Tuesday was another sunny day! I’m almost starting to take them for granted. What I’m not taking for granted is the view from my apartment, which is gorgeous … but I leave in the morning when it’s still dark, and get home at night usually just before dark. At least the view of the mountain from the gym is pretty good, when I’m actually able to notice it.
Tuesday morning we had someone from LGT Group come and talk to us about the various ventures they are funding throughout the world. One of the most interesting is a venture in Kenya where a venture is replicating very low-cost primary (and soon secondary) schools, providing standardized training for the teachers, and they can actually measure progress via standardized tests given by the government. Reminds me of something I read about in The Economist. Maybe I read about this exact venture, you never know.
The morning was next punctuated by a discussion with one of my coworkers about working on a business plan to turn the school from an internal resource to assist the incubator into an actual business. There is a lot of market analysis to be done, but I suppose I know all the theory so there’s no reason why I couldn’t work on a business plan. Just, first, I need to wrap my head around the potential customers. The rest, I am confident I can do but also it’s a good stretch for me because I haven’t actually done some of it before outside of an academic setting but, hey, it’s going to be good experience. I’m certainly not bored … a little overwhelmed, but not bored.
As a complete aside, it is possible to poach an egg in the microwave. This technique leads to some quick & easy lunches like tuna, poached egg, and swiss chard, for days when I haven’t cooked the prior night.
Just after lunch a few of us met with the sales force for one of the social enterprises we are incubating. There were three men and two women from Khayelitsha. The women were quiet which I expected; that they were relatively new didn’t help. It was quite interesting to hear their ideas about what was working and what wasn’t from both an operations and sales standpoint.
Our discussion around this enterprise filled up most of the rest of the afternoon and spilled into the evening as my coworker Dami and I went to Jeff’s place in Sea Point for dinner (preceded by a drink at a local wine bar). And may I state for the record that the Green Point stadium is HUGE. 23 days to go, or thereabouts …
Oh the other good thing that happened today is that it was confirmed that I can stay in my same flat, same room, and (perhaps most exciting of all) keep my same parking space for the duration of World Cup. There are so many people coming in that the organization we are essentially subletting from has to put some people into overflow housing. As interested as I am in Observatory (Obs), it would have made the commute back in for the gym a pain in the neck, and plus there is no way the view would be as good.
Wednesday was another lovely day. The morning meeting was free expression day and we all told amusing anecdotes along various themes. My favorites were one guy talking about how when he and his wife met their ATM PIN codes were one digit off, and another guy talking about why it’s a good idea to get car insurance. I talked about the time Jeff Oates hit me with two hockey pucks in the same game (I was in the stands). Moral of that story is, don’t get on the wrong side of a hockey player and then go to the games. Unless, I suppose, the glass is quite tall.
One of the guys I work with is a pretty serious ex-gang member. He has a self-proclaimed “hectic” background story – he was the leader of a gang, killed a bunch of people, was shot by his own brother (clean through from one side of his face to the other) … anyway to make a long story short when his brother died that was a wake-up call for him and he pulled himself out of the situation he was in. It’s not all romantic “it takes a village to raise a child” stuff that goes on in the townships, and of course I know that I don’t have the foggiest idea what I’m talking about, really. I’ve never lived that life, or anything close to it. In any event he is now doing community outreach (which is *so* needed, for him to be a role model), and asked me to take a look at some materials he had put together for parents when their children come back from drug rehab, so they know what to look for if they relapse, how to approach them, etc. I was honored, and it was also an interesting reminder that even though we’re all working for an organization that’s trying to promote the greater good, people are still volunteering their time to do more as there is so much need.
I spent most of the day reading “how to write a business plan” documents from various sources and putting together a business plan template and associated worksheet of more detailed questions to consider. It’s actually kind of fun to sit around and make judgment calls about what data is actually going to be key to collect and write about vs being a nice-to-have. This process is not done – it will probably take me about one more day. Then I can get to work analyzing and updating the training materials that exist right now for the business plan modules. I really need to reconnect with Babson and see if I can’t get someone to review what our team puts together and offer some constructive feedback.
So I’m not sure if this term is unique to heart or whatnot, but the process of calling up various corporates and asking for donations (of anything and everything, really), is called sourcing. My one coworker asked for a ride to downtown where I live because she needed to get to Green Point (which is all of like a 5-minute drive). So of course I said don’t be silly, I’ll take you right there. Then when jokingly asked how much she was going to pay me for my services she replied “I sourced it [the ride].” I thought this was about the funniest thing I’d heard in a while, and was certainly the cleverest, ha!
As we were a bit early we stopped in Green Point for a drink at Cubana (a chain restaurant; we went to one in Stellenbosch last year). The mojitos are pretty decent there, if overpriced. It never ceases to amaze me, either, how relatively easy parking is in Cape Town … at least, most places and most times of day.
I’m now off to finish the dishes, put away my laundry and get to bed, the better to wake up early in the morning ready for another day!