Busy day

As many of you know, I like my sleep. So, I’m trying to do the 7-8am CrossFit workout, which doesn’t actually give a lot of time to get to work by the 8:30 meeting so I may need to move to an evening workout (which would be quite unfortunate especially because at this time of year it’s solidly dark by 6:30pm which is the time I’d need to go – 5:30 is too early by far). So I am trying to figure out just how late I can sleep and still have time to eat enough protein that I can work out effectively. But in any event, this morning we practiced hang squat cleans for a good long time. My technique needs some work – quite a challenge for a first day. But it will really be great to learn the proper techniques for these things, in any event.

Every Monday morning our CEO speaks to us. This morning’s subject was how he believes that social entrepreneurship as an industry, or practice, resembles the early days of the high tech boom. This sparked an interesting debate, because a lot of what drove the tech boom was greed. But, if money flows into this or any other space, salaries will follow, and talent follows salaries (in general, at least…). Also a lot of dopes, but that’s the subject for another day!

We had another interesting rain storm today – it went from nothing to monsoon force, back to nothing, within a couple of minutes. It was actually pretty funny, as we have a metal roof when it rains hard it becomes very loud!

I feel like I made good progress today at work. Half the struggle is the mental processing power required to make Powerpoint slides look nice and not just be bullet points! Based on our first class last Friday, I revised our earlier slides, added a “roadmap” of what would be covered in the feasibility study classes, and began work on slides covering strategy and differentiation. I also completed a draft to the best of my ability of a feasibility study worksheet – once entrepreneurs can answer the questions in the worksheet, they should be well positioned to write a feasibility study document.

Now it may seem like we’re reinventing the wheel a bit here, because this material exists in other places, certainly. To a degree, we are, yes, but what we’re doing is quite custom-tailored to a process (and there are other plans for this material in the future) that it makes sense for it to be proprietary. One example – we followed quite a similar course of study at Babson last year during the Capstone of our MBA (during which our teams had to come up with a business idea, and eventually write a business plan and pitch to a panel of VCs). So in that class, the feasibility study essentially ended with whether or not the concept was viable from a market standpoint. Here, we need to analyze the financial returns as well to make sure that the venture is viable financially (when you’re trying to make a social impact, this is not a given!), and potentially to evaluate between different potential concepts that an entrepreneur might consider. So, clearly, we need financials which means we need operations and sales plans, at least at a basic level. And we are trying to weigh this against the need for these to be quick and dirty … so, again, it’s tremendously exciting for me to be able to be here, at heart, during this particular time.

So, tonight dinner is chicken legs with salad and sweet potatoes, which I only mention because sweet potatoes in this country are quite different! For one thing, the flesh is yellowish, and very pale. Also they are less moist than back in the States. Eh, whatever, they are tasty. And that is half the fun of a CSA, is to be forced to cook whatever is in your bag that week. I’m looking forward to this week – we get the season’s first avocados, and satsumas! It’s a bit off topic but boy the yogurt is fabulous here …

Last night after the cricket and the news ended Terminator 3 came on SABC1 (long story but our DSTV won’t work because we don’t have a remote and so we can’t reset the channels). It has gotten to the point where driving on the right seems weird to me! I think I actually prefer driving on the left, possibly because I can shift with my left hand which, once you’re used to it, I think is easier as I can keep my right hand on the wheel. I don’t know … the only problem I’m still having is remembering to keep left on highways! Well, and finding my way around new neighborhoods. That’s always hard, but I’m slowly learning Cape Town. Bring on the World Cup – 31 days to go!

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