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.