Monthly Archives: September 2013

Quick Update

Jumping deadlines like Donkey Kong barrels…

  • Monday, up at 4:00 for some business plan writing, tested the welcome message feature of the Daisies app.
  • One of my blog posts was re-published on Venture Burn: Ruthless editing: what photography taught me about business.
  • We’ve decided to focus our attention on the events side of Gust.
  • Tuesday, Heritage day public holiday, working day, afternoon nap, sunset walk around Stellenbosch (berg pad), no braai this year – but at least I managed to get to inbox zero.
  • Seems you can wash running shoes in the washing machine.
  • “Being vegetarian on National Braai Day is like having small boobs on National Cleavage Day.” — Pete

  • Wednesday, up at 5:00, business plan writing again, we launched the first Kinky Disco tickets sales for the season, Caffe Neo, Gourmet Boerie, a beer with Andreas, Founders Club meeting no 4 at Beer House, got home and fell in bed without even setting my alarm – great.
  • Been noticing that not sleeping enough is a bad idea, makes the hours you are awake less productive.
  • I watched the Jobs movie this week. Not bad.
  • Thursday, gym, weekly dev meeting at Blue Crane – the wifi there should be much better now – we mounted a hotspot on the ceiling, fetched Mia (school holidays), we launched the Rocking the Daisies 2013 app, squash vs Werner, sunset walk around Stellenbosch with Mia, Mia watched Star Wars Ep V, calamari, Ossobuco and chess at De Cameron, gelato, some Death Star Lego building.
  • Mia asked me why her mom and I are not together anymore. Seems her mom’s answer was “because we used to fight” – which I had to explain was very far from true. I don’t think we ever fought. I was just too busy with work.
  • In hindsight, should have known it would not work out when she told me she did not like Star Wars.
  • I think one game of squash per week is enough – getting old.
  • Mia’s two front teeth are growing out pretty quickly now.
  • The Daisies 2013 app is a thing of beauty. Great work. Search for “Daisies 2013”.
  • “But you’ve never not had fun working, Joe.” — Naulene

  • Friday, early business plan writing and sending, gym, fetched Mia from gym camp, haircut at the old barber shop – first haircut in a long while that I’m happy with, got Mia a chess board for her mom’s house, burger at Jan Kats with Mia, watched some Clone Wars, we washed Mia’s hair.
  • Saturday, tea, grapefluit, omelettes, tea with Michael at Asara, nap, watched the rugby at Wijnhuis with Paul, watched Mega Mind with Mia, a 12 sleep.
  • Sunday, super green smoothie, lunch at The Farmer’s Kitchen with Mia, home made ice cream at Root44 market, nap, hacked together a new signup workflow with Werner, sunset walk around Stellenbosch, pizza at Col’caccios.
  • Big week coming up.. Rocking the Daisies 2013! I think this will be my 5th Rocking the Daisies (of 8). [08,09,10,12,13]

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Gartner week…

  • Monday, school run, gym at Waterstone, Gartner Symposium at CTICC – I was invited as a blogger and I really wanted to at least tweet something interesting, but failed, Lewis Pugh talk was good (again) – I suspect he gets his material from Life Aquatic, bumped into Cath, fetched our updated 1080p videos, FNB meeting at Caprice – I was asked asked if I’m still studying (I’ll take that as a compliment), Mia returned her Judo suit – she’s over Judo, watched some Clone Wars with Mia, we made chicken burgers, SeedStars related Skype chat.
  • Seedstars World Interview
  • Happy that my last 16 years of email is all on my own server.
  • Tuesday, up at 4:30, school run, gym, squash vs Werner, our new batch of NFC tags arrived, 20min nap, email scrubbing.
  • “90% is half way.”

  • Wednesday, up at 5:00, Gartner at CTICC, some blogging, CNBC Africa interview – hope they are kind with the editing, RTD app meeting at Seed with Luke, a walk around Stellenbosch with Mia, chess and steak at Hussar with Mia, mid week speed wine tasting with Paul at Doorenbos (tasted about 30 Stellenbosch wines and took some home).
  • Thursday, early school run for choir, gym, weekly dev meeting at Blue Crane, Mia taught Anjela how to play chess, tinkered with the Fench NFC scanner, 7 great wines to choose from for supper, we washed Mia’s hair.
  • I suspect my percentage of friends who live in Somerset West dropped fairly radically when Andrew left for China.
  • Friday, up at 4:00, iOS7 upgrade – meh, gym, burger at Apres with Luke and Werner, Brampton, sleep – dead tired.
  • We added two more confirmed events to the Gust pipeline this week, first one in Joburg for a major sports gear brand.
  • “I have no sympathy for people who squander their gifts. It’s sickening. It’s worse than sickening, it’s unpatriotic!” — Pain and Gain

  • Saturday, working day, a beer with Al, Lienjtie, Henning, Megan and Fourie at 5 Reyneveld, Jolly Roger, KLT.
  • “Ek het nie tyd vir dit nie, ek soek mos ‘n trou vrou.” — Henning

  • “Dis soosin hartseer zef.” — Hennig, about the Knysna Cheese and Wine festival.

  • Sunday, sunny day, late lunch at Apres, watched Princess Mononoke… pretty good.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Ruthless Editing of Startup Ideas

A few thoughts on photography and business…

I see a lot of photos pass by my Facebook stream. Some photographers constantly upload good images and you start to follow them with interest – and then, a few times in a row they upload big (100+) batches of photos which are fairly good with a few gems scattered in between, but you feel yourself getting bored clicking through them.

I like taking photos – I have a camera that weighs enough to exercise my squash playing grip fairly well by shooting for an hour. A long time ago I used to publish about 80 photos after an event I was shooting. When asking for feedback I’d get “Nice, but you can edit a bit better.”

I did not really get it at the time but, but “edit a bit better” actually means: “ruthlessly delete all the crap and only show me the 20 best photos”.

So now, I often take 200 photos in order to publish just 20. (I’ll keep about 50 in total).

Seems obvious right? Yes, but photographers get all sentimental about the photos they take. It’s so easy to keep them and publish them, so we end up with people publishing a lot of crap.

I’m sharing this story because I realised that: I’m good at ruthlessly deleting my photos – but not my business ideas.

I think it’s important to keep notes of all your business and product ideas and I think it’s good for innovation that some people are stubborn and cling to ideas. This lets them spot an opportunity when an idea is ready to be combined with another. It’s also good to be able to quickly test ideas and have a bag full of ideas if you need to pivot, but don’t get to attached to your ideas.

Our startup Gust Pay has tested a number of ideas this year. Some are seeing good traction, some not so much. We’ve been re-using parts of the technology we built to explore different ideas and business models. Right now our cashless events and ticketing product is seeing the most traction. As a result we recently parked most of our other ideas to focus on our events business.

In summary: startup founders should constantly gather and file ideas (stick them in the company wiki) and continually see which ideas fit or have become possible since they last entertained them, but be ruthless and focused when you build your main product.

Quick Update

This is my 800th blog post…

  • Monday, tea at Blue Crane with Naulene, Gust PayPoint upgrade day around Stellenbosch, payments are about 100% quicker now… Simply Asia, Mill House, Blue Crane, Brampton, squash vs Werner.
  • We’re busy building the official Rocking the Daisies 2013 mobile app… it’s looking good.
  • I get the feeling I’ll need to start coding again to teach Mia. Could be fun. Need to make the time.
  • Tuesday, gym, crazy day with a million context switches, gym, UK customer going live, RTD app testing, Gust Pay for Android testing, FB RTD tickets competition, payment latency debugging, TrustFabric updates, lunch at Schoon de Companje… not bad, bank visit, a beer at Apres with Werner.
  • Wednesday, Cape Town day, Nedbank meeting, tea with Dan at Suprette, Peach Payments meeting, meeting at Raith’s in Constantia, drove back to Stellenbosch along the coastal road, meeting at Brampton with Bill, Jan and Werner.
  • Gust passed 1500 Facebook page likes.
  • Thursday, gym, Blue Crane, Mia played in her firsts chess competition and won 1 of 2 games, parent – teacher interview, took a walk down Kloof st, replaced my favourite hoodie that was lost towards the end of 2011, got some mint shampoo, Beerhouse with Paul, dinner at Nicola’s house… cute kids, very nice bottle of Moreson Salitaire MCC.
  • Friday, gym, green smoothie, lunch at Jan Kats, after work drinks at Brampton – paid with Bitcoin again, watched Unthinkable.
  • Our UK customer installed Gust at their first bar.
  • We updated our Gust intro video, the previous version had just over 1000 views.
  • Still no coffee.
  • Saturday, fetched Mia, watched the rugby at Wijnhuis, gelato, watched Star Wars ep VI with Mia, nap, watched more rugby at Jan Kats, braai at Dirk’s house.
  • Sunday, rainy day, tea, green smoothie, we watched Clone Wars Season 1, tea and pancakes with Dirk at Limnos Bakery, fetched an iPad and phone from Paul’s house, Mia and I followed our noses and ended up having Oxtail for Sunday lunch at L’auberge Du Paysan… nice little place, a game of chess, more Clone Wars, watched Mia’s 2012 xmas concert DVD, sunset walk around Stellenbosch, Mia read me a book after bath time, backups and photo processing.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Spring… well, that was a long winter.

  • Monday, school run, gym, Blue Crane with Carinus and Ben, Mia scored one of her team’s two goals in a soccer match, sunset walk around Stellenbosch to ponder Exit 4 while Mia went to Judo, Dirk fetched an ADSL modem (and proved his ninja skills at keeping secrets), made supper for Mia (not vegetables for a change), bath time, Mia read me a book, I read her a book.
  • I asked Mia if she’s okay with me moving to Cape Town again and she seems happy with that idea.
  • Tuesday, school run listening to The Killers (help me get down), slight change of plan, gym, burger at Apres with Werner and Luke, washed Mia’s hair.
  • Wednesday, Cape Town day, Wembley Square meeting about the Daisies 2013 app, fetched a new NFC scanner from the post office, Pricecheck meeting, Mia went to Judo – which she wants to trade for swimming in summer, burger and a game of chess with Mia at Apres, gelato, reading – mostly books about space.
  • A day on Mars is 41 minutes longer.
  • Some days I think tech startups are bit like chess boxing.
  • Formidable. Charismatic. Train wrecks.
  • Mia is now 134cm, 32.7kg. Size 2 shoe.
  • Looks like Naulene wants to write a book.
  • Seems Mia’s sports programme changed to cricket and soccer this week. I managed to not miss one of her hockey games this season (as far as I know).
  • Thursday, up at 5:00, school run, forgot my laptop at home and actually had to do cardio at the Waterstone gym, gym in Stellenbosch, Blue Crane dev meeting, IS meeting in Cape Town, Rhodes Memorial with Werner… nice views, Mia got a lift with Maia and we watched a Richard Stallman talk at UCT, lots of familiar faces, I guess it’s been about 10 years since I last saw him speak (same venue).
  • 10 Paradoxical Traits Of Creative People.
  • Friday, school run, gym – abs day, red latte at Melissa’s with Natie, tinkered with our new NFC scanner, Brampton, watched Kick Ass 2 – good movie.
  • So very tired of weekend markets.
  • Saturday, omelette, watched a good rugby game at Wijnhuis, 5 hour nap, rugby at Jan Kats, watched The Other Guys again – great movie.
  • Some people are special, they phone you, you say “wrong number” and then they phone you another two times – from a cellphone, probably hitting redial. WTF? – While I’m ranting, can somebody please tell the car guards in this country that some cars have parking sensors and they are not helping by standing right behind the car.
  • Dis die goed wat ons voer wat ons wil op vreet.” via Georg.
  • “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein

  • Sunday, up at 6:00, working day, sunset walk, watched Elysium – I enjoyed it, played with a dev build of the Daisies 2013 app – looking good, tested the new Gust Pay for Android with GBP support.
  • Werner has a personal homepage (blog) now. I miss the days when all the interesting geeks built quirky personal homepages. My personal home page is rather outdated.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Chess week…

  • Monday, gym, haircut, sunset walk.
  • Not at Burning Man this year, maybe next year…
  • A week without coffee. I’m starting to like red lattes.
  • Gust passed 1000 FB page likes.
  • Tuesday, gym, PayLine meeting at Blue Crane and KLT, we added a barcode PDF feature to the Gust ticketing system for a cycle race, ribs at Apres.
  • Buy tickets to the Eikestad Heritage Pedal (our new ticket sales platform).
  • Wednesday, up at 4:30 to battle my inbox, rainy Cape Town day, U-start meeting at the Bandwidth Barn, Quirk meeting, post office visit, Wembley Square, picked up a Brainstorm magazine at the Gardens Centre – haven’t been there in a while, hot chocolate with David at Truth, interesting phone call, Founders Club meeting at Beerhouse in Long Street.
  • We’re in the September issue of Brainstorm magazine.
  • Thursday, hard rain, snooze, snooze, gym, weekly dev meeting at Blue Crane, gave a talk about Gust at the Cape Town Product Management group meeting in Cape Town – nice event, thought of a few things I should have added to my talk while listening to Andy’s talk – funny, I never really think of myself as a product owner / product manager much, but I guess it’s a fairly big part of what keeps me busy.
  • Friday, negotiations day, Brampton with Jan and Werner.
  • Exit 4?
  • Feel like I need to write a book about this crazy year.
  • “See you in Rio.” — Werner about payment systems.

  • Gust QA and testing is getting pretty involved now.
  • Saturday, vanilla tea with vanilla milk, breakfast at Basic, we watched The Incredibles, got a chess set and started teaching Mia how to play, nap, watched the rugby at Wijnhuis, Springbok steak at 5 Reyneveld, played some Rummikub with Georg and Mia, watched Now You See Me – not bad.
  • “Luck favours the prepared.” –Edna Mole

  • Sunday, oxtail at Barique with Georg and Mia, nap, sunset walk around Stellenbosch, played two games of chess against Mia while cooking supper, watched The Big Lebowski.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.