Monthly Archives: April 2012

Role Models

I was asked who my role models are in a phone interview recently. I said Elon Musk and Matt Mullenweg.

I didn’t think too much about the question at the time because I know it’s on my blog’s about page.

If you work in tech, you meet a fair number of people who want to be Steve Jobs.

Stephen Cohen: You need to avoid people who are likely to blow things up. One key question to ask is: how does this person see themselves? One trendy answer that people seem to have is: I see myself as Steve jobs. Absent context, someone seeing himself as the next Steve Jobs is neither bad nor good. It just is. But in context, it might be a disaster. If you have a team of 10 people trying to build product consensus, imagine what happens if all of them are Steve Jobs. It’d be a nightmare. At best you’d have nine pissed off people and one very insecure guy who got his way. — Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 5 Notes Essay

To all the kids out there that want to be Steve, always remember: Steve Jobs is a nice benchmark, but the idea is to do all the cool things he did without being an asshole.

Packing for AfrikaBurn 2012

A quick post about some geeky toys at AfrikaBurn..

We’re taking an Augmented Reality app (ARBurn) which shows art works, theme camps and general infrastructure. Big thanks Carel, Jan and Storm. It works on iPhone4, 4S and iPad2+3G. Email me if you want it.

We’re also taking a wifi mesh network and a Jabber server – which we’re still busy tinkering with. So, install a Jabber client. We’re also taking a solar powered phone charging station.

Note: there is no cellphone network or internet access at the event – so install apps before you go.

I’ll be there from Wednesday to Sunday.

Quick Update

Driving like an ambulance driver…

  • Monday, up at 6:30, made breakfast and a packed lunch, dropped Mia and Francis at school, gym, house cleaning day, filet bearnaise and Guinness with Werner at Hussar Grill to celebrate 100k opt-outs.
  • Tuesday, 6:00 walk with JM up the Coetzenburg mountain, AfrikaBurn planning meetup at Gino’s, beer at De Akker, conveyer belt sushi at CTFM.
  • Wednesday, morning podcast walk to Lazerac, AfrikaBurn shopping with Werner.
  • Thursday, email gardening, AfrikaBurn group meeting at Gino’s, a beer with Alex.
  • Friday, morning podcast walk to Lazerac, Gust meeting, lunch with Ernst, wine tour.. Glenelly, Rustenberg and Simonsig, nap, rushed Mia to the emergency ward and took her home an hour later.
  • Now I know what it feels like to be an ambulance driver.
  • Saturday, chemist, gym, got Mia a late 6th birthday present: LeapFrog LeapPad, lunch with the family, Mia and I had pizza at Panarotti’s.
  • Naulene managed to have both her phones offline on Saturday morning and lose her house keys – locked in the house without a way to contact anybody. Haha.
  • Sunday, watched Smurfs, gym, shoe shopping with Mia.. she wanted winter boots, family lunch at The Long Table, Haskell Vineyards, bumped into Georg at Mooiberge, dropped most of the family off at home, photo processing, bath, read, sleep.
  • The LeapPad is a hit – getting way more attention than the iPad. It’s a nice toy – but it sucks battery power and it seems to fill up pretty quickly if you shoot video.
  • If you play with things like Gust all week you have to grin when somebody brings a credit card machine to your table.
  • 145k opt-outs now.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Die SON! How cool is that?.. :-P

  • Monday, family day.. Easter picnic at Warwick Wine Estate with an Alice in Wonderland theme, got home with a box full of Easter eggs, a glass of wine with Andrew.
  • Tuesday, woke up in Somerset West, dropped Mia at school, car service day, got an A4 2.0T to drive for a few days.. nice, typed up a press release, gym, work, Roelof Botha talk at STIAS.
  • “Communication is the greatest multiplier.” — Roelof Botha

  • Wednesday, morning podcast walk to Lanzerac, Gusted a smoothie, moar opt-out press releases, 1st #hackstb meeting, a beer at TrumpetTree with Henk.
  • “When I say manage, I mean ignore.” — Alex

  • Thursday, morning walk, kicked off phase 2 of Gust, used my Mxit wallet to pay for a haircut at Ancia’s, Mxit Thursdays and AfrikaBurn meetup at Gino’s, Taxi Violence at Bohemia with Paul.
  • “We’re a finish-down.” — Ben, about the inverse of a startup.

  • If you do something right the first time.. they will ask you to do it again.
  • Seems I’ve been shortlisted for the M&G’s 200 Young South Africans 2012 project.
  • Friday, office, got my car back, shopping with Naulene, finally ordered myself an ADSL line at home, WoodMill night market with the family.
  • Saturday, Mia and Francis watched Thumbelina, lunch at Col’cacchio, nap, watched a few episodes of The Smurfs, 3 * kiddies hake and chips at Jimmy the Fish.. while watching the Bulls game.
  • “Oplossing vir die digitale realm se muskiete.” — Joe from Die SON

  • Sunday, gym.. sneaked Francis into the play area with Mia (as usual), we passed 100k opt-outs, lost Mia in the mall, found her again, got a mifi device, watched The Pirates – Band of Misfits.. not bad, got a copy of Die SON (local Afrikaans tabloid).. for an article about our opt-out service, a quick visit to Andrew’s house, we watched UP again.
  • “Set a course for adventure!” — The Pirates

  • I have a feeling the next post will involve some AfrikaBurn planning.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Opt-out article in Die SON

Article about the TrustFabric Opt-out list in Die SON from Sunday:

“NEE DANKIE! Joe Botha het oorlog verklaar teen spam-SMS’e en opdringerige oproepe.” (-:

Die SON is a local mass-market tabloid with a readership of 1mil plus.

Quick Update

Road trip… (blog post number 702)

  • Monday, a day off, breakfast and Lego building at the botanical garden with Mia, watched Mega Mind, nap, kicked a soccer ball around Coetzenburg rugby fields.
  • Update on the Virgin Active in Stellenbosch – seems the had some trouble with the construction of the pool – still on track for end of the year opening.
  • Tuesday, gym, Mia and I went to the office.. she built some Lego, tea with Alex at Binnehof, fish and chips at CTFM.
  • Wednesday, dropped Mia at her mom’s house, installed Gust at Mill Coffee House, left the office after 19:00.
  • If I buy Mia’s mom physical books – she finishes them in about 2 days, so I got her a Kindle about 6 months ago – which is yet to be used.
  • Thursday, Georg and I took Bert up to the KKNK.. Route 62 road trip, stopped in Montagu for a super tube ride at the warm baths, watched a SpoegWolf show at Brian’s grill.. very good, watched Koos Kombuis at Lemon and Lime.. legend.
  • “Stellenbosch is niemandsland.” — Lente in die Boland, Koos Kombuis

  • The KKNK – where people call you “Oom”, a double brandy and coke is R20 and everybody has a Fortuner.
  • Friday, watched Pa vir Dummies, Ostrich burger, nap, Saarkie at Brian’s.. very good, Karoo pizza in a cone.. I kid you not, amusing but I could only eat 1/2.
  • Saturday, Cango Caves visit, watched two rugby games, nap, Kaktus op die Vlaktes 2012.. Gazelle, Baskerville, Heuwels and Van Coke.. I think Gazelle was the best act.
  • Sunday, road trip back home with some Robbie Wessels tunes.. (The Jackal Tackle) very amusing, stopped in Montagu for brunch, photo processing, tea, watched Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith again.
  • Tune of the week: Mr E’s Beautiful Blues – good road trip music.
  • The Wacky Wine Weekend is 7 June.
  • Seems winter is here.
  • 18 Days till the San Clan burns.
  • Remember to go opt-out of direct marketing.. almost at 32k as I’m writing this.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

#HackSTB Alpha1

The first meeting of the #HackSTB group will be held on Wednesday 11 April at 17:30.

#HackSTB aims to showcase tech projects designed and built in Stellenbosch. At this point the plan is simply to meet for a monthly social event in the form of a Demo Day.

The first event will involve some planning, a demo or three, a video or two, snacks and drinks.

The plan is to create something in the spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club. Less talking about doing something, more doing, demos and hacking.

Hack Stellenbosch to be more like you want it to be. Get lab projects into the real world – test them in and around Stellenbosch.

I’m going to be showing you Gust (something we hacked together in 6 weeks) it’s a geo-fenced mobile payment experience. With a bit of luck we’ll also be showing you an Augmented Reality app for AfrikaBurn. There will probably be a third demo.

Follow @HackSTB on Twitter.

See you on Wednesday.

Quick Update

Down the rabbit hole..

  • Monday, made breakfast for Mia and Francis, office, registered, ARBurn meetup at Trumpettree.
  • Tuesday, morning walk to Lanzerac, set up new TrustFabric production server, we finished the TrustFabric MXit Opt-out service, sushi at the place under Springbok.
  • Remember kids, startup dev is not swiss watch making.
  • Wednesday, morning walk to Lazerac, made a Gust video with Frans, lunch with Malan, bumped into a random mid-week street wine festival on my way home, some Jordan wine and a burger with Paul at 5Reineveld.
  • Thursday, morning walk, we installed 20 Gust wallets, FTTH meeting, lunch with Charl and Brad, tea with Paul, Theo and Dirk, MXit Thursdays at Gino’s and ARBurn and #HackSTB meetups.
  • Passion > impact > wealth.
  • “Wondering panther.” – aka Pondering Panda.

  • Friday, rainy day, office, bookend some Chuck Norris ads on MXit, fetched Mia and Francis, Kauai, watched The Lorax, book shop.. got Mia the new Olivia goes to Venice, fish and chips, updated Mia’s iPad with the latest photos.
  • I think I managed to not use my car for 4 days this week.
  • Saturday, Mia’s 6th birthday party at Naulene’s house, late family lunch at Eikendal, shopping, Mia and I went for a walk along the Eerste Rivier.
  • Mia now wears a size 1 shoe.
  • “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” — Mia

  • Sunday, Mxit family day at Brenaissance Wine Estate – Alice in Wonderland party, awesome day.
  • “You have a tiger there!” — comment about Mia at the Alice in Wonderland party.

  • I gave away my HD PVR this week. So long DSTV – may your monopoly end soon.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Kicking ass and taking names

Kicking ass and taking numbers actually.

Tired of random sales calls and SMS spam?

We made a mobile version of the TrustFabric Opt-Out service live on Mxit over the weekend.. 1 April was exactly one year after the Consumer Protection Act came into effect.

The DMA – who runs the only other opt-out list (which is funded by the same people who do most of the spamming) had 39k records last year when their list was reported leaked.

Help us build the biggest opt-out list so we can go ask the NCC to appoint an official National Opt-Out list for South Africa.

Read this for some background.

How to add yourself to the Opt-out list:

  • Mxit: If you ever wanted a reason to install MXit, here you go… On your phone, go to, download and sign up, add the “TrustFabric” contact.
  • Mxit via the Web: – sign up and add the “TrustFabric” contact.
  • Web: TrustFabric Connect – sign up and configure your communication preferences. If you are an existing TrustFabric user you are already on the list.

Spread the word.

UPDATE – Wednesday 4th 17:45 – 5,500 users.
UPDATE – Thursday 5th 8:45 – 10,000 users.
UPDATE – Monday 9th 12:25 – 30,000 users.
UPDATE – Sunday 15th 11:45 – 100,000 users.
UPDATE – Tuesday 24nd 8:30 – 150,000 users.
UPDATE – Tuesday 1 May – 200,000 users.
UPDATE – Sunday 27 May – 250,000 users.