A good day

Actually the sushi at Knoxville isn’t so nice.

So today dawned the same as every other one this week – foggy and rainy! This morning I learned the fun that are kettlebell swings and yes, I really don’t care for walking lunges at all, especially when I’m still hurting from workouts earlier in the week. But I will say that there is nothing quite like the feeling of walking into work in the morning after a really good workout. I think I really missed working out in the morning, but don’t generally have enough self-discipline to get myself out of bed unless I have something like a class to get to. Especially when it’s dark outside!

So in the heart offices there is a big orange canvas with a bunch of paint handprints on it, of everyone who has worked there. Apparently they haven’t gone through this exercise in a while because a bunch of us had to paint up our hands and sign the canvas before the morning meeting started. I had never noticed but Helen Zille is up there (she’s the Premier of the Western Cape province and former mayor of Cape Town). Pretty cool stuff.

I puttered around with some analysis of our current curriculum as compared to the incubator intake documents, then after lunch was beginning to put together a document overlaying the whole curriculum with the incubator timeline when the CEO tapped me on the shoulder. He finally had time for a one-on-one meeting. It was … interesting. For one thing I wasn’t exactly prepared but I am now even more impressed. Within about 20 minutes we’d mapped out a mutually agreeable plan for me for the next few months. The great thing for me is that there is a lot that needs to be done, and things that will push me in new directions and give me some great experience. My biggest frustration up to this point is that I like being able to accomplish things and I am not able to perform up to my own level I hold myself to when it comes to developing a curriculum for the school because it’s really stretching me. I haven’t taught before, I haven’t developed a mini-MBA curriculum before, and I’m constantly struggling to think about how to tune what I know to the social entrepreneurship space because things are a little more complicated here.

Anyway I’ve been here two weeks. Apparently I’ve impressed some people but I feel like I have a lot more to prove. That’s always one fun aspect of a new job – surprising people. But I’m excited both because I think I can really help, I really, really believe in the mission and the approach. It’s just the confluence of where all the thinking in the space is going and it’s amazing – I feel like I’m near the epicenter of something very big. The tension that runs through the air is literally something out of the dotcom boom, but people are motivated not by greed but, well, actually I haven’t quite figured it out yet. So I am looking forward to really helping move things forward while at the same time having some fun with things I really like to do, like strategy. There is nothing like getting out of bed in the morning excited for the day. Nothing.

Just after that we conducted our second training class. This one went much better than the first one – it was much more of a workshop and I think much more on point. What we’re trying to do, and engaging our particular audience is quite difficult because they are pretty sophisticated business people so making sure that they can get value from the same general material we will be presenting to others who are less sophisticated is challenging. We need to keep the essential framework the same, and tailor the discussion to the audience. Writing train the trainer material is going to be hugely challenging. Well, what else is there to do in Cape Town in July … er, at least once World Cup is done?

After work a couple of us went to a bar in Woodstock called Jamaica Me Crazy. 😉 Since we were for some craaaazy reason working past 4pm on a Friday (this is unheard of in Cape Town, apparently …??) we arrived at 5:50 just 10 minutes before happy hour ended so we all ordered two rounds of drinks pretty much immediately. 🙂

While I’m on the subject may I just add that in traffic as in anything else if it’s not a little bit dangerous it’s not South Africa? It’s like an obstacle course every day during rush hour – people from the other lane in your lane, pedestrians running across the road, busses taking up two lanes, motorcycles cutting in … yeah it’s a bit hectic. I always said if I could drive in Boston I could drive anywhere and let me tell you … it’s been good training. Having good reflexes and knowing your car & clutch really help, too! Speaking of which no word from Western Union today. Wish I could just pick up the phone and call, but it’s outrageously expensive to do that.

We joined a friend of one of my coworkers at the bar, and later two other friends showed up. It was actually quite the cosmopolitan group – I’m from America, we had someone from Nigeria/UK, Switzerland, two people from Kenya, one from Mexico, and one from Spain. And no South Africans!

After that I headed back to my apartment block, grabbed a bottle of wine and headed to the roof deck where people were hanging out. Unfortunately, we got kicked off the roof by security. This is not a horrible tragedy as I need to save myself for tomorrow….. but then more adventures with the lifts. I swear … so I try to get from the third floor to the tenth. I get in, press 3. Doors close. We go down to 2. Press 10 again, we go up to 10. Then on the way down the lift decides to stop at floors 7 and 4, for no apparent reason. Maybe descending 10 flights all at once was too much for it, ha!


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