Monthly Archives: November 2014

Quick Update

Ernst’s bachelors hike / weekend…

Suicide Gorge
Suicide Gorge
  • Week of 17-23 November.
  • Monday, tea and photo processing while some plumbers and electricians came over, new record for likes on the photos we uploaded from the housewarming party, finally made some time to read the East London Swimmers book I got Mia – seems the pool is next to London Fields – great little book – I really like that area, blogging while Georg played some music, watched The Rum Diary again – maybe our real motivation is adventure – or the fear that the adventures might end.
  • “I know it’s hard to tell, because I’m super subtle, but I’m kinda into you.” – Georg’s comment: “Subtle!?… you can see it from space!”

  • Tuesday, up at 6:00ish, car service day, gym (squats for Suicide Gorge) and a nice 1km swim (was fun once I forced myself to swim the first half), bumped into Jill and had a green juice, walked through Greenmarket Square and fetched some keys, fetched my car, we made a Thai green curry (in record time)… the rice came out fairly well, a bit of drama with a dinner guest cancelling last minute, watched Signal Hill burn, watched a bit of Zombieland, fun evening.
  • “Big spoon or little spoon?”, “Fork!” — Nikki, about eating ice cream.

  • “Rule #7: Travel light. Rule #32: Enjoy the little things.” — Zombieland

  • I need to find a gym / squash partner again.
  • Wednesday, curry for breakfast (and lunch) and more than one cup of vanilla tea (new theme), Pieter Hugo’s parents came over, listened to Tori Amos for the first time in years, pipe track hike with Georg, T10 G&Ts with Al and Georg at Van Hunks, we finished the curry, Georg played his latest music.
  • Vredehoek is pretty windy. How windy? This house has two front doors – basically an airlock. I sometimes sleep with earplugs.
  • “Everything has already happened. The past, present and future already exists.” — Jacques, about Interstellar.

  • Thursday, gym, swim, fetched Mia from school, took her to art class, fresh juice at Fred & Max, took Mia to swimming squad practice – really happy with her progress… her butterfly is looking good and she seems to swim at a pace of the Grade 3s, fetched Francis, Spur outing – without chips… just veg, funny watching Mia trying to feed Francis some spinach, dropped off the girls, Naulene was pleasant, nice sunset drive back to Cape Town, phoned Ernst, Georg played a nice set of music, listened to Electrolite, made some notes for my speech at Ernst’s wedding.
  • AfrikaBurn 2015 planning has begun – and it’s going to be epic. Jacques and Georg also seem keen to join.
  • “We’re in the pipe, five by five.” — ERnst / Aliens – about the weekend.

  • Friday, Paul dropped off my bike, quick Waterfront visit, (the vanilla) pizza at Bocca in Bree Street with Nikki, nap, conversations about spray plaster, dinner at San Julian with Nikki (mexican place)… company was good, food was a bit meh, fetched Ernst, Tim and John from the airport, last minute packing, struggled to get everybody in bed before 0:00.
  • “Submarine Captain” — ERnst, about getting everybody to bed early on the Friday night.

  • Saturday, up at 6:00, my 9th Suicide Gorge hike with Ernst and co, Georg, Wouter, Michael and Storm (group of 12), great fun – no bumps or scratches, finished at 15:30 with a cold Windhoek, a springbok pie at Peregrine farm stall, three people fell asleep in the car on the way home, a swim at home, supper at Rick’s – my wheels came off, babies don’t sleep this well.
  • “Cape Town is Las Vegas” — ERnst

  • Sunday, got up at 11:00ish, made lunch for Ernst and co, swim, Georg played some music until load shedding kicked in, walked to Carlyle’s for beer with Nikki, pizza and a dom pedro, almost managed to watch a movie.
  • Awesome weekend, thanks Ernst. Great idea for a bachelor weekend (might copy parts of it one day). Sorry about crashing early on Saturday evening.
  • Tune of the week: Holiday in Spain, Counting Crows.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

On feeling burnt out

Something Jacques sent me last night…

“People who claim to know jackrabbits will tell you they are primarily motivated by Fear, Stupidity, and Craziness. But I have spent enough time in jack rabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives; they are bored with their daily routines: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now and then….No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenalin rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels” — HST

It’s taken me a bit of time to realise – and this is not easy to write – but I’ve been burn out over the last few weeks. I just finished a long swim thinking – why do I think I’ve been suffering from burn-out and when did it happen?

Maybe it’s the two years of never having more than 3 months of runway, maybe it’s the 8 investment deals I’ve had to negotiate (actually I’ve lost count), maybe it’s a co-founder leaving, maybe it’s the general roller coaster ride, maybe it’s the two months of pain to get a UK bank account open in the Techstars time (actually – that was probably the moment).

Maybe it’s because my mind used to always be busy thinking about the startup – always pondering new creative options and solutions – and then it all dried up and I could not even read or answer emails. Even though I know what to do next and I like the plan it’s just so hard to get motivated and get going.

That’s how I know.

The book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” really helped – and I keep thinking about this line: “Nobody cares, just win”. Nobody cares about your reasons for failing, or almost failing – just get going. Find that one way out.

Makes so much sense.

I have a plan.

Quick Update

8 years of blogging this month…

Bantry Bay from Ellerman House
Bantry Bay from Ellerman House
  • Week of 10 to 16 November.
  • Monday, up at 6:00, school run, 1k swim at the Waterstone Gym, some past-deadline charity shopping logistics for Mia’s school, created some order back at home, photo processing, light supper and tea at Sidewalk Cafe with Nikki – fast paced walk back home after we figured out they locked the gates around our house at sunset, in bed by 10:00, some Aquaponics reading, good sleep.
  • Contempt is the number one factor that tears couples apart.
  • The disease of being busy.
  • Tuesday, three cups of tea with Nikki, car service, gym, 1k swim, walked from Wembley Square to the Waterfront via St George’s mall, Greenmarket Square and Long Street – forgot how nice that area is in the afternoon, fetched my car, watched Interstellar at the Waterfront, ~3hour epic sci-fi movie… loved it, joined Al and Georg for a beer at Carlyle’s.
  • Tune of the week: Nara by Alt-J.
  • Interstellar mini review: Great soundtrack. Very sad a times. I cried like girl. Great plot and themes: Very scary theme about killing the planet and running out of food. Time is relative. Is love bigger than just something that we have because of evolution? The bond between parent and child. Anne Hathaway looks very good with short hair – not the worst person to be trapped on a new planet with. 80% of the movie seems pretty real and then there’s the Abyss-like ending where it gets wacky – but it all fits well.
  • “We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.” — Interstellar

  • “Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.” — Brand, Interstellar.

  • “I know.” — The Empire Strikes Back

  • “Jy moet nooit jou sonbril by die huis los as jy uit gaan nie.” — Al

  • Wednesday, day without using my car, moved about 75GB of photos to my external drive, Devil’s Peak walk with Georg, finished that mix tape – the new-school way: iTunes playlist export and import, Naulene fetched a sleeping bag, red wine and blogging while Georg worked on his set for Friday night, narrow escape with a last minute phone call, do’h.
  • Thursday, Mia went on her first school camping trip, no breakfast, health check-up at Wellness Warehouse and a painful VitB shot… Doctor Ernst sent through a script for Neurobion (thanks!), Mr Fox’d an egg white frittata with a spirulina smoothie and some orange blossom energising Happywater from Janey – who gave me two affirmation stickers, bumped into Tracey, 1km swim, I suspect my mostly paleo diet is increasing my cholesterol – phoned Ernst – I should probably go for a real lab test soon, organised the house with Georg and had a few G&Ts, moved around some decor.
  • Startups really are about making something out of nothing.
  • Great weekend, nice to see so many good friends…
  • Friday, house cleaning and organising, some tea in the Ritzenhoff cups with Nikki (thanks for the plastic glasses), chopped up some veggies for snack platters, epic nerdy housewarming party (Party in the IT Department) – about 30 people, ended with some Hendriks G&Ts (thanks Al), good chats with Hilah, more than one person got the day of the party wrong (-:
  • Saturday, woke up to a clean house, walked to Carlyle’s for a Slow Beer and a pizza, watched True Romance again… always fun.
  • We have two new housemates: Jasmin and Laura.
  • Sunday, took a walk around Ellerman House with Nikki (see photo above), great art collection – very cool William Kentridge piece, vanilla tea with great views over Bantry Bay, Jessica came over and Georg cooked an awesome Sunday roast with some vintage Graham Beck bubbly, minor kitchen panic – first aid kit for Nikki’s finger cut, nap, watched The Intouchables again, watched Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels again.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Remember, remember…

London / Angel
London / Angel
  • Week of 3-9 November.
  • Epic fail of a photo week, but I had a very fun Guy Fawkes.
  • Monday, Jacques made us breakfast, rainy day, walked to Old Street Station, bought 0.0919 BTC (20GBP) at the Bitcoin ATM… worked well, but takes a while for the transaction to show up in my Hive wallet app, audio book walk to the office, booked flights for Ernst’s wedding, Jacques cooked supper, I set up Baiku Server (calendar), watched The Corporation on Netflix.
  • The daily London routine is pretty much: walk to work and take the train home. Get a bit of exercise while the sun is up.
  • “He who dies with the least toys wins. Because the more you know, the less you need.” – Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia Founder.

  • Interesting read on the human longing for transcendence “a special kind of feeling or intuition – a sense of the oneness of all things in their divine principle”.
  • Such epic photos from Burning Man.
  • Business idea: mass CO2 absorbing aquaponic broccoli farm that accepts bitcoin payments – basically and organic bitcoin farm.
  • Tuesday, I cooked a broccoli breakfast, we actually found a use for the demo day stand up banners at Jacques’ house, audio book walk to the office, bargained myself a good deal on a new travel suitcase at the street market… 4 wheel hard shell thing – kinda needed a new one after driving over my other suitcase a while ago, tea in a “League Chairman” cup, listened to Mozart’s Requiem, we decided on a housewarming theme – Party in the IT Department, my first authentic London winter evening outing – cold and wet (4G and TouchID seems to fail), nice dinner at Dishoom / Bombay Cafe in Shoreditch with Jacques, good recommendation… thanks Al and Paul – great food, loved the lamb and mint yoghurt, try the house chai – and then, like Forrest Gump in Nam – we went looking for two guys named Ben and Jerry, watched Non Stop… not bad, worked on the mix tape – loving my headphones.
  • Jacques has this theory that after 35yo your friends should just arrange a marriage for you. I figure, with a 4 year average marriage length, the trick is more for everybody to just move on quickly and get along.
  • “Kry mens machiavellianism weens ‘n tekort aan oxytosin?” — Jacques thinks I missed a shot of Oxytocin at birth.

  • Did I mention the grilled cheese sandwich from last week’s wine bar outing?
  • “Every company goes through about two WFIO moments.” — THTAHT

  • Go Fund Yourself – South Park on startups and crowd funding.
  • Wednesday, Remember Remember The Fifth of November, Jacques made breakfast, really bummed to miss Mia’s swimming gala, lunch with Johann and Kirstin in Soho – chats about AI, quantum computing, travel adventures with Johann to get to Crystal Palace Park for a fireworks show – Victoria station – long cab ride – we watched the fireworks with Victoria and Elliot, very cold train ride to West Croydon – borrowed Victoria’s mittens (and ended up dropping my phone – no real damage).
  • “Never be scared to be radical.” — Johann

  • Turns out Johann is an Afrikaans speaking jew. That has to be pretty rare.
  • “Happy ideas are bulletproof day.” — ERnst

  • Remember the chocolate chilli steak at Madam Zingara?
  • I realised that I never really watched Futurama. How did this happen?
  • The fundamentally sad thing about software development and most of the knowledge economy work is that people simply don’t get to move enough – get up and take a walk when you can.
  • Is Batman gay? — something Jacques found.
  • Thursday, woke up in a hotel in West Croydon, tea, flight check-in (which I should have done the previous night), kinda got a bit lost travelling back to Haggerston – a few train changes because of delays on the Overground, quick packing session at Jacques’ house, walked to Angel, quick supper with Jacques at Brewhouse & Kitchen – Islington, rush hour travelling with a big suitcase (joy), Heathrow Express – finished The Hard Thing About Hard Things on the way to the airport, flight to Cape Town, watched Guardians of the Galaxy… very entertaining, watched Bad Neighbours… had its moments.
  • Tune of the week: Silver Springs, Fleetwood Mac
  • I have another Best Man gig, 21 March.
  • Jacques: I suspect your bike might have been stolen from the bike rack in the warehouse. Not sure how far back your CCTV footage goes?
  • Friday, woke up somewhere over Namibia, watched Chef… pretty good, managed to get stopped at customs – turns out you can only bring in one bottle of gin… meh, Georg fetched me from the airport, great to be back in Cape Town, a swim at home, a quick nap, fetched Mia, back to Cape Town, swimming, braai with Georg and Nikki – I made some basil and Emmentaler braai broodjies.
  • Saturday, watched Cape Feare (Simpsons) again with Nikki, we walked to the OZCF market and had fresh juices an some liquid nitrogen made ice cream, more swimming at home, I made a salad, we found an original 1980something Lego Space Guy, a few drinks with Judy, Hugo, Georg an Nikki – who showed up with blue hair, organised Mia’s room, nap, another nap, Uber ride, Jeanri-Tine’s 30th birthday party at Dear Me in Longmarket street with Nikki, Georg played a great set of music back home, dancing in the lounge, a few people ended up in the swimming pool with their clothes on, great fun.
  • “Use a pen, Sideshow Bob!”

  • I love how Mia likes to watch a screensaver on the TV with a series of her old photos.
  • “You’re so cool.” — from True Romance.

  • Mia seems to love watching Simpsons at the moment – sitting on the Aeron chair sipping tonic water.
  • Exactly two years since I got un-engaged this Sunday.
  • Sunday, no Groovy Troopers this year, afternoon of swimming and a birthday braai with Paul and friends, watched a bit of The Internship with Georg.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Hello London, best Monday…

Camps Bay
  • Week of 27 Oct to 2 Nov.
  • Monday, up at 6:00, an early walk around Lions Head, a quick 1k swim, conversations around the pool with Nikki, my first Uber ride (I think), lunch at The Camps Bay Retreat with some Tokara Chardonnay… nice food, great views, a swim in the ~secret (and a bit squishy) rock pool, sunset Glen Beach / Camps Bay beach walk, an epic fillet braai at home with Georg, Dan, Michael and Nikki (who is on her way to attaining the wisdom of a 50 year old well ahead of schedule), perfect day.
  • I now have 11 Telegram contacts… mass-close-friend-migration.
  • A 50% match in top4 Wes Anderson movies. I might have to watch The Darjeeling Limited again.
  • Nice to be swimming more recently. All I want for xmas is a flow pool at home.
  • Tuesday, three cups of Earl Grey tea, braai meat for breakfast, 1k swim, Suicide Gorge planning, bacon and eggs at 3pm, quick Table Mountain hike with Georg, 10 minutes of packing, Georg dropped me off at the airport (thanks!), finally got a USB battery back from duty free – very useful for headphone charging, BA flight to London, watched 22 Jump Street… very funny.
  • It’s been an eventful and exciting three weeks in Cape Town. Great fun. Big smile. Feeling at home in Cape Town and really enjoying the company of friends.
  • First overseas trip without packing my camera.
  • Safe to say KPI4 has been progressing well.
  • Wednesday, woke up at around 3:30 (London time) somewhere over Europe, minor UK Border snags (again!), arrived in London in winter with shorts and flip flops, MNO and travel card top-ups, watched two Cosmos episodes on the commute to the office, day at the Techstars office – catching up, lunch at The Chicken Shop down the road – felt right at home again and nice to be in working mode, it got dark at 16:45… crazy, started the day with about 200 emails, ended with about 100, catch-up dinner with Jacques at a Hoxton pub called Talbot.
  • “Do you remember Frogger?” — Mutaz, as we crossed the 4 lane road to get some Indian food for lunch.

  • Jacques still does not have “fibre” broadband. EE let him know it’s active but the ADSL line does not sync.
  • Happy to report Jacques has not been smoking (if you ignore the odd e-cigarette).
  • Neither Jacques nor I managed to get Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets. A bit weird, between us we bid for 12 tickets: 4 games * 3.
  • Tried to Skype with Mia on Wednesday but somehow the headphone jack broke off inside the iPad!? The two things that puzzle me about this: 1) Why would you take something to school which you knew was broken? 2) Why not just tell me it’s broken.
  • Sunshine or fast internet? Can’t seems to get both right at the moment.
  • Nice read: So What is FinTech?
  • Thursday, almonds and almond milk for breakfast, cleaned the cave to liveable standards – I’m pretty sure there was some recycling from my last visit, started listening to The Hard Thing About Hard Things on the way to the office… very good, very relevant, found an omellette shop near the office – wish I found that a long time ago, 6 GBP Pakistani barber haircut, catch up with Brian, ping pong match vs Lesya, audio book tube ride, a Kronenbourg with Jacques, watched the last episode of Cosmos – all misty eyed.
  • “There are only two emotions in startups: euphoria and terror.” ~- from THTAHT

  • “Innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill and courage.” — THTAHT

  • As Bill Murray says: being a swimwear model is all about drinking enough water.
  • Friday, breakfast with Jacques, audio book walk to the office via Brick Lane, day at the office, gruelling ping pong matches against Lesya, Max and Morgan and end of week Halloween beers around the office, two really amazing bottles of French and Spanish wine with Ashley at Sager + Wilde (Clos du Rouge Gorge jeunes Vignes 2012 and Gran Recosind Crianca) – really great little wine bar.
  • “Gullible is my first name.” — Ashley

  • “Nobody cares, just win.” — THTAHT

  • Safe to say I’m more of a Guy Fawkes fan than a Halloween guy.
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a great book – it’s hard being a tech founder CEO – but it’s such an exciting and challenging and complex thing. It’s a bit of a curse. Great to listen to all the wisdom from this book. You can tell they were all Unix geeks – they even mention LDAP in the book.
  • Getting a lot of questions about my tan in London.
  • Definitely some form of therapy in talking things through with Jacques – including global warming.
  • Saturday, photo processing, great weather for 1 November, a walk along the Regent’s Canal with Jacques, olives and a pulled pork snacks at the Broadway Market, a stroll around London Fields park, watched Cosmos ep12 again with Jacques (the global warming one), epic nap, a visit to The O2 with Jacques, eat as much as you can paleo (meat) mission at Rodizio Rico, $5 shake with some Maker’s Mark bourbon (which ended up being an $18 shake), kinda mis-timed watching Interstellar by a week, walked past the BTC ATM at Old Street Station, watched Savages via Amazon Prime… entertaining.
  • Jacques and I agree that Bitcoin adoption in London is seriously hampered by the hipster service ethic.
  • Sunday, I cooked an 8 egg paleo breakfast, helped Jacques clean the warehouse and threw away a lot of random crap – finally!, nap, swim and spa session, Sunday roast at The Brewhouse & Kitchen – Islington with a very yummy Asahi Japanese dry rice lager, a walk along the Regent’s Canal, some Ben and Jerry’s with The Famous Grouse, watched Side Effects – bit of a man crush on Channing Tatum I suspect.
  • Recent theme: market of one – only need one way out.
  • “Somebody wake up Hicks.” — Apone, I sometimes feel a bit like this.

  • “We define religion as the assumption that life has meaning. Religion, or lack of it, is shown not in some intellectual or verbal formulations but in one’s total orientation to life. Religion is whatever the individual takes to be his ultimate concern. One’s religious attitude is to be found at that point where he has a conviction that there are values in human existence worth living and dying for.” — Rollo May, something Jacques found, I suspect I’m only posting this because of my recent Cosmos watching.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.