signed up for Audible and started listening to Eat Move Sleep, our wristbands arrived and I ordered some (very last minute) Moo.com business cards – including a batch of Luxe cards, some pitch (driving) practice, proposal writing, upgraded to iOS8 (the whole journey home – painfully slow).
  • Funny how the tangent projects while in Techstars seem to be getting a lot of interest.
  • Note from Mia’s teacher: “Mia does, however, need to learn to work a bit more harmoniously in a team / group situation and consider that others views might be different, and in some cases better, than hers. On one occasion she walked off and did the task on her own rather than work with her group.” …Jacques’ comment was: “your clone is progressing well.”
  • Thursday, Scottish independence vote day (…No), swim, sauna, my first Contactless overground train ride to work, typed up two proposal docs, audio book train ride to Camden to get 4 very last minute GUST tshirts printed at a place called “Big Teezar” – discovered a paleo street food stand called FeedMePrimal (Meatballs with Spiced & Riced Cauliflower), found a ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 tshirt at the Camden market, tube ride to Shoreditch Boxpark, fetched some very last minute business cards (not totally happy with them, but good enough), popped into a BlockStock (bitcoin festival) talk around Hoxton Square, bought my 2nd beer (Kronenbourg 1664) with Bitcoin at Zigfrid & Underbelly… felt like a celebrity – all the staff gathered to watch a Bitcoin payment in action (got a photo), popped into makersCAFE on the way home and heard about Pi-Top, beef ribs and pulled pork feast and Hendricks G&Ts with cucumber at Duke’s Brew with Werner and Jacques (this turned out to be less than smart idea – future Joe’s worries) – I remember they played a few Catatonia songs, a night cap and pitch practicing shenanigans till 0:30ish.
  • Too Awesome: Pi-Top, The 3D Printable build it yourself Raspberry Pi Laptop.
  • Note to self: go visit the Camden market more often – very cool vibe.
  • I actually started looking at the iOS8 Health app after listening to EAT MOVE SLEEP – you need to take 10k steps per day, kids.
  • “Everytime an iOS app crashes, somebody is accessing your iCloud.”, “Religion is like Bitcoin, you can always start your own blockchain.” some morning wisdom from the warehouse.

  • Seem I will be the one straight best man (of three) at Ernst’s wedding. Got an email from the group starting with “Darlings, Outfit: check”…
  • Friday, up at 6:00, Barclays Accelerator internal demo day at 1CP, I think all the teams nailed it – very cool morning, nice vibe, some networking and snacks, a few Kozel (Czech) beers at Via Bar Canary Wharf – great autumn afternoon with the Techstars teams (best social so far), nice chats with Deddy, Pieter and the Scandinavians, sunset DLR ride back home… very pretty concrete jungle golden hour, crashed at 21:00ish, 12hour sleep.
  • Saturday, I made the usual ten egg paleo breakfast with some avo and chillies while kinda watching Ender’s Game again, watched some Top Gear… the ones about Chinese and SAAB cars were hilarious, processed some notes and photos, finally up to date with my weekly blog again, walked to gym along the Regent’s Canal, longer than usual swim, sauna, spa, steam room, Green & Black’s and Grenache and blogging.
  • It’s getting darker earlier in London.
  • Did I mention that the gym lets you swim without a swim cap in London? – pretty cool.
  • I’ve lost about 5kg since I stopped eating random junk about a month ago.
  • “Anybody can pick up a golf bat and experience what it’s like being a free mason.” — Top Gear

  • The real challenge, is to see if I can extend my summer to 500 days.
  • I created a FB group for friends planning on going to Burning Man 2015. If you are a blog reader and keen and not yet in the group, please get in touch, you know who you are.
  • On Sunday morning Jacques gave up smoking, stopped drinking, started a paleo diet, stopped eating all sugar, committed to a regular gym routine. This happens most weeks.
  • “I have a lot of beliefs, and I live by none of them.” — Louis C.K.

  • Sunday, up early walked to gym, great 1k swim, I made some paleo mega burgers with Jacques, with Chardonnay, which – believe it or not – you can buy in the shops on a Sunday in some countries, we kinda watched Olympus Has Fallen… seemed like a North Korean propaganda movie, epic nap, watched some Louis C.K. on Netflix, watched August… pretty good.
  • The Joe diet: swim, eat meat, avos, veg, almonds, walk 10k steps per day – enjoy dark chocolate and wine.
  • This whole Techstars thing went past in a bit of a blur. I’m really missing Cape Town, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss London.
  • “I don’t do piracy.” — Jacques’ the moral high ground… ant hill.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

    Making a pitch deck…

    The Techstars demo day clock
    The Techstars demo day clock
  • Week of 8-14 September, Techstars week 13.
  • Monday, up early, cycled to gym, swim, presentation tinkering, wrote a proposal and made another presentation, Doner kebab wrap with Ashley at their local Turkish food place in Dalston, played PC support guy – it’s pretty sad to see malware on a Mac – I think I have a better under standing of how people’s online accounts get “hacked” now.
  • Tuesday, cycled to gym, swim, Barclaycard workshop, pitch design session with Barclays designers, watched a bit of the Apple keynote about Apple Pay.
  • If you are into wearables and payments this was a big day. A few very interesting conversations followed.
  • “Please send to Gmail & let me know Telegram is coming.” — this is what I get back when asking for quicker than 5 day responses to text messages.

  • Wednesday, cycled to gym, swim, speed dressing session after the fire alarm went off at gym, good meeting with Reinier, set up gustlabs.com domain (with wifi between stations) on the train to a braai with Nikki around Fulham, ended up at The Slug in Fulham with Charley, Casey and Nikki, general mayhem, great fun.
  • Nikki changed her mind about AfrikaBurn and Burning Man and came up with a very cool theme camp idea – Vegas Wedding Chapel.
  • Thursday, finished reading the Techstars book on a (bit hung over) long train ride to the Mastercard issuer workshop at the Rain Making Loft… very cool, took a walk across Tower Bridge, Techstars KPI evening, a glass of wine with Jacques, photo processing – I was way behind.
  • Some people meditate – I sort photos and swim.
  • Friday, cycled to gym, very optimistic (for a change) catch-up meeting with Greg, Mia gave her (Volcano) science experiment talk, noise cancelling earphones in an open plan office rock, Skype chat with Mia – her experiment talk went very well, installed Wunderlist again, Ethereum meetup at The Escalator… a bit lame, a beer with Julian at The White Heart pub… he has 7 children age range 31 to 1.
  • Looks like we may need to spend more time in Amsterdam soon.
  • Listen to this – good memories!
  • Adventures are the best way to learn.
  • Saturday, up early, bus ride to Tower Bridge, beer and rugby for breakfast with Werner at Belushi’s in the Dugout… cool place, Jacques arrived just as the game ended, a quick walk through Borough Market, day at the office, pitch design with Brian and Werner (Brian is a legend – the pitch deck is taking shape), pub food at The White Heart, some French Grenache with Green and Black dark chocolate, updated my blog for the first time in about 6 weeks.
  • “Sien jou by die gym.” — Jacques-speak for not going to gym.

  • Sunday, I made a ten egg breakfast with broccoli, had to listen to Jacques talk about his Sunday bible studies – which he calls “spiritual studies”, cycled to gym, another day at the office… some tinkering with iMovie to make short videos for our pitch deck, more French Grenache and dark chocolate and catching up on blogging while watching Donnie Darko again… don’t think I lasted till the end of the movie.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Beer for breakfast…

Watching rugby in London
Watching rugby in London
  • Week of 1-7 September, Techstars week 12.
  • Monday, woke up in Kalk Bay – and not feeling tired! – first day of Spring, 30deg, great weather, Vishoek beach breakfast with Mia and walked the Jager trail along the sea – pretty spectacular walk, drove to Simon’s Town and showed Mia the Just Nuisance statue (the dog), Bolders Beach lookout to see some penguins and a quick beach visit, drove to Noordhoek via Kommetjie and had lunch at Cafe Roux, scenic drive to Somerset West via the coastal road, dropped Mia off at her mom’s house, processed some email at the Stellenbosch gym… full of Spring fitness energy, gym, swim, a sunset walk around Stellenbosch, a glass of wine at Piet’s house, great dinner (the usual medium rare Filet Bernaise) with Al and Paul at Hussar Grill… Paul treated us with a great selection of wine, night cap it Balboa with Al – some plans are in the works for Groovy Troopers in November – good memories of Nov 2012.
  • Seems Mia is past the phase of making car sing along videos, sadly.
  • “What did you do to make GUST better in London?” — Mia

  • At some point at Monday’s dinner I got up and went to go ask the loud American tourist next to us if he ever stops talking. It did not help and I just felt a bit bad about this the next day.
  • Al is moving to Cape Town – Thibault Square branch for work.
  • I now have two Telegram apps – one for each of my mobile numbers, pretty lame.
  • I suspect my plan with giving Mia a Casio watch is working well – she now knows every feature and keeps on setting alarms for events.
  • Paul found his (new) bike from AfrikaBurn – turns out Daniel had it. The boomerang bike.
  • Constant battle to keep email in one screen while trying to take some time off is not really a break at all.
  • Tuesday, woke up at Paul’s house in Stellenbosch, last minute rush to get a few things done with a mild headache, swim, sauna, last minute shopping, Mxit visit (to dd new Kanux image to an SD card)… nice to see Gavin, installed Kano at Mia’s school but there is some weird HDMI issue that creates a snowwy image on the screen, dropped Mia at Naulene’s house and said goodbye, Paul gave me a lift to the airport and we had a cool chat about girls – thanks Paul, the low-carb Spur experience, picked up some Sennheiser MM 550-X noise cancelling head phones (over the ear, Bluetooth – no cord for Mia to run over with my chair again), minor moral dilemma about buying Jacques duty free cigarettes, flight to London, watched Xmen Days of Future Past, watched the new Robocop, meh.
  • You know you travel too much when you specifically look for things like hair gel and mouth wash in less than 100ml containers. Great job guys – we live in an age where you can 3D print a weapon, but you can’t take sunscreen on a flight.
  • I’ve progressed to gluten-free meals on flights and having a selection of travel plugs. Now I just need the Tumi bag.
  • Wednesday, woke up somewhere over Europe, watched Fading Gigilo – good movie if you like Woody Allen, long UK border queue (listening to Neelix) – thankfully no snags, Heathrow Express and a District line ride to Whitechapel, day at the office, conference call, my Contactless Barclaycard arrived (small win), a glass of red wine with Werner at Duke’s sharing some war stories and wisdoms about the Techstars experience, had the better part of a bottle of Argentinian Malbec (which hurt a bit the next day) with Jacques.
  • I think I’ve given up on living anywhere in particular, London, Stellenbosch, Cape Town – as long as I have my laptop and gym bag and some sense of routine.
  • Thursday, woke up in London, I’ve become that guy that reads all the labels of the yoghurt to see which one has the least sugar inside, Smiley (old school friend) randomly contacted me on FB – he’s now living in Budapest (one less Dvorak typer in SA), business card design, pitch demo discussions, pitch practice, cool founder stories session with Mick from spatch.co.
  • The solution to just about everything: eat better, get more exercise and work harder.
  • There seems to be a fair number of people leaving the major startup ecosystems for places like Berlin. Cheaper. Good value. I think Cape Town really needs to market itself in this space.
  • Jacques on prepping: things you really need in your bunker: Prozac (like 3 million Americans), whiskey and baked beans.
  • Friday, CEO session with Alex from Hassle.com in Vauxhaul, Macbook PSU died, got a new one, admin and paperwork, after work drinks at Microsoft Ventures and an interesting chat with Brian about PayPass ideas, a Hospital Porter beer at the White Heart Brew Pub with Werner and Brian, low carbed the eat as much as you can Red Dragon Chinese buffet, babies don’t sleep this well.
  • Noticed I’m a co-working space front page model: The Escalator, TwentyFifty.
  • Saturday, watched the rugby with Jacques and Werner at The Hanbury Arms (only 4 people in the pup, incl staff), braai at the warehouse… we made V for Vendetta eggs in peppers on the braai with some more Argentinian Malbec, braai broodjies, we played with Bruce the local dog, epic nap (over slept a bit), bus ride to Dalston with Jacques and Werner, drinks at Ashley and Angelo’s house… gave her a chilli pot plant, awesome (9 GBP) gin cocktails at Dalston Street Feast Gin Bar… Hendrick, Campari, Vermouth and champagne.
  • Dakota Indian tribal wisdom on project management.
  • “Hoe lank is Obama nog af?” — Jacques about Habanna.

  • After visiting the epicenter of London Hipster culture (Dalston Street Feast) we figured Jacques needed to go full hipster – he wanted the Brandon Flowers look, so we started shaving his hair – he was not that impressed the next day, but it was pretty funny.
  • “Now I just need to look like my mom dressed me for Sunday school.” — Jacques about going full hipster.

  • Mia spent the weekend with Victoria and Johann making a volcano experiment for her show and tell talk. Thanks guys! Also thanks to Georg for the travel. Naulene was not very happy with this arrangement, but I guess she never really enjoyed science experiments.
  • Sunday, I made a ten egg breakfast, gym, swim, sauna, steam bath, spa, walked around the Angel Carnival with Jacques, Turkish mixed grill at Cafe Gallipoli in Islington, we watched Lucy in 4K on-3D… very entertaining.
  • Noise cancelling earphones don’t really work so well on the power plate machine.
  • Jacques says his landlord likes to reminding the German tenants that their grandparents bombed the warehouse in World War 2 when they complain about their roof leaking.
  • Tune of the week: Black Keys, Gotta Get Away

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Back to Cape Town…

Van Hunks, Cape Town
Van Hunks, Cape Town
  • Week of 25-31 August, Techstars week 11.
  • Monday, rainy bank holiday in London, made breakfast with Jacques, bus ride and delayed (first hand luggage only international) flight to Cape Town – extra hour of people watching and trying fragrances in the duty free shops – still like Tom Ford Grey Vetiver, mild panic – at least 6 movies I wanted to see on the plane and I knew I could only fit in 4, watched Divergent.. good movie, and Captain America: Winter Soldier… not bad – big Snowden theme, BA now lets you watch movies even as the plane is busy landing.
  • Kinda ironic that pretty soon the web (and money) will be decentralised and most sane governments and their people will run Linux rather than MS/Apple OS – all thanks to the NSA.
  • “Pocket does not work for Preppers.” — Jacques, about his doomsday / Survivalism news reading habits.

  • Home is where your toothbrush charger is.
  • Tuesday, woke up somewhere over Africa, Georg fetched me from the airport, good to be back in Cape Town (after being in London for just over two months, nice to drive my car again, fetched Mia from school, great to see her again (5 weeks later), I arrive at Mia’ hockey practice and Mia is the girl playing hockey in her black school shoes… makes me wonder what disasters I’m not seeing, shoe shopping – got her some teal green Adidas trail runners and ended up getting some new Nike’s for myself, Mia assembled her new Kano computer and I gave her the 3D printed models she asked for (letters of her name and the Vader ring), took Mia to swimming lessons… they are learning to swim butterfly at the moment.
  • Managed to get Naulene an early birthday gift (CK fragrance from duty free), no limes to be found in the Gardens Centre (again!), made some Tanqueray Ten with (home made) mint and lemon grass infused Tonic G&Ts (and biltong – best of both worlds), Van Hunks with Georg and Bianca… who seems to be doing well after a recent breakup, she enjoyed the Albanian story, we sent Andrew a photo of the three of us (see above)… to China where it was 3am.
  • Wednesday, woke up in Oranjezicht, rainy day in Cape Town, snuggled under a duvet trying to catch up with work, alarm starts beeping, no power, walk down the road in the rain to get Vodacom 3G signal, figure out Standard Bank changed their whole app, walk back to get bank card, 20 questions later buy electricity, figure out the meter is actually off, discover there was a planned power outage and for bonus points try and figure out how to get my car out of the garage and gate with the power off, gym, swim, sauna, teleconference to London, Van Hunks with Georg, Tanya (the friendly waitress), Jessica and Wouter – try the ribs there.
  • Wouter is keen to do Burning Man 2015.
  • Thursday, made a 10 egg breakfast, Georg gave me a lift to fetch my car, gym, fetched Mia from school, we got Mia a new swimsuit, took Mia to art class, took Mia to swimming lessons, burger in a bowl at Da Vinci’s with Michael – who switched to the Dvorak keyboard layout recently (legend), kinda watched The General’s Daughter again.
  • “Ek verkies eintlik om te stap.” — Georg, about the times he chooses to leave his car at Van Hunks.

  • Generally feeling a lot better after I changed by diet, started cooking at home much more and getting more exercise.
  • Friday, gym, carpet cleaner day, fetched Mia from school and went to convince her school’s headmaster that I can install Kano at aftercare (very cool guy, also talked about using DuckDuckGo and not Google), fetched HDMI screen from storage, T10 and a leg of lamb roast and a lot of veggies, failed at getting the Raspberry Pi to use RCA video (screen did not have a power cable).
  • Not going to miss the poor GSM signal in Oranjezicht – which Vodacom was going to have fixed two months ago.
  • Saturday, morning cartoons, some packing (Georg was moving out), Oranjezicth City Farm visit – fresh juices and a green smoothie, drove to Kalk Bay via Boyes drive with Mia, book shop browsing, charcuterie platter and a glass of Chardonnay in the (almost Spring) sun at The Annex, a walk around the harbour, back to the (Kalk Bay) guest house to meet Johannes and Victoria, sunset Hendriks G&T’s with cucumber at Harbour House, back to the The Annex for supper… very nice Yellowtail and Sutherland Pinot Noir, sing along session to the Matilda soundtrack at home.
  • Sunday, woke up in Kalk Bay, breakfast at Olympia Cafe with Mia, Johann and Victoria, awesome weather, a walk along the harbour and up to St James (Danger Beach), cinnamon and pistachio ice cream at the local ice cream shop, drove to Builder’s Warehouse (singing along to Patricia – Chris de Burgh) to get a kettle cord for for an LCD/HDMI screen to get Kano working – gave Mia the full Kano/Linux experience – it failed to boot – ended up mounting the file system from my Mac and deleting a lock file it was complaining about but the whole thing ended in a fsck that would not complete – joy, bumped into Lara, sunset walk around Kalk Bay, calamari and hake at The Brass Bell (right on the water – played with Hyperloop app), a stroll around the harbour, told Mia the story of how the harbour dolosse got their name, we shared a trio of sorbet and creme brulee desserts at Harbour House.
  • Farming is the new open source.
  • Mia can now count in Roman numerals and she knows all the months of the year.
  • Tune of the week: When I grow up. Great lyrics…

  • And when I grow up,
    I will eat sweets every day,
    On the way to work, and I will
    Go to bed late every night.
    And I will wake up
    When the sun comes up, and I
    Will watch cartoons until my eyes go square,
    And I won’t care ’cause I’ll be all grown up.

    I will have treats every day,
    And I’ll play with things that mum pretends
    That mums don’t think are fun.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Nobody knows anything…

Zen
Zen
  • Week of 18-24 August, Techstars week 10.
  • Monday, up early, gym and swim with Jacques, took a Boris Bike (Barclays + TfL bike) to work, uneventful day.
  • The gym has a swimming costume drying machine: pretty cool.
  • Boris Bike: not the best experience, has 3 gears, tricky to get in and out of the bike rack, very bad touch screen to scroll through t&c’s you’re not going to be able to read with the glare from the screen – not trivial to know if they bike was locked into the next stand, 300GBP if not (use a pre-paid card).
  • Good idea to start reading the Techstars book (Do More Faster) while at Techstars. Reading it before the programme would be even better.
  • It was time to start the SleekGeek Reboot diet again.
  • Tuesday, gym, swim, spa, painful rush hour tube ride from Angel to work, wrote a new boiler plate / intro for GUST, met the SendGrid guys again, nice video Skype chat with Mia walking home from the train station (4G is pretty cool), a sunset run along the Regent’s Canal.
  • “Do what you are most passionate about. If you have more passion for another business, do that.” — from the David Cohen investment workshop
  • Started eating raw broccoli – we have no steamer at home and I’m not planning on using a microwave.
  • Wednesday, gym, swim, took the (hybrid) bus to work – always a bit weird when the engine stops – walked the last 30min – just because, awesome Techstars CEO breakfast by Alex from Hassle.com (very inspirational), strategy workshop, Skype chat with Mia (teaching her to count in Roman numerals – “like the Star Wars movies”), pitch design session with Greg and Werner, took the train home and made paleo burgers (with big mushrooms) – Jacques’ Sleekgeek diet seems to include lots of whiskey.
  • From Alex’s talk: “stick to what you really want to do and what people really want, when multiple things go wrong – pick one thing to fix, have fun, take pictures… because this is an awesome journey – people often forget that.”
  • “Nobody knows anything.” — Alex, the Ellen Ripley of the London tech startup scene.

  • “I’ve realised that three days is the limit for not showering in a corporate environment.” — Jacques

  • Thursday, gym, bus and walk to work, corporate banking meeting, met up with Paul at Embankment, a catch-up beer around South Bank – seems Paul has been seeing somebody for two months, walked around Leicester Square and Soho, caught the last round deadline at Duke’s Brew.
  • “Well then… long term, is the wrong term.” — Paul

  • Friday, ordered a Contactless card from Barclays and fetched a bank statement to get a Coinfloor account, turns out my credit score in the UK is not yet good enough for Lloyds to give me a Contactless Debit card – strange policy, Skype chat with Mia – she asked for a 3D print of her name, got a KANO pre-release kit for Mia… (they moved into the Central Working offices just below us)… just had to test it – managed to log in and reset it again, designed (and printed) my first 3D model… not trivial replacing the filament in the printer and Setchup is not a great app, ended up opting out of a house party thing with Paul and had supper with Jacques.
  • Naulene finally managed to install Telegram on her phone – so I could send her the first text message since she left London a few weeks ago. iMessage seems to be too hard to get working.
  • Saturday, I made a big breakfast, 55minute call to EE to have a copper line ordered for Jacques’ “fibre” broadband – very bad VoIP line to India – first world customer service at its best – I’m pretty sure most of their support staff have no idea how FTTC/VDSL works, fixed Jacques’ bike and got a bike helmet around Hoxton – time to cycle more, nap, gym, swim, spa, sunset (~210kg on a) Vespa ride across Tower Bridge (nice views) to The Orange Bull pub in Canada Water (the ex very South African Aardvark pub), watched the rugby – pretty lame game and to be honest the whole SA pub in London thing was a bit sad, low carbed the eat as much as you can Chinese buffet at Wings Buffet and conversations about Prepping / Survivalism.
  • Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  • Sunday, figured it was time to explore a different gym – Islington: Essex Road, made a pretty creative paleo burger lunch with Jacques, ended up skipping the Notting Hill Carnival and visited the office – to make backups and get some new (gym) earphones and put the Cosmos series on my iPad, bought my first two beers with Bitcoin (Hive wallet for iOS) at The Proud Archivist near Haggerston Station – well, technically I bought a milkshake with rum for 0.0214 XBT but because of the terrible hipster service it never arrived so we had some beers – I later got the milkshake for free, another meat platter Sunday at Duke Brew with Jacques, 12h sleep.
  • “This city is three meals away from a riot.” — Jacques

  • “Hipsters is sluipers.” — Jacques (Stellenbosch res lingo).

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

This is still a true story…

The walk home past Victoria Park
The walk home past Victoria Park
  • And so begins my 16×9 canal photo phase.
  • Week of 11-17 August, Techstars week 9.
  • For the record, we are the first South African startup in Techstars at the first Barclays Accelerator – took us a while to confirm this.
  • I think it’s safe to say that at this point we lost pretty much all forward momentum and started thinking Techstars might end before we have a UK bank account open.
  • Monday, walked to work (takes about 50min along the scenic route), we finally managed to get a bank account number, Skype chat with Mia, pitch practice afternoon, walked home, sunset run along Regent’s Canal.
  • It’s starting to get a bit colder in London again.
  • This weekly Monday pitch routine really does not suit my way of working… when writing a weekly blog post keeps me sane.
  • Tuesday, walked to work – starting to enjoy this (good pitch practice time), opened a Barclays personal bank account, video planning meeting, free lunch, workshop about using Gust in Spain, rainy walk home, worked on KPI4.
  • Not sure if this is an email you want to receive from the school shrink: “In her emotional literacy exercise Mia indicates that she feels angry, rebellious, disappointed, disbelieving in others, curious, frustrated, happy, restless, lonely, sad, suspicious and rejected. It is not unusual or negative to have so many emotions, it is positive that she can identify with so many. My main concern is that she is bottling her harder feelings and this manifests in feeling frustrated or cut-off from others. In her colour my life exercise her dominant emotion is happy with small quantities of loved, jealous, excited and sad. Mia is a kind girl and shows a maturity above those of her peers.”
  • About public speaking – you really need to get excited about your pitch and you need some forward momentum for that. It’s safe to say I like product design and complexity and creativity and writing more than drama.
  • Minimum Viable Inspiration
  • What is your why? Find it. Keep it safe.
  • About doing epic shit and being awesome: It’s hard doing epic shit day by day. I think the trick is to feel that you are doing epic shit at least every three months. Take photos, write blog posts. Get perspective.
  • Wednesday, walked to work in 40min (the optimal route), very cool ideation session with the Barclays design office guys – they seem to like the ideas behind TrustFabric, free lunch again, finally signed the Techstars investment docs, kinda missed the go karting team building thing (had the wrong shoes), nice walk home.
  • “In retail – all that’s left after eEommerce is relationships and experiences.”
  • “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” — HST

  • Thursday, walked to work via the Regent’s canal (not the shortest route, but very pretty), finally got our Techstars money, mentorship call, very cool (teleconference) investment workshop by David Cohen, KPI evening.
  • “50k USD for a 6 minute pitch. Not a bad hourly rate.” — Jacques

  • 2004 was awesome, I have a good feeling about 2014.
  • Friday, mostly struggled to get online banking working, Werner flew to Cape Town.
  • Techstars is a pilgrimage to meaning. Find the fundamentals. First principles. Do you really want to build this? Do people really want what you are building? The trick is to find inspiration from this. Causality, kids.
  • Maybe Techstars is not supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be an adventure.
  • “This is not checkers; this is mutherfucking chess.” Technology businesses tend to be extremely complex. The underlying technology moves, the competition moves, the market moves, the people move. As a result, like playing three-dimensional chess on Star Trek, there is always a move.” — from The Struggle

  • Saturday, installed Hive Wallet for Jacques and sent him his first Bitcoin using Waggle (geofence) – somebody that reads that much Zero Hedge needs to own some Bitcoin, watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in Angel, 3D + 4k… pretty boring, missed the rugby. I made gourmet burgers, watched 2 Guns… entertaining.
  • Sunday, I made breakfast (Jacques figures I’ll do well at being a house husband since I can cook and I like photography), gym, very hipster pulled pork, beef and pork ribs and beer at Duke’s Brew with Jacques, watched Spark on Netflix – a Burning Man story… watch it, booked a flight to SA.
  • Joined the gym, VA in Angel. Nice pool.
  • “Go big, or go home.” — Jacques

  • “Hipsters: metrosexuals with cave man ambitions.” — Jacques

  • It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Get comfortable being uncomfortable…

Train ride to Oxford
Train ride to Oxford
  • New record in delayed posts… almost 5 weeks late. I was kinda busy.
  • The week of 4-10 August. Techstars week 8.
  • Really hope I’m going to be laughing about this post at some point.
  • This guy… made me think I need to update me /history page again. I remember discovering his homepage early 2000 – great inspiration for personal home pages and photography from these people – so sad it’s a dying thing (personal home pages). Go read this and start your own, don’t delay.
  • Monday, we found some biltong in Tesco, a long pitch practice session – I actually enjoyed this session – at some point I guess I had to simply realised I’m here to open a bank account and make a 6 minute pitch, evening run along the Regent’s canal, pizza at the not-hipster place in Hoxton with Jacques and Werner, we walked home with a beer in hand (drinking beer in public is not a thing when you live under a rain cloud), watched some V (the new series).
  • Pitch tips for the day: Louder. Shorter sentences. More engagement with the audience. Be in the moment. Have fun. Breath.
  • Jacques is very unhappy that his VHS tape with the old V series ending broke before he managed to see the end and the new V series was cancelled due to political pressure… and somebody never returned his Return of the Jedi VHS tape. We really did watch that thing a lot – good memories.
  • “The New New Man is perhaps a better father than a husband. He loves his children with a passion that frightens him.” — January 2009 GQ, sometimes quotes are good enough to be recycled… starting to really miss Mia.

  • I asked Jacques if they ever have parties in the warehouse – turns out Pete Doherty (of Kate Moss fame) wrote on Jacques’ unit’s wall with his own blood (Sideshow Bob style) – I can confirm this – he was seeing a punk rock star girl that used to live in the place we are staying now. I guess that’s a yes.
  • “It’s not uncommon for tech startups to fail before they managed to open a bank account in the UK.”

  • Tuesday, very positive meeting with Roy, dev team masterclass by Phil from Osper, Skype meeting back to SA, late afternoon founder story session, admin and reading legal docs, sunset walk along Regent’s Canal, stir fry night with Jacques.
  • I think I’m starting to like London. Could get used to living in two places. London has been a pretty cool adventure so far.
  • “You may very well be the first… and last South African company we let into Techstars.” — Greg.

  • Wednesday, we started showering at work – Jacques’ landlord removed the pipe to his shower, Techstars CEO group meeting, Skype chat with Mia – she seems to like their new astroturf hockey field and they seem to still suck at netball (which is probably not a bad thing) – she also seems very interested in 3D printing after our Science Museum visit, I’m going to print her a Darth Vader ring this week, I pitched her a business idea which she’s going to research – start them young, good afternoon pitch design session with Greg – the new story line is big and I’m happy with it, Mexican beers and tapas with (boy band) Dan at Las Iguanas around South Bank – good to catch up.
  • Finally received our Gust UK tax number, so we can start the SEIS pre-approval process (nice tax break for UK angel investors).
  • Read this: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.
  • Mia and her siblings have started swimming lessons again – I’m very happy. She has to swim butterfly in the coming season.
  • This bank account BS is impacting KPI4.
  • “How to kill feminism: make them CEOs, make them work long hours and tell them they can’t see their kids.” — Jacques

  • Thursday, data insights masterclass (sad story about bankers getting an average 80k GBP/yr salary in Canary Wharf warping their assumptions about what people really want and need), pulled my hair about about getting a bank account – still, teleconference about an opportunity in Spain, printed my first 3D model (Darth Vader ring – for Mia), lunch with Barclaycard digital guys, demo for Mike, GUST Pay demo at KPI evening (at Techstars alumni drinks), printed my 2nd and 3rd (failed) 3D models… Han Solo in Carbonite iPhone cover and Flight Club soap dish – temperamental little printer (wrong filament I discovered later).
  • “You guys are going to need some major air cover.” — about working with big banks.

  • Friday, and then, the shower at work stopped working, Techstars accounting masterclass (turns out there is tax break for buying employees bikes), hacking and editing an anti-money laundering (AML) policy document, we told Simon than if we don’t get a bank account soon we’re going to have to walk to work on Monday, but we kinda miscalculated, no money to take the train home – so we walked home via Brick Lane, we’ll more like we walked to Silicon Drinkabout, no free beer this week – which made it very boring, got the free sticker and walked home, spotted this Nike poster around Shoreditch saying “Risk Everything”, meh, and then Netflix died on the Xbox so we kinda watched About Time again and ate raw veggie snacks with some 5GBP Californian Merlot, more than one whiskey with Jacques and his German lesbian neighbour – no judo in front of the building CCTV system this time… I suspect Jacques is afraid of her.
  • Tech startup adventure level 9: no travel credits, no bank account, no shower, no mineral water, no mattress, no voice minutes, no Netflix, no fibre broadband. Pondering asking for Bitcoin donations while in a fintech startup programme. The irony.
  • “High five! looks like guys are going to be the first startup in the Barclays Accelerator to successfully open a bank account.” — after we completed our AML doc.
  • Jacques thought this whole thing was very funny and he feels bad that he’s not allowing us to experience the whole tech startup experience – being homeless.
  • Jacques came home with a story of his Italian friend who had to pay 300 GBP after he failed to park his Boris bike properly and they took 300 GBP off his credit card.
  • Have you seen the ZAR/GBP exchange lately? For the record it was 18:1 at this point.
  • It’s pretty cool to be in London in the summer, but trying to get things done is tricky, everybody is going on holiday.
  • “BANKERS LOVE CAPITAL LETTERS IN LEGAL DOCUMENTS” — Simon

  • Some days I hope I’m just leaving enough cryptic notes on this blog to write a good Paul Carr-like story about all my adventures.
  • Jacques has this theory that Omega6 in french fries are making humans dumber. Woman store Omega3 in their hips, which is essential for a child’s brain development, but their bodies now store more Omega6.
  • Saturday, I made breakfast, watched Now You See Me again, watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty… great story – makes you want to travel more, train ride to Oxford with Jacques, a braai with Jacques, JJ and Thomas, I braai’d (Georg will be proud) – first time I had salmon on a braai… conversations about urban farming (all the veg at the braai was home grown) and fibre networks for transport systems (Thomas has a PhD related to fibre optics).
  • Turns out you’ll have constant wifi on the London underground in the next two years.
  • I think I’m starting to have fantasies about getting into a gym routine or just getting on a spinning bike.
  • Sunday, rainy touristy photography walk around Oxford with Jacques, JJ and Thomas, a beer at the Turf Tavern (of Bill Clinton dope smoking fame), a stroll around the Oxford University Natural History Museum, a few beers and Bitcoin conversations on the train ride to London, some (failed) agile KPI4 adventure planning, Chinese buffet and a canal walk home, photo processing while watching Pain and Gain again.. epic as always – made me want to go to the gym – “I need to get a pump”.
  • “Look, when this is over we’ll all go camping, all right?” — Daniel Lugo, Pain and Gain

  • Entrepreneurs really don’t like ceilings.
  • I think everybody needs a No Media Sunday (no FB/Twitter) policy.
  • Jacques seems happy with my new more Gonzo writing.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.